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Today on the blog guest post we have the popular author Alka Dimri whose books  speak about the people in real life.

Her debut novel 45 Days in a Cancer Hospital was long listed for the prestigious Crossword Books award 2013. Her poems have been published in many magazines. She holds MBA degree in HR and worked with a leading MNC before turning to a full-time writer.

Born and brought up in Vadodara, a city in Gujarat, her roots hail from “Dev Bhumi” Uttarakhand. Apart from writing, she loves music, reading, traveling, and spending time with her two naughty kids.

Her latest release Beyond Secrets is the talk of the town. Let us get to know the author in her more and her writing journey so far.

You have been writing issue based stories. Your new book talks about broken heart and trust. But layered in a tinge of suspense. What is it all about and your expectation from the readers.

Paromita, first of all, I would like to thank you for featuring me on your blog.

Coming to your question Beyond Secrets is a story that can’t be restricted in one category, it revolves around so many issues that I had difficulty deciding it’s genre. It talks about issues of abandonment, broken trust, betrayal, child trafficking, religious issues and much more.

Sharing a bit about the plot:

Something is bizarre, Noel realizes the moment he steps in Aashiyana orphanage to volunteer as a counsellor. Aashiyana is a calm place and Noel enjoys his stint, but something is off. With each passing day he feels he is inching closer to the mysterious little boy from his childhood dreams.

Nidhi visits Aashiyana as a volunteer, and that’s how she wanted to keep it. Noel suspects something underneath her recluse behaviour and he is right. The more he learns about her, the more he is drawn towards her. And Nidhi? She isn’t allowed to love…as if love needs permission. Noel gets hopeful…

BUT…

An unexpected phone call and Noel must doubt everything he owned. The boy in his dream wasn’t a stranger after all. Suddenly he wants to escape. From truth? From love? From family? Maybe everyone. Nidhi, just healed is left back to fight new scars; alone. Forever? or will he return?

Noel thought unearthing the secrets would bring peace; he was wrong. There was a journey beyond secrets, a journey from denial to acceptance.

Beyond secrets is a novel with layers of suspense and different nuances of relationship. And one question that can’t have just one answer – How long does it take for a scar to heal?
My expectations from the readers?

My readers have left such heart touching reviews that I can’t ask for more. I am happy that people are able to connect with the characters of the story and they have felt the pain of the characters. Few of them had sleepless nights. That is the extent to which they have felt the emotions. What else can I expect? My precious readers are giving me much more than what I expected and I am really thankful to them. Just one request, please don’t give spoilers while writing a review, it takes away the charm of the story. And for the 0.5% reviewers who suggested editing, my manuscript has been edited by one of the top editors of the industry. English is complicated language and same thing can be written in many ways and we need to understand that. But then different people have different views and I respect that. Having said that, I am always open to improvement and thankful to all the reviews coming my way.

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BEYOND SECRETS
by
Alka Dimri Saklani
 
 
 
Blurb
 
Noel is a counsellor, risking his career for volunteering in an orphanage.
 
Nidhi is an engineering student on the surface, but deep down a broken girl in search of some unanswered questions.
 
Appu is a sweet little orphan, unaware of the cruelties of the world.
 
Despite being miles apart their stories interweave in “Aashiyana”, the orphanage. Their little journey together changes their lives in ways they never imagined.
 
One recurring nightmare, one unexpected phone call, one stolen diary, many lies and secrets, and a calling from the past are just the highlights. And when they depart, they are not the same anymore.
 
They didn’t hurt each other, it was a game of destiny. Will they ever be able to rediscover themselves and more importantly, will their paths ever cross again?
 
Beyond Secrets is a novel with layers of suspense and different nuances of relationships. And one question that can’t have just one answer – How long does it take for a scar to heal?
Read an excerpt:
10. A Different World

The classroom was in chaos when I entered. It looked like a mini battlefield of little soldiers bombarding each other with paper balls and paper planes. Before I could get a grip on the situation blackness seemed to engulf the scene before me, revealing another scene, hazy, like a dusty video film taking me to a different world where no colours existed except shades of grey; a classroom with empty first rows, far off, images of children yelling and flying airplanes… A wave of sadness crept in, a feeling of hollowness. Amid this chaos? Wasn’t it strange? Were these the same children who had forced their way into my thoughts when I was in the park? Were these known faces? Before I could become a part of the unreal the clamour faded as a strict commanding voice pierced through the din.

“Pranil!”

“Yes ma’m,” I said.

The scene dissolved and I found Simin staring at me in disbelief. “What happened?” she asked with a puzzled expression.

My head was spinning.

“Nothing, I thought you called me.” I said.

“I called Pranil. But what happened to you? You stood with your eyes shut. You ok?”

Oh, so that was her voice. Then why did I hear another voice, something from a distant, hazy corner of my mind? Or was it solely my imagination? Or a moment when imagination collided with reality?

“Yeah, am absolutely fine.” I said, looking away, not meeting her eyes.

“Pranil, I need to talk to you. Please come to my cabin after your prayers are over.” Simin said.

“Yes, ma’m.” The voice came from the last bench, from a boy with dishevelled hair, dark brown eyes and a dark complexion.

