Book Review – Murder in the Palace and Other Stories

Author – Priya U Bajpai is a short story author and poet, with several of her past work

having been published in mainstream newspapers. A literature scholar, Priya loves writing fast-paced and layered tales across genres.

priya.jpg
Book Review of Short Stories

Book – Priya’s book is a collection of short stories which range from murder mysteries, sci-fi, historical fiction, horror to paranormal.

The book starts with a murder mystery ‘Murder in the Palace’ where Detective Anna Roy is called upon to solve the case of the mysterious death of Susanne Smith, a royal heiress. There are various characters like her husband, ex-husband, lover, friend and best friend in the story, and each one of them seem to have a motive to kill Susanne. The mystery is multi-layered. The characters develop with the story and the clues keep you guessing till the end.

Banon’s Conundrum is a sci-fi that talks about the Sun dying and a new star Banon replacing it. I liked the story for two reasons – firstly, the Earth has rejuvenated its natural resources and has reclaimed its old beauty and charm, and secondly for the strong-willed female protagonist Kwakan.

In Blueprint, you actually admire the perfection-seeking Dr. Tanya Jacob and her obsessive love for Fibonacci sequence that makes her stop at nothing. However, a reader is left wondering who is the bigger protagonist here? The scientist or Fibonacci.

Geisha as the title suggests is a story of a geisha, who stands by her principles and gets her heart broken because of it.

Much has been written about one of the darkest periods in the human civilisation, the holocaust, however it is poignant and shameful to read every new one. Priya’s Horrific Holocaust talks about how a girl is not only not able to keep her promise to a Jew friend in the times of Nazi occupation but is also not capable enough to save her from death in the concentration camp. A simple story that makes you feel as helpless as the girl in the story and horrified at the inevitable end of the Jew girl.

I am II is again a sci-fi that raises the worrying question that was first put forward by the movie – I, Robot starring Will Smith where humanoid robots powered by artificial intelligence come together to take over the world. However, Priya’s II is not AI, but a step further. It is Infinite Intelligence which is more intimidating because of the dispassionate manner in which the machine thinks.

The Mysterious Globe and Neil’s Shoe, two of my favourites are not at all what you expect. Quite a twist they have and scary too!

Killer keeps you hooked till the end. Just when you thought you had solved the murder mystery, you find out it wasn’t what it seemed to be.

What I like – Priya’s versatility is commendable. Every story is different and interesting that it makes the reader sit up and think. Priya has good writing style and her characters are well developed. Dr. Tanya Jacob’s sinister character in Blueprint actually sent the shivers up my spine while I sympathised with Neha in Neil’s Shoe. Detective Anna Roy is a tough lady and doesn’t scare easy. I would like it if Priya can develop more stories around her.

What could have been better – Some of Priya’s stories especially The Dazzled, a story of a masseur and a mysterious lady on the metro, are short and less detailed which leaves the reader wanting for more.

This book gets a definite thumbs up from me. There is a bit of everything for every kind of reader, and the best part is it is entertaining to the core.

Download Priya’s book from here.

How My Ebook ‘Tara’ Has Changed My Life?

Fiction story, ebook, blogchatterebook
I feel on top of the world after publishing my ebook Tara and want to stay there. 😉

I take on the baton of Blogchatter Ebook Carnival from Aesha whose ebook ‘Decoding MidLife’ is also a part of the mix.

About Aesha’s ebook: It covers topics like – ‘Approaching Midlife with positivity and vigour and not consider it to be a crisis phase of life. Writing this book has been an enriching and moving experience for the author as she explores facets of her own unknown personality.

So it has been a month since my ebook launched and tell you it has been a roller coaster journey since then, with more ups than downs. I am extremely proud to be the owner of my shiny ebook. If a couple of months ago had someone said I would be writing my own ebook, I would have surely laughed at them. But here I am with Tara and feeling so happy about it. I have been getting the sweetest messages from people all around the world (even from those who have not been in touch for quite sometime) that they read my ebook and loved it.

Participating in the BlogChatterEbook Carnival has changed my life in so many ways. Let me tell you how –

For the last month or so, I have been reading other ebooks, and let me tell you I am impressed with what I have read so far. There are so many talented people out there. It feels good to read them and then connect with them.

Stephen King rightly said – “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” And so I am catching up on my reading!

