Tag Archives: desi romance

Human After All Chap 21: Killing Me Softly


chapter 20

21: Killing Me Softly


Khanak couldn’t shake the feeling of unease as she wandered over to the dimly lit music section. She was concerned about Shantanu. Had she been too harsh with him? But then he had started it, and what was that about getting jealous of a poor fifteen-year-old, who was only going through a difficult stage in his life? Hadn’t Shaan been through it himself? Couldn’t he empathize instead of blowing his top? Hmmph!

But where was he now? What was he up to? Did he leave? How would she get home? What would she tell her Mom and Dad? She wasn’t used to lying to them yet at the same time she couldn’t bear to hurt them, Khanak brooded as she stared at a huge poster of Lady Gaga.

“I certainly wouldn’t want you to look like that.”

She shivered when the familiar voice rumbled in her ear. He had come as close as he could get without establishing physical contact yet had made the tiny follicles in her neck to stand on end. This habit of popping out of thin air at the least expected moment had totally messed up the integrity of her nervous system. In desperation, her fingers pressed against the side of her neck to quiet the strong pulse that had begun banging away, causing her ears to ring.

But Shaan as usual looked unperturbed, his eyes inscrutable in the dim light as he observed her with his arms casually crossed over his chest.

That irked Khanak. She tapped her foot furiously on the carpet then turned on her heels and proceeded to walk out of the store when Shaan grabbed her wrist and firmly pulled her back.

“Not so fast! I’m not used to playing catch me if you can with immature female doctors!”

“Nor am I used to being accused of leading on adolescent boys by so called mature men!” On impulse she stepped on his shoe.

“Ouch! You Vixen! No. Not again! Not before you hear me out!” His grip on her wrist only got tighter as he tried to overcome the shock of pain.

He pulled her toward the listening station which was fairly isolated at this late hour except for a lone young fella who looked ridiculously funny jamming to soundless music with his earphones on. Khanak was seized by an insane desire to laugh out loud. Shantanu was making her completely distraught.

“Put this on.” And when she protested he placed a headset gently on her head surprising her by his sudden change in attitude. Then, placing a finger on her mouth, he took her hand and held it over his heart. Soon she was lost as he mouthed the romantic lines from an old Hindi ballad.

Shantanu’s face broke into a smile when his paramour’s complexion suffused with shy color and she hid her face in his chest. He folded her gently into the protective circle of his arms. It was clear she had forgiven him. Yet, he wanted to be absolutely sure so he went down on his knees in front of her.  As Khanak gazed at him dumbfounded, the sound of clapping hands and shouts of “C’mon Forgive Him,” brought her rudely back to earth. A small crowd had gathered around them they were egging Shaan on. She wrenched her hand free from his grasp and blundered out.

“I am sorry Khanak! I really mean it, look at me, please! Do my eyes lie to you?” Shantanu pleaded.

Khanak closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “There’s nothing to forgive. I just wanted to see how much you cared for me.”

Cared? OMG Khanak! I don’t care about you, I’m mad about you! You drive me nuts but I can’t imagine being with anybody else. My life revolves around you and you alone can save me again and again and again. Don’t you dare doubt my feelings or I will…”

“Will what?”

“Lose my self-control and carry you away to some remote island and ravage you till you beg.” He hissed loudly in her ear making each word stick.

“Doesn’t sound like a bad idea,” Khanak muttered under her breath. She was trembling like a leaf.

He traced her jaw line with his forefinger. “Khanak my love, I promise we will be engaged and wed within a week. Till then, we must try to find ways to distract ourselves, like this…”

He pulled her into a large shoe store and before she knew it had seated her on a padded stool. He flicked away her sensible moccasins and took both her feet in his hands.

“Shantanu, stop! This is embarrassing!” She said as some of the clientele had started to look.

“I’m doing nothing wrong, just admiring my girl’s hardworking feet. Poor dears, they need to be pampered,” he said, his voice oozing seduction.

Bewitched she watched as his strong and slender fingers expertly massaged her soles sending wildly inappropriate messages to her brain. Then after efficiently scanning the displays, he brought back a pair of shiny black jewel encrusted stiletto pumps which he slipped onto her feet before she could utter a single word in protest.

