Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Excerpt from my next novel



The man was leaning against a wall near the apartment reading a newspaper. He could see the entry gate and the watchman clearly from this position. He melted into the scene perfectly. When he had to look like a loafer, he could look like one. It is not easy to stand on the pavement and not look conspicuous, but he could do it by the hour. He made a call from his cell. ‘Did you deliver the discounted items?’
The answer was in the affirmative. He cut the call. The old security guard, who had been snoozing in the shade, got up and went inside. From his observations for the past two days, the man knew that he will not come back to the gate for next 5 minutes.
He entered the gate and rapidly went up the stairs to the first floor. A pretty young lady in her twenties opened the door. She said, ‘Yes – how can I help you?’
‘Hi Padma – remember me?’ the man said ironically . He knew she was alone in the house.
‘Oh.. its you… how did you find my address.’ She did not seem very happy to see him.
‘Never mind about that – won’t you invite me in?’
‘Yes – of course – come in,’ she said, a little nervously.
‘It’s hot – can I have a glass of water?’
Asking the man to seat on the sofa of the tiny drawing room, Padma turned to go to get the water. The man took out a small iron rod from the backpack he had been carrying and hit her on the head. Padma fell down. The man bent down to check. He found that she was still breathing. He took a chord from his bag pack and strangled her giggling softly to himself. This was the part he enjoyed the most.
After ensuring that she was dead, he carefully wiped all fingerprints, removed the chord and the iron rod and put them back into his bag. Next he took out a pair of gloves and wearing them went to the bedroom and took out a few pieces of gold jewellery and Rs1000 cash that was there in the cupboard. He glanced around and then finding nothing more of value, went back to the drawing room.
He took out a camera and took some pictures, ensuring the drawing room was clearly recognizable. Then he went out of the apartment softly closing the door behind him. As the door had a Yale lock it would automatically get locked.
He peeped through the stair case. The security guard had gone again. He unhurriedly went down the stairs and exited through the gate. He was pleased to note that there had been no witnesses. The entire operation had taken less than twenty minutes to complete. He smiled to himself – a self-satisfied gloating smile. He mentally ticked off one name off his list.
Interested in reading more? Click on this link!

http://typotic.com/i/vikram-rana-and-the-case-of-the-serial-killer-chapter1/

Saturday, 27 August 2016



Check out an article on me in today's Times of India (28 Aug 2016)
What can I say? Thank you friends for reading my book Vikram Rana Investigates and pouring in your love.

https://www.amazon.in/Vikram-Rana-Investigates-Deception-Hyderabad-ebook/dp/B01FA9M9FO

#39 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Crime, Thriller & Mystery
#80 in Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery


Sunday, 21 August 2016

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Sharmishtha Shenoy: Updates on Vikram Rana Investigates

Sharmishtha Shenoy: Updates on Vikram Rana Investigates: Gaurav was wearing a white shirt with a dark suit and blue tie. He looked very much like the posed photographs in the magaz...

Updates on Vikram Rana Investigates





Gaurav was wearing a white shirt with a dark suit and blue tie. He looked very much like the posed photographs in the magazines and television interviews he gave. How could a man be so formal even in the privacy of his own home? Vikram thought in wonder. It was evident that he put in a lot of time and effort on his appearance. His movements were extremely graceful, though he had an arrogant expression on his face. He would have been very attractive, but for his haughty, slightly disdainful expression, as though he had a bad smell under his nose.
‘Mr Vikram Rana? Inspector Reddy? Please be seated.’ His manner was stiff and formal.

They sat down. The room was air conditioned and extremely chilly. There was only a little light coming from one window, and the dimness aggravated the cold atmosphere. 
‘As I understand, you wanted to question me regarding my wife’s murder.’
He said the words ‘my wife’s murder’ in a peculiar way, as if he had difficulty in getting the words out.
Did Gaurav Lohia really kill his wife Richa Lohia?

