Tag Archives: Love

Good News! ‘The Accidental Wife’ manuscript is complete!

CH3

I have completed the manuscript of my second novel ‘The Accidental Wife’.  Phew!

Book Blurb: Dr. Rihaan Mehta is a brilliant young neurosurgeon who has no inclination for love or marriage. According to him wives and girlfriends are annoying accessories that one can do without. But when his mother dangles the sword over his head in classic Bollywood style, he succumbs, and sets in search of a bride who would fit his ‘requirements’. But he could never have prepared himself for what awaits him.

Some accidents are meant to happen…

Interesting enough???

A big thank you to all my readers and fans for your patronage and constant encouragement. Couldn’t have done it without you 🙂

Watch this space for updates on the progress of the book– Excerpts, Cover reveal, release date etc.

Thank you!

Simi

The Window : The Boy on the Street

the window

The view from inside the first courtyard of The Palazzo Vecchio- the town hall of Florence, Italy.

The Boy on The Street

-0-

The entire world passes by

While she remains static

Finding relief from her reminiscences

And her morose thoughts

`

She sees a young man on his way to work

An inquisitive light in his eyes

She knows not his name

It’s but a trifling detail

`

She welcomes the anonymous exchanges

A smile and sometimes a wave

And assembles a hazy dream

Of carefree tomorrows

And hopeful todays

Holi ‘The Festival of Colors’

holi

celebrating Holi in India (Courtesy National Geo)

When Holika burned, Good won over evil

When Krishna playfully colored Radha’s face, he ensured the purity of love

Holi invokes Spring, the genesis of new hope and relationships

Let’s celebrate it’s spirit and forget and forgive

HAPPY HOLI

‘An Ideal Marriage’ and ‘Inconvenient Relations

Inconvenient relations C

An Ideal Marriage

If husband and wife respect the independence of one another, then boundaries and rules become extinct. Just like agreement or acceptance is the body of a relationship, isn’t independence the soul or aatma?

How to be An Ideal husband (From the Mahabharath- ancient Hindu scripture)

Cherish your wife as a blessing sent to you from heaven; let the kindness of your behavior endear you to her heart.

She is the mistress of your house; treat her therefore with respect, that your servants may obey her. Do not oppose her inclination without cause; she is the partner of your cares, make her also the companion of your pleasures.

Reprove her faults with gentleness; do not exact her obedience with rigor.

Trust your secrets in her breast; her counsels are sincere; you shall not be deceived.

Be faithful to her bed; for she is the mother of your children.

disillusion

“I bet you are one of the most beautiful brides in the world, but I’m sorry I cannot make love to you. There is someone else.”- Inconvenient Relations

Marriage is all about building trust and so is my book. When Shaan bluntly dismisses Ruhi on their wedding night, he leaves her feeling betrayed and disillusioned.

When something like this transpires it is very difficult to regain the trust, despite one’s best intentions and that leads to doubt, misunderstanding and emotional upheaval.

Will Ruhi come to terms with Shaan’s rejection and agree to an amicable separation? To find out more  read ‘Inconvenient Relations.’

 

Rhythm & Blues Chap 2: Tumult

R and B

Chap 1

Chap 2: Tumult

-o-

Khanak flipped the card over, feeling the texture with her sensitive fingers. Hmm expensive card stock; Mr. SK isn’t exactly foraging for a living. She perused the lettering;

Shantanu Khandelwal

Owner and Artistic Director

Jhankaar music and Dance Company

 It was followed by a contact number; simple and to the point.

Very unusual for an entertainment company; it either spelt arrogance and self confidence or simply fame.

Then out of impulse she brought the card up to her nostrils and sniffed—a distinctive, unmistakably male scent that immediately conjured up an image of a pair of gorgeously seductive brown eyes. She recoiled as if stung and let the card drift to the floor.

What am I thinking? A hand drifted up to a rapidly fluttering heart. Control yourself, Khanak… such thoughts are forbidden. Girls such as you don’t think that way, at least not before marriage and not for somebody other than your husband!

She glanced at the card as it lay innocently on the floor. Let it lie, she had no use for it. This was her home; where she belonged. Turning the lights out, she settled down to sleep.

 

Meanwhile at the Chennai airport:

“Shan! It’s of no use dude! She won’t come! Girls like her are very traditional. Her parents would never agree.”

“But I thought I saw something in her eyes, a hunger to break out of the mold, to become famous! She has it in her Abhay!” He waited till the very last moment before dejectedly joining the line.

