Bannerjee, 23/F/Mumbai. Some of you might already know how my life is on a razor
edge. Those of you who don’t, just know this: I may be
killed soon . . . by the Stranger. I don’t know who or what he is: a ghost, a
person or a figment of my imagination? All I know is he isn’t just one thing:
he is sexy and scary, terrific and terrifying. What I don’t understand is why a
young, harmless girl like me, who works in a big city, stays away from her parents
and has a screwed-up love life, would be of any interest to him. Unless there
is something about my own story that I do not know . . .
In the hotly anticipated final instalment of the Stranger
trilogy, Rivanah will learn the answers to her many questions—What is it that
binds her to the dead Hiya? Who is the Stranger? Why has he been following her
all this while?—leading to an intense, breathtaking climax.
It has been close to seven months since the first part of The Stranger Trilogy 'Marry Me, Stranger' hit the bookstores. I would like to thank each and every one of you who has read and loved the first book. It is finally time for its sequel, 'All Yours, Stranger'. The book is up on pre-orders as I write this. You can pre-order your copy here: FLIPKART: http://bit.ly/1S6kQrs | AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1G6uOE3
I'm happy to share the prologue of 'All Yours, Stranger' here. I hope you will like it. Cheers! :)
The photograph of
love is sometimes so big that you can’t fit it into the frame of your
relationship. If you force it, you are sure to lose some of it. Maybe most
Sitting at the bar,
Rivanah watched as her boyfriend Danny danced with the ‘other’ girl in a close
embrace. Rivanah had promised herself she wouldn’t drink since the next day was
Monday and Monday-morning hangovers made her feel the world was conspiring to
bring her down. Minutes back the three of them had been sitting on a couch. It
was when Rivanah had stood up to get her Virgin Mojito refilled that the
‘other’ girl Nitya had asked, ‘May I ask your boyfriend for a dance?’ Rivanah
had given her a tight smile of acknowledgement.
Nitya was one of those
people you could never be ‘friends’ with and there was no reason why. But
Rivanah couldn’t afford to be indifferent to her because Nityawas
her boyfriend’s best friend. On other days, Rivanah neither liked nor disliked
Nitya but she hated her whenever she started a statement with ‘May I ask your
boyfriend for . . . ?’ Why this seeking of permission? To Rivanah, it always
sounded as if the statement was gravid with a hidden taunt for her to decipher.
As if Nitya would have left Danny alone had Rivanah said no. As if Danny too
would have said no to Nitya if Rivanah had said no. Rivanah would have skipped
accompanying them to the nightclub but today was Nitya’s birthday and Danny had
requested Rivanah to join them. As usual she couldn’t say no to Danny and now
she was sitting at the bar, like a loser, watching her boyfriend and his best
friend groove to the latest chartbuster.
‘Absolut,’ Rivanah said
to the bartender instead of asking for a refill of her Virgin Mojito. The bartender
was quick to serve her and she was quicker to gulp it. She noticed Danny flash
a smile at her (did he?) and then his face was turned the other way by his best
friend. Have they slept behind her back? Rivanah was ashamed of asking
herself this question but it was not the first time she was doing so. There
were questions she could never answer. Questions about loyalty, trust and
infidelity in a relationship. If love was really no contract then how does
cheating come into being? Or was love an unsaid emotional contract after all?
She gulped three more shots of Absolut and ordered the fourth, turning her face
spitefully away from the ‘best friends’.
‘You remind me
Rivanah turned her head
to see an insanely handsome man standing behind her. No such man should
happen to a girlwhen she is emotionally vulnerable, she thought.
The handsomeguy was leaning sideways on the bar, looking obliquely at
her: dark complexion, clean-shaven, clear jawline, sharp nose, thin lips and
deep eyes. Rivanah flashed an abrupt smile which she knew was timed all wrong.
A smiling girl emboldens a guy like nothing else. She should have given him a
you-talking-to-me glance instead, or better still, no reaction at all.
‘Your smile confirms
that you indeed are that girl,’ the guy said.
‘Now you’ll say my
voice seals it.’ The vodka was clearly getting to her head.
‘Not if you let me buy
you the next drink.’ The way his smile redesigned his face took his
desirability quotient to temptation level.
had enough,’ she said.
‘For tonight, let’s
presume enough isn’t enough.’ In the next breath, he called for another drink
In a kinky way, pushy
men turned Rivanah on, especially when she was a few vodka shots down. This was
one major difference between her former boyfriend Ekansh and Danny: Ekansh
would decide for her while the latter would always let her have her way without
batting an eyelid. Even now if she stood and flirted with Mr Handsome, she was
sure Danny would only smile at her. If it were Ekansh . . . well, she wouldn’t
have been in the nightclub in the first place.
‘Do you always think and speak?’ the guy asked.
‘Huh?’ Before she came across as a dumb person,
Rivanah blurted out, ‘One more shot and then we hit
‘Sounds like a
A minute later the two
were grooving to the same number which, minutes back, had irked Rivanah because
Nitya and Danny had been dancing to it. She did glance towards them but, as
expected, her boyfriend’s thumbs-up gesture told her he was happy she too had
got someone to dance with. One shouldn’t be this open-minded, Rivanah told
herself, feeling the handsome guy’s hands tightening around her waist. With
Danny only a few feet away, Rivanah felt uncomfortable with the man’s proximity
to her, but the disgust triggered in her by Danny’s desire to be with Nitya
instead of her didn’t let the feeling of discomfort last for long. To distract
her mind from Danny, she focused on the handsome guy who, she now knew, was
looking at her the way a predator looks at a prey. It aroused her.