“Now walk!” He ordered.

“I can’t! These aren’t my style!”

“They are! They are my woman’s style. When she wishes me to know that she wants me as badly as I want her, she wears these.” There was a concealed threat in those fudge brown eyes and as she stared at him his pupils appeared to dilate ever so slightly making the message even more urgent.

She walked awkwardly down the aisle, trying her best to appear nonchalant while her heart thudded hard and fast, knowing that not only had she become a spectacle for the shoppers in the store, but him as well.

“They look great! We’ll take them!”

She watched with some trepidation as he paid at the counter and boxed her old shoes and walked out, his arm possessively around her waist.

“What was that all about?” she asked. “I don’t want new shoes, especially of this kind!”

“Well, I know that very well, in fact nothing about you is hidden from me, remember I told you that your eyes never lie?”

“Then why? Why this coercion?” She was confused.

He turned to her, “My darling, I want to dress you from head to toe, indulge you, spoil you. This was just a sampler. You don’t have to wear anything to please me, pun not intended. Be what you are. But humor me on occasion; it will hurt if you refuse.”  His eyes twinkled with mischief.

Khanak retorted, “Why don’t you shut up your dirty mind sometimes! You are just…”

“Too impossible? Irrational? Unbelievably crude? Well that’s my way, just get used to it.”

Khanak began to feel dizzy, she couldn’t understand if it was due to emotional hyperactivity or the lack of nutrition. “I.. need to sit down. Please don’t carry me!”

“Oh, my sweetness, I’m so sorry! You must be starving. How inconsiderate of me! And most of the restaurants have closed too.” Shaan looked genuinely concerned.

“Just get me a drink of some sort and I’ll be fine. I can eat something at home.”

He led her to a bench. “Sit here and I’ll get something from the coffee shop. Here, read your book in the meantime. Me Rochester to your Jane Eyre.” He smiled handing her the copy of Jane Eyre that he had bought at the book store, leaving her flummoxed.

After several minutes of restless waiting, Khanak walked over to the cafe to find him laughing loudly with the teenage attendant at some private joke. Irritated, she marched up to his side and dragged him away.

“Hello! Possessive, are we? Nice. Here’s your ice cream float,” Shantanu grinned.

“Hang yourself from the nearest tree! What’s with you men? Did you forget I was waiting?” She said fuming.

“Sorry, but she asked me if I was single. Man, times are changing fast!” He shook his head.

“You!” She pummeled his chest with her fists then ran out of the exit.

“Hey hold on to your horses! Won’t you ask what I told her?” He yanked her around.

“Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know!” she cried averting her face.

He forced her to look at him. “I told her I was married to the most beautiful girl in the world and I have no intentions of looking elsewhere for as long as I live.” She knew he was telling the truth when his lips descended hungrily on hers. A few moments passed before he said, “Let me take you home before things get out of hand.”


Human After All Chap 14: Hooked

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Sorry for my idiosyncracies. But I’ve realized that readers come to my blog to read my stories and not otherwise. So I’ve decided to continue to post HAA (Human After All). It is a soap opera. But heck don’t people love them still?

chapter 13

14: Hooked


She lay on the forest floor, dead for all practical purposes. Her body deathly still and cold, her face pale and grey, her lips cracked and blue. She looked like a waif in her thin white dress of muslin. Her feet were bare. Even nature had given up, the gentle breeze sweeping the dry leaves on to her, covering her up to blend her in with itself.

The only thing to suggest there was life still, were her breaths. They barely managed to stir the air above her face and each successive one was followed by more prolonged pauses. But she did not want to give up yet. Her soul still clung to her body hoping for some reprieve. After all what wrong had she done? Therefore she remained, her ears straining for approaching humanity that they may stumble across her and save her ebbing life. She was too young to die.

