Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Cover Reveal : No Escape from Love by Reet Singh

Tejopur, Punjab

Will the demons from their past tear them apart?
After personal tragedy strikes, Mohini Kapoor runs away from the city to her grandparents home in a village in Punjab. Though she manages to pick up the pieces of her broken self, and even builds a life for herself, the horror of her experience is difficult to forget. She buries it deep down inside her subconscious mind until the arrival of a stranger threatens to resurrect the old demons.

Reputed photojournalist, Aalok Ahuja, has to hide out for a few days to escape circumstances beyond his control. When his friend recommends Tejopur, a remote village in Punjab, Aalok expects life to be simple there and, perhaps, even boring - instead, his world is thrown into chaos by a woman more desirable, and vastly more complicated, than any he has ever known.
When their destinies collide, attraction flares, but secrets threaten their new found feelings.

Excerpt - a few hours after Mohini and Aalok meet for the first time

The dinner tasted like ashes. In any case, Mohini barely noticed what she ate, her whole being focused on keeping her gaze averted from the acres of bare skin on display.
The man was large - and tanned and muscular - and almost indecent in short shorts and a sleeveless T-shirt, this time his own.
She hoped Tejopur's famed mosquitoes would make a meal of Aalok - but while she swiped one away every now and then, he seemed unharmed.
Mohini sniffed and, displeased at the blatant bias, smashed an errant mosquito against her wrist with unnecessary violence, then returned to pushing the food about in her plate.

And now for the fabulous cover of No Escape from Love...







Isn’t Mohini gorgeous – and doesn’t she seem pensive?

Aalok is clearly getting to her. Does she get to him, too?

Pre-order it now

The book releases on 3rd March and is available at a reduced price now.

It's free on Kindle Unlimited!

It should serve as the perfect companion as you recover from the festival of colors.

Happy Holi to all my friends and fans. Thank you for your love.

~~ Reet Singh

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

On Writing and 'The Price of Our Silence' with Hanadi Falki

Today on 'On Writing', we have Hanadi Falki, who is a recipient of the University Gold Medal for English Literature (Aligarh Muslim University) and has a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. Over the years, she had a varied and stimulating career - that of a Communications Director, an Editor and Digital Content Specialist to a Stereo Compositor and a Rotoscopy Artist. She considers herself as an optimistic idealist and an explorer, gleefully looking forward to the challenges life throws at her.

Welcome to 'On Writing', Hanadi Falki!

FOLLOW HER ON : Facebook Twitter- @HanadiFalki Goodreads Website 

Was becoming an author always your dream or was it a particular event or incident that gave birth to the author in you?

I have always been fascinated by storytelling. It's kind of silly, but the truth is that I started penning down short stories in 5th grade to preserve the memories of enacting them with my siblings. 'Little Women' by Louisa May Alcott awoke the writer in me. I could relate to Jo March who loves reading, writing and composing plays for her sisters to perform just like I did. And just like her, I too hoped to write a great novel when I grew up. After a master’s degree in Creative writing, I wrote ‘The Price of Our Silence’ and finally fulfilled my dream of taking my readers on a tour of the world I see.

How important are the names of the characters in your books to you? Do you spend agonizing hours deciding on their names?

Naming a character is an important part of storytelling. It took me hours to come up with the name for my protagonist, Zubeida, because it had to be an unique Muslim name. And to make it easier for my readers to pronounce it, she got the endearing nickname ‘Zuby’. Since this was a novel about the Indian youth, I wanted some popular names for the other characters that everyone could relate to. We all must have come across an Aditya, Tanya, Tarun or Vimal in our everyday interactions with the outside world. I even changed the name of one of my character at the last moment at the advise of my mentor and beta readers.

What is your writing process like? Do you write every day? Is there a favorite place to write?

My writing process is quite flexible depending upon my mood. There are days when I write non-stop for hours at end, nature’s call and rumbling stomachs aside, lost in the world I create, in deep conversation with the characters I bring to life. Then there are also days when I pull my hair out, try desperate measures to overcome my writer’s block, to pen down atleast one meaningful line. I have accepted this as a part of my writing journey, and I sometimes take a break, use that time to read instead, shake away that writer’s block, set a word-count target and achieve it everyday. Persistence and hard work is the key here. For me it is very important to avoid all distractions, wake up early in the morning and write with a fresh mind. Place doesn't matter as long as I have my laptop and some peace of mind.