The dizziness made me uneasy and I couldn’t contribute much to the class that day. I walked to Simin’s cabin after the session.

I was not sure how I would collect the information. I wasn’t even sure what information I wanted. As soon as Simin saw me she started discussing a few things she wanted me to do.

“Noel, will you be able to go to… she paused. “You look disturbed. Are you ok?”

“Yeah.”

“You can tell me if anything is bothering you.”

“The boy you wanted to meet in the morning.” Not sure what was stopping me from speaking out his name.

“Pranil?”

“Yes.” I paused. “Pranil.” I tried hard to keep my voice steady.

“What about him?”

“Can you tell me something about him?”

“Like what?” She disconnected her phone that had just started ringing.

“Like…like…how old is he? Since when has he been here? Why did his parents leave him? Anything.”

“Anything. Hmmm.” She thought for a while. “Pranil is about 10 years old, he has been here since the last four years. His father died and his mother, who was a house maid, wanted to re-marry. The man she wanted to marry was not ready to accept responsibility of a son, therefore she left him here. But why are you asking all this?” She again silenced her beeping phone.

“I think I know him. Or someone by that name… or… or…” I didn’t know how to explain something I was still struggling to understand. I didn’t want her to disconnect her phone for the third time for my silly questions so I left the room leaving her gaping at me.

Later in the day I met Pranil. He was painting something when I reached him.

“Hello Pranil, can I sit here?”

He nodded.

“What are you doing?” I asked him.

“I am drawing a house.” He showed me the few scribbled lines in his notebook.

“Wow! This is a very good drawing.”

He smiled shyly.

I expected some connection to my foggy feelings as I talked to him. But no snapshots, no voices, no images followed. As if he was not the Pranil who played in my mind, the Pranil in my mysterious imagination was someone else, someone close to me yet far away, someone known to me yet a stranger. Something in my own self was unknown to me, an enigma and it was a terribly uncomfortable feeling. I just wanted to drag out the stranger from me but every time I tried the stranger gripped me tighter as if slowly becoming an inseparable part of me like my blood and my veins.

 
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“I discovered a whole new process of balancing creativity with authenticity.” – Saiswaroopa Iyer

Today, I would like to welcome Saiswaroopa Iyer, author of Abhaya, on my blog for a guest post.14706559

Formerly an analyst with a Venture capital firm, Saiswaroopa’s interests include Startups, Economics, Carnatic Music, Philosophy, Politics, History and Literature of India. She won a state level gold medal from TTD in rendering Annamacharya Kritis. She holds an MBA from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur

She currently lives in London and loves to read and write.

Her new release Avishi is topping the bestseller charts on amazon. We want to know her secret.
 

How difficult is the research for your story especially when it is even older than Ramayana and Mahabharata stories?

Researching for stories from Ancient literature and civilizational past come is a unique roller coaster ride for an author. There is a euphoric feeling about ‘discovering’ this new character who is so less talked about. There is also this exhilaration that a writer feels when he/she gets ‘the calling’ from the character to write that unsung story. At the same time, there are challenges. My challenge was about re-imagining the ancient Vedic world, the society and the setting which was far older than Mahabharata and Ramayana.

I have to confess it was not easy; especially after writing Abhaya for which the research was already done by generations of stalwarts and all I had to do was read up and plug the story into the dense narrative of Mahabharata. Avishi on the other hand required me to dwell a lot upon the world and the times besides the actual plot. I remember the phase where I would stop at every line and wonder about the tools they used, the vegetation, the fabric they wore and the dynamics between people. Minor characters and their backgrounds had to be worked out in detail though their appearance wa35613023s only for a scene or two. But in hindsight, I am happy to have spent all that time and effort because at the end of the day, that was what increased my confidence. With each session of tough research/pondering, I became more confident about the story as well as creative assumptions going into the process.

That said, the fact that the story is so ancient also gave my creative wings, a new lease of life. For once, it felt exhilarating to discover that I, as the writer had so much liberty to reimagine the ancient world. The Rig Vedic sources mentioned the story only in about 6 shlokas of two lines each and the commentary by Sayana added to its interpretation. But writing a full length novel required me to deploy my creative abilities to the maximum. I discovered a whole new process of balancing creativity with authenticity. This is my biggest take away from the whole experience.

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“The small things people do for us sometimes make a huge impact in our lives and we sometimes don’t even know or realize the impact and that was the main thing I wanted to portray in this story.” – P.G Van

Today on our blog guest post section we have with us author P.G Van who debuted in October 2015 with her first novel, Destiny Decides. She loves to spend time with family and is a strong believer of retail therapy (mostly shops for boots and purses!!). She enjoys giving her readers an escape to the world of love and romance. P.G. Van lives in San Francisco, U.S.A. with her family.
She will be sharing her thoughts on her recently released book, The Evil Twin?

P.G Van

What were your thoughts when you penned the book, The Evil Twin?

