The excerpt


Do you know what a new book smells like? You know, a book that has just come out of the press? I love that smell.The smell of ink on fresh paper... It reminds me of my childhood. I used to smell the books while putting a new brow cover on them. (It was a rule in my school-no, not smelling, I mean, having covers on your books). The smell reminds me of a new beginning... it comforts me... It makes me feel that the past is forgotten. It's another day...

I have been really nervous the last few days... My editor told me that the Novel has gone into the press. They are printing copies as we speak...

I wonder how the final copy is gonna look. I wonder how it's gonna feel... I just want to touch it once.... I wanna just smell it once...

Here, I post an excerpt from the Novel : How I got My Girl Back...!

I hope you like it... If you do, do visit the site for more www.arshatchaudhary.com (It's up and running now)

Excerpt from
Chapter 19 :
The Date

L9? That is level 9, right? I will be there.”

“See you around 8 then.”

“Okay”

I started getting ready at six thirty, I didn‟t want to be late or get stuck in the traffic. Pune traffic on Sunday nights is a devil. I wore my favorite Arrow shirt and jeans. I know, kinda weird, not something that you would wear to a restaurant, but tell you what; Indian girls find an office shirt worn over a pair of denims very hot! Okay, I didn‟t know that, Akshay told me.
I reached World Convention Centre around seven thirty. Entered my name at the reception and then took the elevator to the ninth floor. I approached the counter just outside L9.

“Excuse me, Sire!”
A guy dressed in a dark blue blazer, probably the captain at the restaurant stopped me. These swanky hotels have guys like these to make you feel unimportant.

“Yes?”

“You are not wearing a tuxedo!” He had a British accent. Fake of course.
I realized something. This guy, it was... it was... Umesh! In a Tuxedo! A Tux completely changes the personality of the person I tell you.

“Umesh? What‟s wrong with you?! What is going on?”

“Isn‟t it cool? I am the captain here and I want you to wear a Tux,” he said excitedly. He pulled out a black swanky Tux from behind the counter. “Here! Put this on!”

“I am not wearing any Tux!” I said. There was no way I was gonna change from the „hot‟ look to the „old fart‟ look.

“Hey look! I don‟t make the rules!” He said.
Someone tapped me on my shoulder. I turned to find her looking at me with her lovely hazel eyes. She was wearing a maroon salwaar kameez. It had some embroidery but essentially it was very simple. Just like her - simple and pretty. She had a couple of purple orchids in her hand.

“Dev? Why is everyone giving me orchids?” She asked in her honey dipped voice.

“Umm.. umm..” Think Dev, think! “Umm… „cause you are pretty.”

Maybe that was the setting Akshay was talking about. He must have requested all the guys to give her orchids. I must have told him only once that Pritha liked Orchids, and he remembered that!

“Nooo,” she said. “I come into the WCC and the gatekeeper gives me an orchid saying Ma'am you are beautiful‟. I go to the reception to enter my name, the man at the counter stops me and gives me an orchid saying 'Ma'am you are beautiful', I enter the lift and say Level 9, the liftman takes out an orchid and says-”
“Ma‟am you are beautiful?” I offered to finish her sentence. “See? I was right! They really like you. And who wouldn‟t, you are beautiful.”
She blushed at that.

“Uh.. should we go in?” She asked.

“Ma'am, there is a dress code.” Umesh pitched in. “Tuxedos for men, evening gowns for women.”
“Oh.. but, I don‟t have a evening gown!” she asked.
What was he doing! He was ruining the whole thing. Just then he pulled out a turquoise evening gown from behind the counter and handed it to Pritha. Now turquoise is the name that girls have given to the color blue. I mean, why can‟t they call it blue! Wasn‟t turquoise an animal that goes into its shell every time it senses danger? Oh wait… That is tortoise.

“Ma‟am, you can wear this!” Umesh said handing her the gown. “And this too,” he handed her high heeled sandals or whatever they call them.

“Oh.. but do I absolutely have to?”

“Yeah, does she have to?” I quipped in. I was worried she might call the whole thing off.

“Sire, I don‟t make the rules.”

“Are these my size?” She asked checking the gown and the high heels.

“They sure are!” said Umesh.

This is the guy who gets up at six to take a dump, this is the guy who wears a baniyan for most part of the day and here he was ordering us to „dress up‟. Anyway, we decided to dress up, in our respective costumes of course, and in our respective restrooms of course.
I wore my tuxedo and came out of the men‟s restroom. I waited outside women‟s restroom for Pritha. She took a good twenty minutes to get dressed. Girls always take a lot of time to get dressed. But I swear to God, it‟s all worth it! She came out, wearing her turquoise evening
gown.