The handsome guy came
close to her and spoke softly into her ears, ‘How about we take a stroll
outside?’ His breath tickled her ears. Rivanah looked at him and nodded. She
could do with some fresh air. She didn’t care to glance at Danny before
The cacophony of the
nightclub suddenly vanished the moment they stepped out.
‘Do you believe
in magic?’ the guy asked.
Rivanah thought he was
trying to be funny and that she was supposed to laugh. Then she found herself
‘Want to see
Rivanah nodded again.
He smiled at her mischievously and stood facing her. Then slowly he started
retreating, one step at a time.
‘What are you doing?’
she gasped, not knowing what to expect next.
a teenager, Rivanah waited for some magic trick to unfold itself while watching
the handsome guy disappear into the darkness. Then she realized she didn’t even
know his name. She called out to him only to feel a tap on her back. Rivanah
turned in a flash to see the handsome guy standing right behind her, still
‘What the fuck!’ She
turned to look at the other end where he had disappeared seconds back and then
again at him standing in front of her. She had no clue how he had come behind
her so quickly.
‘How did you
manage to do that?’
‘Magic!’ the handsome
guy said, raising both his hands animatedly in the air.
‘Want to see me
do it again?’
Rivanah nodded, this
time confident she would catch him in the act. The guy yet again started
walking backwards from where he stood. Rivanah took a few steps forward,
curious to know if there was a shortcut or something but once he disappeared at
a distance she knew there was no way he could come up behind her— not this
quick. Rivanah kept looking either way eagerly. Half a minute later the
handsome guy appeared neither from behind her nor from front, but—to her shock—
from inside the nightclub.
The guy came up to her
and said in a naughty tone, ‘I know far more pleasurable magic tricks. Want to
give them a try?’
Rivanah knew what he
was hinting at: a one-night stand. Something she had never done earlier while
involved with Ekansh or Danny. An Audi appeared from nowhere and stopped right
in front of her. The front window slowly rolled down.
Rivanah bent down to look inside. The same handsome guy who was standing beside
her was behind the steering wheel and was also sitting in one of the back
seats. How is that possible? Before she could decipher if she was
hallucinating, Rivanah felt a pair of hands grabbing her from behind. In no
time she was bundled into the car by the guy standing beside her. Rivanah found
herself sandwiched between the two similar-looking guys while the third drove
They were fucking
triplets! That seemed like the only plausible explanation.
She tried shouting only
to have a hand press her mouth with force. The car was speeding away on the
lonely road as she heard the guys tell each other to get her under control. The
one who was driving had already switched on some music at top volume to mute
her cries. Rivanah was throwing her legs and hands at them in desperation. One
of the guys held her hands, while the other held her legs. She tried to move
but couldn’t. She shouted but it didn’t matter. She could now see the two guys
looking at her with a sadistic smile. As if her struggle was giving them a
kick. Would she able to break free before it was too late? Or was this a
nightmare like the ones she had had before? The lusty stares the guys gave her
told her otherwise. She felt the will to fight slowly slip away from the grasp
of her conscious.
And then the car
suddenly came to a halt, throwing everyone in the back seat off balance. The
guys beside Rivanah took their hands off her and sat still. Everyone in the car
looked out ahead through the windshield. The triplets’ faces paled one by one
while a bright smile appeared on Rivanah’s face. Someone was waiting right in
front. Rivanah knew well who this someone could be. He hasn’t forgotten me
after all, Rivanah thought, feeling relieved. Only she knew how much she
had missed him all these days . . .
When I saw a friend of mine clicking away rapidly framing the sky
I asked him, "What on earth are you doing?"
"I know. But why can't you simply frame tight for once, focus
hard and take one good photograph instead of clicking so many inconsequential
ones." I wanted to use the word 'stupid' instead of 'inconsequential'.
"Chill dude," He said. "I have enough space on my
Right he was. He had a 8 GB SD card inside that tiny digi cam of
his. I recollected those days when I used to have the old film based camera
where I could only click a finite number of photographs after which the film
roll had to be changed. It helped me value every click of mine by making me
less wasteful. I realized certain limitations are a blessing in disguise.
I was having dinner with friends the other day when the verbal histrionics of a lady by the adjacent table called for our attention. She was talking to one of the waiters in an animated way. She was there with her husband (probably) who was sitting rather quietly beside her. The woman was arguing about the non availability of one particular dish in the restaurant which according to her should have been there. The waiter was trying his best to explain her that they don't serve it but the lady wasn't interested to lend her ears to him. In the end she stormed out of the restaurant promptly followed by her husband. When the waiter came to us, one of my friends inquired about the matter. The waiter told us that the lady was demanding a Chinese cuisine in a place where they didn't serve Chinese. We friends looked at each other and then laughed out at how stupid people can be. Later I thought how often we frustrate ourselves by demanding that one cuisine which life hasn't kept for us in our menu. And thereby lose out on the time when we could have enjoyed what the menu actually had.
It has been a little more than a year since 'EX...a twisted love story' released and I was overwhelmed by the response it received. A heartfelt thanks to all those who read and appreciated it.
Well, it's time again for a new book, a new world, new everything...So here it is: 'Marry Me, Stranger'. It is the book one in 'The Stranger Trilogy'. I hope you will like it. The pre-orders have begun. So, you can pre-order it from the following links: