Tag Archives: Coonoor

You are invited to The Wedding of The Year!

Milan- wedding invite

Yes! You are invited to the wedding of Mili Bharadwaj and Ahaan Kapoor! 

Please join me as they prepare for their life together in my 3rd book—

MILAN (A Wedding Story)

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Milan meaning in Hindi ‘a coming together’—a beautiful story of a traditional arranged marriage that transforms into a real life fairytale, set in the quaint hilltown of Coonoor in the lush Nilgiris (blue hills) in South India.

You will also learn about Hindu marriage rituals, the many colorful traditions as well as sample India’s sumptuous cuisine. Come join me as I embark on this journey. You will not be disappointed. 🙂

BUY IT TODAY ON THE FOLLOWING LINKS:

Amazon.com

Amazon.in

Amazon.uk

Amazon.au

Amazon.ca

It’s Here! The Cover of Milan – A Wedding Story!

Milan-cover (2)Yes! It’s finally Here!

The cover of my next book– MILAN- A Wedding Story 

‘Milan’ in Hindi meaning ‘a coming together’.

As soon as I saw the beautiful cover in red and gold depicting a traditional North Indian wedding procession where the bride in her doli (palanquin) is being transported to her husband’s house, I fell in love with it. And I hope you do too! Not just with the cover but with the story- A real- life fairytale!

SYNOPSIS–

When a daughter turns marriageable age, what should a responsible father do?
Easy. Wed her to the most suitable boy who comes knocking on the door.  Jai Bharadwaj, Madhu’s father and owner of The Serenity Tea estate in the idyllic Nilgiris would’ve probably liked to do the same, but being who he was, he had to ask her first.  What would she say?

The book will be out SOON!

Meanwhile you can read the first few chapters HERE!

And get my other books HERE!

The Hilltown of Coonoor, one of India’s Hidden Gems

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Niligiri express1

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Whenever I travel back to my homeland, I prepare for a culture shock. The crowds, the noise, the pollution have all increased several fold as the country races forward at breakneck speed to catch up with the rest of the world. But I’ve come here to relive some beautiful memories, to catch up from where I left off–I’ve come to reconnect with the past. How do I do that and where?

There are some places left in the country where it seems that life still goes on as it did a few decades ago, where people are laid back, where nature is not at war with mankind–

COONOOR– is one such place. It is located in the Nilgiri Hills, about 56 kms from the Coimbatore Airport, in the southern Indian State of Tamil Nadu. It is part way from its more well known cousin Ooty which I will advice you to avoid if you can.

Known for its tea plantations, Coonoor is a lovely, rustic little town, which with its abundance of greenery and quaint architecture, is a throw back to India as it used to be. The temperate climate and serene environment helps the restless soul to relax and take a few breaths of peace.

There are several wonderful places to stay in this place. I recommend the Gateway Hotel on Church Road, — a historic hotel which is a wonderful blend of colonial charm and modern amenities and yes, the food is great! 🙂

When you are there, don’t forget to take a ride on the Nilgiris meter gauge train, as well as a personalized tour of the tea estates.

Milan (A Wedding Story) Chap 2: Ahaan

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Chap 1B

—o—

“You aren’t ready yet? Ahaan and his mother should be here in no time.” Kiran said, her voice brimming with anxiety, upon entering her daughter’s room and finding her there, standing at the window looking out, still in her blue jeans and T, while the grey and pink silk sari that she was supposed to wear, lay neatly folded on the bed.

“I don’t want to exhibit myself, especially when I already know what my decision is going to be.” Mili retorted, her gaze rooted on the antics of a couple of  squirrels on the branches of a Cyprus tree.

“And we shall respect it.” Her mother replied, quietly coming up to stand behind her. She continued, a stern note creeping into her soft voice, “Your father and I do not want to force you into anything against your will. Your happiness is our prime concern. Yet at the same time I expect you to behave like the well bred young lady you are; with dignity and poise. We are proud that you are our daughter and we want to continue to hold our heads high.”

`

A sudden bout of rigors seized Mili as she made her way slowly with the tea service, to the large open patio, where the family liked to receive their honored guests. The brick path was still wet from a light drizzle earlier that day, but the skies had cleared, giving way to brilliant evening sunshine, which made everything in sight look fresh, clean and vibrant.

It took Mili all her will to prevent herself from tripping over the edge of her sari. Her mother’s reassuring presence behind her helped but did not do much to allay her agitation. A sudden hush fell as everybody’s attention shifted onto her, while she directed hers on the wicker table. After setting the tray down without mishap, she concentrated on pouring out the tea and was thankful when Kiran came to her rescue and handed out the cups.

“Your daughter is the epitome of grace and beauty and this tea is the best I’ve ever tasted.” A feminine voice rang out approvingly.

“Thank you. You are very kind Mrs. Sharma. Mili  has prepared it herself and it is the product of our own estate!” Her father Jai, remarked with pride.

I didn’t make it Papaji. It was Ramu kaka! Perhaps he should be the one that Mrs. Sharma should take home. Mili thought, almost bursting out into a hysterical giggle, while her eyes traced the outlines of the bricks in the pavement. She couldn’t bring herself to look up and face Ahaan. She just couldn’t.