My only thought around the time I was getting ready to work on my next book was that I wanted it to be a standalone story. I was getting ready to publish the second part of my Pure Destiny Series and needed to write about characters that were different from the characters in the series.
A few incidents placed years apart pulled this story together and I felt strongly enough about this story to shelf the one I was going to write and started creating Vinnie and Reayan’s characters.
I wanted the story to be about someone who has been through so much in their life that nothing could shatter their strength and resolve, only to find out something about themselves that they never imagined in their wildest dreams.
Every person in our lives is responsible for molding a certain aspect of a person and I wanted to write about how a person like Vinnie, who was so focused on meeting her goals falls in love with Reyan, bonds with Annie like she were her soul sister and how she was willing to help an acquaintance to keep their parents happy. The small things people do for us sometimes make a huge impact in our lives and we sometimes don’t even know or realize the impact and that was the main thing I wanted to portray in this story.
This is a story of love, not just the love between lovers but the love born out of true friendship, the love for a cousin who thinks the world of you and how you can always make room for more love in your heart even if comes concealed in the form of hatred and betrayal.
You can stalk author P.G Van @

       

 

THE EVIL TWIN?

by

P.G. Van

 

 

Blurb

 

Vinnie lost her parents when she was ten and lives in San Francisco with her aunt and her teenage cousin. She never expected a simple act of kindness would be life altering. Reyan comes into her life threatening to shake up her focus and challenges her resolve. He is everything Vinnie wants in a man and he shows up just when she thought she had everything she needed to stay focused on her life and her goals. 

 

Will he crack her titanium tough exterior and get to her heart? Will she let him into her life especially with what she has been through since she was ten? Will she trust Reyan to help her recover from her emotional wounds? 

 

Will she get to the bottom of why people think they have seen her at places that she has never been to before. Does she have a doppleganger or a twin? 

Follow Vinnie’s and Reyan’s love story as she learns the true meaning of love, trust and family.

 

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“The cover couldn’t have fit in more perfectly with my concept” – Deepti Menon.

Today in the blog guest post we have with us the author who hones many feathers in her cap besides being a writer. She is a teacher, journalist, an army kid and later an army wife

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Deepti Menon

too. Her first novel, Arms and the Woman, depicting life as seen through the eyes of an Army wife, was published by Rupa publishing house in the year 2002. Today she will be sharing with us her new release, The Shadow in the Mirror, published by Readomania.

Q : The cover is so compelling that one would always like to know what is the book about? Please share how did you conceptualize the idea of this book.

Deepti: Paromita, thank you so much!

The cover is special, indeed!  Let me come to the second part of your question first. The story originated from a tiny seed of an idea, which I wanted to put across to my readers, and it is from there that the whole story evolved. The narration kept getting more complex as the threads were woven together in separate patterns, till they all came together in a tapestry that, hopefully, shines forth.

The book begins with the death of a young lady named Nita, and numerous other stories come together, seemingly unconnected, till the denouement where the mystery is solved. My biggest hope was that no spoilers would pop up and ruin the suspense of the story.

The cover couldn’t have fit in more perfectly with my concept, and the full credit for it should go to Dipankar Mukherjee. We sat down and looked at numerous options, starting from a charcoal sketch, called ‘The Chaste Kiss’  that was done by an Army friend of my father’s, a absolutely brilliant sketch. However, it was all in greys and whites, and would not have looked as effective as the cover of a book.

So then the search began for the perfect cover, and finally Dipankar and his designer came up with the present image in four different covers. The blue looked riveting, with the red bindi in stark contrast and that is how the cover came into being.

More about the author

Deepti Menon has always believed in the power of the pen. Having done her post graduation in English Literature and her B.Ed. in English, she had the option of teaching and writing, and did both with great enjoyment. She started writing at the age of ten, long before she acquired a Diploma in Journalism. She also had the advantage of being an Army kid, and later an Army wife, and loved the idea of travelling around India, meeting new people and acquiring new skills. She firmly believes that much of her personality was honed during those travels.
In 2002, her light hearted book, ‘Arms and the Woman’, depicting life as seen through the eyes of an Army wife, was published by Rupa Publishers, Delhi. This was written mainly to reveal the warmth and camaraderie within the great institution. She is now working on her second book that is a work of fiction, and not- to-be divulged yet!

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Shadow In The Mirror 

by

Deepti Menon

 
Publisher: Readomania 

bd842-final2b2

The Story:

It all begins with a death. Nita, a pregnant woman falling from her balcony becomes the string that unravels the plot. Her death casts a shadow over many lives; her heartbroken father, her husband and Vinny, a young journalist, drawn in by the whiff of foul play and murder.
What follows are stories within stories, eras and worlds colliding with each other, leaving behind splintered relationships and mesmerizing slices of lives that appear to be drawn together and driven apart by the whimsical threads of destiny.
As events cast their shadows ahead to link the stories of Vinny, Kavita, Roma, Krish and Nita in an unrelenting knot, a journey starts to uncover the truth. What is the secret that links Nita’s death to the other characters? Will Vinny be able to unravel the mystery of Nita’s death?
From intimate diary entries and letters, to bantering over a meal and sharing memories while spring cleaning, this novel de-familiarizes the ordinary, presenting a kaleidoscope of our own pasts, broken edges and pulsating hearts.
 