She looked beautiful! Her hazel eyes, her lovely curls, her curvy body. The dress hugged her body, revealing her figure. Till now, I had seen her in loose Salwaar Kameez which covered most of her. This gown was held by delicate straps at her shoulders. This was the first time I saw her shoulders. They were so shapely, and so delicate. My eyes lingered down. I wanted to soak in as much as I could. I would be lying if I said I wasn‟t aroused…, sexually. I would be lying if I said that 'thoughts' didn't cross my mind. Pritha saw me looking at her. Girls can distinguish between a glance and a leer. I was leering for sure.

“How do I look?”

My throat went dry. In a hoarse voice I said- “lovely!”.

She blushed. To be honest, I don‟t get why girls like Pritha blush after hearing something nice about them, I am sure they must hear such things about them all the time. But then, maybe, not the compliment but the person who gives the compliment matters.

I gave her my arm to hold, like they show in old Hollywood movies. She let out a laugh and held it as we entered the Level 9. Umesh held the door open for us. There is a small indoor section at L9 too. But today it was empty!!!

Who would wanna eat inside when you got such pleasant weather, and for some lucky blokes like me, such pleasant company? We kept walking through the indoor section and finally reached the terrace. The terrace was empty! There was a single table at the far corner of the terrace. Pritha looked at me confused. I wasn‟t less confused. Why was L9 so empty on a Sunday night!

“Sire! This way Sire.” It was Kunal! He wore a white blazer, like those waiters in costly places.
We walked to the lone table on the terrace. I pulled the chair for Pritha. It was dark on the terrace save for one pink candle that was on the table.

“It‟s a lovely night, isn‟t it Dev?”

I looked up at the sky. There was no moon. There were like a billion stars. It almost felt like they were here to watch us.

“It‟s lovely,” I said. Then looked into her eyes and said, “But not as lovely as you.”
She smiled. It was peaceful. Just me and her. Isn‟t that how God meant it to be?

“How come we are the only ones in the restaurant?” She asked.
Only if I knew! Akshay had come up with this. But the thing is, why hadn‟t he told me about it? And where was he! Pritha was looking at me, waiting for an answer.

“Umm… maybe they decided to let in only those couples who were made for each other.”

Pritha looked at me, kinda amused at what I had said.

“Devvv?” She said half amused, half annoyed.

“Pritha.”

Her name is so sweet. Calling her name out like that seemed to say that I mean that thing about made for each other.
Now, I knew she was someone's girlfriend, and here I was telling her that she was meant to be with me. Pritha was bound to be a little taken aback, albeit in a good way, to see this side of Dev.

The Dev she knew would always be a little hesitant to say something of that magnitude! But I figured that I had nothing to lose, since I was not asking for her answer. In fact, I wasn‟t even waiting for her answer. I almost declared that she was made for me.
Kunal came in with the menu.

I placed the order for Risotto olla Milanese and Russian salad. She asked for the Roasted vegetable Mediterranean Lasagne.

“You look handsome in this Tuxedo,” she said, looking at me.

I tell you, it is such a thrill when a girl you love says that. I felt a shot of blood rush to my ears. When Akshay had coached me, he made one thing clear, you have to be ready to keep her guessing, keep it interesting…

“Well, thanks. I always look good in rented suits,” I said. The line wasn‟t that clever but I couldn't come up with anything wittier than that then. Trust me, it‟s difficult to think straight when you got blood rushing in far extremities of your body.

Kunal brought in two plates. This time, instead of bread crumbs there was actual food in the plates.

We ate in each other's company. Soft music, I think it was Ronan Keating's 'When you say nothing at all', that was playing in the background. The only other sound was of the knife and fork touching the plate. I would say something silly every now and then and she would laugh her sweet laugh. Her laugh - like a seven year old‟s - unrestricted, full of innocence and clearly brimming over.

For dessert, I ordered a Gelato, while she ordered Vanilla ice cream with Kahlua. What is Kahlua? Don‟t even ask me! To be honest, I think even she didn‟t know about it.

“What is a Kahlua anyway?” I asked.

“I have no idea!!” She said it with mock confidence. For a moment there I thought she was kidding me.

Kunal brought in the dessert. She savored every bite of ice-cream. The metal spoon touched her pink lips, the cold ice-cream melted as soon as it touched her warm lips. I never knew you could eat ice-cream like that. My throat ran dry. She noticed me staring at her.

“What are you staring at Mr. Dev?”
Using „Mr.‟ as a salutation, when least required, is a girl‟s way of flirting.

“I..I..wasn‟t staring…”
Forget all coaching. If the girl decides to get flirty, you are on your own mister.

“Oh, yes you were!”
She smiled; baffled, but quite enjoying the fact that she was being stared at.

She looked at the sky.
“There are so many stars in the sky!”

“Yeah…” I managed to say. “There are so many more in your eyes.”
A smile played on her lips...

“But there is no moon today,” she said.

“There is one,” I said looking at her.

