Bend Your Knees & Do Your Best
Kalyani

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Synopsis

Theory of Karma-and-Death … what one undergoes in this life is the result of accumulated karma from the current and previous lives…But there was one critical factor that the proponents of this theory assumed - that a caring God was diligently keeping track of each individual’s good and bad actions; something that Hiranya and I knew was not true. Yet, somehow He did seem to ensure a certain kind of balance. Clearly there was something else at play here, something more obvious and simpler than the karma and rebirth theory, but something that was a lot less palatable to the human race.’

Meet Kalyani: a proud forty-year old woman who, as a teenager, managed to crack the God-Code and define her own success-code with the help of King Hiranyakashyap. That is how, at forty, Kalyani has it all - a successful career in one of the top IT shops in Bangalore, a healthy bank balance, and the carefree life of a singleton.

Until the layoffs, that is.

That is when it all starts unravelling and all of a sudden, Kalyani is faced with the distasteful prospect of laying people off, the disturbing prospect of being laid-off, a chilling inkling of cancer, the unfathomable Weepies and the inevitability of a lonely death.

As life spirals out of control, Kalyani finds herself teetering at the very edge of the abyss, clinging on to sanity with the help of a mysterious psychic and a dead aunt.

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Reviews by the community

Priya Sidharth Sethi

I liked the concept. Found the manuscript dragging at few instances. I was searching for the catch but could not find one. Still would like to know what is in store for 'Kalyani'.

Oct 07 '15
1
1

Kalyani

Thank you very much, Priya. Yes, the manuscript does drag and there are a couple of reasons for that (I think!) – a) the first few chapters are dedicated to introducing the character and they take up more than a hundred e-pages. I have a feeling this will work out better as p-pages :). b) The story is somewhat long winded because I have taken the ‘slow release’ approach, and the catch (yes, there is one!) comes later, much later. But I am hoping that the humour will keep the reader’s interest through it all. If I fail in that, then I guess I haven’t done a very good job!

Oct 07 '15
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KR

Sep 28 '15
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chinmayee

I so thoroughly enjoyed this fun book. Its an easy read, with loads of LOLs. It also brings out issues of single women and on how marriage is still so very important social institution and how people still look at it with reverence. Looking forwad to reading the whole!

Sep 27 '15
1
1

Kalyani

Thanks a ton for your encouraging comments Chinmayee!

Sep 27 '15
0

Shilpa Shrivastva

Sep 25 '15
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1

Varchaswi

Sep 24 '15
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Runjhun Noopur

Saga of demon hunting brothers! Brothers! Please tell me it is about Supernatural! Because if it is, I am so chuffed to find a fellow Supernatural fan/addict right here on BGB!!! And for that reference alone, I am in love with this book!

My Suprnatural bias aside, this is by far the best book I have read on BGB. Brilliantly written, I am already beyond invested in the character. The humor is spot on and it is so easy to get sucked into Kalyani's Universe and her life. And while Kalyani's philosophy and her idea of God are right on the opposite spectrum of my personal beliefs, I could totally understand and relate to her point of view. The language structure is flawless and there are actually sentences that are so funny, I went back to re-read them. Kalyani is funny, flawed and so real, it hurts. And if this is not a hallmark of a great book, I have no idea what is! I really, really want to read the rest of it. This should definitely be published!

Aug 05 '15
2
2

Runjhun Noopur

Yay! for Supernatural! :) And all the best! I do hope I get to read the rest of this tale in print soon! :)

Aug 05 '15
0

Kalyani

Quick! Someone give Runjhun an award for writing great inspiring reviews! But seriously, thanks a bunch for your comments Runjhun. You guys keep me going. And since you seem to like funny, flawed and real, I can promise you that Kalyani gets funnier (at least that is what I hope readers think!), more flawed than she had bargained for and more real than I had been prepared for. And I am sooooo relieved to find that I am not the only one in love with a serial as crazy as Supernatural :)

Aug 05 '15
1

krishna

amazing. enjoyed every bit of it.