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Also Available on #KindleUnlimited 

“I am a writer who steals hidden inspirations from real life.” – Jatin Kuberkar

Today on the Blog Guest Post we have with us the software engineer turned author Jatin Kuberkar. They say,take an ounce full of imagination and a scoop of humour. Mix them well. Now put a few teaspoons of feelings and emotions and simmer until it smells good. Add spices for taste. Put the mixture on the platter of dreams and garnish it with a few peanuts of desires and some herbs of passion – that’s all it takes to be Jatin Kuberkar.

Jatin Kuberkar

 

Jatin is a software engineer by day and a passionate writer by night. When not tangled in software codes, Jatin likes to express his inspirations in the form of poetry, short stories, novels and essays.

Author of two other books, Rainbow Dreams, a collection of poetry and While I Was Waiting, a collection of short stories.

Today Jatin is going to share his inspiration behind his new release, Cabbing All The Way.

How did Cabbing All The Way happen?

We were a group of 12 people working in the same company, living in the same residential locality but travelled with different means to our workplace that was 40 kms away. I was a part of this crazy ‘shared’ cab group idea that was ‘invented’ to ease our daily travel pain. None in the group shared a similar interest, except for the NEED of travelling together. The journey went on for four long years, with adjustments and compromises…This is just what we do in our life, is it not? We don’t look for permanent solutions, in fact there are no permanent solutions!, we solve a problem just for the moment and move on to the next one…we try to get the best out of every present moment rather than waiting for a perfect one…it works until it works and the rest is uncertain. This was pretty much the same with the world inside our cab.

I am a writer who steals hidden inspirations from real life. So, at a certain point in our journey, I realised that this story of daily struggle for survival, in the wrap of humour, need to be told to the world.In 2013 I started compiling incidents and experiences into a book, for this one I maintained handwritten notes. Almost a year later, I had enough material but the climax. The ending of the story came to me in a special way. That was a time in our cab when quarrels, misunderstandings and frustrations were at an all-time high. Work at office was also demanding. The cab service itself was not functioning promptly because our regular driver had left.Every day we would talk about giving up on the cab. But, we managed the situation in an excellent way and the cab survived – this gave me an idea for the climax.

More about the author

 
He lives in Hyderabad and adorns polymorphic forms in his personal life as a son, a husband, a father, a friend, a mentor, an observer, a critic and the list goes on… He is an ardent lover of Hyderabadi biryani and is a worshipper of chaai. If granted a boon, Jatin would love to learn magic from Hogwarts and fly around on a broom stick.
 

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CABBING ALL THE WAY
by
Jatin Kuberkar
 
Blurb
 
Twelve people agree to an idea of running a shared transport service from a common residential locality to their out-of-civilisation office campus. Twelve different minds with equally diverse personalities gel with each other to fulfil a common need. At first, the members collide on mutual interests, timings, priorities and personal discipline, but in the course of their journey, they become best friends, make long-lasting relationships, mentor and help each other on various mundane matters. The journey goes on fine until one day some members try to dictate terms over the group. The rift widens with each passing day, the tension surmounts and finally all hell breaks loose… Will the journey continue? Fasten your seatbelts for the journey is about to begin…
 
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“Writing for me is catharsis, an escape into a world of my creation, where my characters do as I tell them, where calamities happen, but I give them tools to deal with them.”- Sunanda J Chatterjee

Today on the Blog Guest Post we have with us the multitalented persona, Sunanda J Chatterjee, the author of Fighting for Tara. A Doctor by profession and a writer by passion, she has two more books in her kitty, The Vision and Shadowed Promise.

Today she would talk about her inspiration and love for writing.

Question: From being a Pathologist professional what inspired you to become an author? Your latest release, Fighting for Tara, has gathered accolades internationally. We would love to hear the story behind this book.

Sunanda J Chatterjee

 

 

 

I grew up in a Bhilai, a central Indian Steel City, where almost all our neighbours worked in the steel plant, and most were engineers or doctors. As such, the pressure to become an engineer or a doctor was immense, even more so than the rest of the country. My father is an engineer and my mother a science teacher. My three siblings became engineers and I became a doctor. I think, if I had grown up anywhere else, I might have gone into fine art or creative writing, my true love. But as a doctor, I joined the Indian Air Force, then came to the US to pursue a PhD in cancer research. Academics and family became the most important drivers of what I did. I completed my residency training, and became a pathologist.

As a pathologist, I make life-changing diagnoses on a daily basis. Many patients get a clean bill of health, but some get chemotherapy or other harsh medications based on what I find in their biopsy. I carry the burden of the words “carcinoma” or “melanoma” or other such deadly diagnoses with me. It is a draining, harsh environment.

When I took this job, on my day off, I found myself alone at home, and after all errands were done, I had a few free hours. For the first time since I was a child, I actually had time to indulge in creative activities. Writing for me is catharsis, an escape into a world of my creation, where my characters do as I tell them, where calamities happen, but I give them tools to deal with them. I took up writing as a hobby, but as a die-hard academic, I took writing courses and read umpteen books on fiction writing. As I learnt more techniques, I kept changing my first book several times, and by the time I published it, ten years had gone by.

The second and third books became easier to write.

Fighting for Tara was conceived while I was waiting in the dentist’s office reading an issue of National Geographic, when an article caught my attention. It was about child brides in Afghanistan, photographed with their often elderly husbands, all smiling into the camera. The idea took root. Child marriage is deplorable, but some of the brides had no idea that it was appalling. They looked happy.

