Fiction - Novels
What I've written and What I'm hoping to write
I've written three 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. I mean, scroll 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.
1965: In the town of Anbukudi, in South India, Malathi, a dreamer with aspirations of launching a rocket to the moon, finds herself entangled in an arranged marriage with Prasad. Balancing her scholarly pursuits with the intricacies of a joint family, Malathi also faces resentment from Prasad's sister Leela.
A twist of fate leads her to the impoverished village of Malliyoor, where she discovers the harsh realities hidden from her privileged upbringing. Determined to make a difference, Malathi, with the help of the fervent schoolteacher Savithri, tackles societal injustices, from the brink of closing schools to caste-based wage disputes.
Tragedy strikes when arson engulfs the school and granary, and Malathi's estranged husband Prasad, along with surprisingly supportive Leela, comes to her aid. A tentative truce forms, paving the way for personal and communal growth. As Malathi returns to her studies, orchestrating a student strike against caste bias, Prasad tirelessly works alongside her. Their collective efforts prompt positive change at the grassroots level, culminating in Malathi's acceptance into the Indian Space Research Organisation.
Amidst the tumult, Malathi and Prasad's bond deepens, transcending misunderstandings. Leela, inspired by Malathi's resilience, rekindles her passion for dance. In this tale of love, resilience, and familial unity, the trio emerges triumphant, proving that adversity can be the catalyst for profound transformation and unwavering connection.
Retelling of Jane Austen's 'Emma'
I think I've had the most fun ever writing this novel. For one thing, 'Emma' is one of my favourite novels, and for another, Malini is a dentist (like me). I love the chemistry between Emma and Knightley, and it was fun translating it to the equation between an uber-confident 'foot in the mouth' dentist, and a doctor-cum-biker who used to work for the Médecins Sans Frontières, and has now chosen to live in a small town in Kanyakumari district in India.
Incidentally, Malini's Pavithra's younger sister. Pavithra is the heroine of 'Mangal Illam', so it was like meeting old friends and chatting over hot cups of tea.
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.