And just before her brain slipped into unconsciousness, hope arrived in the form of the sounds of a trotting horse and therefore a rider. She listened as the horse protested being reigned in. The rider who had obviously seen her jumped down and strode towards her, his stride full of youthful confidence (maybe it was her wishful thinking). She heard the swish of his long cloak as it swung in rhythm with his stride. Hmm a nobleman! He paused. Then she heard the leaves crackle as he bent down to examine her face closely. She hoped he liked what he saw and was willing to give her the breath of life. Her diminishing heart beat quickened as she felt his warm breath caress her cold cheeks. Several moments passed yet she did not feel the warmth of his lips on hers.

‘What in hell are you waiting for? Get on with it! Have you forgotten the basics of Life Support?‘ She wanted to scream.

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Human After All Chap 8: Heartache


chapter 7

8: Heartache


Khanak rushed back to the clinic for the last appointment of the day. She knew she was late but one of her patient’s indigestion had turned out to be a heart attack and he had to be rushed to the hospital. That happened to be one of the reasons why she avoided booking her late appointments. She didn’t like to keep her patients waiting. To make matters worse Deepak had waylaid her when she had stopped to get a cup of java at the hospital coffee shop. She had spotted him there loudly castigating one of the attendants for serving him dark mocha when he had asked for white chocolate. The poor man obviously in awe of Deepak’s name tag and scrubs didn’t bother to defend himself instead he literally dissolved in front of the screaming doctor.

Was Deepak creating a tamasha to give the curious onlookers an ugly demonstration of his power? That no matter how badly he behaved he could get away with it like some small time minister who had forgotten that the very people who had voted him in could as easily vote him out?

Khanak thought she had slipped out unnoticed when he suddenly materialized behind her and tapped her on her shoulder. She reacted heatedly; “Don’t you dare touch me Deepak. Don’t think that working with me gives you the right to do so.”

“Hey aren’t we touchy here! I’m sorry Khanak but whenever I want to talk, you just run.”

“What kind of talk?” she said not bothering to stop.

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Human After All Chapter 7: Immune to Love?

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chapter 6

7: Immune to Love?


Shantanu searched the hospital discharge papers looking for Khanak’s card. He couldn’t find it. He saw that he had a follow up appointment set up with his surgeon the following afternoon and not with anyone else. He called her clinic which happened to be right beside the hospital and the phone was lifted by someone who appeared to be her secretary.

“Hello. This is Dr. Agarwal’s office. How may I help you?”

“Uhhh…I need to make an appointment.”

“For whom sir?”

“For myself.”

“Umm.. have you seen her before?”

“Yes… Uh actually no. I am a new patient. It’s just that she is so popular, I feel like she’s my doctor.”

“Hahaha! That’s a new one. Your name and age sir?”

“Ah..ummm….” no Shaan no deceptions this time! “Shantanu Khandelwal, old enough to be a father to half a dozen kids but yet to start. I’m 29.”

“Oh! Then Dr. Agarwal cannot see you. She doesn’t deal with infertility issues.”

“No you are mistaken! I think that part of me is working very well!” Shaan said with an embarrassed laugh. “I actually wanted to see her for something with begins with an ‘h’ and ends with an ‘ache.’

There was a slight pause on the other side of the line. Then the woman said; “Sir just a headache? Have you tried some over the counter medicines?”

You guessed wrong but I won’t tell you so. “Ah! Would I give you a call if those things had worked? This ache has been bothering me continuously for the past week and it gets worse every day.  I am in so much pain!” Shaan groaned aloud for added effect.

“I’m so sorry to hear that. May be you should go to the emergency room because Dr. Agarwal won’t be able to see you until day after tomorrow. I could check with Dr. Krishnan though.”

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Human After All Chap 6: She Can Do Magic

park bench

Chapter 5

6: She Can Do Magic


Khanak stopped smiling when she saw Shaan staring back at her as though he was studying a masterpiece in a gallery. She was unprepared for the directness of his gaze and seeing him in this state, alert and coherent for the first time, threw her completely off her moorings. She looked away to try and recoup. But when she turned back she found him gazing around the room with an utterly lost and bewildered look on his face. She glanced inquiringly at Nurse D’Souza who simply shrugged her shoulders. Khanak thought for a moment then smiled at her nurse and gave her a conspiratorial wink.