So I created my lead character, Hansa, who is married off at a young age in Rajasthan, and is soon widowed. She has indomitable spirit, even when she is to be wedded to her brother-in-law after her husband’s death. She takes action only when she is asked to drown her baby girl.

As thirteen year old Hansa grew up, I put myself in her shoes and worked within her constraints to create obstacles and opportunities for her. I think I grew up with her. I researched child marriage and female infanticide extensively. I researched sexual assaults on women, and the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I researched a lot of legal aspects, which I won’t disclose for fear of spoilers.

Mental and physical violence against women is a global phenomenon. But there are courageous women who overcome harsh realities in their lives, and go out of their way to help others. That idea created Rani Sahiba and other supporting women in the book.

After I wrote the book, I needed to make sure that I had the facts correct. So I had my book reviewed by a couple of ex-Jehovah Witnesses and a couple of lawyers for the court scenes, to make sure the situations were authentic.

My wish is to create awareness about child marriage and female infanticide. During my research, I discovered a wonderful organization Girls Not Brides, whom I support for their work in preventing child marriages globally.

More about the author

Freelance author, blogger, and ex-Indian Air Force physician Sunanda Joshi Chatterjee completed her graduate studies in Los Angeles, where she is a practicing pathologist. While medicine is her profession, writing is her passion. When she’s not at the microscope making diagnoses, she loves to write fiction. Her life experiences have taught her that no matter how different people are, their desires, fears, and challenges remain the same.
Her themes include romantic sagas, family dramas, immigrant experience, women’s issues, medicine, and spirituality. She loves extraordinary love stories and heartwarming tales of duty and passion. Her short stories have appeared in short-story.net and induswomanwriting.com.
She grew up in Bhilai, India, and lives in Arcadia, California with her husband and two wonderful children. In her free time, she paints, reads, sings, goes on long walks, and binge-watches TV crime dramas.
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FIGHTING FOR TARA
 
 
 
Blurb
How far will a mother go to save her child?
“I have no use for a baby girl. Get rid of her tonight!” He towered over her as she cringed in fear.
But Hansa, a thirteen-year-old child-bride in rural India, refuses to remain a victim of the oppressive society where a female child is an unwanted burden. Instead of drowning her baby, Hansa escapes from her village with three-month-old Tara.
Hansa soon discovers that life as a teenage mother is fraught with danger. But a single lie opens the door to a promising opportunity far from home.
Just seven years later, Hansa finds herself fighting for Tara’s life once more, this time in an American court, with a woman she calls ‘Mother.’
Will the lie upon which Hansa built her life, defeat its own purpose? How can she succeed when no one believes the truth? 
A story of two mothers, two daughters and a fight to save a child, Fighting for Tara explores the depth of love and motherhood.
Read an excerpt of #FFT here:

 

The soft light of the lantern flickered, casting a dim golden glow in the tiny hut, as shadows danced on its windowless mud walls. Thirteen-year-old Hansa squatted on the floor beside a metal bucket and stared at the glimmering water, dreading the task before her. Her baby whimpered on the floor, struggling in the hand-sewn cloth blanket. Beside the door stood the terracotta urn that held the ashes of her husband.
Hansa heard the grating snores of her drunken brother-in-law Baldev, soon to be her husband, as he slept outside on the wood-framed coir cot in the moonless night. She shuddered.
Just an hour ago, Baldev had yelled at her. “I have no use for a baby girl. Get rid of her tonight!” He towered over her as she cringed in fear.
She’d begged him. “I can’t do it!”
That’s when he’d slapped her. No one had ever hit her before… not even her elderly husband.
Hansa touched her cheek, which still stung from the humiliation and fear.
She doubted her courage to extinguish the baby’s life. Squeezing her eyes shut, she took a deep breath, hoping that dawn would bring her luck.
Tomorrow morning Hansa would travel with Baldev and all the goats they could load into his bullock-cart, and leave the village forever. She would go to a distant land, become Baldev’s second wife, learn the household chores from his first wife, and bear him male heirs… Hansa shivered, apprehensive about her future.
But before her new life could begin, she and Baldev would take a detour to the river to disperse her husband’s ashes and discard her beautiful daughter’s body.
Somewhere deep in her heart, Hansa knew none of this was fair. It wasn’t fair that in a country with a rich heritage of brave queens, young girls were still forced into marriage, sometimes to men older than their grandfathers. It wasn’t fair that she’d been born to poor parents in rural Rajasthan, a state rife with archaic traditions. It wasn’t fair that she had matured early and was given to sixty-year old Gyanchand Rathore from the neighboring village of Dharni, whose first wife and child had died in a fire.
She turned her face away from the bucket, her heart refusing to carry out Baldev’s orders just yet. A shiver ran through her body as she tried not to imagine life without her baby. Think of something else! Think about Gyani!
Gyani’s absence filled Hansa with a dark desolation, a sense of doom, as if his death itself was a living, breathing, overbearing entity.
She thought of his kind eyes, his missing teeth and graying beard, the massive orange turban which she’d tied for him every morning, and the long kurta he wore, which never looked clean no matter how many times she washed it…
But Gyani was gone. Two nights ago, his heart had stopped beating in his sleep, while she slept under the same blanket, her baby right beside her. When she awoke at dawn to the rooster’s call, she had found his cold still body. She shuddered to think she had slept with a corpse, oblivious, in the comfort of her own youthful warmth. Her first encounter with death. And if she did as Baldev asked, there would be another. Tonight.
Gyani’s death had stunned her, and grief hadn’t sunk in. She had not wept for his departed soul, and her neighbor warned her that if she didn’t mourn his passing, she would never move on. But did Hansa really want to move on into a future that included Baldev but excluded her baby?
According to the custom of karewa, Hansa knew that a young widow would be married off to her brother-in-law, so that the money remained in the family. Her neighbor had told her it was her kismet, her fate.
Hansa was brought up not to challenge the norms of society, but to follow them. If the combined wisdom of her ancestors had determined that she should move to Baldev’s village and begin a new life, who was she to argue? She had no family left, no other place to go.
Baldev choked on his spit and coughed outside, jarring the stillness of the night, reminding her of the task ahead.
But while it was her duty to follow Baldev’s orders, she would trade the impending task for eternal damnation.
Her neighbor had said that killing a baby was an unforgivable sin, even though she’d herself drowned two of her daughters the day they were born. Women are the form of Goddess, she’d said, crying at the fate of her own rotten soul.
But it was a matter of survival. Produce a male heir or be turned out on the streets to beg. A female child was a burden. Even Hansa knew that; her father had reminded her of that every day of her life.
That prejudice was her reality.
Hansa was terrified for her own soul, but Baldev said, “A mother can’t be a sinner if she takes a life she brought into this world.” And then he had gone and got drunk on tharra.
Gyani had been unlike most men in the village. He had allowed her to keep the baby, to give her a name. The baby’s eyes glittered like stars on a moonless night.
She called her Tara. Star.
Hansa looked at her baby with pride and with remorse, as every fiber of her being protested, and her stomach turned and her throat tightened.
Outside, Baldev stirred.
Time was running out.
Tara whimpered again, and Hansa turned to look at her chubby fists cycling in the still air, throwing outsized shadows on the walls. Hansa’s hands shook and her mouth turned dry. She bit her lip, forcing herself to focus on the imminent task.
The water in the bucket shimmered black and gold, reflecting the dancing flame of the lantern, mesmerizing, inviting. Water, the giver of life…

