Friday, April 18, 2014

Age, Sex, Location - a story by Vinay Jalla


People, in general, are inquisitive about other people. Some acquaintances evolve into friendships and some close friendships could lead into a relationship. So where does love fit into this cycle of meeting and knowing people? Read this story about two individuals who get to know each other under strange circumstances and eventually end up knowing less about each other.

Click on the links below to buy my book Age, Sex, Location 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Power of Social Media


Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, MySpace…it’s a long list. In fact, there are over 200 active social networking platforms all over the world that host zillions of discussions and billions of gigabytes of data!

So what exactly is social media? Well, in simple terms it’s talking to people online. It’s also an amazing internet marketing tool that helps both individuals and businesses to build relationships with their fans and customers, generate leads and even increase sales.

Social media is not only a way to explore new content, but it is also proving to be a major force as to how businesses are searched for and found via the search engines.

Here’s a chart from a survey depicting what motivates real users to connect with and share on social media platforms.


A study conducted by Searchmetrics to know what factors play a role in SEO ranking suggests that seven out of the top eight factors are related to social.

As you can see below with regard to SEO ranking, Google+ is at the top as Google is the world’s largest search engine and of course their social network will be significant in SEO ranking. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are not far behind in the race.



First published in Bright Future Software newsletter. Read blogs by Bright Future Software.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The edible edition of Warp and Weft - A novel by Vinay Jalla


A FEW REASONS TO CELEBRATE...

- A big thank you to all readers for the 200+ likes on the 'Warp and Weft - A novel by Vinay Jalla' Facebook page.

- Sold 200+ copies worldwide of both the digital and paperback editions of 'Warp and Weft' in the last quarter.

- Lots of positive comments from readers all over the world on BBC Radio Manchester, NRI Pulse Newspaper, Deccan Herald - grassroots to galaxies, Indian Express, The Hindu, Caleidoscope Cultural Mag- and other blogs and websites that have featured and reviewed Warp and Weft.

- The Telugu translation of 'Warp and Weft' is underway. We are hopeful of releasing it early next year.

This book cake is golden sponge with a fruity raspberry jam and butter-cream filling, covered in soft icing!!! Yummy!!!

#bookcake #cake #fiction #booksyoucaneat #novels #goodbooks #books #goodread #indieauthor #debutnovel

Get your copy of Warp and Weft - A novel by Vinay Jalla by clicking on the links below.

http://www.amazon.com/Warp-and-Weft-ebook/dp/B00BD9S66W

http://www.infibeam.com/Books/warp-weft-vinay-jalla/9789351267898.html

http://www.flipkart.com/warp-and-weft/p/itmdhke7dxbjh2er?pid=9789351267898

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Vinay Jalla's novel 'Warp and Weft' in The New Indian Express


Vinay Jalla’s novel Warp and Weft was recently reviewed in The New Indian Express - an Indian English-language broadsheet daily newspaper


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Same old wine, same old bottle
By Lakshmi Ramanarayanan - BANGALORE  - The New Indian Express

