The novel is still work in progress. It’s the first draft that I decided to start all over again and the good news is that I have almost reached 25 brand new pages, an entirely different product from the earlier draft that I was writing. Of course, it’s a rom-com and sharing an excerpt. Of course, looking for honest feedbacks. I shall tentatively call it, “Half-baked Love.”
Excerpt from, ‘Half-baked love.’
Walking past Churchgate Station, they hailed off the stationed black-and-yellow taxis scouting for passengers and plodded their steps past the fountain, where a line-up of shops selling cheap jeans and tee shirts put on display and hanging on ropes on the colorful tents. A shopkeeper stopped Zoya, “Salum walekum Malkin! Apne Mister ke liye kuch lijiye? (Buy something for your mister)” Kshitij face was amok with excitement and congratulated this guy in his heart , wondering why the fuck they don’t make such kind of commoners. Deep inside, he was plotting that this hawker blurts out some more rubbish. He was amused and signaled the hawker who sported a grey beard to tell more by waving his hand. He made faces behind Zoya back. She turned towards Kshitij with a serious look and exuded a timid smile, flashing her jaws before turning towards the hawker.
She addressed him in Hindi, “Janab, aap ko kisne bola key eh mere Mister hai? (Sir! Who told you he is my Mister?)” There was no smile on her face nor sign of mild irritation. She is an expert in addressing people in a super cool manner that doesn’t make them back out nor feel apologetic. In turn, it makes plain strangers warming up to her as her cool and calm demeanour makes them feel so good. It’s this one quality that drew Kshitij towards her and wonders how she can easily gel with people like that.
The elderly hawker in between measuring legs for a client and marketing his clothing materials, gave Zoya a tenderly father figure touch. “Kya fadak parta hai! Agar Mister nahin hai toh boyfriend hai ya banjayega. Usske ankhein meindekh aapke liye bohot pyar beti. Ban jayega ek din Mister (What difference it makes? If he is not your Mister, he must be or will be boyfriend. I have seen love for you in his eyes, daughter).” He winked at Zoya. She became sheepish and her face turned red with embarrassment.
Kshitij felt like touching the man’s feet and wished that Harry Potter was real, that he would mix a magic potion to make both father and daughter. He felt like telling the guy, “Thank you Sasur-ji. Banoonga mein aap ke damaad when you adopt this girl. (Thank you father-in-law. I will become your future son-in-law with this adoptive daughter of yours).” Kshitij had to take things slow and was wary of the implications of blurting out such nonsense. He was still reeling under the nightmare.
The only that he could do was make his heart clap like a silent spectator in his theatre of real imagination. Zoya caught his amusement and waged her middle finger at him, whispering threat into his ears, “You having fun, na. Now, you wait what I do to you? You think that I don’t understand…saala kaminey, harami.” Kshtij immediate change his expression from amused to serious before mocking her. She turned away from him and let off to the enthusiastic, “Yeh koi Mister nahin…bas raaste mein mila (He is no mister and I found him like that on the street)” The hawker let off a smile and tried not to laugh on Kshitij’s face. It was his turn to become red.
She shook the guy’s hands before asking his name, “Suleiman. It was nice meeting you.” Suleiman shook the hand of Kshitij tightly and hugged him with, “Koi baat nahin dost” and whispered in his ear, “Don’t let her go ever. Be stubborn. Yeh ladki Heera hai.”
Zoya scolded Kshitij and pulled his hand, “Let’s go. Do you want to get married to his daughter or what and set a stall here at Churchgate. That way, both son-in-law and father-in-law will make good money.”