Find out more in Vikram Rana Investigates.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Sharmishtha Shenoy's Debut Novel








Vikram Rana Murder Mysteries set in Hyderabad……


The Mysterious Affair of the Lohia Mansion


When the glamourous socialite Richa Lohia is poisoned in her mansion in Jubilee Hills, her brother-in-law hires his mate, ex-cop Vikram Rana, to solve this murder. This is Vikram’s first case and he, along with Inspector Gopi Reddy, must solve the case even if they face opposition from the richest and powerful family in Hyderabad, who would stop at nothing to defend themselves.


The Sonia Sinha Case


When property developer Krishna Dhavala is stabbed to death in Necklace Road, everyone suspects Mrs. Dhavala to be the murderer of her alcoholic and abusive husband. But is that really the case?  Vikram Rana and Inspector Reddy have a tough time uncovering the murderer and Vikram himself almost dies trying to solve this case. Experience the mystery along with the duo as they fight their way through the maze of lies, deceit and greed.

Varanasi






Banaras or Varanasi as it is known now is one of the oldest living cities in India and in the world. It is a magnificent city as seen from the Ganga at dawn. The rays of the early morning sun strike the high banked face of the city which we, the Hindus call Kashi which means the Luminous, the City of Light.

This temple city is known for being the heartland of Hindu renaissance, the land of piety, philosophy and religious mysticism. For over 2500 years, this city has attracted pilgrims and seekers from all over India. Sages such as Buddha, Mahavira have come here to teach.

Mark Twain on his visit to Banaras quipped,” Banaras is older than history, older than tradition, even older than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together!”

In India, the very thin line that often separates myth from truth can be seen at best in Varanasi. In this city, live the 330 million gods that are believed to be worshipped. It is logical, therefore, to say that it is even more heavenly than the heavens. It is also said that when Shiva, the god of destruction lets loose the pralaya (the flood that will destroy all creation), Kashi will remain unscathed. It is truly an eternal city!

Bathing in the Ganges, a river said to have fallen from heaven to earth, is the first act of the pilgrims and a daily ritual for the residents. Across the Ganges River, there are seventy bathing ghats from Asi Ghat in the south to the Adi Keshava in the north. It would be safe to say that the life of a Hindu centres on the Varanasi ghats. When he is born, he is brought to the ghats for the blessings of the Gods, he receives the holy thread or poyte on its banks and when it is time for him to depart to the other world, his mortal remains are cremated on its banks.

No journey to Varanasi is, hence, complete without a visit to the ghats. One of the most important ghats in Varanasi, Dasahhwamedh derives its name from the ten (dus, in Hindi) horse sacrifices (ashwamedh) performed here by Lord Brahma to appease Lord Shiva. One of the primary attractions is the Ganga aarati. Every evening, priests come down to the ghats and worship the Ganga with multi-tiered flaming lamps. Viewed from a boat on the river, it is a visual spectacle.

No other city on earth is as famous for death as is Banaras. In Kashi life is lived in the perpetual presence of death. More than her temples and magnificent ghats, more than her silk and brocades, Banaras, the Great Cremation Ground, is known for death. At the centre of the city, along the Ganga is the Manikarnika Ghat, the sanctuary of death, with its endless cremation pyres burning day and night. It is believed that Lord Shiva himself goes near the burning pyre and carries the soul to heaven. Fuelled by this belief, the ghat receives hundreds of bodies every day. Kashi is comfortable with the fact of death, for, “Death in Kashi is liberation” – Kashyam maranam muktih. Death, the most natural, unavoidable and certain of human realities, is here the sure gate to moksha, the rarest, most precious, most difficult to achieve spiritual goals.

