The Unadorned

My literary blog to keep track of my creative mood swings with poems n short stories, book reviews n humorous prose, travelogues n photography, reflections n translations, both in English n Hindi.

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I'm a peace-loving married Indian male on the right side of '50 with college-going children, and presently employed under government. Educationally I've a master's degree in History, and another in Computer Application. Besides, I've a post graduate diploma in Management. My published works are:- (1)"In Harness", ISBN 81-8157-183-5, a poetry collections and (2) "The Remix of Orchid", ISBN 978-81-7525-729-0, a short story collections with a foreword by Mr. Ruskin Bond, (3) "Virasat", ISBN 978-81-7525-982-9, again a short story collection but in Hindi, (4) "Ek Saal Baad," ISBN 978-81-906496-8-1, my second Story Collection in Hindi.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Remix of Orchid---Curtain-Raiser-III

Finally it seems “The Remix of Orchid” will be a self-published volume, unlike my last book of poems, “In Harness”. With six years of inputs it cannot be left unpublished if I actually love my work and have given my best during its creation and polishing.

The storyware has made its rounds in the shape of submissions and pitches and it is now tired and spent out. I should now come forward to rehabilitate it, give it the respect of a tired son who has come back from the battlefield, war-weary and defeated. I should not kill it like a mediaeval warlord killing his wounded soldiers relinquishing the battlefield. I just can’t be cruel to my own creation.

What about the financial viability? At this stage I know I’m no J. K. Rowling or Dan Brown. Money would not come like that just because I’ve written a book. At least, six years is a reasonably long time to teach me that. Also, I’ve my experience of getting my earlier book through a reputed publisher. It was such an experience I would not like to repeat, at least so soon. I’ve written that in my earlier blog "Happy With my Muse" linked here.

Then why not ask a big author to write an impressive forward for the work? Well, that’s a great idea. In fact for my last book, I could not arrange one. If any sympathetic soul from our creative fraternity who is “big” enough offers me that big favour to my advantage, I don’t think there is any reason why I should spurn that. But I’m an old-fashioned individual in this respect who believes that in time everything good would happen. Yes, everything good will eventually happen; a very good author would by chance come to know about my writings and would like to associate himself/herself with my writings through his/her precious forward. No need for me to go shopping for that.

Isn’t it romantic, like a princess in captivity dreaming of an able prince coming to liberate her? Well, stories happen everywhere, even in story writing.

Now let me end this issue of curtain-raiser quoting a few passages from my story “A clip in Slow Motion”.

I retreated to my cabin reflecting everything I witnessed. A night of beauty sleep was waiting for me in my cabin. The anchored ship was stable and cool. The sky had patchy clouds, but the Great Bear constellation was clearly visible through the window of my beautiful cabin. I switched off the lights and allowed darkness to inundate the interior. The cabin haunted me no longer. Solitude could be so delightful! Given choice, I would no longer welcome sleep; I would rather wish dream to defer her soporific spell on me. But the nocturnal bliss made her duty-bound. I was soon to snuggle up to her loving care.

‘Which story would you relish tonight,’ she asked me for my choice.

‘Anything sweet’ was my answer. I had completely surrendered myself to her and it was a marvellous feeling to surrender.

‘Then listen to a story of a Nicobari girl. I know you will like it,’ her eyes gleamed with cherubic smile.

I blushed and felt a little curious and asked her how she could come to know about that. She smiled again and said she had been watching me for the entire day. She was amused at my timidity, as she had marked me going near the vivacious Nicobari beauties and retracting so often. She chided me lovingly for my gutlessness and unmanly gestures.Then she started her story.

She was slow and she was sweet. She was rhythmic, and she was poignant. She was warm, exciting, and lively; she was everything that I wanted. Oh, she was life in herself. I was the protagonist and she assumed herself the role of that Nicobari girl. She took me along the farthest she could venture. She showed me everything she had—her glowing buttery skin, her hourglass perfect body, all her hidden beauty spots, all those special spots of must-visit where her skin was the thinnest of thin, where I could feel her warm blood flowing like sylvan rivulets...

A. N. Nanda

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Remix of Orchid- The Curtain-raiser-II

Hey, this is the second post of the curtain-raiser series for my forth-coming book "The Remix of Orchid". I had earlier posted its first instalment on November 2,2006. I thought I should also tell what the stories would contain very briefly as in publisher blurbs. I'm warned not post here the whole of it if the intention is to publish them in print, yet...

The Stories in brief:

1-The Remix of Orchid:
My storywriter has nothing to worry, for he has not plagiarised the work of the great Mr H. G. Wells. It has only been a one-in-a-million coincidence in creativity. Nobody sensible needs to fuss about it. He rightly decides to go ahead with his story to face his readers and critics.