If one asks Indian writers who their biggest literary inspiration is, a good number of them will probably say R K Narayan. It is no different for Bangalore-based journalist-turned-writer Vinay Jalla whose debut novel Warp and Weft recounts the story of the silk weavers and inhabitants of the fictional village Zarivaram. Like his guru Narayan, Jalla goes for simplicity in his novel’s characters and storyline. It is set in Zarivaram, a landscape concocted by the author and falling in the Andhra Pradesh-Karnataka border area, between the mid-1940s and 1960s. It narrates the story of Narayana, an orphan whose wretched poverty hardens his mind to the greatest reality of life that money dictates all. This is highlighted by a sermon given to the young Narayana by the mysterious village boogeyman Gagoopa: “God made man, man made money, money made man mad”. The poor protagonist, drunkard Venkataiah, the wretched housewives Nagalamma and Gowramma, the toddy tapper Konda Kothi and the zamindar Ram Das have an earthy charm initially, but it soon gets old as the novel seems to meander in an almost direction-less manner after a hundred-odd pages. In one of his interviews, Jalla mentions how Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy inspired him to write a “long novel”. This turns out to be a big undoing though. Writing a lengthy novel for the sake of it is never a good idea. One can choose a leisurely tone of narration only if the content is strong enough to hold the readers. In many ways, Warp and Weft reminds one of a Bollywood movie of the 1970s. It talks about drunkard husbands who beat their wives, the oppressed wives who silently accept the ill treatment meted out to them, the rich men and women who treat the lower castes as “untouchables”, the gulf between the silk merchants and weavers and the trials and travails of a poor and abused protagonist. Throw in some romance, sacrifice, conflict, fate and tragedy and there you have it - a story which is very reminiscent of an “Angry Young Man” Amitabh Bachchan movie! It is no surprise then that the novel slowly builds up to a chaotic climax and eventually a happy ending, hurriedly and predictably resolving the conflicts between some of its characters on its way. In other words, it is a story that comes a few decades too late. One may enjoy it if one wants to get a rustic sense of rural life which is so different from the urban one. However, there are many novels which do so much better - like R K Narayan himself, who remains unparalleled to this day when it comes to combining village life, richlyetched characters, humour and tragedy in an engaging fashion. In fact, the clear references and tributes to some of Narayan’s most popular novels don’t do the author any good here. The appearance of Mahathma Gandhi at the beginning of the story reminds one of Gandhi’s cameo in Waiting for the Mahathma and the pranks of young Narayana and his friends are a throwback to the unforgettable Swami and Friends. But frankly, no one can pull off a Narayan quite like Narayan himself. What is more, the name of the novel’s central character itself is a clear shout out to the late novelist. Despite its flaws, the novel does have some memorable moments which hit the mark. For example, when a woman who is beaten up by her drunkard husband asks her friend why all men are alike, the latter responds: “because all women are alike.” The sense of irony is not lost in this simple but cruel truth stated in so blunt a fashion. Sadly, such moments are few and far between. On many occasions, the author loses the reader when he seems to start lecturing on morality rather than use his story and characters to convey his point. To his credit, Jalla succeeds in intertwining the life of his protagonist with many other characters, making sure he presents a wholesome picture of the life of the silk weavers of Zarivaram. But ultimately, the novel fails to fully utilise the opportunity to highlight the intricacies of the art of weaving, leaving it with very little that is original to offer. The author’s dedication to write and self-publish his novel is definitely worthy of appreciation and encouragement, but his story-telling can improve. There is clearly a writer in him as his language seems strong enough. He just needs to tell better stories.

Check out Vinay Jalla's novel 'Warp and Weft' on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WarpAndWeftVinayJalla


Thursday, October 10, 2013

The day I met the creator of Malgudi – R K Narayan (YouTube Video)


It was the summer of 1999 when I met the great Indian novelist R K Narayan in his home in Chennai. The heat was unbearable but my heart fluttered with excitement; I was emotionally choked to meet my ‘literary god’. It was an experience that I’ll never forget.

Friday, September 6, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Vinay Jalla's novel 'Warp and Weft'

Warp-and-Weft-cover-wordpress
Vinay Jalla’s novel Warp and Weft was recently reviewed in a popular community newspaper published in the US.
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Warp and Weft: Earthy, Reflective Tale
BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE – NRI Pulse newspaper


Book: Warp and Weft; Author: Vinay Jalla; Available on Amazon.com in paperback and digital edition.

“God made Man. Man made Money. Money made Man Mad” an elusive character Gagoopa sermons protagonist Narayana. The quote essentially embodies the essence of Warp and Weft.  Vinay Jalla weaves his novel with tender love and care, treading us through the rustic lanes of the fictitious Zarivaram, reconnoitering the life and times of its inhabitants, at its raw and rustic best.

Much reminiscent of R.K. Narayan’s Malgudi, Zarivaram houses many characters including protagonist Narayana. In fact, we get to learn about the unfortunate conditions under which Narayana comes into the world. Reflective of some of real life weaver’s conditions, which are nowhere near silky, Jalla’s characters are soaking in poverty barely making ends meet.  The stories and characters are familiar – liquor and its ugly repercussions on already deprived families, the oppressed wives Nagalamma and Gowramma who bear the burden with no opposition, the landlords and affluent who live on an aptly titled “” Street, separating them not just on a physical grounds, but something much deeper, all woven to silky –smooth perfection.

Jalla’s Narayana is raised by a neighbor after his mother dies at childbirth. His father, already a drunkard, way wards into self-destruction. Amidst utter dismay, Narayana manages to find his share of happiness with friends Iqbal and Ramu. They build a world of their own, be it playing marbles, knocking off tops or flying kites. But then nature strikes and Zarivaram is barren with no rain in sight. The drought’s fury consumes many including his own aunt who had adopted him. Narayana learns to barely survive, the hard way. But that is not what he wants. Humiliation, helplessness and the weather as harsh as people eventually followed by his meeting with the mysterious Gagoopa lead him to promise to himself that he will be the rich and he will do it the right way, by working earnestly. Narayana’s quest to overcome overwhelming conditions forms the rest of the narrative.