Nurse D’Souza promptly read Khanak’s mind. She said directing a pitiful look in Shantanu’s direction; “I think Mr. Khandelwal here needs brain surgery. His mentation has been fluctuating a lot. I’m afraid something’s direly wrong. Do you agree doctor?”

“No! I’m perfectly fine! I don’t need surgery of any kind!” Their patient declared loudly.

“So what was that you were doing just now Mr. Rajkumar? Pretending?”

Shaan flushed. He had been caught in the act again. He saw Dr. Agarwal looking at him, her beautiful eyes saying quite clearly; GOTCHA! I am smarter than you think!

You certainly are not as bholi bhaali as you look, he thought. There seems to be a wily brain floating around in that pretty skull of yours. Beauty and brains– a deadly combo. No wonder Dr. Deepak is crazy about you. Now why don’t I like that? Shaan pursed his lips sensing a pang of envy.

Meanwhile Khanak was back to being a bunch of nerves, her sensation of triumph short lived. She tried very hard to feel indifferent while examining Shaan but that was proving to be more difficult than she had anticipated.

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Rhythm and Blues Chap 28: Harmony


chapter 27

28: Harmony


“Put your arm around my waist.”

They were seated on Shan’s bike and Khanak as usual was keeping at least a foot’s distance.

“Why? I don’t see anyone…” she said taking a quick glance around.

“Darling… I mean Khanak,” Shan said quickly correcting himself. “You never know. There could be people hiding anywhere, behind trees, bushes, pillars etc. Last night made us famous. I’m sure all of them will be out in force to get some more meat. The story isn’t dead yet.” Shan was relieved when she relented to his request but with just one arm. He quickly fixed the situation much to her chagrin and was pleased when she didn’t release herself. He then said; “May I ask what persuaded you agree to this campaign?”

“Someone who helped set my priorities straight;” she replied with a smile. It was her turn to be secretive.

Yet she had no clue why their forty-minute ride turned out to be so bumpy.


Outside Jhankaar:

Shantanu extended his hand to Khanak, “Now for the big test.”

She nodded. Yes, they were about to take their show on the road. All eyes would be on them and there would be no room for slip ups. Absolutely none.

They walked inside arm in arm and at once were aware of quite a few raised eyebrows and surreptitious whispers. Yet no one dared question them. Who would of the Boss?

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The Irresistible Image of A Shy Indian Bride

shy indian bride

An Excerpt from NOW AND FOREVER 

‘After what he perceived to be an eternity, she came out leading Ruhi with the pallu of her sari draped demurely over her head. With her freshly mascaraed eyelashes tilted toward the ground, a bright vermillion streak on her forehead and luscious lips painted a dark red wine in striking contrast to an unblemished complexion, Ruhi looked like an exquisite, untouched new bride reminding Shaan of a day from not too distant a past.’


Catch up on Book 1 HERE

Human After All Chap 5: Fate Not Coincidence

hands touch

chapter 4

5: Fate Not Coincidence


“Shantanu. See who has come to see you.”

Chachuu! What happened to chachu Daddy?” Megha turned to her father.
Megha!” Shantanu exclaimed smiling.

“Nothing’s happened to chachu sweetheart, he’s just playing the game of doctor-patient and he is pretending to be the patient. Soon he will say ‘mein kahaan hoon (where am I) just like in the movies.”

“What? Is that true? Chachu say it. Say mein kahaan hoon!”

“Mein kahaan hoon?” Shantanu complied.

Megha burst into giggles; “Ohoh that is sooo funny! So you are not hurt Chachu?”

“No my baby, I’m just pretending just like you do sometimes, when you don’t want to go to school.”

“Oh yes! I say that my stomach hurts…like this;” she clutched her stomach and make a face, “Then Great Dadi ma lets me stay at home.”

“What? You do that? I thought Dadi ma was smarter than that. I will have to warn her;” Akshay said sternly.

Shantanu burst out laughing then winced.