2-Two Visitors:
I pick up a boy, helpless and weeping, at Howrah Station and try to restore him to his parents after fifteen long years. But it is too late by then; fifteen years is enough a span to create a different mindset, throw different family dynamics, and nurture many ifs and buts. The boy is luckless; time has robbed him of his acceptability.

3-The Salvation:
It is a sheer pleasure to watch a patriotic ghost in action. He kills a historical tyrant dramatically and attains his salvation.

4-A Clip in Slow Motion:
I happen to get into a typhoon, but was lucky to get out of it. After living through the peril, I feel life is but an accident averted.

5-Out of Her Block:
A battle between a human and a crustacean could be so fierce and its result could be so momentous! I consider myself lucky to witness one. Like innumerable battles of yester year, this particular one has also a woman at its centre—I still consider I have seen something that none would ever have.

6-The Confluence:
Death is not the end of everything; it is the beginning of a long celestial journey for the soul. A son can help the dead father in this perilous course, provided he thinks it important. I find even today there are sons eager to fulfill their filial commitment, genuinely and undemonstratively.

7-The Golden Trip:
Living in the Andamans teaches her the need for detachment, and when occasion arises, she does not hesitate to sell her ornaments to pay for her air journey to the mainland. She is finally able to see her terminally ill mother in Kerala.

8-At the Crossroads:
He changes himself from a tradition-bound priest to a non-vegetarian liberal and starts redefining the concepts once he lived for. Love makes him bold. Having discovered the purpose of living, he could not have done any different.

9-Once Lucky:
A letterbox gets animated suddenly. It chooses a soft target to prove its newly acquired status of demigod. It arrogates to itself the right to punish a lonesome fellow who had once gone beyond his marriage boundary—just only once. The dream gets over, but the fear lingers on.

10-And Then a Fine Morning:
Is a doctor’s certificate enough to free a person from ailments? No, obviously not! One has to walk his way to health. The way to health passes through a dream, father’s blessings and the cool sea breeze of Corbyn’s Cove.

11-The Gung-ho Team:
Where there is a will there is a gold cup—it is true if the team is Andaman Hockey Team and the tournament is Bombay Gold Cup and the captain is Sukra Oram. Winning is a great feeling and it is still greater a feeling to win for the Andamans, being the mere underdog facing the high-profile teams and hot favourites.

Manglu keeps his family in comfort by accepting an employment in a distant island as a labourer. His soul is left behind in the care of his wife and children. But then, they cannot take care of it indefinitely merely for a money order every month. His wife could not have waited for her husband to return from his overseas employment any longer than possible.

13-Over the Seas:
Love makes them happen—an Indian doctor in Kuwait rescues a sex slave; he falls in love with her despite communal incompatibility; and apprehending opposition the lovers shift their love nest to the Andamans crossing the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. The lovers consider it safe, as the islands are situated at a safe distance from the enemies of love.

14-The Apt Disposal:
A lovely pet is not as lucky as its master to cross the Bay of Bengal. A transfer from Port Blair to the mainland does finally come when the scientist is on his annual leave. The luckless dog is not half such a lucky as the home idol lord Ganapati who rides piggyback in the ubiquitous postal bag and unites with his devotee.

15-The Bovine Justice:
A wonderful person recounts the innovative steps that he adopted to settle score with his adversary—a tit for tat. He could enlist even the help of an animal for that.

16-The Flight:
Their love-hate relationship helps them remain as friends. The bachelor one inspires his friend’s wife to give him company to Port Blair to fulfill their artistic desires, and she agrees to overstay in the island in his husband’s friend’s safe company and returns satisfied artistically.

17-The Green Baggage:
Everyone that goes to the Andamans does not return with the memory of that scenic place alone; some even fetch deadly souvenirs from there. Once a delegation of environmentalists reach there to solve its problems but leave the place with a few deer hides. Quite shameless at that—isn’t it?

18-Flying Colours:
A Nicobari girl, finding her husband’s wavering loyalty, solves her problem with plenty of love and spontaneous tears. The newly-wed boy has his own problems to tackle—a beautiful, educated wife expecting him to pass his graduation, his unemployed status contrasting so starkly with his wife’s, the societal control around stifling him at every step—and he finally understands that his life is in the loving care of somebody so dear as his sweetheart. And they lived happily ever after.

Dannaya does his best to achieve his life’s dream, a small house at his native village in Srikakulam, but he is destined to return to Port Blair. With his daughter’s marriage solemnized, he should be all set to lead a happy retired life, but he is not sure if those would bring him the ultimate happiness or not.

20-Still in India:
It is a poignant feeling to cherish a death for oneself in the village of one’s birth or, in the least, in one’s own country. Godavari chooses that way by spurning her rich son’s offer to go with him to United States. She has no doubt that she made the right choice to accompany her elder son to Port Blair.