Even though we follow Narayana’s story throughout, credit goes to Jalla for intertwining many lives and their tales in a narrative so earthy, I could almost smell and feel the soil. Having spent most of my summer vacations in the village as a kid, I can relate to climbing of mango trees and relishing them with salt, or simply being part of nature at its organic best. Therein lies the strength of the novel – unassuming and unpretentious the story unfolds at a gradual pace, building Narayana’s character and the circumstances around him naturally.

Warp and Weft has a laid back narrative; Jalla is in no hurry to get to the conclusion, which truly makes it a good scrumptious read, delving into details, be it the nitty gritty of flying a kite or intrinsic art of weaving sarees. The approach to Jalla’s storytelling is simplistic yet substantial. Narayan’s character is also strong willed despite his depravity. He holds on to his morals, even when it would have been easy and justifiable to give in to temptation, as he does when he refuses to take tips from vendors as a loader of sarees in Bangalore. He wants to build good will, and not in the mood for instant gratification. In today’s times where everyone wants to get everywhere in a NY minute, Warp and Weft weaves a restrained, robust and reflective tale of what lies beneath those gorgeous sarees displayed at the showrooms. If you are in the mood for a fast paced thriller, this is certainly not your first choice. If you however want to get back to your roots, refresh your childhood memories, especially if you grew up in or around villages, this certainly makes for a silky read.

Check out Vinay Jalla’s novel ‘Warp and Weft’ on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/WarpAndWeftVinayJalla


Sunday, August 18, 2013

My Twin Brother - children's book is now available

The revised edition of 'My Twin Brother' (children's book) is now available worldwide.

Ravi and Balu are twin brothers living thousands of miles apart. Ravi lives with his father in Britain, and Balu is in India with his mother and his ever-caring grandmother. Balu has the love and comfort of his family and friends. Ravi, on the other hand, feels a bit lonely. Read how the twin brothers conjure up a plan to meet each other and unite their parents.

BUYING OPTIONS:

Amazon Kindle edition (digital)
http://www.amazon.com/My-Twin-Brother-ebook/dp/B009W3192E

Amazon Paperback Edition
http://www.amazon.com/My-Twin-Brother-Vinay-Jalla/dp/1482572656

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The day I met the creator of Malgudi – R K Narayan

Vinay Jalla with R K Narayan
Vinay Jalla with R K Narayan, Chennai (1999)

It was the summer of 1999 when I met the great Indian novelist R K Narayan in his home in Chennai. The heat was unbearable but my heart fluttered with excitement; I was emotionally choked to meet my ‘literary god’. It was an experience that I’ll never forget.

Soon after meeting him, I wrote the magical experience in my diary.

___________________

4/5/99
It was in the evening when I decided to meet R K Narayan. The Madras heat was ‘eating’ me up. I’d waited for nearly eight months to meet him, ever since I read the opening paragraph of ‘The Guide’.

I hopped on the bus (number 5T), carrying a bag that contained my writings, cartoons, a portrait of R K Narayan that I’d drawn and my autograph book. I got down at the Alwarpet bus stop. There was a security guard at the entrance of the apartments where R K Narayan lived. The guard took no heed of me. The first house had another guard in the form of a dog (a dachshund?) His ferocious growl made me forget the Madras heat for a moment. Vocal lessons were conducted in another flat and I could hear musical ragas emanating from there.

I looked at the letter boxes. The first one on the right had the words “R.K. Narayan…” written on it. I waited outside the flat, which I thought was R K Narayan’s. The door was locked and the gate was closed. But wait. There were Hawaii slippers outside the door, so surely someone must be inside, I thought. While I was working out the mystery of the Hawaii slippers, a neighbour approached me.

I asked him, “This Mr R K Narayan’s flat?”

He said, “Do you have an appointment?”

“I had called up two months back…” I said meekly.

“Just ring the bell,” he advised.

I just stood there dumbfounded. He rang the bell for me and out came R K Narayan’s associate. The neighbour asked in Tamil, “Perayaru erkangla…yeru pathuno vandirkaru…”(Is the big man in? Somebody here has come to see him…). The neighbour then disappeared via the lift.

R K Narayan’s associate asked, “Yaaru neenge?” (May I know who you are?)