What is special about ‘The Price of Our Silence’?

‘The Price of Our Silence’ is a fictionalized critique of the global companies entering India and the struggles the young Indians go through, both personally and professionally. It aims to expose the dark secrets of the glamorous world of 3D stereo conversion industry. Against the backdrop of this blooming industry, lie the dark secrets of the race for power, status, favoritism, company politics and exploitation. The book also touches upon some serious issues prevalent in our society ranging from simple struggles of youthful attraction and jealousy to more serious ones like abortion, marriage and career choices, from the joy of the first kiss to the shock of a fatal illness, from silly pranks and antics to serious life-changing steps of life. Although it has a love triangle on the forefront, reviews indicate that it is not the typical ‘Chick Lit’ or ‘Romance’ that is popular in the literary market nowadays.

Who is your favorite character in the book and why?

I don’t think I can comment on that. It’s like asking a mother to choose a favourite child. I love something in all my characters. The strength and patience that Zuby possesses, Adi’s different outlook on life, Tanya’s playfulness, Tarun’s endearing relationship with Zuby and many more qualities in each of my characters.

How long did it take to finish writing ‘The Price of Our Silence’?

It was in 2015 that I began writing ‘The Price of Our Silence’ and it took me 8 months to complete the first draft. After another year devoted to polishing the work and getting it ready for publishing, the book was finally launched by Prabhat Prakashan Publication House on 26th March 2017.

Please share a passage or quote from ‘The Price of Our Silence’ for our readers.

“India has many customs and rituals that may seem bizarre to anyone not used to its distinctive culture. It is a strange combination of being a young nation as well as an ancient country.”
This quote has been mentioned on http://www.wiseoldsayings.com/india-quotes/ along with quotes by reputed personalities like Abdul Kalam and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. A book critic also made a special mention of these lines in her review on Amazon.

Which do you prefer as a reader? EBook or Paperback?

I like e-books for their convenience and portability, but nothing can beat the smell of the ink, the sound of flipping papers and the smooth fold of a page in one's fingers.

How important do you think is marketing in today’s world for any book?
I believe that marketing plays a very important role in selling a book nowadays. In an age of short attention spans, when most of us are almost drowning in content from everywhere, authors need to make their books stand out in the crowd. Even good books fade into obscurity if they don't reach the targeted readers. Good content, a catchy title, interesting blurb, competitive price, innovative advertising and building the author's brand are all essential for a book to sell nowadays.
What are the three tips you have for readers of this interview who are aspiring writers?

1) For all aspiring writers, my first and foremost advice would be to pick up that pen and start writing, or rather, turn on that laptop and start typing. Don’t stop to think while writing. Let it flow. Writing is all about momentum. Write at least 3000-4000 words per day. It may seem a lot, but if you intend to write a ‘60,000 words’ novel, you better get started at a reasonably doable rate.
2) Read, read and then read some more. It doesn't matter whether you pick up books from your favourite genre, or try a new author, or just go through a magazine even. Reading helps you grow as a writer. You never know what can inspire you. Besides there is always something valuable to learn from every book you read. Even from the ones you consider trash, since you will learn what not to do when you finally begin writing your own manuscript.
3) Never give up . As you make your way towards your goal of getting your book published, you will come across countless hurdles at the most unexpected moments and will have numerous decisions to take and tough calls to make. You will come across a variety of people. Some will eagerly guide you and will go out of their way to help you. While others will drown your spirit with their negativity and supply destructive criticism at every step you take. You will have to learn how to handle both kinds with extreme care. My best wishes are with you.

Thank you, Hanadi Falki! Wishing you many more books and stories.

About 'The Price of our silence':

Is silence ever the answer? How would you react when you know that one of your best friends is lying to you? Who would you trust? Working on top Hollywood projects in the 3D stereoscopy industry is not as rewarding as Zuby thought. Along with mounting work pressure and an arranged marriage to escape from, Zuby is forced to either speak up or accept her fate silently. The hidden truths and half lies from her best friends, Adi and Tanya, only make matters worse. Will Adi owe up to his dark secret? Will Tanya accept the reality finally? With a professional background from 3D Stereoscopy industry, Hanadi Falki has brought to life an engaging account of the lives of these youngsters in The Price of Our Silence as they face to the industry's dark secrets of exploitation, favouritism and company politics.

