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Gaurav
June 13th, 2014, 03:35 PM
I have written a prologue and first two chapters of my novel. Do tell me whether I should continue with it or rewrite it.

PROLOGUE

He dragged me towards the police station. I had knocked down his colleague. The police officer looked agitated. In India, if you mess with a policeman, you are screwed. Screwed permanently. My car had slammed into someone, who was busy collecting bribes without looking at the traffic signal.


"Where's your license?" A forty something officer asked me. I had arrived at the police station. 'God what am I going to tell him? That I am a thief. A thief whose stolen car had fractured a constable.'


"Sir, let's have a cup of tea. I will explain you the matter." I tried pacifying him, only to multiply his anger.


"You want to bribe me? Show me your license or I will break your jaw." he yelled.


"I forgot it at my house. Please give me some time."


"Sir, look what we found in his car," a constable shouted. The briefcase with a cash of ten lakh rupees was traced. 'Why the heck did they peep in the car? I hit the wrong person. I should have knocked this guy,' I couldn't help, but swear at him.


"Bastard. You are in serious trouble. First, you bump into our officer. Secondly, you don't have a license. Moreover, you have ten lakh cash in your briefcase and on top of that, you swear at us?"


He was right. I had created a mess. 'God please help me!' I prayed to God.


"Answer me, you Jerk. You are a thief, right?"


He looked at me. A police officer can smell a thief faster than a mice smelling his cheese. I looked at his 'nameplate'. Sub Inspector Waghmare had caught me red-handed.


"Yes sir I am a thief. But a qualified one." I resigned and gave a laughable explanation.


"Qualified? Are you a bureaucrat?"


"An engineer."


"I know. Unemployment is turning into a serious problem." I couldn't believe it for a moment. A police officer was actually chitchatting with a thief.


"Shinde, we will file his F.I.R. later. Just switch on the TV and order some popcorns. I want to watch a good matinee movie." he ordered. This was going to be something new. A thief was going to enjoy a matinee movie with constables.


The police station had a power cut as Waghmare looked annoyed.


"Shit! It's power cut. We are going to miss the cricket match today." Waghmare yelled to his assistants. A power cut at police station meant no television for eight hours. The only entertainment in their life was brutally snatched by electricity department.


"What's your name, by the way," Constable Shinde asked me.


"Sujoy Roy," I replied.


"Why the heck, you feel you are a unique thief?" Waghmare popped up again.


"It's a long story."


"Tell us. Anyway we have missed our movie. If you provide us some entertainment, we will take care of your charge-sheet."


Seriously! I never expected that sort of a deal.


"It all started that day." I adjusted my chair, as I walked past the memory lane.

J.T. Chris
June 13th, 2014, 03:59 PM
You should definitely continue writing it. A completed manuscript is better than none, right? As for a quick critique, I like the Scheherazade feel here. I'm not sure the satire is clearly apparent though. It seems more slapstick and farce than a poignant satire. Think of great satirists like Swift and Voltaire and ask yourself how they crafted their satirical voices. Also, from a technical standpoint, I think that you can take a little more time thoroughly crafting the setting and scene descriptions. I was confused about these characters' place in the environment because there is a lot of back and forth, which adds a choppy feel to the narration. Consider some of the examples below.

My car had slammed into someone, who was busy collecting bribes without looking at the traffic signal. This is a confusing sentence. Consider deleting the comma and it makes a little more sense, but the circumstances of the accident are still mysterious. Was he collecting bribes while driving through traffic? Was he stopped in the middle of traffic to collect bribes and the narrator simply wasn't paying attention and slammed into him? More clarity is needed.


I had arrived at the police station. 'God what am I going to tell him? That I am a thief. A thief whose stolen car had fractured a constable.' Another odd sentence. Wasn't he already dragged to the police station? And "fractured a constable.." Why not, "A thief whose stolen car had hit a constable?"


"You want to bribe me? Show me your license or I will break your jaw." he yelled. Bribe him with a cup of tea? Also, wouldn't he have checked his license at the scene of the accident?


He was right. I had created a mess. 'God please help me!' I prayed to God. You don't need to narrate, "I prayed to God." The dialogue is enough.

The dialogue feels a bit stiff and forced, I think, but I still would continue writing this. I hope you don't mind the quick critique. I would like to read more of this.

Gaurav
June 13th, 2014, 04:15 PM
Thanks for your critique. Here is the first chapter.

