Monday, January 15, 2018

Rediscovering Georgette Heyer

I started reading Georgette Heyer books when I was eleven. I had no concept of what was age appropriate and neither did my parents. They held that the more books you read, the better. And since English was not my mother tongue, they encouraged me to read as many English books as I could.

The first Georgette Heyer book I read was The Corinthian. I don't remember if I enjoyed the romance, but I do remember that I thoroughly enjoyed the humour. I remembered laughing out loud as I read it and reading aloud the portions that I found especially funny. The Corinthian was followed by Bath Tangle, The Civil Contract, The Conqueror and Beauvallet. While I found Beauvallet to be excruciatingly funny at times, I wasn't too impressed with Bath Tangle or The Civil Contract. And as for The Conqueror, I found myself both fascinated and repelled by William the Conqueror, about whom the book is written.

Then I forgot all about Georgette Heyer.

The next time I read her was after completing my post graduation, in the interim between having finished your studies and searching for a job. I took a membership in Trivandrum Public Library and found that they have a large collection of Georgette Heyer works. My mother and I both read and immensely enjoyed False Colours, The Convenient Marriage, The Masqueraders and These Old Shades before I joined a course and was not able to visit the library frequently.

So, Georgette Heyer was again consigned to the back of my mind and of my life.

Then, around ten years back, I started buying books again. I bought almost every title of Georgette Heyer I could find in amazon. As I started reading, what struck me the most was how detached was her narrator's voice most of the time.  And I found it such a refreshing change from writers who seem lost in admiration for the perfection of their creations. Georgette Heyer was either detached or gently mocking of her characters, making us feel that her creations were just as flawed as the rest of humanity. Her heroes and heroines are not epitomes of physical perfection nor intellectually superior to everyone around them. They are people, real, believable and relatable.

I also enjoyed her settings immensely. I have always had a weakness for historical novels, and her works made that period come alive for me. The rich details and descriptions made me feel as if I was seeing what was transpiring. Unlike many authors, there was no propaganda in her works. She was not out to prove the superiority of the British aristocracy; she was simply telling stories.

And what stories they were! From The Foundling to The Grand Sophy, From The Quiet Gentleman to April Lady, From Talisman Ring to Friday's Child, her plots are diverse, her characters human, her settings breathtaking, her dialogues witty and no two stories were ever the same. My mother was equally an ardent admirer of her books that I gifted the entire collection to my her and bought a whole new set for myself.

And even now, I find myself re-reading her books; and I still laugh out loud.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Movie Review Shelter

The other day I happened to watch a movie named Shelter. I knew that it was a gay love story, but what I did not expect was to be moved by what is unquestionably a beautiful love story.

The storyline is simple, the actors brilliant and the emotions that the movie evokes are universal. Anyone who has experienced love can identify with Zach, around whom the story revolves.

Zach, an aspiring young artist had to shelve his college dreams to take care of his disabled father and his nephew, Cody. Jeanne, his sister is irresponsible and depends on Zach to take care of Cody while she hangs out with her current boy friend Alan.

Zach works as a part time cook and spends the rest of his time surfing with his best friend Gabe and hanging out with his girl friend, Tori with whom he has an on and off relationship.

While Gabe is away, his brother Shaun comes to stay in their house. Shaun is a published author, who has broken up with his partner and is looking for a place to stay till his new lease starts next month. He is also attempting to find inspiration for his next novel.

Shaun and Zach go surfing together and form an easy camaraderie. Shaun is impressed by Zach's art portfolio and advises him to go for his dreams. They enter into a relationship though Zach is initially hesitant. Cody also becomes friendly with Shaun. Shaun encourages him to apply for the course at CalArts, a large arts university and even gets him an application form.

Jeanne wants to go to Portland with Alan who has got a job there, but she cannot take Cody. She's also upset about Zach's relationship with Shaun since she considers it to a bad influence on Cody. Zach is conflicted and confused and he breaks up with Shaun.

Zach gets a call from CalArts who has accepted his application. Zach realizes Shaun had sent his application and portfolio to CalArts. He also realizes that Cody will be better off with him and Shaun since Shaun cares for both of them. He comes out to Tori who tells him she has always suspected. Later, he apologizes to Shaun and tells Jeanne that he is going to pursue college and his relationship with Shaun. He will take care of Cody but he will not forsake Shaun. Jeanne accepts his decision and leaves.

The movie ends with Cody playing in the beach with Shaun and Zach.

The scenes with Zach and Cody are among the best in the entire movie. It is evident how deeply Zach cares for his young nephew and how much Cody depends on him as a father figure. In one scene, Cody insists to Zach that “You're my dad,” in spite of Zach explaining to him that he is Cody's uncle since his sister is Cody's mom.

The initial relation between Zach and Shaun is also friendly and uncomplicated. Zach and Shaun have known each other since childhood and they have no difficulty slotting into place in the other's life. Zach's initial reluctance and confusion as also his conflict after Jeanne's vocal disapproval are both portrayed well.

The way the movie ends in a positive note with Zach free to pursue his dreams without having to give upon either Cody or Shaun is heart-warming and one cannot but feel but hopeful for the future of both these men.

Trevor Wright is convincing as Zach and Brad Rowe nails the role of Shaun. Among the other actors, the most noteworthy one is Jackson Wurth who plays Cody. We hope these men to end up together as much for his sake as for theirs.

Whether or not you like gay movies, if you are into simple love stories with happy endings, Shelter is a must watch. I have a feeling I'm going to watch it again. And again.

Friday, November 10, 2017


That's what it feels like
So fragile, that an angry glance
Or a harsh word
Could break me apart
Shatter me

Into a million fragments

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


The sound of my name on your lips
Evokes memories
Of another time, another place
And your voice whispering my name

Your voice
Dark chocolate in honey
Sending shivers down my spine
Even at the memory

Saturday, June 20, 2015


He looks into her eyes and smiles
And whispers sweet nothings into her ear
He swears he will never leave her
That his love will remain forever

She wakes up alone and wonders
If he remembers

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A good day

He sits on the lawn in his chair
Watching the children go to school
And he wishes he could walk with them
He watches the vehicles speeding by
And wishes he were behind the wheel
He watches the strollers, the bikers
And wishes he could be one of them
The wind ruffles his hair
And he thinks that
If he could just feel the grass under his feet
And the breeze on his face
Just one more time
Then he wouldn’t even mind dying
A single tear trickles down his cheek
And is dried by the breeze
Soon, the nurse comes and wheels him inside
And tells everyone what a good day he has had