This article is written as part of #SuperBloggerChallenge2018, conducted byHealthwealthbridgeFashionableFoodz and Allaboutthewoman. It should not be repurposed, republished or used otherwise. The content herein is owned by the blogger. SuperBloggerChallenge2018is not responsible for any kind of infringement caused.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Shades of Love: A Flash Fiction Contest

Happy Valentines Day!
It is that time of the year to awaken the sleeping romantic inside you!
Nine popular Indian authors invite you to write flash fictions during this month of love and stand a chance to win Amazon vouchers.
Happy to announce an exciting Valentine-month contest for every aspiring romance author!

To celebrate the festival of love, nine romance authors (Reet Singh, Preethi Venugopala, Ruchi Singh, Devika Fernando, Sudesna Ghosh, Esha Pandey, Sai Swaroopa Iyer, Paromita Goswami & Adite Banerjie) invite you to write a piece of romantic flash fiction of up to 500 words.

All you have to do is write a story based on any of the listed books’ titles and characters. To know more about the books, check out the Amazon links listed below.
1. You can write the story on your Facebook timeline or blog and post the link in the comments section under the pinned post on the event page stating the 'Title' you have selected from the given books.

2. You can send in one entry or multiple entries based on any of the titles. 

3. Your story needs to be inspired by the storyline/characters of the book(s) you pick. 

4. Maximum word-count: 500 words. 

5. Open for Indians only.

Contest Starts: 14th Feb 2018 

Contest Ends: 28th Feb 2018

Prizes to be won: Amazon vouchers worth Rs 2250/- to be won.

There will be 9 winners and each author will pick one winner. Rs 250 voucher for each winner.
For example, if you pick my book 'A Royal Affair', you will have to write a flash fiction using the title and the main character names, Jane and Vijay.

 Don’t forget to check the Facebook event page of Shades of Love for updates from the authors about their books & characters, inspirational quotes and more…
Happy Writing!

Amazon Links to Books included: 

1) Destiny’s Girl by Adite Banerjie: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B079MJDM3K

3) A Royal Affair by Preethi Venugopala: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B0771V86M8 

4) Tantalising Temptations by Devika Fernando: www.amazon.in/Tantalizing-Temptations-Breakfas…/…/B0769NFLQ5 

5) My Singapore Fling by Sudesna Ghosh: https://www.amazon.in/My-Singapore-Fling-Sudes…/…/B074LBCD72 

8) I will meet you there by Esha Pandey: https://www.amazon.in/I-Will-Meet-You-There/dp/9382536868

9) The Santa's Gift by Paromita Goswami :

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Cover Reveal: Destiny's Girl by Adite Banerjie

Five years ago, my first book was published by Harlequin/Mills & Boon with the title "The Indian Tycoon's Marriage Deal". It was an exciting moment for me as a writer and I will always cherish that memory.

Strange thing is that I get to do a re-run of that moment yet again. But this time as a self-published author. I am hugely excited at the opportunity to revisit Krish and Maya's story and bring it to my readers with a new cover and title. There could be no other month more appropriate for the re-launch of a romance than the Month of Love -- February!

The story is now called Destiny's Girl. And it has a brilliant new cover... I am sure you will agree with me!

I did wonder if I should update Krish & Maya's story. But as I went through the manuscript, I realized that my protagonists are now not merely characters in my book, but they have their own fictional lives within the pages of the book. Who am I to change that? So, their story is presented as is, complete with its flaws and foibles -- in real life we don't get a chance to change our past, do we?
If you have read their story, I hope you will enjoy revisiting it again when  Destiny's Girl goes online as an e-book on Amazon (stay tuned for the announcement). And if you haven't read it, I'd urge you to read it!

And now... for the C.O.V. E. R.    R.E.V.E.A.L.  <Drum Roll, please!> :)

So here comes DESTINY'S GIRL....




Would love to know what you think of the cover.

And wait.... there is some more news. Destiny's Girl will have a sequel soon. It will be the Happily Ever After story of two characters you meet in Destiny's Girl -- Rohan and Natasha.

So, keep your eyes peeled for more updates on the release of Destiny's Girl and its sequel.
May Valentine's Month be full of love and happiness for you all!

Adite Banerjie

On Writing: Devika Fernando and Tantalizing Temptations

Today on 'On Writing', we have Devika Fernando, who besides being a succesful romance novel author,  works as a self-employed German web content writer, as a translator, and as a faithful servant to all the cats, dogs, fish and birds in her home.