I replied quite softly in English, “I am a short story writer from Bangalore - J Vinay…” He asked for my card, but I didn’t have any. He told me to wait and came back after a few seconds and said, “Bathroom le erkaru. Konjo neerao avo” (He’s in the bathroom, it might be a while). I said, in Tamil, “Parveyela, enga dha kathit erpee” (Never mind, I’ll wait here).

I stood at the door, waiting to have a glimpse of R K Narayan. This time I was patient enough to wait till eternity, if need be.

The evening rays of the sun receded behind a looming guava tree. I looked at my feet and cursed myself for wearing dirty socks. An army of black ants was marching under my feet. I leaped aside to make way for the ‘tiny warriors’. I could hear the whizzing noise of the A/C. I imagined R K Narayan on the other side of the wall. I felt so close to him and yet so far…

The guava tree, with plenty of green fruit, was a treat to watch. The shade it would provide on a hot summer’s day and those lovely guavas… I pondered. A squirrel came jumping and hopping about, flapping its bushy tail. It snatched a guava from the topmost branch and ate greedily.

I’d waited for half-an-hour, but did not mind at all. I just observed the houses, walls and the busy neighbour who was using the lift quite regularly. Now he was eating cut-slices of mango.

I heard the sound of the gate-latch being opened. I stood at the door with attention. There he was. R K Narayan! We stood facing each other. My mind ruptured into a sea of emotions filled with utmost love and respect.

R K Narayan asked, “Who are you?”

I replied, “Vinay from Bangalore…Bangalore”

“Speak a bit louder, I can’t hear you.”

“Vinay, Sir.”

“I remember. You’ve been writing letters to me.”

I took out my art album and showed him his portrait. “Sir, I have drawn you. Please autograph.”

“Are you an artist?”

“Yes, Sir. And a short story writer.”

“But it doesn’t look like me,” he protested.

“This is...when you were young.”

“OK”

R K Narayan was dressed in white half-sleeved shirt and grey trousers. He was holding his three-stilt metal walking-stick. He had a black watch wrapped around his ripe wrist (mind you, he was 93 years old). He held the walking-stick quite firmly. He wore thick black spectacles with an even thicker lens. His hearing was not that great, but I spoke louder than normal. 

“Can you autograph here, Sir,” I repeated my request.

“Sorry, no time. I have to go.”

“Please, Sir,” I pleaded.

“You should have called me before coming.”

“Sir, the line got disconnected,” I made up an excuse.

He said, “I am going out, and what’s that bundle?”

I walked with R K Narayan for a few metres and felt a surge of exhilaration. Walking with the creator of Malgudi! How fortunate I was.

At the foot of the stairs was one of my cartoons (an illustration of Mother Teresa holding an infant in her arms). Probably, it had slipped off the album. R K Narayan pointed it out and asked, “Is it yours?” I picked it up reverently.

I was still pestering him for an autograph. But he was determined not to give me one. He asked, “Where are you staying?”

“In my aunt’s house, in Ashok Nagar,” I said.

“Quite far… Call me up tomorrow and fix an appointment.”

“What time, Sir”

“Ten.”

I knew this was my last chance. My mind raced and my hands took out the camera from my bag. I handed it to R K Narayan’s driver, who was waiting in the porch. He fumbled with the camera. Then I said, “Focus panitte, click panuno avladha” (You just have to focus and click, that’s all). I nudged closer to R K Narayan and did not care to wipe the sweat streaming down my face. I asked the driver to take another picture, just in case. R K Narayan also added, “Ennu orru eddie” (Take another one). While he was clicking away, I started a conversation with R K Narayan.

“Sir, I am planning to write a novel.”

“Uh?”

“Sir, do we have to chalk out the chapters first?”

“Write forward-back. Just keep writing daily,” he said, happily grinding an aromatic nut between his teeth. He seemed to relish the taste. “You have taken a photograph with me. Then why come tomorrow. It’s alright then.”

I smiled and said, “Thank you, Sir.”

He patted my back and said, “Go ahead. Just write.” He stepped into the white Fiat Uno that was waiting for him.

I just stood there and watched the car disappear round the bend. I was floating like a feather on cloud nine.

I slowly walked back to the bus stop and waited for the bus to take me back home.

___________________

Two years later, R K Narayan passed away, leaving his endearing Malgudi characters with us for company. Inspired by his words, I wrote my novel ‘Warp and Weft’, which is now available to readers all over the world. I knew the only way to thank R K Narayan was through words and writing words only.