A Bright and early morning at the Mishra household in Chennai:

Like everyday it was greeted with the fragrance of agarbattis and the rhythm of bells; dancing bells which Khanak wore on her feet as she practiced her dance routine. She had done so without interruption ever since the tender age of five when she had begun learning Bharathnatyam.

Her aunt Komal, Shreya’s mother, frequently advised her to take it easy, “After so many years, dance must have become ingrained into every atom of your being; then why the need for such rigorous practice?”

“No matter chachi (aunt), the first and foremost principle of mastering any form of art is practice, practice and good practice, without which the artist will become a langur (monkey) as my Guruji says and I certainly don’t want that, do you?” Khanak laughed.

Komal shook her head, laughing along. Despite being a very mature and talented artist Khanak at times younger than Shreya who was two years her junior, “No baba, then your sasural wale (in-laws) will accuse me of sending a chimpanzee instead of the orangutan you already are!”

“Oh no chachi! I’m not going anywhere! I want to stay here with you as your monkey forever.”

“Yes my dear, you will stay with me always.” Her aunt nodded though without conviction.

Khanak was Komal and Sharat Mishras niece. Ever since her parents had been killed in a train accident when she was barely two years old, Sharat (her father’s younger brother) and his wife had taken her in and she loved them as her own parents. They had never differentiated between her and Shreya or their older son Shyam who adored her and was very protective. He was an officer in the Indian Army and had just been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. They were all very proud of him.

But this morning found Khanak distracted and unable to concentrate. She was feeling unusually irritable and listless.

“Bubbly di!”

She turned around briskly to see Shreya standing at the door grinning mischievously.

Khanak snapped, “What’s up? Don’t you see I’m busy?”

“What’s the matter di? You look all red and flustered as though you’ve been caught doing something you shouldn’t.” Shreya sauntered in hiding something behind her back.

Khanak ignored her cousin and began practicing her mudras–she had beautifully expressive hands. Shreya watched fascinated.

“Nothing, I’m just not myself today. I didn’t sleep well last night.”

“Aha! So that’s the secret behind the card. Your prince charming! Mr. Shantanu Khandelwal! Shall I tell brother and Anand?”

Khanak broke her pose and snatched at the card that Shreya was brandishing over her head. It wouldn’t do for her to spread the word. The whole household would turn upside down. The only reason why she’d been able to continue learning classical dance was because of Komal aunty’s and Shyam’s continued support and only because she had caught the eye of her Guruji as someone who possessed the potential of becoming a major exponent of the art.

Her uncle had never been for it. He was a staunch proponent of the old school which maintained that girls from good families do not perform on stage. “After schooling daughters take care of the home and hearth. It is our culture,” he often reiterated.

“Stop it Shree! He was someone who saw me as Shakuntala and wanted to know if I would be willing to join his dance company and I refused. That’s all! And don’t you dare tell anybody!”

“Aww… but di! What an incredible opportunity! Big city stage, international exposure, name, fame, I can already see your name blazing in neon: Khanak the diva of dance!” Shreya exclaimed, clasping her hands together and gazed dreamily into the distance unaware that she was giving voice to Khanak’s dreams.

“Not all dreams come true. So stop before chachu (uncle) comes to know about it!”

“Now what are we hiding from chachu? Are we making plans to go to a late night movie?” Komal walked in smiling brightly, bearing a string of fresh mallipoo (Jasmine flowers,) which she attached lovingly to Khanak’s luxurious mane; a daily ritual.

“Now my Khanak looks like an angel; Anand is very lucky indeed.” She stepped back to admire her niece whose thick black tresses contrasted most wonderfully with her smooth, glowing complexion and her classically perfect features which she had inherited from her mother.

 Anand Vaidyanathan and his family had been their neighbors for as long as Khanak could remember.  Her senior by a few years; he worked as an engineer for a major software company and  was doing very well. Khanak had always considered him a close friend and confidant.

“Why is Anand lucky? Are you hiding something from me chachi?” Khanak asked, suddenly anxious.

“Bubbly di, Anand and his parents…” Shreya began.

“Shh! Let me tell her.” Komal said turning to Khanak. She grasped her hands, “Anand and his parents are coming over to see you today!”

“But why?”

“Well, for some time we have known that you like each other and Anand is a gem of a boy. He worships the ground you walk on.”

“What are you implying?”

“I’m just saying that Anand is leaving for the States soon. His parents want him to settle down before he leaves. So when they asked him, he made it quite clear that he wished to marry you and no one else.  Your uncle obviously couldn’t refuse such a wonderful proposal!”

