08 April, 2018

#SpecialFeature :: Read an #Excerpt from The Story of a Long-Distance Marriage

*** Special Feature - April 2018 ***

About the Book:
We’ll always have each other to come back to.

Rohan and Ira’s life takes an unexpected turn when Ira decides to leave for New York to study. They’ve been married for only fifteen months, but this is the opportunity of a lifetime, and Rohan is not going to come between his wife and her dream. So, sad but supportive, he stays back in Delhi, where he is on the brink of a promotion at a national daily. After all, his relationship with Ira is strong enough to survive the distance—they are new-age lovers who don’t let marriage come in the way of careers and ambitions.

Rohan prepares for a year without Ira, getting by with a little help from his friends: Yusuf, his on-call confidant who lives in Bangalore; Alisha, a colleague he likes catching up with over tea; and Tanuj, his new role model at work. Life without Ira is going surprisingly well. Until the day, that is, she reveals the real reason she left.

Beautifully written and unflinchingly honest, this is the love story of our times.

Book Links:
Harper Collins * Amazon

Read an Excerpt:

I get into our second-hand white Alto and immediately turn on the AC. It is past midnight but still quite hot, and lugging Ira’s three suitcases that are just under the permissible weight limit has made me sweat. I had insisted on her packing everything from snow boots right down to three packets of Tata Salt so she doesn’t have to spend in dollars for a while. I regret all that now as I look at her in the rear-view mirror, waiting for me to reverse the car, and imagine her trying to manage the suitcases by herself all the way from JFK to New Jersey, where she is going to stay with a friend from college for a few weeks before she can _ nd a place of her own, preferably in Manhattan.

Work for the magenta line is going on at Hauz Khas metro station even at this hour. There is some traffic due to the diversions but it’s not too bad. The ground rumbles as gigantic machines drill the land. I keep darting glances at Ira as I look at the left side-view mirror. It is difficult to say whether she is nervous, excited or sad, since she’s so quiet as she looks out of the window. I place my hand
on hers and wait for her to react, but she doesn’t.
‘You’ll manage, right?’ I ask, just to break the silence.
‘Manage what?’
‘Everything. The transfer at London—there isn’t much time between the lights. House hunting by yourself in New York. Keeping up with the rest of your class once lectures start. Are you nervous?’
‘A little.’
‘I worry about you, you know.’ I do, but I also know that there is no real reason for me to. She is perfectly capable of including a nice place to rent, managing her classes and making light transfers. She likes being independent and by herself.
‘I know,’ she says and gently squeezes my hand without looking at me.

The traffic clears after the IIT flyover. Trucks, allowed within the city at night, drive in the left lane. The road is a little potholed and bumpy, but it’s easy to navigate my way around them and hit at least sixty. On any other day I would have loved the drive. But tonight, I almost wish there were more traffic so I could stay with Ira a little longer. I let her switch from the old Hindi songs playing on the radio to Frank Sinatra on the pen drive.
‘New York, New York,’ he sings, and though the beats are elevating, I feel melancholic.

The road widens after Vasant Vihar and there are only cars headed for the airport. Huge green signboards with white lettering guiding us to T3, the international terminal, loom in the distance. Audis and BMWs whizz past. There is no slowing down now. Soon we take the exit off the Ring Road and enter the airport premises. We pass a line of business hotels, the Delhi Aerocity metro station and bus stops with backlit advertisements. The grounds are so huge that it takes us ten minutes to reach the airport building. The parking charge is Rs.110 for the first half hour and double that for up to two hours. But there is no way I am going to drop Ira off and leave.
I go to the basement parking, from where we walk to the departure gate. We are now surrounded by people saying goodbyes, cheap labour going to the Gulf, families going on foreign holidays. There are the CISF guys manning the gates, looking up from people’s IDs and matching their photos with their faces. And there is the brightly lit departure terminal just on the other side of the tall glass walls.

‘I’ll miss Momo,’ Ira says suddenly, and I realize that both of us had been quiet for a long time. It sounds almost like she wants to say she will miss him more than she will miss me. But that can’t be what she means and I only smile. ‘His shots will be due next month. And don’t forget to take him for a walk every morning.’
‘I won’t,’ I say. Any other day I would have told her that I will obviously do these things without being told. But I know this is her way of saying goodbye. Caught up in my own thoughts and trying to see some sign of sadness on her face, I haven’t realized that this is harder for her than it is for me.
‘Clean the house regularly,’ she continues. ‘Don’t just arrange things in right angles. Clean the exhaust fan in the kitchen before your parents visit. Select a day of the month to pay all the bills so you don’t forget. Note down all the expenses in a diary so you know where the money is going.’ I don’t know what it’s like to live in a different country by myself, so I refrain from giving her advice. I
know she’ll be fine. ‘And now get me a trolley.’

I go to the corner where the trolleys are lined up while she waits with her luggage. I turn around and look at her from a distance. This is the last time I will see her for a year. I don’t know if by the time she comes back she will have the same wavy, long hair or if she’d have cut and straightened it. If she will lose or gain weight. If she will have an accent. I take in her five-foot-three frame, her narrow waist and firm breasts. She is putting on her sweater in anticipation of the cold inside. She is already preparing for life without me.

I return with the trolley and place her suitcases and handbag on it. We take a selfie in which both of us look more tired and sleep-deprived than sad. My eyes well up again as we hug tight.
‘Don’t become smug because you are living in New York,’ I say without letting go. ‘And don’t become too comfortable there because you have to come back.’
We kiss, unmindful of the people around.
‘I love you,’ I say.
I watch her enter through the gate and follow her till I can see her no more. And as I start walking back to the basement parking lot, I am bothered by this feeling that she has left something unsaid.

About the Author:
Siddhesh Inamdar is a 30-year-old writer and editor based in Delhi. 
He graduated in English Literature from St Xavier's College, Mumbai, and was a recipient of Mumbai University's gold medal in the subject. He did a master's in English from Delhi University and a postgraduate diploma in journalism from the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai, where also he ranked first in his batch. 
He has worked with the  Hindu as a correspondent based in Pune, with DNA in Mumbai and with Hindustan Times in Delhi. He has been with HarperCollins since 2013 as an editor for non-fiction books. Some of the authors he has worked with include Raghuram Rajan, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Devdutt Pattanaik and Aanchal Malhotra.

Contact the Author:

Signed copies + Bookmarks + specially made bag tags for the book
a Rafflecopter giveaway

No comments:

Post a Comment