I have reviewed these books which was a first for me. So see, I learnt something new. I won’t say I am a very good book reviewer, but I am learning the ropes and happy with myself so far. Though I have a long way to go…

It is no fun to write when you don’t have someone to share with. Yes, you need your village, and I have found one in the BlogChatter community. We write, we tweet, we share, we read and we encourage. We have built a small close knit writing community and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Apart from this, it’s fun to be a part of the live sessions held by BlogChatter for they are quite informative, helpful and useful for budding writers like me.

Now want to read about my book – Tara? Here is the blurb:

Tara is a dreamer who lives in her past. After a bad breakup, she chooses to marry but fails to accept her husband. A chance meeting with her ex-lover rekindles her interest. Will she give in or save her marriage? Or will she listen to her heart and break free?

Download your free copy from hereTara

Now, I pass on the Baton of Blogchatter Ebook Carnival to Deepa whose ebook ‘Healthy Recipes Cookbook’ is also part of the mix.

About Deepa’s ebook: Healthy but not boring. Her experiments in the kitchen are inspired by her daughters, her inspiration for discovering healthy & yummy new recipes She hopes to break the myth that healthy food is boring and tasteless.

 

 

 

Book Review – Parenting & A Slice of Everything

Anupriya-Gupta-900x0.jpg

Author – Anupriya runs a blog mommytincture wherein she shares her experiences and thoughts as a mother, a daughter, a woman and a conscientious human being.

Book – Parenting & A Slice of Everything is a collection of 26 stories that portrays various incidents and emotions related to pregnancy, parenthood and relationships.

It showcases the life of two sisters, Smita and Amrita, one who chooses to not have a child and the other who has a 5-year old and is pregnant with her second baby. However, the story is not restricted to Smita and Amrita alone but talks about other people in their life too.

The book touches on relevant topics of both pregnancy and parenting such as a successful career woman Smita is bullied by her mother to start her family, an extremely pregnant Amrita feeling inadequate and jealous when she sees her husband paying more than necessary attention to his slim and svelte colleague, her genuine confusion on how to introduce certain topics like death to her young son or how to behave when her son throws a massive tantrum in the mall for a chocolate, Amrita and her husband Raghav stealing moments of passion on their date night, potty training, the nanny who becomes a surrogate to Amrita’s elder son Nik, and so on.

We also come across endearing stories of Smita and Amrita’s mother, Mrs. Gujral who has been dominated all her life by her perfection-seeking husband and a single mother who is raising her son all alone trying her best so that her son doesn’t take after his father.

Review – I had expected this book to contain only advice and tips on parenting. However, I was in for a pleasant surprise. The book is in the form of a story that doesn’t restrict itself to parenting, but also talks about life and relationships in general. Every chapter raises a pertinent question about parenting and life which makes the reader take a moment and ponder. I found it very innovative, as admit it, tips and suggestions even when given out in good faith are both condescending and boring.

What I liked –

I found this chapter very endearing where Smita’s mother in law is jealous of Smita for usurping her son. She clings to her son whenever he visits her. Smita understands the feeling of loneliness and desperation that the older lady is going through. She extends a hand of friendship and lets the mother in law know that she can never take her place – the place of the mother.

These lines will give every couple who ever argued about not having a second baby quite some food for thought –

With a single salary, this lower middle-class couple had nurtured two saplings into full blossom flowers – confident, capable and financially independent. And here she had in front of her, a couple who earned a six-digit monthly salary each and yet could not afford parenthood.

What I didn’t like –

Some grammatical and spelling errors though it doesn’t affect the reading pleasure.

In all, Parenting & A Slice of Everything has a bit of everything for a reader. If it gives you an insight into what parenting can be like, it also reveals the intricacies and complexities of relationships.

To read the book, you can download it from here.

Book Review – That Year I Found Me

Ruchi-Chopra-900x0.png

Author – Dubai based Dr Ruchi Chopra Nasa is a Pathologist by profession. She loves to scribble on her blog, and you can find her writings on website: https://thevagabond.me/.