Jul 29 '15
1
2

Kalyani

Thanks very much Krishna

Aug 02 '15
0

Damini Majumdar

Had a brilliant time reading the manuscript, one of the best on BGB so far. The narration is witty, humorous, sarcastic, lucid and thoroughly engrossing. The whole thing about Hiranya is so adorable (maybe more so to me because I happen to have my own bunch of imaginary friends, none of them is an Asura though)- a little more interaction with him would have been more exciting though. There isn't much I'd like to say except that I want to read the whole book. And tell you what I am already in love with Kalyani's character, I can even relate to her in many ways.

PS- Those lines about life and fiction in the very beginning of the manuscript- so true and amazingly written. Take a bow, lady!

PPS- Is this a work of fiction or it it more like an autobiography? (I'm asking since the name of the protagonist is same as that of the author.)

Jun 27 '15
2
2

Damini Majumdar

The appreciation is well deserved. :)

Jun 29 '15
0

Kalyani

No one reads or comments on my labour of love for almost a month and then this! Sheer heaven :) Thank you very much Damini for your review. Glad you enjoyed the sneak peek. As for your question on whether this is autobiographical ... well, it is slice-of-life variety fiction and not fantasy. So while it not about me, it is about people like me .. and you ... and him and her and them and us ... :)

Jun 28 '15
1

priyanka vermani

I loved the humour and the punches. The self talk of the protagonist is simply hilarious. The descriptions in the book are excellent. I am however not able to understand the direction in which the book will be veered. Definitely am curious. Apart from Hiranayas conversations that I found boring at some places, the book is an interesting read. I do feel that the author is digressing a lot but the pace is maintained. All the Best!

May 29 '15
1
1

Kalyani

Thank you for your comments Priyanka!

May 29 '15
0

Shantanu Sharma

Nice Humour...A bit confusing to start with but a good reading. Will definitely recommend it

May 24 '15
1
1

Kalyani

Thank you for taking the time out to review Shantanu

May 25 '15
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Priya

May 13 '15
1
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Kalyani

Hi Priya! You are my first average rating :(. Of course, BYK may simply not be your kind of read, but it would be great if you could tell me what you didn't enjoy? Thanks very much for your honest review ...

May 13 '15
0

Shefali

May 11 '15
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Vera

That's a four and a half from me. I am intrigued by Kalyani and the plot. How long is the novel, exactly? I see 170 pages here in this tiny page format but how many Word pages do you have in all? Good pace, though I found myself distracted during the longish asides--the Viji story, the furniture buying, for example-- that don't connect with the main story, though I suppose they add to building the protagonist's character. I just felt those bits were too long and took away from the pace of the narrative. I was also confused by what seem like random capitalisations here and there, and the 'Him' reminded me of Rekha during her Amitabh days. But those are minor quibbles. I definitely want to know where it is all going, I love the setting and the tour of the IT corporate world...it's not familiar to me but I find myself thoroughly enjoying the inside view. The writing is solid and strong and that's a huge, huge plus for me :)

May 09 '15
1
1

Kalyani

Thank you very much Vera! There are 280 odd word pages in all, of which only 45 are currently visible. So yes, what you are reading now is the first forty years of Kalyani's life compressed into 40 odd pages, to lay the foundation for what's to come. I am ware that this might be a pretty long drawn out affair for some of us, and am hoping that the humour and other aspects make the ride a long, but enjoyable one. As for He / Him - these are references to good old God though some might think Amitabh and He are one and the same :). I will definitely revisit other capitalisations though ...

May 09 '15
0

Jayanthi Gopal

Bend your knees has a breezy pace and grips you to complete it in one go... I started this as a bed time read. Actually , truth be told I was very sleepy.
Three chapters is such a big font size cannot be too long, i reasoned out to myself since I had started to feel sleepy. I ended up being awake and heard the cuckoo cooing thrice when I finished chapter three. Thankfully it was a Saturday.
When chapter 3 ended and I realized the taster session was over I was lingering for more.
What happens to kalyani .. did she get laid off ... , did the dreaded ‘C’ haunt her ...
If the novella can be faulted, it is for revealing the plot way too soon. Actually right at the synopsis . But I guess, there really is more to it than what meets the eye.
The trace of humour that skirts around the various characters, the elaborate build up around the characters both at work and outside work make me believe so ...
King Hiranyakashyap, the character from Indian mythology shares a surreal relatiohsip with Kalyani. That by itself is an interesting twist in the tale. The author could have set the context and introduced Hiranya with a reference to the mythological character right in the beginning.
But the moment you warm up the surreal Hiranya after the initial hiccups, he occupies a prime spot in the way the story progresses.
I am thirsting for more, partly because the protagonist Kalyani strikes a chord with you in a very endearing way. She like most others is caught in the cacophony of Corporate politics, quirks of the cubicle jungle and the madness of city life. She vividly potrays the schizophrenic existence that most middle class Indians from Gen X , sandwiched between personal family ties that are securely Indian and professional ethos that are so Anglo-Saxon and out of place anywhere but inside the cubicle jungle live with.