THE FIRST CHAPTER:

I was sitting in the Government office waiting for my turn to meet the officer. My afternoon had turned boring and my work had gone for a toss, as the officer was busy with his 'lunch break' at 3.30 PM. The whole department was filled with heaps of files lying carelessly and the officers, sleeping heedlessly.


Some were yawning while others were snoring. The office had a charming aroma. An aroma, as delightful as an onion perfume, sprinkled on a cactus plant. Most officers came to the office at 1.00 PM and left for lunch at 1.30 PM.


The receptionist had the responsibility to handle the angry mob.


She gave peppy reasons like "He's in the washroom," to every client.


'Seriously! Is this asshole suffering from diarrhoea?' We all wanted to ask. At times, even she got embarrassed about it. My life was going awry as these morons were chewing away my half days and concessions.


Our corporate office had given this concession facility to all the junior managers. Every month we were given three concessions, to leave 'before time' from office. I was exploiting my concessions, but my kindhearted boss had no problems with it.


I looked at my watch. An hour had passed by, but the queue hadn't moved an inch.


"Okay, next," the receptionist finally shouted. Luckily our busy officer had finished his lunch and the inauguration ceremony had taken place. The queue had moved ahead. My legs were paining. I was sweating like a pig, and was about to bark at her like a Doberman. I resisted that temptation.


'It's amazing how nobody complains, but synchronises with this lousy system.' Soon enough, I reached her desk.


"Sorry sir, the office has been closed. Kindly come back tomorrow," she announced. The Doberman in me was about to bite her.


'What the heck of an office is this? Give me my grant or I will bomb this department!' I wanted to shout. Certainly, I knew I didn't have any bomb, nor the guts to shout at her.


"Okay," I said, and decided to waste one more day of my life.


***


I was back in their office the next morning. 'Enough of half days, Joy. Better take a sick leave and close the matter.' I told myself.


I had planned to bash these scoundrels and break my silence.


Things weren't working in tuxedos and dinner-jacket. So I decided to become a manner-less brat in t-shirt and pant, and bombard them with aggressive questions. I reached the receptionist's desk, after going through the good-old painful queue.


"Where's Mr. Dubey? I want to meet him."


She looked at me. Her look resembled the, 'Beware of dogs' warning. Adjusting her specs, looking at her wristwatch she replied,


"He's in the washroom. Please wait for him. He will come back in a while."


The bomb within me had exploded. 'Enough of bullshit,' I told myself and asked her,


"Where's the washroom? I will wait there."


"But, sir... How can you..?"


"Just tell me, where's the washroom?" I rudely demanded.


She picked up a tissue paper and tried covering her worried face. She was scared of getting caught. None of the clients had dared to do what I had attempted.


"It's to the left." She gave me the directions after she was convinced about my arrogance.


I was about to reach the toilet. Their toilet was more disgusting than their demeanour. 'How in the world can I expect them to work hard under such inhuman working conditions?'


Broken benches, shabby walls and a ceiling fan desperately waiting for skydiving, was all I could see after the power cut. Something hit me from inside as I went near the receptionist.


"I am sorry madam. Someone who works in a multinational can never understand your trauma."


"It's alright sir. Even I don't like fooling people, but I have no choice. End of the day, I have to do it for my family."


I felt bad for her as she continued,


"Even I am an orphan, sir. I understand what that orphanage means to you."


She was right. My orphanage meant a lot to me. It was more than a home, better than a palace and stronger than a fort. It was a house, built on emotions which had survived on sentiments.


"Don't worry, sir. He will reach the office at 4 PM. I promise."


I was speechless. It's amazing, how a plain 'sorry' can change someone so quickly. Composing myself, I thanked her and decided to wait for the officer.


***


I kept waiting for him till it was 4 PM. I had played 17 chess games, a traumatising expert level sudoku and an exciting cricket tournament. My mobile's battery was sliding more swiftly than the stock market. I had qualified for semi-finals as the grumpy officer walked in his office.


As strange as this may sound, I kept staring at his belly. It was giving a 3D effect. I wondered if it was going to bulge and attack my face, breaking my jaws. 'Look at his face, Joy. Don't be a dumbass!'


"Hello Sir, I am Sujoy." I greeted. Mr. Dubey looked at me.


"Aah. I found the man who has created a havoc in our department."


I smiled. I had no idea how to react.


"Hey, why are you sitting on this broken bench? Come upstairs, to my cabin. Raju, order two cups of tea."


"Sure sir." Raju and I propounded unanimously.