Plot – Neha, a doctor, is happy and secured in her loving little family comprising her college sweetheart turned husband Akash, also a doctor, and her son, Pihu, till one day she comes to know that her husband had cheated on her. Though Akash confesses to the extra marital affair being long over and apologises for his mistake, Neha finds it difficult to come to terms with this breach of trust and runs away from home. However, she realises that she still loves her husband and running away is not the solution. She returns and both husband and wife make an effort to work on their relationship. This is also the time when Neha decides to quit her job as she is not happy in her profession and takes up studies again. Both her husband and young son encourage and support her. Years later, Akash’s past knocks at his door once again.

Review – The story is written in the form of a personal journal. Though Ruchi took part in the A to Z blogging challenge, the book’s chapters are not titled alphabetically. It’s neither here nor there; it’s just something that I happened to notice.

I will tell you a few more things that caught my eye while reading the book.

Firstly, Neha gets married when she still wanted to enjoy life, gets a child because her parents and parents in law told her it was the practical thing to do and quits her job to take care of the child because that was the right thing to do. She has always bowed down to the pressures of the society and is therefore bitter about it. This is a very pertinent subject as more or less every Indian girl experiences this in her life and questions it at some point.

Ruchi has given a glimpse into the world of medical doctors. Instead of glorifying it as it is usually done, she has indicated that how when their peers are already into the family way, have a car and are steadily paying towards their home loan, MDs who have recently post graduated have not even thought of starting a family and have zero bank balance for having lived on meagre stipends.

The premise of the story is so relatable because every woman at least once in her married life asks herself what she would do if she ever finds out that her man is cheating on her. Would she leave him or see it as a signal that her marriage needs to work upon? Neha once tells Akash that she would definitely leave him should the situation ever arise in their marriage. However, when she is faced with it in reality, she is not able to run away but sticks by her husband.

Ruchi has woven a lot of wisdom in her story.

It is so surprising over the years, we humans accumulate so much of unnecessary egos, negative thoughts, and negative people. An excess baggage of all sort as we age! Yet we never bother to do that cleaning in our lives.

You don’t get old when you are certain age, you get old when you start resisting the change. You get old when you stop celebrating the wonderful gift of life. You get old when you start waiting to die. You get old when you stop believing in love.

And my favourite of all – “Love is not about candle light dinners, and precious gifts. Love is not just going around each other arm in arm. Love is holding the other when they themselves are not able to.

That Year I Found Me is not a love story, but much more than that. It talks about marriage, the highs and lows that a couple experiences and their struggle to keep the relation-ship afloat. It is an eye opener for couples who think of taking the easy way when their marriage hits choppy waters. It is also inspirational for women as it shows Neha quitting her high paying job because she was not happy in it and finding happiness in studying again.

Download Ruchi’s book here – https://www.theblogchatter.com/download/that-year-i-found-me-dr-ruchi-chopra-nasa/

BTW, I have released my ebook too. It’s called Tara – https://tinyurl.com/y8gvc5gr

Do download and show it some love, love!! –

 

Book Review – The Last Seychelles Flame

medha nagur

Author – The Last Seychelles Flame is written by blogger, Instagrammer and Zumba enthusiast, Medha Nagur.

Plot – Adrija is a photographer by profession who has big dreams. However, she belongs to a low-income group and lives in a small town which has no prospects career wise. Furthermore, By the virtue of being a girl, she is also seen as a burden by her parents. Her father refused to finance her dreams and doesn’t endorse her profession of a photographer either. Her mother taunts her for not getting married even when she has crossed 30 and her friends are not only married, but also in the family way. But, Adrija pays no heed to them and quits home to pursue her dreams.

In her new job in the city of dreams, Mumbai she meets some interesting people. And, soon she travels to Seychelles for an exciting fashion assignment, where she meets Omkar Arora, an irritating but lovable man. The two of them share a great chemistry. The world might have been hunky dory had been her ex-boyfriend not re-entered to haunt her.

Will Adrija be able to get free of her terrible past. Will the flames kindle between Omkar and her? Will she be able to soar high professionally, something for which she fought with her parents and quit home? Will she find her true love and live happily ever after?

Read more to know.

Review –

What made me choose this book was its title ‘The Last Seychelles Flame’. Reading it I knew it had to be a romantic story, I am sucker for them. Also, the word Seychelles popped up the image of turquoise blue waters, sugar white sand beaches and swaying coconut palms in my head, and I couldn’t resist it.

Adrija is the protagonist of the story. She is a career-oriented girl and is highly motivated to realise her dreams. She has very high self-esteem and is hesitant to ask for help even in situations beyond her control.