The conversation floated unheard around and above her head. He was there, his curious eyes upon her, wearing a pair of shiny brown leather shoes and crisp khaki trousers, sitting beside his mother, who was dressed in an elegant cream colored suit. She felt her face burn as she recalled their many not so friendly interactions. Indeed, their parting had been on less than amicable terms. She hadn’t even wished him good bye. Then why did he agree to see me? Is this some kind of a sham? I’m sure it is…she thought, working herself  up into a frenzy, twisting the tassels of her sari around her fingers.

So lost was she, that when her mother tapped her on the shoulder, she nearly jumped out of her skin. “Beta? Why are you so quiet?”

“Youngsters prefer not to talk in front of us.” Mrs. Sharma suggested.

Kiran smiled in agreement. Then looked pointedly at her daughter. “Perhaps you can show Ahaan around our garden which has found a new life under your tender care?”

Mili frowned irritably…her parents appeared to be reeling off lies at a rapid pace today…but she didn’t rush to correct her mother. Instead, she jumped to her feet and marched rapidly away, crushing the sweet smelling grass underfoot, not waiting to see if Ahaan was following behind.

Apparently he did. For moments after she settled down on a low stone boundary wall, the only dry spot she could find; she found him there right beside her.

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Milan (A Wedding Story) Chap 1B: A Proposal

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Chap 1A

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Chap 1B: A Proposal

—o—

“At last…I feel human again!” Mili said, pausing to take a sip of the steaming brew that she held in her hands.“Ramu kaka…nobody can make  better chai than you!” She called out, looking back over her shoulder, while stepping out of the kitchen. Ramu was their servant who had been with them ever since her father had been a little boy. He was practically a part of the family and everybody fondly called him kaka or uncle.

“But no one can ever top you mom, no one!” She said with a wink directed at Kiran.
Then gazing out of the window at the blooming passion flower vine which hugged the entire left side of the house, she exclaimed joyously,“It is so wonderful to be back home!”

Kiran smiled, secretly observing her daughter, as she settled down at the table and began working on some pea pods. Yes, her husband was right. Their little girl had indeed blossomed. The sloppy, rambunctious tomboy, who used to bring the entire house on its knees with her exploits had disappeared giving way to the beautiful and elegant young woman who sat in front of her. The transformation had come about so quickly that it appeared almost miraculous! Yet, she was still her Mili, her precious little child, whom she wanted to cherish and keep in close proximity all her life. But Kiran knew that would be asking for too much.

“So… Did you have a good time with your friends yesterday?” She asked, tucking an errant strand of hair behind her daughter’s ear.

Mili nodded, “Yes, it was like old times. First we went to the bazaar, then to the movies and then back to Annie’s place where we chattered each other’s ears off!” She laughed. “Yet there was something odd about it all…” She paused in her task, her large jet black eyes taking on a wistful look. “Some, like Sonia and Jess, were only there physically while their minds were engaged elsewhere. Probably worried sick about their husbands and their babies.”

“Thank Heavens! That is something I don’t have to be concerned about for a long long time,” she concluded brightly.

You may be surprised my dear…Kiran thought. I should not procrastinate anymore.“I have some news..” She said.

Mili perked up, “What news? Has our neighbor run away with her driver? I sensed something shady there.”

“No!” Kiran said laughing, “Our neighbor is quite happy with her husband as far as I can tell. You have to stop letting your imagination run wild. It is something else. Do you remember Dr. and Mrs Sharma?”

Mili frowned, shaking her head.

“Perhaps you don’t. You were very young when they left. But you should recall their son, Ahaan. He was three years your senior in school.”

“You mean Mr. Times of India? Of course I remember him!” Mili said, bursting into a peal of laughter.

“Times of India…?”

“Yes. Because he was the biggest political junkie! While the rest of us were talking about the latest movie, he was waxing eloquent on the state of world affairs. While we were smuggling Sidney Sheldon in our satchels, he was walking around with a book on Churchill or Lenin in plain sight! I used to tease him so much about it…”

“Why, because he was different?”

“I guess you could say that…” Mili’s brow drew together in a frown. “ And all he did was stare at me with those serious bespectacled brown eyes and walk away. I sometimes wished he would shout back. His silence was getting on my nerves. Then one day he did. He lectured me on respecting my peers —how dare he?!” Her face grew red with indignation.  “Another time, he caught me playing truant with a couple of my classmates and told me off, saying that it would affect my grades! Big deal!…… Oops!” She bit her tongue and managed to look appropriately chagrined.

Kiran smiled. The cat was out of the bag. “That was very sweet of him. He was just looking out for you.”

Mili was glad that her mother didn’t berate her on her bad behavior, “Perhaps he was. But the manner in which he said it all, I wanted to punch him in his smug face..I nearly did!”

“Thank heavens you controlled yourself Mili!” Kiran managed to look shocked, though she was enjoying this recount of her daughter’s school days, which she hadn’t been privy to. “I had a different opinion of him, though..”

“Why?”

“Remember the day when it was raining heavily and all the power lines were down? The phones weren’t working either. You had stayed back for a school play rehearsal and I was worried sick. Your papaji (father) was out of town also. I was about to leave the house with kaka to look for you, when I heard a knock on the door and found you standing there with Ahaan. He was holding his coat over your head while getting soaked to the skin himself. And then he left right from the door, even when I asked him to come in. A very gentlemanly thing to do.”

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