We reached his cabin. I was shocked. My eyes pooped out of my specs as I saw his cabin. On one hand, there was an office, built in a way, that could even scare mosquitoes; and on the other hand, there was a gigantic, five star room, for a man who never visited his workplace.


Maple wood flooring, a deluxe air conditioner, and an executive office chair had turned his office into a lavish hotel room.


"So, Mr. Roy, what were you saying?" he asked me, while I was busy looking at his room.


"Sir, as you know, I have received a grant of 1 Lakh rupees from the state government. Unfortunately, I am yet to receive the check. It's been a month since...."


"Shashi Orphanage, right?" Dubey asked bluntly, cutting my conversation.


"Yes sir."


"You see, Mr. Roy, it's not easy for the Government to give such grants in reality. We try to encourage the youth by presenting such proposals, but the reality is quite different."


"You're right, sir." I replied and immediately regretted it. 'Why the heck am I nodding to each of his answers? Don't behave like a secretary, Joy!' I warned myself.


"Sir, what about my grant?"


"That's what I am trying to explain. Look young man," he said as he rolled his chair and continued, "I can't waste my whole day, to give you a detailed explanation. I am passing this grant, so where's my share?"


My jaw dropped down. I had anticipated it, but had no idea how to deal with it. A tug of war had begun in my mind. Bribing an officer was against Shashi uncle's principles, but saving the orphanage was equally important.


Two cups of tea arrived in front of me.


"Have a sip." He passed the hot cup and took one sip himself. I was still clueless about my stand.


'There are no principles for empty stomach. You have to bribe him.' A voice within me said.


'You can evaluate some other options, Joy. Don't fall prey to this trap.'


The bad guy in me looked much more practical. I decided to give it a shot.


"That's fine, sir. Tell me your share. I'm ready for it," I said and took a sip of tea.


"Thirty percent," he replied.


Thirty percent was a serious demand. 'Seventy thousand doesn't look bad though. I can save my two months salary if I accept it.' Like a typical Indian, I attempted to bargain his bribe but he was quite stubborn.


"Thirty percent is okay. Done, sir."


"Alright, I will pass the file. Come back tomorrow and collect your twenty thousand rupees check."


'What the fuck? You are attempting to fool an engineer in mathematics!' I wanted to blast. Unfortunately all my aggressive actions were limited to my mind.


"It's seventy thousand, right?"


"Hah!" he smiled curtly and continued, "You are forgetting something Mr. Roy. I said, 'thirty percent' is my share. I haven't talked about Mr. Chavan's share."


"Ohh! Mr. Chavan," I exclaimed, as I realised that the seventy year old scamster politician had already looted half of my grant. 'Seriously! Why are you guys after me. Have some mercy on me.'


I wanted to murder these assholes. Unfortunately, when a politician teams up with a bureaucrat, things go beyond your control. I should have shut up, but I ended up talking nonsense.


"What's the use of twenty thousand? I need at least forty," I foolishly demanded.


"So, you want to challenge me? Be in your limits, kid!"


I was fuming. Removing my specs, placing a finger of my chin, I gave him a thinking look. That's something I do, when I am seriously annoyed.


Though I felt like a boss, my neatly trimmed moustache wasn't adding up my age, as he repeatedly called me a kid.


"You are insulting me, sir." I replied, regretting the use of 'sir'. Ultimately I decided to pacify the tension.


"Ok, sir, I have one more idea. I will pay you from my account in instalments after you pass the ...." I stopped, as I noticed him looking at his watch.


"Listen, Mr. Roy, I don't have time for beggars like you. Don't worry about your grant. You won't get even a penny. I will take care of it."


"That does it! You have crossed the limit, bastard. I have been listening to your bullshit for thirty minutes. You want my money? Take it, as much as you want, and enjoy your honeymoon with Mr. Chavan!" I lashed out at him as his face went blue.


"Hang on, you bloody..."


"Just shut up and go to hell!" I finally uttered and walked away from his office to my Ashram.

J.T. Chris
June 13th, 2014, 04:24 PM
Have you considered writing plays or screenplays? You focus a lot on dialogue and not so much on narration. I want to challenge you with a writing prompt I give to my students on the first day of class: craft a short scene without using any dialogue and see what you come up with, then post it here for critique. As an added challenge, try to focus on writing for all of the five senses. I'm interested in seeing what you write.

Gaurav
June 13th, 2014, 05:19 PM
I had written a play in my local language few years ago. As I'm a science student, I haven't taken any formal education in literature. So I'm not really aware of basic rules for writing stories. I had written a story without much of dialogues, called 'Her Agony - An experimental short' which is available here.