Another mainstay character is Omkar who in spite of his beach boy looks turns out to be a dependable person and a loyal friend to Adrija.

Ronnie, the supposed love of Adrija’s life, is another important character in the book. He is a trouble maker and stays true to his character till the end.

The book touches on the fact that girls are often considered to be a burden for parents and they see their daughters as someone to be married off without spending much on their education. The story also underlines the importance for girls (or even men) to be wise in choosing their partners. A wrong step can cost them big time.

These lines from the book I particularly liked.

Challenges are like sweet butterscotch granules sprinkled all over in the cake of life, which are difficult to pick out and discard but if you know how to enjoy them even when they are hard to bite, they sure will enhance your experience.

Medha’s story is gripping and keeps you hooked till the end. It’s a romantic read and doesn’t disappoint you in the slightest. If you enjoy love stories, this one is just right for you.

Download Medha’s book ‘The Last Seychelles Flame’ – https://www.theblogchatter.com/download/the-last-seychelles-flame-medha-nagur/

Book Review – 26 Favourite foods and a little bit of me by Mayuri Nidigallu

You come across a cookery blog or book, and you tend to dismiss it by saying ‘It’s just another one in the long list!” but, then you pick it up and go through it only to realise that is not the case.

Mayuri pic

I am so glad I picked up Mayuri’s book “26 Favourite foods and a little bit of me” (of course the cover picture of an indulgent Indian spread in copper handis helped) for not only I got some amazing recipes, but also caught a glimpse into Mayuri’s childhood, her likes and dislikes, and her family.

Every chapter in the book describes a food item beginning with an alphabet, and also talks about her personal life starting with the very same alphabet. For instance, C is for Chaat, but then the same chapter also talks about C for Calm! I found it quite innovative and entertaining!

A book is the author’s reflection, Mayuri’s book is definitely hers. The titbits of personal information that she shares make the book more personable and interesting. As I flipped one page after another, I got to know that Mayuri is born a Punjabi and married to a Telegu in an arranged inter-caste marriage (my eyebrows almost touched the head), she can imitate people’s voice and mannerisms, she hates elaborate cooking (we have to be soul sisters), the hilarious story of her wedding day sweet ‘Putarekulu’ and about her numerous quirks. It also made me wonder if I didn’t already know her.  apart from the fact that she is a tarot card reader and runs a lifestyle blog magazine by the name Sirimiri.

Her language is simple. She has mentioned the recipe links that takes you directly to her blog site, which I thought was very clever on her part, as it keeps the book clean and short.

I am not a foodie, but going through 26 different foods in Mayuri’s book, I realized I love good food. Also, it’s not just another cookery book, it’s much more than that!!

If you liked what you read, do download “26 Favourite foods and a little bit of me” by Mayuri Nidigallu from here – https://www.theblogchatter.com/download/26-favourite-foods-and-a-little-bit-of-me-by-mayuri-nidigallu/?wpdmdl=2769

My Journey of A to Z Blogging Challenge

journey.jpg

April is over!! And with it the Blogchatter’s A to Z blogging challenge. What a month it was!! Assimilating thoughts, writing them down, reading posts of fellow bloggers and tweeting like crazy… Wow!! I still can’t believe I did it all.

I came to know about AtoZ challenge from a blogger friend in mid March. I read about the challenge and found it fascinating. I realized it was time I stepped out of my weekly blogging comfort and challenged myself to write daily.

Finding a theme was the most difficult part. I went over a few interesting themes, but then I thought I should write about the one that was the closest to my heart. And so I chose to write about a woman who is so influenced by her past that she refuses to appreciate her present. However, she realizes this in time and saves her future.

During the last 30 days, I met quite a few bloggers who I didn’t know before, we read each others’ posts daily, commented on them (critiqued and appreciated them all in a respectable manner) and became like a big happy family. Every morning, I would wake up desperate to read new posts and comments on my posts. It was so exhilarating.

My takeaways from this challenge:

  • If you believe in yourself, you can do it. There is no challenge greater than your spirit.
  • There is a beautiful blogging universe out there. You just have to reach out to them, and they will be there for you!
  • Read, read and read other blogs. You come across so many novel ideas.