Khanak witnessed her whole world come crashing down around her. “But what about my opinion; did anyone care to ask me what I want? Yes, I do like Anand but only as a friend. I don’t love him; for me that is key for a happy marriage. Anyway I’m not interested in all that right now. I want to make a name for myself and I’ve barely begun my journey! Please, say that it’s a joke; a very cruel one but a joke nevertheless!” Khanak pleaded with desperation in her eyes.

“My child, I wish it was but it isn’t. You know your chachu quite well; once he makes up his mind no one can change it. I tried very hard but he is not willing to listen.”

 “But I cannot marry Anand! I cannot!” Khanak collapsed onto the floor.

“But di!” Shreya interjected, “Anand is such a nice guy!”

Komal said, “From what I’ve seen, Anand is a young man with a very steady head on his shoulders.  If you speak to him, I’m sure he will understand. He will never force your hand. He loves you way too much to hurt you.”

Khanak stared at her Aunt through tear filled eyes, “What do you mean?”

 “Yes, I’ve seen it in his eyes, whenever he looks at you. Though he has probably never said so. He won’t refuse you anything.”

Khanak smiled wanly. She’d always thought she knew Anand very well. She’d never had any inkling of his feelings towards her. Never had he done anything to make her suspect it. He had always been a ready, caring companion and friend— her best friend.

tbc

‘Sindoor’ (the Vermilion powder on the forehead) & ‘Inconvenient Relations.’

sindoor1

“By placing this Sindoor on your forehead, I make you mine. I take you as my wife.”

Sindoor सिन्दूर : Hindi pronounced Sin-Dur is the red vermilion powder worn by married Hindu women along the Maang (parting) of their hair. Being in use since the Vedic era, it is also called ‘Kumkum’ when mixed with turmeric.

Why Sindoor or Kumkum?

Considered scientifically and spiritually beneficial, it absorbs the ‘bad’ influences and enhances the power of concentration through the 3rd chakra which is centered on the forehead in between the eyebrows. It also enhances feminine grace and beauty. RED is the color of love and passion and hence is worn by women to win the hearts of their husbands.

It signifies that the woman who wears it is married and under the protection of her husband, therefore no one dare make the mistake of casting the evil eye on her.

Red is also the color of fire and strength. By wearing it, even the slight unassuming Indian woman can assume the role of Shakti (the divine feminine power) not only to protect herself but also for the security of her children.

InconvenientRelations-web

Excerpt from ‘Inconvenient Relations’

You’re Mine

Ruhi saw Debo examining her curiously and realized that the sari had slipped off her shoulder while tending to Anu.

“What is up, dear? Where is your mangalsutra and sindoor? I noticed earlier but didn’t bring it up.”

 “Umm…the chain broke. I have given it for fixing.”

 “Then what about the sindoor?”

 “I…The whole thing fell on the carpet yesterday and made a mess. I have to go get some more.”

 “Ruhi look at me.” Debo gently propped her face up by the chin. “You consider me like your elder sister, right?”

 She answered with an apprehensive nod.

 “Then there are certain things, which are essential for a married Indian woman. It doesn’t matter what your husband may say, but you should not take them lightly. You should never go without your sindoor because it is an auspicious symbol of your marriage and also a sign that indicates your love will prosper. Therefore, even if you don’t have your wedding necklace, you should at least wear your sindoor.”

 “Yes, di, I will try to get some as soon as possible.”

 “Soon? Why not now?”

 Ruhi felt trapped as Debo dragged her to a tiny shrine and picked up a small silver receptacle full of the vermilion powder.

 “I can put it on, di, give it to me.”

 “No, I have a better idea. Shaan!” Debo called out.

 Ruhi felt upset; her body began to tremble.

 “What is it, bhabhi? Time for food?” Shaan appeared, smiling along with Sujoy.

 “Shaan, I didn’t expect this from you. I know you love your wife dearly, but letting her go about bareheaded. It is not right.”

 “Let them be, Debo, they are a modern couple. It’s their life. You don’t have to interfere.” Sujoy chimed in acutely embarrassed; his wife was quite the traditionalist.

“You keep out of it, Sujoy, I know my sister. She will listen to me.”

 She handed Shaan the receptacle and urged him, “Take this and put it back where it belongs with God as your witness and don’t ever let her go unadorned again.”

 Then as he hesitated, she asked, frowning, ”Is there something wrong between you two?”

 “No, of course not.” He looked at Ruhi who had grown completely silent.

 “Go ahead, Shaan,” Bee said softly, giving him permission.

 He pinched a small amount of the red powder and placed it firmly in the parting on her forehead. Not entirely certain why, but this makeshift ceremony appeared more meaningful to him than the one on his wedding day.