Welcome to 'On Writing', Devika!

 Follow her on          TWITTER       FACEBOOK    WEBSITE

You are one of my favourite authors and I am delighted to welcome you to my blog to talk about your recent works and writing. I am thrilled that you are bringing out a new series. Do tell us, what is your latest series about?

Gosh, thank you so much for the compliment! It means even more to me as you’re a prolific writer and blogger yourself.
I released ‘Tantalizing Temptations’ in November 2017 and I’m still very excited about it. It’s the start of a new series where each book is set in a bed & breakfast in a different country. TT charms readers with a cottage in England, a courageous single mother, and a charming gentleman who does much more than help her manage the inn.

Is the fact that you are the owner of an idyllic hotel in Kandy aptly called as Idyllic Vista what triggered off this ‘Inn Love’ series?

Yes, it is. A few author friends of mine kept teasing me that as a writer, having guests from all over the world and managing a hotel would surely inspire new stories. And I finally thought – why not? I’ve always been a fan of writing books set in countries all around the world, as with my multicultural romance novels ‘Saved in Sri Lanka’, ‘Seduced in Spain’ and ‘The Prince’s Special Bride’. And there’s something about being on holiday that changes something in people, makes them more willing to let go and live, to take a chance and make new experiences. Which is the perfect set-up for a love story, if you ask me.

Where all will the ‘Inn Love’ series of romances take the readers to? What was the reason behind the selection?

Book 1 is set in a cottage in England. Book 2 (which I’m currently writing) takes place in a log cabin in Canada. And Book 2 (for which I’ve already written a few scenes) uses a villa in Italy as the setting. I’ve got many more countries planned out. I wanted to choose popular holiday destinations because I enjoy offering glimpses of the setting alongside the love stories.

What is the most interesting part and most difficult part when writing a series?

One of the most interesting aspects is finding a common theme that will be reflected in all books, maybe even characters that will feature in each story.
One of the most difficult aspects is making sure that you explain and repeat neither too much nor too little if the books are interconnected. For example, how much of what happened to characters X and Y from Book 1 needs to be explained in Book 2 for readers to remember/understand?

Do you plan the whole series or go one book at a time?

I outline the whole series or at least the first two or three books roughly, with a separate blurb/short summary for each book and with important notes for the series as a whole. I also tend to plan out the titles in advance so they match in a way. And I think about the cover designs that should match each other.

How long did it take to finish writing ‘Tantalizing Temptations’?

That’s difficult to say as I had to put it on hold for a bit after I had written about half of the book. Roughly, I’d say it took me three months.

Please share a passage or quote from ‘Tantalizing Temptations’ for our readers.

(This is an exclusive excerpt I’ve never shared before)

The ghost of a smile crossed her face, gone in a flash. “You’re such a wise man. And my hero. You saved me again. Perhaps you do need a white horse and gleaming armor.”

It was his turn to attempt a smile, though he knew it fell flat. He brushed his lips over her forehead. “I told you I’d always be at your service.”

He drew back to hold her gaze. “I’m sorry he came here and ruined your day, Samantha. And if I could, I’d promise you nobody will ever come barging in to cause trouble, least of all Patrick. You deserve joy, you have a right to celebrate.”

Her eyes widened. “Oh, celebrate…the champagne. The bottle slipped, and…” She broke away to scan the spot a few feet away where glass and liquid had splashed everywhere, and stumbled in the process.

Acting on impulse, Jonathan looped an arm around her back and one beneath her knees and lifted her. He carried her into the lobby and settled her on a couch, kneeling in front of it.

“Don’t worry about a thing. I’ll clean it. Sit for a while, get your feet back under you. And this evening, I’ll get us a new bottle of champagne and we will have a proper celebration that nobody can spoil.”

Samantha sank back against the cushions and reached for his hands, clasping them.
“Thank you. You’re an angel, Jonathan. I keep expecting you to unfold hidden wings.”

He wiggled his brows, trying miserably to lighten the mood. “First a knight, then a celestial being. What will I be next?”

She smiled weakly. “You’re you, and that’s magical enough.”

That made him swallow thickly. Even in her state, she was such a wonderful and intriguing woman. She made his heartache in various ways. If she had any idea how helpless he felt despite the bravado, how utterly wrapped around her finger he was…

Have you ever faced writer’s block? If yes, how do you get over it?