I have made some amazing friends over the month whom I can’t thank enough. Also, they have taught me a lot:

  • Shalini who has read such fascinating books and whose book reviews urge you to leave everything there and then to go grab a copy for yourself. https://www.shalzmojo.in/
  • Balaka Basu who portrayed her characters so well that you wanted to meet each one of them. – https://trinalooksback.com/
  • Deepa Karthik who is one of the wisest bloggers I have met. Her posts are simple, wise and full of universal truth. – https://syncwithdeep.wordpress.com/
  • Neethu in whom I see my reflection. Her posts are quirky and fun just like her. https://outlawnee.wordpress.com/
  • Priya who is a master of all forms of writing. Be it poems, caligrams, sci-fis or murder mysteries. https://priyreflects.com/
  • Seema who fascinated me with the description of beautiful old houses of India and her lovely illustrations. https://lonelycanopyblog.wordpress.com/
  • Aesha who told me about this contest and saw me through it. Her understanding of midlife is practical, fun and deep. https://aeshasmusings.com/
  • Akshata who wrote a lovely story about Myra, a strong woman we all aspire to be. https://akswrites.com/
  • Anagha who kept us in splits with the funny anecdotes of Mrs. Chitterchatter and her nutty family. https://canvaswithrainbow.com/
  • Meha who has observed people from close quarters and shared their storied s through the soul of a dog residing in the colorful Rainbow society.  https://oflifeanditsfollies.wordpress.com/
  • Dipika who wrote insightful articles on parenting. She understands the problems from the viewpoint of a child and gives practical solutions.  http://www.gleefulblogger.com/
  • Meena who made us proud of our Indian heritage all over again. https://balconysunrise.wordpress.com/
  • Ashwini who wrote about issues many would be only too glad to brush them under the carpet. A true feminist! https://ashwinis-perceptions.blogspot.in/
  • Shirley who wrote about medical conditions in depth. https://riseandsoar.com/
  • Rashmi who wrote on such a wide array of interesting topics. https://bewildagain.wordpress.com/
  • Shilpa who wrote fascinating stories on anything under the sun. https://shilpanairy.wordpress.com/

And many other bloggers, especially Amit from @doc2poet, Mahak from @babyandbeyondin and Rohan from RohanKachalia.com who I read from time to time but couldn’t pursue for lack of time.

Now that the contest is over, I feel this kind of void. My mornings are dull, it feels there is not much to look forward to. However, a few of my blogger friends suggested I should get my story published into an ebook through Blogchatter. I am currently busy with preparing the manuscript.

I know it’s too early to say this, but I think I am already prepared for the next Blogchatter AtoZ blogging challenge, 2019.

 

 

 

 

Zest for life

This story is part of a novella – A girl was born

Do check out the first and the subsequent chapters – https://firsttimemommy.net/category/a-z-blogging-challenge-2018/

zest for life.jpg
Image: ednaot8.bg

The society didn’t take her divorce kindly; she was made out to be a villain. Many of their common friends sided with Nikhil and avoided her. Tia refused to talk to her initially as she blamed her for wrecking their beautiful family. Even her parents, her father in particular was shocked when he came to know that she was separating from Nikhil.

“Have you turned mad? Have your crazy hormones taken over your mind as well? Who leaves a husband like Nikhil? Does he beat you, does he starve you or does he not take care of you?”

“You mean he is a cash cow, yes, he is. He is also a very good husband. But, I couldn’t be a good wife to him. I don’t love him.”

“Love!! Huh!! What has love ever given you anything? What has love ever given anyone anything? Forget about love and start living in reality. Unless you change your decision to separate from Nikhil, don’t try to contact or meet us.”

In spite of all lack of support, Tara had not only survived but thrived.

She had put all her energy and efforts in building up a new life, and she was successful at it. She was the Director of one of the best and most sought-after schools in town. She also ran a non-profitable school for kids of the streets and slums. And, she still had a long way to go. Today, she was going to be felicitated by the Hon. Education Minister of State for her contribution to the education industry.

She was too old for climbing trees, but Tara felt she had wings and she was meant for soaring high. She realised that she was a more capable person when she was not chasing around a man or when she was not forcefully bound to one. Love was a beautiful sentiment, but it was definitely not for her. It’s not that she didn’t miss that ‘special someone’ in her life, the warm person lying next to her on the bed that she could call her own or the person she could grow old with. But she didn’t have time for regrets. She had very little time and quite a lot to accomplish.