 “Perfect! Now my mishti bon looks like a bride, a very beautiful bride.”

~

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The Bashful Bride – Innocence Unveiled in ‘Inconvenient Relations’

the shy bride

The Bashful Bride

`

She sits on the rose strewn bed

A bashful bride

In all her jeweled splendor

Hennaed hands resting on drawn up knees

Innocent and uninitiated

Awaiting the approach of her beloved

`

The bombshell had dropped on their wedding night. He had walked into the room late as she sat there, a shy bride in all her wedding finery waiting, nervous yet excited at the same time, to meet the man she had hardly spoken to or looked at. What would he say, talk about, or do?

She had heard a lot of stories about what to expect, some factual and some fabricated (her friends had prepared her well), but she wanted her own to be special, unique, and it was…

Sitting down on the bed in front of her, he had taken her hand in his and said very gently, as if to tone down the trauma, “I bet you are one of the most beautiful brides in the world, but I’m sorry I cannot make love to you. There is someone else.”- An Incurable Insanity

Solah Shringar

The 16 basic steps of bridal adornment which correspond to the 16 phases of the moon. Shringar is derived from the word Shri or Lakshmi; the Goddess of wealth, beauty and prosperity. The wedding day is considered the most significant in a woman’s life- one which marks her transition into womanhood.

1. Gajra (string of Jasmine flowers): Hair is styled and adorned with the fragrant Gajra and jewelry.

2. Maang-teeka: generally made of gold, silver and precious stones, Maang teeka is worn in the central parting of hair.

3. Sindoor: is the vermilion powder that is worn in the center parting of hair. A symbol of marriage, it is placed for the first time by the groom during the marriage ritual.

4. Bindi or tilak: A red vermilion dot worn in the center of the forehead.

5. Kajal or Kohl: Black eyeliner to enhance the bride’s beautiful eyes traditionally made from the soot of an earthen lamp with the wick placed in clarified butter.

6. Nath or Nose ring: By far the most ethnic and traditional of Indian looks.

7. Elaborate jeweled earrings: whose weight is supported by a chain affixed to the hair.

8. Necklace: Of different lengths and styles adorn the neck. The most sacred is the mangalsootra, given by the groom during the wedding ceremony made of black beads.

9. Armlets: Worn on both upper arms.

10. Bangles and bracelets: Made of glass, gold, silver and precious gems are the most visible sign of marriage.

11. Mehndi or Henna: Applied to the hands and feet in intricate design is meant to strengthen the bond of love.

12. Rings and Hathphool (Flower of the hand): A bride wears 4 rings on each hand which are connected together by a central medallion called the Hathphool, which in turn is connected to a bracelet.

13. Aarsi or mirrored thumb ring: The bride wears this so to be able to glance at herself and take a peek at her husband as well through the cover of her veil. 😉

14. Waistband or Kamarband: A beautifully designed silver or gold belt encrusted with precious and semi precious gems which serves a dual purpose- enhancing the waist besides holding up the weight of the heavy sari or skirt.

15. Anklets or Payal: A chain of silver edged with clusters of tiny bells worn around both ankles that make a pleasant tinkling sound when the bride moves.

16. Toe ring: Usually worn on the second toe of either or both feet are  symbols of marriage.

The Bridal dress: This can be a sari or a ghagra choli (traditional skirt and blouse) and is usually red in color because red is considered auspicious. It is richly embroidered in gold which ensures ceremonial purity.

traditional-toe-rings

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Shakti- the Divine woman & another ‘Inconvenient Relations’ excerpt :)

shakti-goddess

WOMAN

`

From time immemorial

This has been a woman’s lot

That a man is more equal than she

History has not forgot

`

She toiled with him everyday

Made sure he was fed

Going sometimes without

Would anyone care if she were dead

`

She bore him sons

Despite incredible pain

Her daughters he rejected

‘Coz they brought him shame

`

He covered her up from head to toe

Treating her like some possession

Shackled her up in his house

Scourged her for his own indiscretions

`

Would you find people more hypocrite

In any other part of the world

Who deify innumerable goddesses

Yet smother the baby girl?

Inconvenient relations C

` Excerpt From ‘INCONVENIENT RELATIONS’

I AM WOMAN

`

“Can I speak to Shaan?” The voice was female.

 Taking a deep breath, Ruhi answered, “He is still sleeping. May I know who is calling?”

 “Tell him it’s Des. I need to talk to him. He hasn’t been answering my calls!”She had a young but high-pitched voice, a woman who was used to getting her way and who wouldn’t take no for an answer.

 Ruhi bristled with anger. “You can call back in half an hour. He should be up by then.”She hung up.

