Tag Archives: fiction

Rhythm and Blues Chap 31: Make-believe

Chapter 30

31: Make-believe

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Diva stood at the entrance of the studio and watched his two friends like a proud mother watches her high achieving kids and pride swelled his chest.

They were doing what they did best–dancing. And when they danced they were in their element. Two gorgeous individuals in perfect synth—a condition so infectious it spilled over to the rest of the artists and made them give their very best.

The dance was a slow lyrical  number; a song about the triumph of love with plenty of lifts and intimate moves giving Shaan ample opportunity to romance Khanak and he made the best of it repeating certain steps over and over in the pretense of correcting other dancers’ mistakes, in the process making Khanak go red with embarrassment.

“I think everybody’s got it Shaan. We should let them work on their own now.” Khanak said breaking away when she found him on the verge of kissing her which was certainly not part of the routine. He let go of her reluctantly and though he tried hard, couldn’t cover his frustration.

That is exactly what happens when you bottle up your feelings, bachaa! Diva thought with a smirk. He sashayed up to the pair, “C’mon little ones….lets go home.”

“Home? Whatever for?” Shan had to work hard to control his scowl. He was in no mood to listen to anybody at the moment, particularly Diva with his far fetched ideas.

His friend’s false eyelashes went aflutter as he pouted, “For a photo shoot. An intimate portrait of two lovers which I feel should be documented for posterity… to inspire future generations.” He sighed. “Just like Shakespeare did with Romeo and Juliet even though they were fictional characters. But both of you are very much for real and the world needs to know don’t you think?” His sly wink enveloped both of them.

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Romance Chap 5: The Inevitable

Chapter 4

5: The Inevitable

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A few days passed without event. I was outside on our tiny terrace garden, a watering can in my hand, exchanging notes with my young neighbor while her good-looking bhaiyya hung around in the background and pretended to ignore me. I was in a great mood having received a very good offer from a renowned local clinic. Plus mom had made my favorite idli sambhar for breakfast which I took as a peace offering from her side.  

“Let’s go to a movie. How about you Manas?”

“I’d love to come. How about this Friday? I’m free after five,” Puja’s brother said catching my eye and I felt something akin to an old familiar excitement.

“Yes it’s a date!” I turned and skipped back inside, already thinking about what I was going to wear.

“Aanchal…!”

My hopes were dashed.

My mother confronted me again but this time she had company… my Dad.

I haven’t yet talked about him. There’s a reason. Because Dad and I shared a relationship which could be best be described as uncertain. Mom and I got along quite well. At least we had so far despite her many faults and likely mine as well. We usually found a middle ground. But it wasn’t the same with Dad.

To everyone; family, friends and neighbors included, Krishnakanth Govindrao Bhatt was a wonderful person. He was solid, hardworking, honest and reliable. And he was generous to a fault ever ready to lend a helping hand. But he had a vice that dismissed everything. At least it did for me–his love for drink. The bane of many families. It was what drove my brother away to join the army and make a life of his own. My mother’s years of sitting up late into the night waiting for Dad to come home and then having to deal with his drunken meanness with my assistance.  It is still as clear as day. I remember wrestling with him while he rained slurred curses on mom. Him telling me I was good nothing, the vile stench of alcohol on his breath. There were times he would retch up blood and we would rush him to the hospital. He always recovered. Always; only to return to his ways. I was traumatized. Perhaps that contributed to my anxiety and eternal self doubt. Perhaps it was the reason I could never open up to anyone because I couldn’t trust them. How can you after being betrayed by someone so close to you? Perhaps it was also the reason why I hadn’t confronted Rohan.

Dad did come around finally. I got him into a treatment program. He had been sober for almost five years though even now the fear would always haunt us when he didn’t return home on time.

I couldn’t forgive him. So I pushed him to the background. He didn’t mind. Rather he liked to remain there and let me do whatever I wanted. Maybe it was his way of saying sorry. Therefore I think it must have taken mom quite a bit of effort to have him back her today.

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Delicious Reads: Frankenstein

Didn’t expect it but the book was unputdownable. There’s so much more in it than a scifi/horror story. It’s hard to believe that 2018 is the book’s 200th anniversary. It’s very modern in its concept and outlook and I’m so glad the author put in the monster’s perspective; his very human feelings and emotions and desire to love and be loved. But he was misunderstood; not even given a chance which turned him against his creator. Indeed, you’ll ask what was his fault One word: fabulous! And what can I say about Mary Shelley. She was only 20 when the book was published! Genius!

Now on to the movie!

 

 

Romance Chap 4: They Like You

Chapter 3

4: They Like You

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Mita’s wedding entailed a long weekend in Pune. It panned out to be quite a pleasant waste of time rather than the embarrassing ordeal I’d anticipated. The foremost reason being that I was saved from an inevitable run in with Suraj.

“He had to fly back to the States since he had used up his paltry two weeks of vacation,” Mita informed me with a morose droop of her pristine painted lips. “I begged him to stay, after all I’m like a sister to him, but he wouldn’t. He said his job was at stake. He has a tough boss.”