Also, there are dozens of temples with high spires, most of them dedicated to Lord Shiva, who according to tradition makes this city his permanent earthly home. These temples in Varanasi have great religious and historical importance in Hinduism. There are many temples, erected at different times throughout the history of Varanasi.  One of the most popular and revered shrines of Varanasi is the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. It is one of the twelve sacred jyotirlingas or the 'lingas of light’. Devotees believe that even a glance of this famed linga can sanctify one’s entire being. In the same complex is the temple of Devi Annapurna Bhavani. Sharing the same complex of Kashi Vishwanath Temple on the Panchganga Ghat is the GyanVapi Mosque. The triple-domed Mughal style mosque was built by Emperor Aurangzeb. The mosque and the Kashi Vishwanath Temple stand testimony to the diversity of India. Another important temple is the Durga Mandir. The 18th-century temple, placed on the rectangular Durga Kund, can be easily identified by its huge multi-tiered red shikhara. Built by a Bengali queen, the goddess is worshipped with fervour especially during the Navratras. Founded by Goswami Tulsidas, the holy Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple is believed to grant the wishes and desires of those in distress. According to Vedic Astrology, Lord Hanuman rescues people from the malignant forces of planet Saturn. The New Kashi Vishwanath Mandir is situated within the Banaras Hindu University grounds; the Shiva temple was planned by Madan Mohan Malviya and built by the famous Birla family. The Bhagavad Gita engraved on the walls and Shivalinga are the main attraction of this temple.

Sarnath is a small town barely 12 kms from Varanasi rail junction. Sarnath is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage and heritage site. This is where the Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon. Sarnath is home to the excavated remains of the ancient Buddhist monasteries, the famous Lion capital – India’s national emblem, a archaeological museum, huge stupas including the Dhamek and Chaukhandi Stupa and many Buddhist temples built here by missions from Japan, China, Tibet, Cambodia and others. In the Budhist temple of Sarnath there is a beautiful idol of Buddha with some beautiful drawings inside the temple. It is very calm and peaceful there.

Visiting Varanasi

Minimum three days will be needed to see Banaras or Varanasi. Meals can be had at Annapurna Hotel Shakumbari Chauraha, Bhelupur. After sampling the famous Banarasi Pan, visit the Durga Mandir, the Sankat Mochan temple and the Tulsi Manas Mandir. Also, visit the nearby Banaras Hindu University. The New Vishwanath Temple is located inside the beautiful campus.

On the second day one can go for a boat ride in the Ganges where one can see the various ghats from the boat. Also visit the old Vishwanath temple and perform puja there before going back to the hotel for breakfast. Then after breakfast hire a car and visit Sarnath, Ramnagar Fort.

The Ramnagar fort houses a museum displaying the Royal collection which includes vintage Cars, Royal palanquins, an armoury of swords and old guns, ivory work and antique clocks. The Durga Temple and Chhinnamastika Temple are also located at Ramnagar. A temple of Dakshin Mukhi Hanuman is there. Inside the giant walls of the Ramnagar fort-palace, there is a big clock. This clock not only displays year, month, week and day but also astronomical facts about the sun, moon and constellation of stars. An interesting array of ornate palanquins, gold-plated howdahs and weapons are some of the artefacts on display in the Ramnagar fort-palace museum. Try to have the Lassi in Ramnagar – it is very famous – even foreigners come  here to taste the Lassi. After this go back to the hotel  and rest for an hour before going to Dasahhwamedh ghat to see the Ganga Aarati in the evening. On the way back have chaat at the famous Kashi chaat bhandhar.

On the third day, after breakfast go to the famous alleyways of Benares. Visit the Annapurna temple, Vishalakshi temple and Durga Temple. Also, visit Manikarnika and Dasahhwamedh Ghats and Kachauri Gali and finally visit the KalBhairav.

The best season to visit Banaras would be July to March.

Varanasi is the beating heart of the Hindu universe. Most visitors agree it's a magical place, but it's not for the faint-hearted. Here the most intimate rituals of life and death take place in public, and the sights, sounds and smells in and around the ghats – not to mention the almost constant attention from touts – can be overwhelming. Persevere. Varanasi is unique, and a walk along the ghats or a boat ride on the river will live long in the memory.

References: Diana L. Eck  - Banaras City of Light