Repeated Lives (Excerpt)

Repeated Lives (Excerpt)

Chapter One

Talia Silverwoods stared out her bedroom window and sighed. It was still raining heavily and the sky flashed with lightening every now and then. Talia shuddered. She hated storms. It always made her feel that something bad was going to happen and that the sky flashed with lightening just to confirm the sinister emotions she felt inside. She cuddled further into her bed. She just loved her bedroom. It was soft and feminine, just the way she liked it. She had turquoise curtains and matching turquoise bed sheets and at every corner she had stuffed toys smiling at her. She felt safe in her room. It was her haven.
She had everything a girl could possibly want: A telephone, a secret diary, posters of her favorite movie stars and pop groups, a secret closet and her guitar which she sometimes played. She stared at her telephone and sighed. Why hadn’t anyone called yet? It was Saturday, and although it was raining heavily, at least she could walk over to a friend’s place or have them come over- storm or no storm.
Just then the telephone rang.
“Hello?” she said, picking up the phone, and wondered if it was one of her best friends Shania or Carla.
“Talia? It’s me.” A boy said. Michael! Talia groaned. Talia had been going out with Michael for two months and she was already tired of him. He was cute and sensitive but he was just too much to put up with.
“Oh hi!” she said, and hoped she sounded enthusiastic.
“I was just wondering if you’d like to go…someplace.” Michael said.
Talia sighed. She was bored and since none of her friends had called, she’d better make most of her Saturday with Michael.
“Umm… okay! What time?”
Michael hesitated. “Uh… can you make it seven?”
“Okay. But where should we go?” Again Michael hesitated, and Talia started to get irritated. What’s his problem? Why does he take so long to answer all the time?
“It’s a surprise. Just trust me okay?” he said. Talia made a face. Why should she bother to trust him when she was going to dump him any day soon?
“Okay, bye!” she said and slammed the phone. She walked over to her closet and pulled out a pair of faded jeans and a light brown shirt. Why bother to dress up for him, she thought. She removed a denim jacket to wear on top of her shirt. It was still raining and was getting colder by the minute. I wonder where he’s taking me?

Chapter Two

Talia looked at Michael and sighed. How long was she going to put up with this? She smoothed her shirt hoping it matched her hazel eyes and crossed her jean-clad legs. She was getting impatient. She stared at the gypsy woman sitting across her and rolled her eyes. The gypsy woman had bright red hair that she had partly covered with a polka dot bandana and piercing green eyes that stared at the crystal ball in front of her. Talia glanced sideways at Michael who stared intently at the gypsy woman. Michael really takes all this seriously, Talia thought and wondered for the millionth time why she allowed Michael to take her to this psychic reading shop or whatever it was.
“Ah!” the gypsy woman said suddenly. Michael leaned forward expectedly. Talia crossed her arms and prepared herself to disbelieve everything the gypsy said.
“You both are meant to be!” the gypsy said. “ You both have been reincarnated.” Michael’s eyes grew wide and nodded his head, his dark shoulder length hair bobbing.
“Oh?” Talia said. “Really? What happened in our previous life that we had to come back to this planet again?” she asked sarcastically. Michael frowned at Talia but the gypsy seemed unperturbed. She stared at the crystal ball intently.
“You two were separated by tragic death.” She said morosely. “You two have been reincarnated to be together again. You both are meant to be!”
If she says that again, I’ll puke, Talia thought. But she suddenly started to get nervous because Michael actually believed what the gypsy was saying, which could be a problem, because after tonight Talia never wanted to see Michael again. She was going to break up with him tonight, but she didn’t want it to be messy. She would tell him that enough was enough, she couldn’t take this prophecy nonsense anymore, and that they should see other people. And then they would go their separate ways. Perhaps that’s why she had agreed to go with Michael, so that he wouldn’t feel that bad. But she had never expected this. Her whole plan was ruined.
Michael put his arm around her and smiled. Talia smiled back and hoped Michael wouldn’t make a big deal about this. But deep inside she knew that Michael was over-sensitive, he was over superstitious, and to top it all, reacted badly in every situation. The last was one of the biggest reasons why she was breaking up with him in the first place. She could remember a party she had been to. It had been her best friend Shania’s birthday and just for fun she was paired with another guy for the treasure hunt. Michael had been a spoilsport and had waited in the corner until the game finished, not talking to anyone, only staring at her. She had been so uncomfortable and had a huge fight with him after the party. To her surprise, Michael had cried and said that he couldn’t see her with anyone else.
From that day onwards Talia had decided to dump him. She was only sixteen for goodness sakes. It wasn’t like she was married to him or something. And then she realized that perhaps Michael was thinking along those lines. He was just that weird. Oh great!
Michael hastily paid off the gypsy and took Talia’s arm. As they were leaving, Talia turned around to see the gypsy smirking at her.

