A blood curdling shriek good enough to put the best horror movie to shame echoed from somewhere within the Sharma residence. Ahaan’s mother exchanged a perturbed glance with her sister-in-law whose pencil thin eyebrows vanished inside her elaborately coiffed hairdo. Her crimson lips cranked open but were forced shut by yet another ear-splitting rendition.
Meanwhile inside the said room, a broad palm clamped down hard over the source of the cacophony; “it’s me Mili! Please don’t make a habit of this. Shut up if you care in the least for your husband’s reputation!”
I’ve been asked a few times why aren’t my novels in audio? Well, I never thought about it. And then I had to find a suitable desi voice. Too much hard work. But then now that I have my own podcast I thought why not narrate it myself? So here it is! In installments for free! Hope you like it. Will try to post at regular intervals.
My novels aren't available as audiobooks and I've had several requests for the same so maybe I should make one on my own. Why not?
Here I bring you the first couple of chapters of my very first novel Inconvenient Relations. It is a sassy, spicy tale of Ruhi and Shaan bound together in an arranged marriage. Enjoy!
I watched the dense thicket of clouds slide over the giant luminous cookie in the sky. A pitch-black darkness descended over the neighborhood, and there was not a single streetlamp to mar it.
It appeared that All Saints Eve was going to live up to its reputation after all. I glanced at my companion. I could tell she was thinking the same.
“Should we start? The time looks right,” Myra said.
“Yeah, let’s go.” I smiled at my longtime friend and neighbor. She adjusted her lace-up corset and handed me her long and tattered train before gingerly stepping out of the alley that had been our hideout ever since the beginning of our ritual. Once again, I had to pause to admire her elaborate costume. She was very pleased with it, especially since she had put it together herself. The delicate tea-stained ivory lace and tulle dress accented with droopy brown roses gave her a wispy and forlorn look. The years and our adventures had supplied a precious aura of authenticity to the dress, as it had been tripped on and ripped several times.
She lay in her bed unable to sleep yet again, but this time for a different reason; Khanak was excited! She was impressed by how Shaan had come through on his word and so quickly and efficiently had got both their families on the same page. He was as he said a man of action, not just words. Things had happened in such rapid succession, she felt as if she needed to pause to catch her breath but then he always had that effect on her. She blushed with embarrassment and hid her head in the pillow, when she recalled the lessons he had planned for her. The funny part was, she knew exactly what he meant thanks to her education but was a novice when it came to the actual experience. It frightened and excited her at the same time. She closed her eyes tightly trying to wish away the images forming in her mind’s eye. It was to no avail.
Drenched in refreshing moisture, earth bursts into colorful melody-
Simi K. Rao
Monsoon in India is a special time. The overcast black skies, the drumroll of thunder, invoke the thrill of anticipation in the thirsty heart. This is then fulfilled by the downpour. And what a downpour it is!
Extending from June- September, the monsoon brings welcome relief from the stifling heat of the summer. The happiness is visible not just on the faces of the citizens but also on the parched earth– the fragrance of the soil, the blossoming of the vegetation, the songs of the cuckoo, the dance of the peacock.
It wasn’t just a grove. It was a magical, mystical jungle of living, breathing giants that left Shaan awe struck. Neither of them spoke as they ambled slowly on the well-worn dirt paths and listened to the trees, some almost two thousand years old, as they related tales of times gone by. Of emperors, and kings and queens, and of battles fought for love and for greed.
A sudden transformation came over Ruhi when they came upon a fallen tree. She leaned against the dead trunk; her frame dwarfed by its girth, then closed her eyes and whispered in a voice rife with melancholy. “Who am I but a speck of dust this poor soul can’t even see?”
Shaan couldn’t keep his emotions in check. He hauled her into his arms and they wept together as they grieved for their mutual loss.
And so, it was. Never ever, even if I wished for it. But why would I? I thought, as I looked at her delicate little self, fast asleep, cocooned in her doting mother’s embrace. So tiny, yet so perfect. I couldn’t tear my eyes off her. What an entry she’d made. Her cry echoing through the halls of the labor and delivery unit making me smile and tears of joy sprout from her exhausted mother’s eyes.
Her poor mother, my wife, was beat. After almost 24 hours of ineffective pushing and perspiration, when our baby girl began showing signs of distress, Dr. Shepherd didn’t like the way her heart was reacting– speeding up and slowing down; so, she decided to force matters. She talked us into something called a vacuum device, to pull our baby out. I had my doubts, it sounded quite medievel, but there was no time for questions or research. It worked like a miracle. The baby slid out in seconds, but she had what looked like a big bump on her head. The doctor assured me it was nothing. “It’ll be gone in a couple of days;” she said. Ruhi, though, was oblivious to this slight inconsistency. The little bundle in her arms had hijacked all her attention. I don’t think she was even aware she was bleeding. The blood gushed out of her like a river. The doc had to stitch her up. I doubt anyone realized how much she’d lost till they sat her up in the wheelchair to transport her to another room and she promptly passed out. They had to give her two pints!Continue reading →
Mili was uptight. In fact, that had become quite the usual for her nowadays. Anxiety, confusion, sheer nervousness when she was in Ahaan’s company; agitation, restlessness, a maddening confusion when she was not—for sure she was becoming irreversibly unhinged, she had no doubt about it.
She contemplated herself in the mirror; having lost count on how many times she had changed her outfit tonight. Nothing seemed to fit the bill. It was going to be the first time they would be seen socially together and she didn’t want to let him down, rather she wanted to impress him, make him puff up with pride. But how—she worried as her eyes ran critically over her shapely frame enhanced to perfection by the charcoal dress with a silvery sheen that shimmered each time she moved. Was it too revealing? No, she didn’t think so; it did cling but not too blatantly, with the scoop neck revealing just the right amount of silky skin. But would he think so too?
Oh Ahaan! How much do I not know about you!
“But I don’t care! Let him think what he wants to! After all, it was his decision to marry me, not mine!” She defiantly addressed her reflection.