The doorbell rang breaking into her daydream. Tara climbed down the stairs to open the door. It was Nikhil. He had insisted on accompanying them to Tara’s felicitation ceremony. Tara didn’t refuse. Nikhil was a good man. He was the only man who had stood by her, in spite of everything. The new marriage suited Nikhil. He looked happier and healthier. Tara noted.

“You are beautiful, Tara,” there was a look of genuine appreciation in his eyes. Nikhil had changed. That was the first compliment he had ever given to her.

“I know!” Tara agreed.

************************************************************

Thank you for reading Tara’s story and appreciating it. Tara let her Yesterday ruin her Today, fortunately she held herself before she could ruin her Tomorrow too.

I wanted to project three realities of life through this story –

  • The dusky complexion of Tara is a continuous backdrop. I have suffered it first hand, and thus wanted to show how it can affect young minds. Sadly, even after almost 40 years, things haven’t changed much. We still have fairness creams available in the market and we still believe fair is more beautiful.
  • Midlife is that phase of life when most women are hit with an identity crisis. Kids are leaving home for studies or are getting married. Women don’t know what to make out of their life. The menopause and the loss of hormones don’t help either. That is the reason I have put action in Tara’s 40s. She hits midlife, but she doesn’t let age stop her. She starts anew at an age when most of us are too wary of fresh beginnings. She finds ambition in life for the first time and is raring to go.
  • Thirdly, the biggest reality of life. We ignore what we have in life, because we are too busy crying for something we don’t have.

Yesterday Today Tomorrow

This story is part of a novella – A girl was born

Do check out the first and the subsequent chapters – https://firsttimemommy.net/category/a-z-blogging-challenge-2018/

mother-407269_960_720.jpg
Image: pixabay

Seven years later. Tia was getting ready for the party. She was late. Nikhil would be coming any moment now to pick them up. Tara was already dressed and ready.

She went up the stairs to check up on Tia. Tia was in Tara’s bedroom, standing in front of the mirror, applying makeup with a deft hand. She confidently dabbed rouge on her high cheeks, put kohl in her eyes and coloured her lips a soft mauve. Giving a final brush to her long, silky hair, she turned to face Tara.

“You are so beautiful, Tia.” This was true. Tia’s skin was dusky just like Tara’s and hence, Tara has always feared that Tia would be meted out the same punishment as she had at the hands of the society. She remembered how people would side up with her more beautiful friends in the college and completely ignored Tara as if she didn’t exist. As if she wasn’t standing there at all.

She remembered how her relatives would say to her parents, “Any man would do for Tara. She should be lucky if she got married at all.” She tried to ignore those hurtful words, but she couldn’t. They had become a part of her existence and pinched and pricked her constantly.

But, Tia was different. She didn’t care for what the society thought of her. She never had any qualms about her complexion. She rejoiced in her beauty. She carried herself with grace and confidence, something Tara never had.

“Mama, you are beautiful too. Let me show you.” And before Tara could protest, she dragged Tara to the settee in front of the mirror and made her sit on it.

“Your father should be here, Tia. You don’t want to keep him waiting.”

“He can wait. After all, he would be getting to escort two lovely ladies today.” Tia laughed.

Tara’s idea of makeup was limited to kohl and lipstick, but Tia put rouge on her cheeks, mascara on her eyelashes and winged eye liner on her eye lids. She then removed the band with which Tara had secured her hair and brushed them till they shone.

“Open your eyes, mama!” Tia asked and Tara complied. Tara looked in the mirror and found a different woman.

“See mama, you are so beautiful.”

“All kids find their mothers beautiful. Plus, makeup is bound to make you beautiful.” Tara joked.

“Maybe. But you are beautiful through and through. Why don’t you accept it, ma?”

“What you did, not many women can do. You could have stayed with daddy in a loveless marriage, but you didn’t. Thanks to you, daddy found Sheel (Tia called her stepmother with her first name at her behest), a dear woman who actually loves him. And, I have never seen you jealous or regretting that decision. You are today’s woman – bold and unconventional.”

Tara was proud of her daughter. She was unlike many young girls of her age. She had more wisdom and better perception than Tara had at her age. Nikhil and Tara had raised their daughter well.

It was time she told him about Himanshu. After all, Tia was at the age when Tara had already met Himanshu. She would understand why Tara did what she did.