Soon she could hear him in his room talking and arguing on the phone. She ran into the master and locked the door to shut out the sound.

 Almost a month had passed since they had been together, and she still felt clueless about him. He was like a giant jigsaw puzzle with the key pieces missing. He seemed good at times, caring,

kind. Perhaps it was just his nature, and he really didn’t consider her special. What was certain was that he continued to see this other woman, and Ruhi’s presence hadn’t altered it. Her rival appeared larger than life, and she had lost the fight even before it had begun.

 “Aren’t you going to eat?”

 “I’m not hungry.”

 “Well, that’s something I cannot say to tell you the truth. You have influenced my taste completely.” He smiled.

 “Have I?”

 “Well, here’s my clean plate as evidence.”

 “I’m not talking about food.”

 “Then what are you talking about?” His guard was up.

 “I have been here for quite some time now, and I still feel that you are a complete stranger to me. I was thinking…”

 “What do you want to know?”

“What is she like? Who is she? What kind of relationship do you share? Tell me. I think that I have a right to know.”

 “That’s none of your business. I don’t want to talk about it. Another four weeks and you will be back home. Let’s just leave it at that,” he said, abruptly brushing her off.

 None of my business. She left the table before she threw her fork at him.

None of your business…

The words echoed over and over in her brain like a never ending sermon.

 She sat on the bed with her knees drawn up; her tears had run dry. No words could be more hurtful or decisive. He had been done with her from the very beginning, and she like a fool had believed that she could win him over by playing the ideal Indian wife. He’d probably been laughing at her all along. I can’t stay any longer, I have to leave now! Papa will get me the tickets. Reaching for the phone, she hesitated. Her parents had no idea about what was going on. She had made a conscious decision to not tell them anything. They would be shocked, heartbroken. She had to break it to them gently, but for that, she would need to stay.

 But how? Not like this!

 Pulling off her maroon sari, she stuffed it in the bottom of her still mostly unpacked suitcase. She hated it. Then walking into the bath, she assessed herself in the mirror. If marriage held no meaning for him, why should it for me? If everything was going to come to an end in another month, why not now? Why continue with this charade?

 Unclasping the sacred marriage necklace from around her neck, she laid it down carefully on the counter. Then, wiping off the vermilion dot from her forehead, she examined her face again.

 She smiled. Finally, she knew who she was. She was Ruhi Sharma, and there was no looking back.

““`

Do you sense a change of pace here?

The heroine of my book cannot take it anymore. Ruhi’s done trying and has decided to move on. She chooses to lead life on her own terms.

Don’t be deceived by her sweet disposition, or her slender figure for she is ‘Shakti’–a divine cosmic force that can not only create but also destroy. At the base of her spine resides ‘Kundalini’ energy–a powerful goddess waiting to be awakened.

She is bold and liberated. She speaks her mind. She is tough and vibrant. She knows what she wants and doesn’t compromise on her values.

Yes, at times she is also a tease, impulsive, confused, brash, reactive, headstrong, vulnerable, fragile, infuriating and… a spoiled brat, but she is who she is– her own unique self. 😉

`

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———000——

AND LAST BUT NOT THE LEAST, AS A GIFT TO MY LOYAL READERS I’VE CHOSEN TO PUBLISH AS I WRITE BOOK 2 OF THE ARRANGED MATCH SERIES (THE CONTINUATION OF THE SHAAN AND RUHI SAGA) On WATTPAD— YEAH!

Now and forever cover image

Please follow me– TheWriteDoc, read and share your thoughts. I promise you’ll enjoy it!

Thank you,

Simi

 

India Unveiled- Mughal India: Tomb of Salim Chishti

Salim Chisti TombIntricate Jali – Stone latticework window overlooking the Jama Masjid courtyard.

About 25 miles from Agra is the city of Fatehpur Sikri (Hindi: फ़तेहपुर सीकरी, Urdu: فتحپور سیکری‎), founded by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, which also served as his capital from 1571-1585. Here he proceeded to build a grand walled city which today is one of the best preserved collections of Mughal Architecture in India.

The Tomb of the Sufi saint Salim Chishti (descendant of Khwaja Mouniddin Chishti of Ajmer) built inside the imperial complex is particularly mesmerizing. Facing south toward the Buland Darwaza, the shrine is enclosed by delicately carved Jalis– marble stone screens and topped by a single semicircular dome.

Jama Masjid courtyard

Jama Masjid courtyard

The atmosphere of the place is beautifully exemplified in this haunting melody from the movie Garam Hawa (Hot Winds), 1973.