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Human After All Chap 4: The Man in Her Dreams


Chapter 3

4: The Man in her Dreams


Khanak at long last pulled her Nano out of the hospital parking lot and started to gingerly inch towards home. The car had been a graduation gift from her parents. Her father who had always ridden his faithful old scooter to work had bought it for her. When she had hesitated to accept it, he had insisted with pride; “Doctor Khanak Agarwal needs a car of her own. These docs keep odd hours don’t they? Isliye it is important you have your own means of transport and that should be a car and nothing else. Case closed.” Fortunately, it was not expensive and her father could afford it, though he still continued to ride his scooter saying it was an old friend and a hard habit to break.

Though she was extremely tired after her long shift she couldn’t relax right away. She cursed the rush hour traffic. The only difference was that she was travelling in the opposite direction. She had asked her mother to give her a missed call every five minutes to prevent her from nodding off on the wheel. Dr. Deepak had offered to drop her home but she had refused. For if he knew where she lived, he would drop by anytime and try to impress her parents. That wouldn’t be too hard–a future cardiac surgeon who wanted to hook up with their daughter. She couldn’t have that. For she disliked the man from the bottom of her heart. He was rude, irksome and worst of all inhuman.

SCREEEEECH! Khanak hit the brakes just in time. A young woman on a scooter with a little boy behind her had squeezed into the tiny space in front of her. As she tried to calm her racing heart down, she noticed that the boy was no older than the little girl in the ER–Megha. What a precious relationship they shared; Megha and her uncle. Just like a father and daughter. She hoped they were all right. She recalled Megha had clung to her arm then fallen asleep crying for her chachu.

Her family had finally arrived and created quite a scene. A woman who’d turned out to be her mother had been at the forefront screaming at the top of her lungs and scared the little girl out of her wits. Khanak had told her firmly to calm down. Then had gently persuaded Megha to go to her. She had albeit with great reluctance.

When Khanak reached home she found her mother beside herself with worry.

Sunita Agarwal was the loving wife of Pramod Agarwal and adoring mother of Khanak and her younger sister Palak. As a housewife she made sure their lives ran like a well-oiled engine. Though at times when it didn’t her usual slogan was–its life after all! She was the one who had encouraged her daughters to follow their dreams. She had seen their dreams with them and worked tirelessly to make them come true. She was a hard taskmaster but Khanak loved her to death. Because she knew if it been for her mother, she may have never achieved what she had been able to so far.

So when her mother told her that she had perhaps chosen the wrong career Khanak retorted: “Mama please! Medicine is not just my career; it is a part of my life. Don’t you remember how you used to encourage me to study late into the night telling me that I better get used to it? Do you want me to give up so soon?”

Her mother nodded reluctantly, “Yes but…your health?”

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Rhythm & Blues Chap 27: Charades

mask ball

Chapter 26

27: Charades


A thrill ran up her arm. Khanak reflexively pulled at her hand but Shaan wouldn’t let go. Rather he held on even tighter.

“C’mon Shan…not in front of strangers!”

“Sweetheart, Tarun isn’t any man of the street. He’s one of our own, aren’t you Tarun?”

“What is all this? What are you hiding from me?” Tarun stared at them with a perplexed look on his face.

“Oh you don’t know? Were you missing from last night’s party? But of course! You were out on one your usual skirt chasing jaunts. Time to settle down Tarun!” Shan said grinning broadly.

Tarun went red in the face, “Keep out of my affairs Shan. Just tell me what’s going on!”

Shaan exchanged a glance with Khanak; “Alright then Tarun, I present to you my fiancé,”


“You didn’t get it? She is my mangetar, my hone waali, my partner for life. Gosh! Am I lucky or what!” Shaan iterated as he wrapped his arm around Khanak’s waist and tried to force her on to his lap while she blushingly resisted.

Tarun gawked at them; “How? When?”

“It’s been a while… when Khanak and I went to Chennai for her cousin’s wedding. I was waiting for the perfect moment and it presented itself during the reception party in the presence of her whole family.” Shan looked at Khanak and she nodded her approval, “We wanted to keep it a secret and announce it later but last night my hand was forced. You can ask Tash, she was there and was shocked too just like you.”

“Yes,” Khanak said; “poor thing, she even asked to see my ring. I felt so bad for her.” She placed a hand on her heart and managed to look genuinely sympathetic.

Even Shan looked convinced. But there was more.

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