“Mama, what are you thinking?” Tia asked. Tara shook her head and smiled at her daughter.

Tia was right. She had broken many rules and paid a huge price for it.

Read the final and concluding chapter of Tara’s life tomorrow. 

(e)Xcess Baggage

This story is part of a novella – A girl was born

Do check out the first and the subsequent chapters – https://firsttimemommy.net/category/a-z-blogging-challenge-2018/

excess baggage.jpg
Image: pixabay

Over the weekend with Tia away, Tara got much time to think things through. She revisited her past and realized what a mess she had managed to make of her life. This was not what she had wanted. She had wanted love, but not at the cost of her life. This love had taken away her sense, her values and all ambition from her. This love had made her selfish. It had ruined her life. All she had to show of her life’s achievement was her daughter! She couldn’t even be a good wife. The realisation pinched her. Hiding her face in her palms, Tara cried for a long time. It was probably the last time she would ever cry.

By the time Nikhil came home the following Tuesday, Tara had made up her mind to tell him the truth. Her husband deserved that. Over dinner, Tara was quiet while Tia talked. Once dinner was over and plates cleared away, Tia retired to her room. It was a school night and she still had to finish some lessons before going to sleep. When Nikhil entered the bedroom, Tara had already changed into her nightclothes and was standing by the window. She was too restless to sit.

“I want to talk to you.” She said to her husband. He nodded.

“I met Himanshu. Do you know who he is?” She asked.

He nodded. “I learnt about him from your sister ages ago. You met him. And?”

“Nothing happened.” She announced.

Nikhil let go of the breath he was not even aware he was holding. It was audible.

“But, it could have, Nikhil.”

If Tara hadn’t seen Nikhil’s eyes dilating, she would have said that this piece of news hadn’t affected him in the slightest. His face betrayed no other emotion. No insults or angry recriminations came from his side.

“Aren’t you bothered?” She couldn’t contain herself and finally asked.

“Yes, I am.”

“Then why aren’t you angry at me? Why aren’t you shouting at me? I am your wife and I almost committed adultery. How can you just sit there and talk so calmly as if nothing has happened?” Tara wanted to know. Had she been in his place, she would have created a huge hue and cry over it.

“I am angry. I am also feeling helpless, but shouting has never been my style, you of all people should know that. Also, I am not surprised at this turn of events.” He announced quietly. Tara looked at him. What did he say? She looked at him confused.

“I knew you married me out of obligation to your parents. But, I really thought you would come around someday. You tried your best, but you were not happy in this relationship. Hence, I dreaded that someday you would find someone else and quit this marriage. The only thing I hadn’t counted on was that “someone” would be Himanshu.”

“So basically, not only I am not surprised, but also in a way, I am relieved.” Of all the things, this was not what she had expected to hear.

“Relieved. Why?”

“Because we have finally reached that milestone.”

This was a surreal conversation. They were talking so peacefully that they might have been discussing Tia’s school grades.

“So, what now?” asked Nikhil. Though his face was impassive, his eyes betrayed his eagerness.

“I think that I have got that closure. Himanshu was the ghost from my past that I was finally capable of chasing away. I was crazy to think that I could find happiness in my past.”

“Past haunts us, but it seldom becomes our future, Tara!”

He was a wise man, Tara always knew that. But, for the first time Tara realised that Mr. Darcy came in different shapes and sizes, thoughts and temperaments. It was a pity he could never be her Mr. Darcy.

“You are right. Pity, I didn’t have that wisdom before.”

“I hope you can now see me differently and not the man your parents asked you to marry.” Nikhil continued. Tara shook her head.

“Nikhil, it has taken me a long time to realise that I am not in love with Himanshu. It has taken me an equal amount of time to understand that if I haven’t been able to love you in the last sixteen years, nothing will make me do now.”

“What are you saying, Tara?”

“That it’s time we dissolved this sham of a marriage. I have suffered enough chasing love and so have you. Let’s stop this chasing around and think about being happy. We deserve it, you of all people do. I have been selfish all these years and you have borne with me, I want to be selfish one more time and set you free.”

Tara’s face was set in a determined resolve. For the first time in their marriage, Nikhil really saw Tara as the sure and confident one.

Himanshu is now Tara’s past, seems like Nikhil is too! What does Tara have in mind! Find out tomorrow!