Thank heavens for ruthless capitalism; I thought trying to maintain a straight face. But then another provoked renewed anxiety. “How about his mother. Is she still here?”

My almost cousin shook her head. “She too had to leave. Kokila aunty dreads flying alone.”

I engulfed Mita in a bear hug and bid Suraj and his mother a gleeful goodbye.

Now, feeling slightly more in control of my future, I settled down to entertain myself. The birds of paradise were out in full plumage, each one more resplendent than the next. The carnival that was the marriage venue was a perfect setting for them. I floated by with a chilled glass of kokum sherbet in my hand, and watched from what appeared like a safe distance. I caught snatches of conversation, exchange of news and gossip, punctuated by the tinkle of merry laughter. But when I attempted to look closer, I witnessed a different scene altogether. It was filled with envious, lonely and unhappy hearts that yearned forever in silence. I turned away disgusted with myself. My profession was making me feel like an intruder.

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Romance Chap #3 Meet Him Please

chapter 2

3: Meet Him Please

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Slaves we are, habitual slaves. Look around. You will see us everywhere. We are serfs. Originally of our invaders, the British and the Mughals. Then of our culture, our parents, teachers, and neighbors, our superstitions and our horoscopes.  Independent thought doesn’t come naturally to us. We need a guideline, a common constitution. If there are rebels amongst us, they are scant.

It was a pleasantly cool Friday morning and the parrots were up and about screeching their morning ragas. Mita had made her exit and I was back on the living room couch, embracing sloth like a long lost friend which meant catching up on my reading and getting acquainted with our new maid. A thin and wiry young woman close to my age, Rani was married with three children, the youngest a mere babe in arms.

“How do you manage?” I asked more than a little curious.

Rani was kneeling before our small wornout display cabinet, dusting with care a collection of beautifully carved wooden folk musicians. A family relic, they had escorted my mother from her paternal home as a wedding gift.

Rani turned around with a bright smile. “As best as I can.”

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Romance Chap #2 The Inescapable Truth

Thank you for the wonderful comments. Here’s the next chapter.

chap 1

2: The Inescapable Truth

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A girl should be pretty, fair, demure,

Educated but not too much

Her only ambition should be to serve her family

And once she weds– her husband and his family

A divorced woman is a woman without morals

As for love–well leave it for the movies

It probably wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the following few weeks were some of the worst of my life. While I occupied my days struggling to fill the void left by my favorite companion, my nights were spent chasing away visions of his naked body entwined with my double-crossing best friend’s in varying degrees of nauseating intimacy.

I found my mood vacillating between extremes—an all-consuming jealousy and a soul sapping depression. My ego was wrecked beyond salvation. I was done. I, me, myself—all of us were done. Finished. Kaput. It was a foolish notion yet very real. At last I could empathize with what many of my patients often told me—When it comes to matters of the heart, the mind simply loses it.

I believed I was ready to call it quits. I began attending keenly to the plans some of my more miserable patients had concocted so to do themselves in. It came as a surprise at how creative some of them were. And easy. Damn easy. But a couple of things barred me from taking the conclusive step. Fear for one. I hate to admit I am a coward. While the other was fulfilling my life’s greatest ambition of becoming a full-fledged doctor of medicine. I didn’t want to die without obtaining the rights for the title of ‘Dr.’ in front of my name. In the least that would give my parents something to speak about with pride and regret at my funeral. I couldn’t give that up. Not even for Rohan. Fortunately or unfortunately it’s a curse I have learned to live with. I abhor leaving anything half-done. My life revolves around a perennial check-list.

The finals were looming just around the corner. I aced my exams, secured my degree, then packed my bags and moved back to my gaon as they say in my land. Though gaon was no tiny hamlet rather it was a sheher; the biggest in the country—Mumbai.

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‘Now and Forever’ Blog tour, Free download and Giveaway!

Hi Friends!

A very Happy New Year to you!

Now through Jan 6th you can download my latest novel Now and Forever (the sequel of Inconvenient Relations) free on kindle worldwide! Plus get a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card by entering a giveaway here! Also follow the blog tour below and read excerpts and get to know more about my books. How’s that for a New Year gift?

Prism Book Tour

Feel free to share the joy!

Happy reading!

PS: A request to those who have read and enjoyed Now and Forever– please drop a few words in review on Amazon and Goodreads.

Personality Talks, It Walks and Rocks!

Inconvenient relations Cnow-and-forever

The statement is absolutely true. At least it is for me. For example how often have you come across someone who’s gorgeous to look at but then they start talking and you realize they aren’t so hot at all. You almost wish they hadn’t opened their mouths. The opposite also holds true.  

Its personality or character that makes or breaks a person. The same goes for a good novel too. What I’m getting at is character development. I may get drawn to a book by its attractive cover and plot summary but if the characters are insipid, if they don’t talk to me or get under my skin my interest dissipates rapidly and I will usually dump the book.

I’d like to say the characters in my books usually have several dimensions (they aren’t necessarily schizophrenic), with subtleties that are revealed slowly or kept hidden similar to many people we all know and acquaint ourselves with. I cannot write my characters unless I know them or I am them. Often I live them and dream them. They are my friends and I talk to them. I ask them how they feel then jot down what they say.