 

She made up her mind. It was now or never.

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Marriages Made in India

Book #1
THE SMITTEN HUSBAND
by
Sundari Venkatraman

Blurb

Ram Maheshwari is a successful jewellery designer who has a huge showroom on MI Road, Jaipur. He’s tall, dark, handsome and a billionaire to boot. He’s twenty-nine and falls in with his parents’ wishes when they try to arrange his marriage.
The lovely, stormy-eyed Sapna Purohit is from Pushkar. She’s managed to finish school and makes a living by doing mehendi designs during weddings. She’s always dreamt of a Prince on a white horse, sweeping her off her feet.
One look into Sapna’s grey eyes and Ram is lost. Only, Sapna’s unable to see her Prince in Ram. Being from a poor family, she has no choice but to go along with the tide when the Maheshwaris offer to bear all expenses of the wedding. 
Does that mean that the feisty Sapna is all set to accept Ram as her husband? She puts forth a condition, after the wedding. Will The Smitten Husband agree to it?
*MARRIAGES MADE IN INDIA is a five-novella series that revolves around the characters you have met in The Runaway Bridegroom.
Read an excerpt…

“Good morning!” said a sleepy voice. “What are you doing so far away?” called out Ram, before reaching out with a long arm to pull her to him.
A startled Sapna gave him a shocked look that was lost on her husband, whose eyes were still closed. His arms went around her waist like steel bands, his breath hot against her cheek. “Sapna…” he whispered in her ear as his hard lips pressed into her petal soft cheek.
Sapna tried to pull out of his arms, only to have them pull her closer. Her breasts were flattened against his solid chest. Her traitorous body seemed to enjoy the pressure as her nipples perked up. She did her best to hold on to the control that was slipping fast.
“Ram,” she called out loudly, hoping to wake him up. She couldn’t free her arms that were trapped against her own body, as he held her in a crushing grip. His mouth was busy exploring her face, moving inexorably towards her lips. His eyes continued to remain closed, while his hands moved restlessly at her waist. “Ram…” her voice came out in a whisper, as she felt his tongue trace the edge of her lips. Tortured, she made the final move to capture his roving lips, breaking free her hands to hold his face steady.
“Sapna…” sighed Ram, kissing her gently, his tongue first tracing her upper lip and then her lower one. He gently bit the luscious curve. Sapna instinctively opened her mouth to let him explore the velvety cavern with his tongue. Shyly, her tongue reached out to mate with his, making Ram groan with need.
His hands moved restlessly on her body, her nightie bunching up. His muscular legs tangled with her slim ones, making her sigh with pleasure as his hard and hairy skin brushed against her soft and silky one. His hands cupped her lush bottom, caressing it lovingly.
Sapna suddenly became aware of his hardness pressed against her belly. Coming to her senses, she turned her face away, breaking the kiss. “No Ram.”
His wet lips continued to caress her, his tongue exploring her shell-like ear. Even as her heart thudded loudly, Sapna pushed against him. “Ram, please, will you stop it?”
His black eyes opened a slit, desire and slumber at war in them. “Sapna?” If he hadn’t been fully awake before, he was now, as he stared at her lovely face that was so close to his. He slowly recalled what had been occurring over the past few minutes. He had at first thought he was dreaming about kissing the luscious woman in his arms. How had she landed there in the first place?
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About The Author