No. In my opinion, there is no such thing as writer’s block. If you’re a writer, you write. If you don’t feel like it, give it a break or write something else and get back in the groove. These so-called ‘blocks’ are self-created and easily overcome, be it with prompts or sheer perseverance.

How many hours a day do you spend writing?

That depends. Altogether (fiction and nonfiction) six to seven hours or even more. It varies day by day how much of it is for romance novels and how much for my job (I’m a German content provider).

What are the three tips you have for readers of this interview who are aspiring writers?
  1. Read as much and as widely as you can.
  2. Write as much as you can.
  3. Don’t just talk about writing or consider it, actually do it, as regularly and dedicatedly as you can.
Thank you Devika! That was interesting. Looking forward to reading more of your books in 2018. 

More about Tantalizing temptations:


Unhappy in a marriage based on lies and control, Samantha decides to start a new life. She leaves London with her little daughter Annie, and opens her own bed & breakfast in the English countryside. Nothing could have prepared her for the suave gentleman who helps her with the B&B and captures her heart along the way.

Managing hotels all around the world makes Jonathan happy – until fate brings him to a cottage that needs attention and a woman who needs affection. Samantha and Annie make him realize that something has been missing from his life all along.

Will their love stand a chance when her tragic past comes knocking?

Other purchase links:

Apple iBooks - http://apple.co/2kICjQn

GooglePlay - http://bit.ly/2xBALhe

Smashwords - http://bit.ly/2xAkhFV

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Thursday, February 1, 2018

First Chapter of His Sunshine Girl

Chapter 1 

April 6, 2014, Sreepuram

When Shalini arrived in Sreepuram, a quaint little village in the northern coast of Kannur district in Kerala, it was six in the evening. She had fidgeted in her seat and bitten off half her nails during the six-hour bus ride that took her from Thrissur to Sreepuram.  Her new job, as a live-in literary assistant to the eminent author Arundhati Mukundan, was the best thing that could have happened to her. Yet, an unknown fear had raised its head and kept her nervous throughout the trip.

A jasmine-scented breeze entered the living room where she sat now and caressed her cheeks. A Gulmohar tree stood in the stretch of the garden visible through the open windows. Shalini felt a kinship with it. Stripped of all colours, it resembled her life.

Gopu, the middle-aged man who had welcomed her into Arundhati’s house, was now pruning the row of decorative bushes near the tree with a pair of garden shears. A child’s wail from somewhere inside the house shattered the silence and Gopu’s shears paused mid-air. He seemed to be pondering whether to go inside when the crying ceased. He resumed his job. Was the child his?

While she sipped the coffee, Shalini wondered if Arundhati would like her. She didn’t have any previous work experience in the publishing world.

“You will love Arundhati. Don’t worry that you don’t know her personally. She is almost like me in her likes and dislikes. We are, in a way, soul sisters,” her grandma had assured her.

Shalini’s grandma, Parvathi, had been Arundhati’s best friend in school. They had lost contact with each other after getting married early on in life. Ten years ago, Arundhati had debuted with a poetry collection that went on to win many awards including the state award for literature. She had followed it up with novels that were hugely popular. The two had met again at a book launch in Kochi three years ago. Calls and handwritten letters had rekindled their friendship. Now they were close like before.

The beaded door curtains tinkled. Arundhati Mukundan, draped in a simple, spotless white cotton saree, entered the room. Her silver hair was gathered neatly in a bun. She smiled at Shalini.

“Did I keep you waiting, child?”

“No, ma’am.” Shalini’s voice trembled slightly as she rose to greet the person whose writing had touched her heart.

“Sit, sit. Don’t be so formal with me.  After all, you are Parvathi’s grandchild. That makes you my grandchild. Call me auntie or Ammamma. No ma’am business from now on.” Arundhati settled in the chair opposite Shalini.

“Yes, ma’am,” Shalini said. “I mean, auntie,” she corrected herself.

“That is better. I hope you had a pleasant journey. How did you come?”

Arundhati scrutinized the frail, dusky girl with doe-like eyes as she talked. Draped in a simple green chiffon saree, she resembled the Radha in the mural painting hanging in the study. Thick black hair cascaded gracefully down her back. The sadness that pooled in Radha’s eyes was reflected in Shalini’s beautiful eyes as well.

