Fiction - Novels
What I've written and What I'm hoping to write
I've written two full length novels and am working on two more.
(Yeah, about 500,000 words spewed in a literary effort. An overdose of verbiage. But if you've made it this far into my website, it's evident you're interested, for which I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
So without further ado... (drumroll please) ... (sorry, you need to scroll. Not drumroll. Scratch that.)
Retelling of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park
“She was the illiterate gauche moth in a rainbow-hued butterfly garden”
Idealistic, shy, dreamy Pavithra is the most unlikely heroine. Why, she can’t even say her own name without stammering! Afflicted by dysfunctional shyness and dysfunctional parents, she is daunted when she moves from the poverty of her parents’ home in Eraniel to the opulence of her aunt’s house, Mangal Illam, in Chennai.
Her cousins, Mira and Tara, while not unkind, can be thoughtless. A source of unwitting comedy at her school and at home, Pavithra grows up feeling like an unfashionable oddity whose only solace is all the books she reads.
Eight years later, there are still no perks for this wallflower! Well, except for her friend, Kadhir and her younger sister, Malini. When their glamorous new neighbours arrive, only the disenchanted Pavithra sees the handsome Henry and dazzling Diana as they are, though everyone disagrees. Will the ideals she embraces give her the courage to do the right thing? Or will her shyness hold her back while she judges in silence?
A tale of friendship, sisterhood, family, and romance set in modern day Chennai.
Retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion
Thirty year old Aradhana Jebaraj lives with her vain, obnoxious family in 1950s Delhi, in an India which has recently gotten Independence but has apparently forgotten secularism.
Outside, Aradhana seems to lead a busy life of a quiet, industrious spinster - helping with the orphanage in memory of her mother, managing affairs at home skilfully, but inside, she still harbours trenchant regret from nearly a decade ago.
In 1947, she broke her engagement to Kabir, a Muslim pilot she met and fell in love with passionately. Amidst the backdrop of an increasingly violent Partition, she had felt it wouldn't be fair to risk his life through their interreligious marriage.
Now, a sudden decrease in their family's wealth forces them to downsize and move to Madras. Aradhana meets Kabir, and her former best friend, Aafiya, who is battling problems of her own, as her family died during the violence post Partition in Delhi and in Hyderabad.
How Aradhana navigates the travails of communalism, the pressures of family, and the forces of prejudice, to find love and fulfillment forms the rest of the story.
Work in Progress
I started writing this novel set in 1960s India when I had a very vivid dream about a girl who agrees to marry because her husband offers to let her study Physics! With awry family dynamics, a reclusive husband and a secretive sister in law, elements of casteism, failed exams... as you guessed, I'm still pantsing my way through this novel but Malathi stays in my mind - dark-eyed, iron-willed, a little insecure, and with a bubbling sense of humour - and she keeps prodding me to write her story.
Retelling of Scarlet Pimpernel (I think)
Pantsing my way through this novel as well. I was rather drawn to Isai when I first imagined her because she made me laugh. She described the coffee she made as 'triple filtered mud water'. And she had unruly hair that she just. Cannot. Tame. And a husband who just. Won't. Listen. or Talk.
Her husband Vikram has secrets of his own. I wish I knew what they are. I'm waiting for him to tell me, while I write this story. The first time I saw him, he was trying to seduce his unsuspecting wife.
So... the real question - steamy or non steamy book?
Sorry, the actual real question - do I retain the ability to raise my head above the dining table at family dinners or not?
I'll know in a few months.