May 08 '15
1
1

Kalyani

Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is just the first few pages of a longish novel ... tip of the ice berg and all that. But I do understand how you might feel that all has been revealed and things have moved a bit too fast. Trust me ... all has NOT been revealed! :)

May 08 '15
0

jo

irreverent look at life! The author has managed to keep the humor going even in the sad parts...
Saw a couple of spelling mistakes though :)
Based on the blurb, I was kind of expecting more interaction between Kalyani and Hiranya...it was a little disappointing to hardly hear Hiranya.

May 08 '15
1
1

Kalyani

Hey thanks Jo! Do point out the spelling errors ... And you will hear more of and from Hiranya, in subtle and not so subtle ways, as the story progresses ... as they say 'picture abhi baaki hai' :)

May 08 '15
0

Surendra Mohanty

Humour is so rare these days, everybody churning out serious stuff. And this book is serious humour all the way. Very well written, good style and language. I liked the concept of Hiranya, the conscience keeper, who is an excellent and subtle symbol in Kalyani's life, and who keeps her going. I don't know how the story will go from here, but I felt an undertone of seriousness creeping in. I wonder how Kalyani will still keep herself humoured. The tremendously practical protagonist has no place for God in her quarters; it will be good if she turns towards Him despite all her loathing, in the end.

May 05 '15
1
2

Kalyani

Thank you Surendra! Seriously funny and funnily serious is what I was aiming for and am glad I seem to have achieved that objective. As for how the story unfolds ... well, I love stories that build up slowly and deliciously to a solidly satisfying finale and I have tried my best to write the kind of story I like to read! :)

May 08 '15
0

Col M Ravishankar (Retd)

Kalyani has portrayed the travails of modern day life as we face it with her simple and lucid narration, The endearing protagonist makes it an atmospheric and thoughtful and an interesting read. She has exhibited traits of a skillful writer. Wishing her happy writing and all the best.

May 04 '15
1
1

Kalyani

Thank you very much Col. Ravi!

May 08 '15
0

Jayanti

Loved reading it - was so engrossing and irresistible that I couldn't help but read it in one go! Very different and refreshing read. The protagonist, her philosophy on life and her sense of humour are too good. I couldn't get enough of it and eagerly awaiting the book release.

May 03 '15
1
2

Kalyani

Thanks Jayanti! I am thrilled to bits that a 'non-corporate' person like you enjoyed the book. Am eagerly awaiting the book release myself :)

May 08 '15
0

pandustar

Awesome..only issue that I had is that the chapter size is quite humongous. Maybe by breaking them down the manuscript would seem much more crisper?

Apr 27 '15
1
1

Kalyani

Thank you Pandustar! Have promptly redone chapter breaks :)

May 08 '15
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jyoti venkataraman

Brilliantly written! Humorous and poignant in equal measures. Definitely want to read on!

Apr 24 '15
2
1

Kalyani

Thank you Jyoti!

May 08 '15
0

Kalyani

Thank you Jyoti!

May 08 '15
0

Deepak Kaul

Very engaging and very well written. Refreshing change to the other manuscripts on this website, including my own! All the best to the author.

Apr 22 '15
2
1

Deepak Kaul

I can't wait to read the rest of it, which I know I shortly will when it gets published :-)

May 09 '15
0

Kalyani

Thank you so much for a very encouraging review. This was the first one for the book and I was in seventh heaven after reading it :)

May 08 '15
0

About the author

Kalyani Follow

Kalyani is a forty-something year old IT and corporate-world veteran.