Chapter Three

“We have to talk.” Talia said. They had parked their car near the ravine and Talia had gotten out for some fresh air. It was now or never. Talia had expected these words would trouble Michael and that he would get the gist of what she was going to talk about. But Michael only smiled widely at her and put his hands in his pockets.
Talia took a deep breath. “Michael, I don’t think…”
“Wait, let me.” Michael said, and took out a little box from his pocket. He went down on his knees. “Talia, will you marry me?” he asked opening the box. Talia stared at the ring. It had a small diamond on it and Talia wondered if it was indeed a diamond. Michael worked part time in a small hardware store, and considering his salary it was probably a zircon- maybe something even cheaper! Talia stared at Michael.
“Are you nuts? I’m barely seventeen! I want to go to college, have a career…”
“You can still do all that.” Michael said. He was still smiling, and Talia realized she would have to go to extremities to make Michael understand. Was he really that dense?
Talia took a deep breath. “Michael, I think we should see other people.”
“What do you mean?” Michael asked innocently. He was still kneeling and the whole situation was getting ridiculous. Talia started to get angry.
“I mean lets break up! I can’t take this anymore. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. You embarrass me, you believe in all that gypsy nonsense, you think I’m a piece of your property and what you don’t get is that… I… CAN’T… TAKE IT…. ANYMORE!” Michael stared at Talia as if she had just struck him and Talia started to feel sorry. She had wanted to end the speech with ‘I hope we can still be friends’ but apparently that wasn’t going to happen now. Michael slowly got up and mumbled something. At first Talia didn’t get it. “What?” she said.
“We were meant to be!” he whined.
Talia stared incredibly at him. Was he serious?
“I don’t care what the gypsy said, I don’t want to have anything to do with you anymore, okay? You’re really getting on my nerves.”
“You can’t do this to me!” he yelled. But Talia noticed that his voice had wavered. What if he starts crying? How was she going to handle that?
“Michael its over, okay? I hope we can be friends though.”
“Friends?” Michael asked. “You’re kidding right? I can never think of you as a friend.” Suddenly he grabbed her arm. “Talia…please, I really love you. If you want I’ll change. I CAN change.”
“Michael I’m sorry, but it’s really over. Now let go of my arm, okay.” Michael let go of her arm and stared at the ground.
“Want me to drop you off?” he asked quietly. Talia considered and shook her head. “No I’ll catch a cab or something. You okay?” Michael nodded his head but he kept his eyes down.
Talia started to walk and glanced back several times to see Michael still standing that way. Is he in shock or denial? As soon as the cab arrived she turned around to look at Michael and suddenly shivered.
Michael was still standing the very same way she had left him, except that he was now clenching his fists tight.

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My Take on the Movie: Sixteen

My Take on the Movie:  Sixteen

Not just the age but the name of a movie as well. This one tackles issues faced by typical sixteen year olds- peer pressure, sexual urges, the search for love, unrequited love, parent’s pressure, so on and forth.
Sounds interesting, doesn’t it.
What could have been a movie about how these issues can be tackled while growing up in that very challenging age, turns out to be a movie of mistakes made and decisions gone awry.
The movie is about three girls and a boy. One of the girl (Anu) aspires to be a model and has her world turned upside down when she finds out her parents, whose marriage she held in high regard, have an open marriage.
Another girl (Nidhi) has to make a choice on whether she should find a way to retain her boyfriend’s interest in her or keep her parent’s trust.
The third (Tanisha) is always on the lookout for the perfect love, not realizing her best friend has feelings for her. She does find what she’s looking for, but the man is not only older to her, but her Aunt is interested in him as well.
The boy (Ashwin) tackles his own issues of being abused by his Father who is hell bent on turning his son into an IAS officer.
The plot is indeed intriguing and you do want to see how things will turn out for these characters.
But here’s the thing- the film fails to deliver a solution for these problems, leaving the viewer to believe that any mistakes made will not have dire consequences.
Giving into urges and getting pregnant- hey that’s okay. Get an abortion without telling your parents. Actually even when they do come to know, they won’t really be mad. Fine, at that point when the parents visit their daughter in the hospital, they were supposed to be supportive. But couldn’t they show a scene where the parents are disappointed that their daughter broke their trust? Nope, having sex at that age is shown as the most natural thing to do and seems like it is encouraged.
Sixteen is an age where a person can give into pressure and take wrong choices, but this movie, in my opinion, shouldn’t have glorified those mistakes like it inadvertently does.
The only character that shows the even remotest regret for his actions is the boy but that too is in a blink and miss scene.
Movies are an excellent medium to pass on social messages while being entertaining and so the Writer must take full responsibility in making sure that he does a fine job on focusing more on scenes that put light on the character’s mistakes and the repercussions rather than spending precious minutes on lackluster songs and scenes of excessive partying.
This movie could have been about refraining from giving into pressures, but instead becomes about making mistakes and being easily forgiven for them.
Not the best message for all sixteen year olds out there.