Inconvenient Relations and its sequel Now and Forever have some interesting characters.It is vital to read book 1 to enjoy book 2 because in essence this story is a study of a relationship and its various phases.

An imperfect yet perfect couple—

Ruhi or my chile dulce (sweet chili pepper) as her spouse Shaan likes to call her, starts of as a young woman from a cherished background, with dreams of building a future with her one-in-a-million husband who has been carefully picked for her by her parents. But her hopes are challenged right from page one. She is coerced into taking on a role that is quite alien to her or maybe had been held back and didn’t have the chance to manifest so far. It isn’t uncommon to see certain traits reveal themselves only under times of duress. Instead of bowing down and mutely accepting what destiny has doled out to her, Ruhi chooses to stand up to it. She shows her husband the mirror by turning the tables on him. She disguises her vulnerability in a bold and brazen avatar, She is a novice hence rash in her ways and often undiplomatic in her conversation yet she is also coy and secretive. All in all she is a maddening bundle of fun and mischief who adroitly twists her willing hubby around her little finger and exhibits no qualms about it. She loves him with a passion and won’t stop at anything to get him what is rightfully his.She is a woman to be reckoned with.

Sona munda Shaan Ahuja (heat factor to the power of infinity) is a gorgeous nerd who falls for the wrong woman and ends up paying for it dearly. He quashes the dreams of his brand new bride by announcing on their wedding night that he loves another and then is forced to eat his words. Shaan is a sensitive man with an arrogant streak who is devoted to his wife and his job. He is a jealous lover and possessive husband. He falls for his wife at the outset and doesn’t recognize it or is kept from acknowledging it by his ego and maybe his insecurity. Regardless, she drags his feelings out in the open after a cat and mouse game and they have a wonderful time until life tests him again. But then he has his trump card at his side.

I cannot conclude without talking about Sunshine, who happens to be my favorite character in the books. A frail septuagenarian, she is the catalyst in Ruhi and Shaan’s bonding. But don’t be deceived, this little old lady has a zest for life that rivals even those a quarter of her age. Enough said, I have to leave something for my books. Happy reading!

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Human After All Chap 23: Baat Pakki (Done Deal)

ghunghat

chapter 22

23: Baat Pakki

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Shantanu woke the next morning to realize he had fallen asleep in the rocking chair. His body ached all over. He saw Megha was not in her bed and the bedside clock read 9 am. He got up to stretch then suddenly grew anxious for today Dad was going to make him aware of his decision. He walked over to the window and looked out to see the sun was already well into its journey across the sky. It was going to be another beautiful day, and he hoped it would bring him luck.

Chaachu!”

He turned around. His niece was standing at the door all dressed up and ready for school.

“What is it honey?”

“Everybody is downstairs waiting for you. Mama asked me to call you right now!”

“I am coming. Give me a couple of minutes.”

As she skipped away, Shaan hurried into the bathroom and shut the door. His pulse was racing. He didn’t feel quite as bold as he had in front of his father yesterday. He opened the tap and splashed his face with cold water then examined himself in the mirror. He saw doubt and hesitation in his eyes and he looked like a loser with the day-old stubble on his jaw. That won’t do, he thought. He took a deep breath and drew himself to his full height. “Come what may, I will keep my side of the bargain. I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve just been straight up and honest. I deserve to be happy, don’t I? Shantanu Khandelwal is a trustworthy man Khanak, you can bet on it.” He gave himself an assertive nod and then headed downstairs.

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The extent of Madhavi’s excitement was such that her fingers felt like spaghetti on the keypad of her cell phone. She emitted a loud shriek as soon as she saw her son climbing down the stairs. She rushed over and enveloped him in a hug, “OMG! My bacchu, akkal ka kacchu! Why did you hide it from your own Mama that you had fallen for the petite Doc and wanted to make her yours forever? Afraid I won’t approve?”

When she sensed a mixture of confusion and embarrassment in her son’s face, she pinched his cheeks and said, “Sweetheart, remember Mama is always on your side, no matter what anyone says! You can always depend on your Mama!” She cast a pointed glance at her husband who was lounging on the sofa trying to appear nonchalant.

Haan bro! You made me proud! You did what you said you would!” Akshay walked up to his brother and clapped him on his shoulder.

Shantanu closed his eyes and mouthed a thank you to heaven as Dadi ma and Khushboo also came up to congratulate him. Megha ran into his arms with a scream of joy and as he hugged her, he couldn’t resist walking up to Sunil and saying, “Don’t you want to congratulate me too, Dad? Your bachelor son is going to get married.”

“Congratulations son, you’ve made a great choice.” Sunil shook his hand while smiling reluctantly.

“Thanks Dad.”

“So, when are we going to meet our new bahu? I just can’t wait to meet her and her family.” Dadi Ma had tears in her eyes.

“Yes! When are we going to Doctor Auntie’s, I mean Chaachi’s house?” Megha said bobbing up and down like a spring toy.

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