A few months ago, Parvathi had beseeched her for help. From what her friend told her, the girl had undergone quite a lot in the past two years. She needed a change. Arundhati required someone to help her with the manuscript she was working on. As Shalini was a post-graduate in English literature, the decision to appoint the girl as her literary assistant was easy.

As an introduction, she briefed Shalini about her work.

“Your primary duty will be to transcribe while I dictate. I prefer my good old pen and paper to create my stories. But age has slowed me down. The computer is an enigma to me. I get lost in the task of hunting for the letters to form words. You understand my situation, don’t you?” asked Arundhati.

 “I completely understand. I am looking forward to beginning my work. It is a privilege to be able to read your unpublished work,” said Shalini.

“Hmmm… let’s see whether you will feel the same a month from now.”

Shalini smiled, sensing a new beginning, a new hope.

Arundhati led her to an upstairs bedroom. The light of the setting sun had tinted the room a pale orange. A few beautiful paintings and sketches decorated the walls. The bed was adjacent to a three-panelled window. A door opened onto a tiny balcony. A writing table and chair stood opposite the bed. The wardrobe was empty and lined with newspaper sheets to store Shalini’s things. The adjoining bathroom was spacious and clean. Adjacent to the room was a small library.

 “Hope you find the room comfortable. This used to be my granddaughter Ananya’s room. Now that she is married and settled in Dubai, nobody uses it. Those are her paintings. She is quite a talented artist, isn’t she?” asked Arundhati with grandmotherly pride.


“She was a brat, a hurricane during the school vacations along with my other grandchildren.” Arundhati’s eyes sparkled with love.

Arundhati gave her a tour of the house; a double storied, tiled-roof building with four wings and a small open courtyard in the centre. Arundhati’s bedroom was on the ground floor in the East wing. Gopu, the gardener cum housekeeper lived in the South wing with his wife Devi, who was the household help, and their two-year-old daughter Chaitra. The kitchen was in the North wing.

It was in the study that Shalini saw the photograph on the wall. Her heart skipped a few beats and involuntarily she ran her fingers on the framed photo. Five children—one girl and four boys—stood posing with bright smiles on their faces. A perfect shot of childhood innocence. The tallest boy among them and the other one who had his arms around the smiling little girl were the brightest memories from her own childhood. Memories tugged at her heartstrings.

“Ah, the notorious five! Those are my grandchildren. It was taken almost two decades ago, but it remains my favourite photo of them. Kishore, the tallest one was in high school then. The two others on either side of him are Naveen and Navneeth, sons of my eldest daughter. That is Ananya, daughter of my youngest daughter. That is Vishal who is hugging her. She was his pet and still is. Kishore and Vishal are my second daughter’s children,” Arundhati explained.

 “I know Kishore and Vishal. We were neighbours while we lived in Puvattur,” Shalini exclaimed. This was such a pleasant surprise. Her heart was racing. Puvattur, a sleepy little village lying at the northern tip of Kerala, was still close to her heart. Her fondest childhood memories belonged there.

“Ah, the world is such a small place. It is wonderful how these unseen chains connect us. So, you must be the Shalu they talked about incessantly,” said Arundhati.

“Yes. We were very close. Vishal was my best friend. Kishore was a prankster,” said Shalini.

“Kishore and Ananya are now civil engineers. They are both married and live in Dubai with their respective families. Naveen and Navneeth are software engineers and Vishal is a paediatrician. Naveen and Navneeth keep changing their jobs. Vishal is doing his fellowship in London. It is time for the boys to settle down. But they are not interested. They love the freedom they have now,” said Arundhati, narrowing her eyes. She clearly didn’t agree with that sentiment.

That night, while the moonlight bathed her room in pale blue light, Shalini’s thoughts wandered into the realms of the past. Especially to Kishore and Vishal. They had been her neighbours for six long years. Kishore had been the teasing tormentor and Vishal her protector. From the age of six to twelve, happiness had inundated her days and spirited away shadows of sadness because of their presence.

She had loathed summer vacations as Kishore and Vishal spent the summer holidays at their granny’s place in Sreepuram. In a bizarre turn of fate, she was now in the same house that she once hated. For her, this house had been the reason why she had spent many miserable vacations alone.

An owl hooted somewhere nearby and her thoughts began to cloud. As was her nightly routine, Shalini sat on her bed and prayed. For strength. For peace. For a new beginning.

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