Awakened One Night (Excerpt)

When she woke up from what appeared to be a deep slumber, the first thing she noticed was that, she was not only wet, but covered in mud. She coughed twice before looking up at the dark sky. Heavy drops fell on her face, washing away the dirt and she closed her eyes as she felt the cold.
She got up slowly and breathed heavily only to realize that she couldn’t see anything ahead of her. She looked down at herself and saw that she was wearing a light denim jacket and dark slacks that barely provided any warmth to her shivering body. Nevertheless, she buttoned up and put her arms around her chest. Where was she? What was she doing here?
She started to walk and noticed a dark shape ahead of her. As she made her way to it she wondered why she was here all alone. She laid her arms straight ahead so that she could feel the structure before her. As her hands touched, she felt the coolness of the metal. She looked up at it and saw that it was a gate or a rather large fence. Her fingers curled around the metal and tugged at it, only to find it jammed.
She breathed heavily again and pushed with all her force, but all her efforts seemed futile as the gate creaked and did nothing more. She stopped pushing and gazed overhead. Perhaps she could scale it? She put her foot on the metal bar and started to climb. This was easier than she had anticipated. Once on top, she turned herself to the other side and jumped. Her knees buckled and she stumbled, almost falling headfirst.
The road ahead of her was dark and a few streetlights flickered ominously but showed her a path nonetheless. She started walking slowly and cautiously. It was too quiet-almost deafeningly so- and the rain showed no signs of letting up. She saw a light and walked towards it, wondering if it was perhaps someone who could help her. Just then, she heard a loud blare. She covered her ears and gasped as a car veered off and almost hit a tree.
“Get off the road!” a man yelled through the window. “What are you, stupid? You almost killed me!”
Throughout his tirade, she found she could do nothing else but stare blankly at him. She was about to open her mouth and ask for help, when he drove off, leaving her a little more disoriented than before. What had just happened? She stood silently for awhile and stared at the back of the car before turning around. She should go now, but where?
Before she knew what was happening, her feet started to move and she found herself unable to stop. It was as if her legs knew her destination even before her brain could comprehend. A few minutes later, she found herself near a row of houses. People lived there, her mind said and she wondered if one of these houses belonged to her. But her legs hadn’t stopped and she went on with whatever was going on. It seemed easier somehow to not make the decision herself, but have the decision made for her instead. The streets seemed familiar, but she still hadn’t felt that sense of belonging that one probably felt when they were near something close to them.
Her heart would tell her the destination that so far only her legs knew about. The street ended and she came to a deserted lot. Had she missed her house? Did she have a house here? As she walked, she gazed upward and saw that the rain drops were coming down much slower now. The clouds were starting to part and she saw a patch of dark sky dotted with twinkling stars. She put her hand to her head. She couldn’t seem to think straight, yet she knew what the stars and clouds were. How did she know all this? She let out a small gasp as she realized she couldn’t remember if she had a name.
Suddenly, her legs stopped and she opened her eyes to find herself standing across a large house. She stared at it. Did she feel like she belonged there? Perhaps. She looked through the downstairs window and saw a lone lamp light. She walked towards it and once she reached the window, put her hand on the cool glass.
She swallowed, only to find out that her mouth and throat was dry. She put her face closer at the window and peered. Someone was there. A girl-sitting on a couch- was crying. She was wiping her tears with a tissue as she looked at what appeared to be a frame in her hands.
Silently, she tore herself from the scene before her and walked towards the door. She saw a switch next to it, but she ignored it. She found the metal ring around the door more fascinating and put her hand on it. She picked it up with her finger and dropped it. It made a soft thudding noise as it hit the door and she repeated the action.
Inside, she heard a scuffle of feet and a dull crash as something hit the floor. She heard hurried footsteps near the door, a pause and footsteps again as they moved away from the door.
“Who is it?” the girl called out softly. “Kara? Is that you?”
She turned around to see the girl peering at her through the side window and almost jumped. Someone was talking to her. Did she know this girl? Was she called Kara?
Just then she heard a metal chain being pulled across the door and a click of the door knob as the door opened slightly to the extent of the metal chain.
“Kara…is that really you?” the girl said and she detected a hint of dread in her voice.
She opened her mouth and pushed her hair away from her face with her hand.
“Oh my God! Oh God!” the girl gasped. “It’s you! You came!”
The door closed for a few seconds before it was opened wider and the girl hurriedly came towards her. “You came! It worked! It really worked!”
“Do…do I know you?” she managed in a whisper.
The girl looked at her strangely. “Yes!” she said. “I’m your sister.”


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Awakened One Night

Awakened One Night

If I could be a little partial to my own works, I would say this is one of my favorite stories. As usual I began with the opening scene. This is how I start all my stories. If the start intrigues me, I’ll write it up or else I would dump it in the imaginary dustbin in my head.
The reason I love this story is because it kept me curious until the very end. It has a touch of mystery that I hadn’t attempted in my previous books. Also, the writing for this one went smoothly without any hiccups.
Another thing that I absolutely love about this book? The cover. My editor who is also an illustrator, did a fabulous job with this one. The design has just about the right air of mystery I wanted.

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