The Smitten Husband is the eighth book authored by Sundari Venkatraman. This is a hot romance and is Book #1 of the 5-novella series titled Marriages Made in India. Other published novels by the author are The Malhotra Bride, Meghna, The Runaway Bridegroom, The Madras Affair and An Autograph for Anjali—all romances. She also has a collection of romantic short stories called Matches Made in Heaven; and a collection of human interest stories called Tales of Sunshine. All of Sundari Venkatraman’s books have been on Amazon Top 100 Bestsellers in India, USA, UK & Australia many times over.


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“I chose not to surrender but fight with leaving behind my footprints as an inspiration for others.” – Inderjit Kaur

 

Hello all! Today in our Blog Guest Post column, we have Inderjit Kaur, an author, motivator with a powerful voice of spreading positive words through her writingsA highly influential blogger and inspirational guide who with her tag line ‘Keep smiling, keep shining’, has brewed up with the original concept of living through her books of A living series. She shares with us about her recent book Kaleidoscope -Colours of Life, the third book under her under her ‘A Living Series’.

Inderjit Kaur

Your new book talks about inspiration of life. What inspired you to be an author?

What could be challenging then to change yourself and exactly that was the option that I chose.  I did suffer and survived 22 years of domestic violence headed with betrayal of relationship but I didn’t give up. I chose not to surrender but fight with leaving behind my footprints as an inspiration for others. When you reach a stage where the only option left is to release things clinging on you that are pausing your life, you feel enlightened and no longer a victim. You experience your mind is at ease even in difficult situations and this remarks you to a point of self-liberations. Simultaneously, you are blessed with more skill, mastering your potential and making yourself wiser every day culminating you to self-transformation that goes beyond transcendence.

I had originally thought to write a biography, but I felt there would not be enough information available to me. But inspirational words were jotted from core of my heart thus self-help and positive living books brewed up thus I was successful to create “A living series”- And now I’m pro to write only positive and inspirational ideas.

The colours of life pages the accounts of my own experiences, stories told by other people and the thoughts that I dwelled on while travelling through the times of my hardship and adversities, which just harnessed my true potential and discover the real me.

 

The third book in the Living Series is a Kaleidoscope to the life as the light it cast is more intense which witnesses to the most profound human experiences that I metaphor as Rainbow.

 

Hence the title  Kaleidoscope -Colours of Life.

KALEIDOSCOPE – COLOURS OF LIFE 
A LIVING SERIES: BOOK 3
BY
INDERJIT KAUR
 
 
Blurb
“Patience helps you endure all the troubles and issues that bother you. When you reach a stage, where the only remaining option is to release the things that are clinging on to you and pause your life, you feel enlightened and feel the positive impact of the change, and you no longer see yourself a victim of life. 
 
Kaleidoscope – Colours of Life is a of inspiring stories, suggestive poignant thoughts and ideologies that serve as a guide in every stage of life. Interlaced with threads of experiences of life and the lessons learnt from them, the book depicts seven inspiring stories weaved into the magnificent array of a rainbow. Charting the various shades of life, the book further highlights the ups and downs of each of the characters, who are embedded here as a metaphor for a rainbow, in the patio of a plethora of circumstances. 
 
By sharing wisdom, experiences and insights, Kaleidoscope – Colours of Life intends to deliver a message that will inspire and empower the readers to sense happiness and contentment, and help them to navigate life as a truly confident individual.”
 
 

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MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Inderjit Kaur is an author, motivator with a powerful voice of spreading positive words through her writings. A highly influential blogger and inspirational guide who with her tag line ‘Keep smiling, keep shining’, has brewed up with the original concept of living through her books of A living series.

 