21-The Millennium Blog:
At a depth of eighty feet in a diving site off Havelock coast when one chooses to spend his midnight hour with crustaceans and corals, he is said to be doing a prodigious profile in diving. If he does that just to wait for the clock to strike twelve midnight on the eve of the Millennium New Year, then it promises to be a well-imagined novelty in outdoor divertissement. But it is an entirely different matter when a school of barracudas chase him showing their snaggle-teeth and he runs for life along with his buddy cutting short his gloriously imaginative underwater jaunt.

I hope when my book "The Remix of Orchid" actually reaches my readers, they would have at least some curiosity to start with.

A. N. Nanda

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Pleasantly Surprised!

Last weekend an accolade was in the share of my weblog. The online community linked at has chosen this blog as the blog of the week under its feature "7 Days of Inspiration". Thanks a load.

I dedicate this to the increasing community of visitors of the site.



Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Remix of Orchid-I

[Now a bit of self-promotion...of course with your permission.

I'm through the writing phase of my next book which will be a collection of short stories. Obviously, it is going to be a self-published one. Or else how long should I wait for a real talent-hunter to come to me with an overwhelming offer to publish my storywares? Enough is enough; I've already spent three years in searching and if I add the time spent on writing and revising it, it will be ten years. So, am I not justified to do everything on my own?

Now there will be three to four posts in this curtain-raiser series. Earlier they have been posted in my other blog which can be reached through this link and its archives. So, here you are--my self-promoting literature.]

Is it possible to cull stories from a dull continuum of events where beginnings are as inconspicuous as denouements? Oh, yes—we still have a place on the earth where time dawdles at will and nothing exciting ever happens. There, waves lap the shore and winds swish past the ancient trees for no purpose, with no reason. Dull monsoons and wearisome summers leave no trail of consequence. Characters appear interesting, but not inspiring. Nobody makes a story happen there; all that happen are just the crude and the predestined—like a tsunami or a sudden volcanic eruption. Is that then a land story-less?

A search for stories in this story-less land could be an extra-ordinary saga in itself. It is possible—if not an effortless endeavour—to discover plenty of storyware in stones and ravages, waves and showers, crustaceans and centipedes… and finally, in struggling humans—whether they are out for existence or for excellence. Everything is so different here! Its ancient desolation, its splendid anonymity, its inscrutable resignation—all make it sweet and invulnerable. Its difference yields stories for itself. One day a peculiar belief sets in: something is in the making here despite all the semblance of immutability. Writing stories for it then becomes an act of clairvoyance, inspiration, spontaneity, and thrill—it becomes an act of abiding faith. Events get inspired to happen. Interesting, isn’t it?

The pristine archipelago of the Andamans proves it is not a story-less land. Gladly, it bares its soul to one who understands it. It does not demand anything tall like building a concrete bridge to the mainland or joining the river Ganges with the river Galathia. It just wants somebody to listen, a patient listener, an empathetic listener. After all, who does not like a patient listener? Even a rubber crab of Aberdeen Jetty or a ghost being of the Wandoor beach or a school of barracudas in a prodigious diving site off the Haveluck coast join the swelling crowd of characters who have something to say. As they whisper their heartfelt, stories get chronicled. Dreams are created, and realized like those quick-flowering shrubs of Saddle Peak. Small mistakes remain small in reality but big and frightening in dreams; a well-wisher never stops till he has realised the cost of his benevolence; a sex-slave is emancipated from far Kuwait to be honourably rehabilitated in the liberal surroundings of the Andamans; a mother behaves like the police while she expects proof before welcoming her son; a group of environmentalists relish wild-life delicacy; a group of novice gather and go gung-ho to bring gold medal for the islands in a national hockey tournament; and so on. All of them are believers—they believe one day somebody will listen to their stories, echo them in the assembly of sympathetic listeners, and make them as important as they are. “The Remix of Orchid” samples their story of existence, packs all their passions, and presents the first-ever opus of its genre. It just waits for a publisher’s nod to reach the receptive hands of the readers.

Between 1995 and 1998, my work took me there, affording me a once-in-a-lifetime the opportunity to see the islands that dot the azure surface of the Bay of Bengal from Myammar to Indonesia. I have seen the islands in their scenic resplendence, trekked the highest peak of the territory, run into mid sea turbulence that accompanied the return monsoon, waited for days together in the remote islands for a boat, had miraculous escape from a floundering aircraft midair amidst the slashing hailstones, and so on and so forth. I have fished at lonely jetties using lines and hooks, participated in firefighting efforts in a disastrous fire in a marketplace, drunk the sour-smelling coconut toddy to please an unsuspecting tribal, written poems to dabble in creativity…. I have talked to everybody, listened to all. I was agog with stories and felt I could write something with an authentic feel of the place. “The Remix of Orchid” is the result of my six long years of work........
A. N. Nanda
Berhampur, Orissa, INDIA