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 The following short story was published in Youth e-magazine Salisonline.com under STORY SLAM. You can read it and share your comments in the magazine website. Thanks.
She sat in the corridor lobby. Nervous, anxious and tired. The clock on the wall above did nothing to ease her. It was just five minutes past that she had taken her seat in the lobby yet it seemed like ages. The years back flashed past her eyes like a rewinding tape. The scenario was more or less the same. Only difference was this time the OPD registration form had her name on the patient list. It was not that she had not anticipated it but it would happen so soon was something she had never dream of.
Just few weeks back she had celebrated her fortieth birthday. Her life was promising as ever. Her career graph was escalating and her promotion was round the corner. The coming New Year meant a new beginning for her. First as the unit head of her own branch in the uptown and second her three bedroom duplex bungalow in the sub urban, that was anxiously waiting for the arrival of its new owner. Seriously life wasn’t easy for her but she had paved her way smoothly to where she stood today, a winner.
But her life had come to a standstill when her biggest fears came alive. While taking shower she noticed a swelling in her left armpit. It didn’t look that bad but it had her bells ringing. She had come across such situations earlier too. Years back Mom had a small lump in her breast which was diagnosed as cancer. Although mom was operated and the tumor was removed yet she could not survive the treatment. Years later Dad was diagnosed with a tumor in the larynx. Luckily he survived the treatment yet the after effects were too much for the old man. He was not the same man anymore and in few years his condition deteriorated and he was bed ridden. And finally after a dreadful year he breathed his last.
Since then she had lived with the fear of getting diagnosed with the disease some day. It had been several years since. She was a doting mother and a loving wife now yet the fear remained within her. And that day in the bathroom her worst dream came true and her world turned upside down. Life had come to a standstill. She didn’t know how to react. Should she cry or should she be strong enough to face it. Cry? No! For she had long since known something like this would happen to her so, she had to be strong. But wasn’t it too early than she had anticipated it to happen? She was just forty for God’s Sake. Her child, her family, her dreams. She was too young for it. Her soul screamed yet no one heard.
She disclosed her little secret to her husband after two days. Probably it had taken her ounce of strength to share it with him. His reaction was not unknown to her. He was one of those men who were more dependent on their wife for emotional support and strength. Over the years she was well aware of his outburst on slightest provocation and here we were discussing the dreaded “C”.  But he left her surprised.
It seemed like he was more prepared for it than her. Without wasting a minute he had listed out the things to do. As if he had been planning it for years and now the time had arrived to put his preparation to test. She could not stop her tears as they rolled down her eyes. He hugged her and let her wet his tee. He had proved her wrong and stood like a rock to sail her through the storm. Could her stars be luckier, she thought.
Her appointment with her gynecologist was pathetic. The lady seemed to know only about how to deliver babies and anything more was like something out of syllabus for her. God they make these kinds of Doctors now a day. No doubt there is a nursing home mushrooming at every corner of the neighborhood and the doctors no better than salesman pitching their caliber to the walk-in patients for generating revenue. A sign of doubt on the patient’s face will fetch a list of tie-up diagnostic centers from the doctor’s side with a clean mention, ”They are the best for the purpose.”
She had been too experienced for these kind of pitches and was disgusted to have wasted her precious time there. But her problem was not solved and she needed confirmation on her status immediately. That night was the longest night for both of them. There were so many things that they had dreamt of doing together and life had cut short their time. Both of them decided to make note of things that needed immediate care.
First was to get a home help who could take charge of the household work and look after the children in their absence. Someone reliable from the family would be a better choice as saving money was more important now. Secondly, once the treatment starts both will be busy for months and at that time they need good inflow of cash. So far they were both bringing in money at the end of the month that enabled them a decent lifestyle. But now the case is different. She wasn’t sure if she would ever be able to go back to work any time soon and how long could her husband afford leave. Suddenly, the entire balance of life had gone aghast.
Sleep was inevitable for both of them as they lay in bed at night thinking of the hard days ahead. The mere thought of the word “C” had tumbled their entire life. It was a big question where would she take the treatment. With today’s interaction with the gynecologist she hardly thought about her treatment in the city. That means the treatment would also include outstation charges. Also the question was how capable she would be after the treatment. She had seen the survivors and she knew she cannot compare herself with Manisha Koirala or Liza Ray. Coming from a middle class family she had her limitations. So the question was who to fall upon. There was nobody in the family and friends who could be called upon. Just them. Alone, helpless and confused.
The very next day she showed some courage and landed up in the cancer ward of the hospital thinking “If this is where I have to come later so be it NOW.” Very bravely she spoke with the doctor who keenly observed her case history. So far all her reports were normal but that were couple of months prior to her findings. So fresh test was necessary that would confirm her current status. The doctor examined her and advised for some tests. She went through the tests and waited her report outside the lobby in the corridor.
Waiting in the lobby outside the report room was hardest part of her life. She sat her legs crossed, arms across her breast and head down, raising it now and shooting a peek at the clock above. Tic- tock tic-tock the clock went and so did her heart beat. With every second her emotions was scaling a new thought.
YES or NO
YES or NO
YES or NO
She remembered the look of her radiologist while undergoing her test.
No! The lady didn’t indicate anything alarming. On the contrary her expressions were too flat. Maybe they are trained for that kind of expression.” She thought aloud.
Her thought wandered few months back. Maybe her body had given some indication that all was not well. Her frequent sore throat, her lower abdominal pain, her back ache.
Was her body trying to tell her something? Why didn’t she listen or rather didn’t take it seriously at all? Was she really sick all these months? But she didn’t have any symptoms that she had Google searched for. But how can she be so sure? She already has a family history. Wasn’t it enough to keep her alert? She shouldn’t have taken everything so easy. Life doesn’t give a second chance. At least she could not bet on that.
She sped a long look at the lady in the report room. The lady was busy assembling reports and announcing name of the patients. Finally the lady called her name and she got up to collect her report. Her heart pounding as if it would come out. Her fingers stopped working as she took the envelope in her hand. She had no strength left anymore. For three days she had put up a brave fight but not anymore. With trembling hands she handed the envelope to her husband and he quickly flipped through the pages.
He hugged her and whispered, “You have just kissed the death! You come clear.“
She hugged him tight and a tear dropped down her eye.
               The End

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