Soft music was still playing in the background. Now it was playing- I love you by Robbie Williams

“May I have a dance with you Mr. Dev?” She said.

If I didn‟t know better I would say she was high. The ease with which she was with me was quite uncharacteristic of her. She had always been this shy girl. Most of the times, she had trouble meeting my eyes, and here she is now asking me for a dance. Nothing wrong with that really, only that I have two left feet and hadn‟t received any coaching on dancing with Umesh. I gave the empty terrace a quick glance.

“Oh.. a dance? Really? Okay.”

I was not gonna miss this chance of holding her close to me.

I held her hand and led her to the centre of the terrace. She was wearing high heels and was finding it difficult to keep balance. I have always had a liking for simplicity. Pritha always kept it simple. No flashy clothes, no major makeup, no fancy high heels, she was comfortable in her own skin. In a way, she was so unlike me, I always wanted to be someone else.

I held her close to me. Since she was wearing high heels, she now almost came up to my height. She rested her left hand on my shoulder and I held her right hand in my left. Her hands seemed so small in mine. But it fit so perfectly. I placed my right hand on her waist.

The song played in the background.
Then afterwards we drop into a quiet little place And have a drink or two And then I go and spoil it all By saying something stupid Like I love you
I pulled her close to me. I think God hardwired us to slow dance, which is why even men like me who can‟t co-ordinate the movement of their feet to a simple left-right-left, have no problems dancing with a girl in their arms.

And then I go and spoil it all
By saying something stupid Like I love you...

She placed her head on my shoulders. We kept moving to the soft tunes of different songs.

________________________________________________





P.S.

1. Please do join the community How I got My Girl Back...! on facebook : http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=125312997504438

2. Also there on orkut : http://www.orkut.com/Main#Community?cmm=102975754

3. If you wish to be updated about the book, please do follow me on twitter : http://twitter.com/arshatchaudhary

4. Btw, this was my 200th post :)




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12 letters to the editor:

    wow yaar! wanted to be the first one to comment, so havent read that excerpt!! You dont have to be nervous, I am sure ur book is gonna rock ....Just make sure its also available in my city-Indore ;)

    Congrats for the 200th post and after reading the excerpt more eagerly waiting for the book :-)

    On July 1, 2010 at 12:26 PM     
    s4n705h said...

    Doubley congrates. Both on 200th Post and printing of Books. Even you say that you are nervous i can feel that you are not. The funny online about brown cover is sure your hallmark style.

    Waiting for your book.. :)

    On July 1, 2010 at 2:44 PM     
    sumit Das said...

    Here is an advice for you. Please don't get your publisher to put "bestseller" tag on your work after the first print coz imho only tacky books these days have Bestseller tag blaring out of their title. Can somebody please get a gun for all those authors to shoot themselves, coz somebody has arrived big time.

    I also think of tortoise everytime I hear of torquoise. God, I am nerd!!! Please get the book out quick. I need to get my girl back too.

    No more words left for you... :-s

    Honestly, next time I comment, it'll be with the review of the book :P :P Is it gonna be available at Crossword, cause otherwise it'll be ages before I can get hold of a copy... unless I order online... :-w

    On July 2, 2010 at 12:59 AM     
    Deep C said...

    Congratulations for your 200th post ...
    and now waiting for the book ;-)

    On July 2, 2010 at 9:56 PM     
    Thoorika said...

    Congratulations !!! My beshtesth wishes! :D Just enjoy the moment :)

    OMG!! my favorite blogger is writing a book... :)..!! I'm sure its wonderful..!! (just like the excerpt..) best wishes.. :) :)

    On July 7, 2010 at 9:40 PM     
    tilopinion said...

    Congrats Arshat! good luck.
    Can you also post sometime about the journey of publishing a book, especially approaching the publishers etc?

    Congrats Arshat...I hope is a huge hit!! Happy to be the 100th follower.. Do I get a free copy? ;)

    damn that excerpt got me hungry!! haha sure gonna buy ur book!! downloading free e-books wont do the trick :)

    congo on the book...looks like its gonna be treat for us!!


    @enchantinganki
    It's so sweet that you wanted to be the first one to comment :)
    Thank you.

    @Santosh
    Double Thank you.
    You so know me!

    @Sumit
    No man.. I am not gonna put tht up anytime soon. It annoys me too!

    @akansha
    Yes it will be available at Crossword. But as it usually happens with big names, crossword is acting pricey. Hope they put it up in a week or so.

    @Deep
    Thanks :)

    @Thoorika
    Thank you. :)

    @Arpitha
    That sounds so nice. It's really sweet of you to say that :)

    @Tilopinion
    I will do that after 2 posts.Promise. Nice name, btw!:)

    @Illuminator
    hehe.. thank you... You get a very special copy :)

    @Bucking
    Thanks man.. Feels good coming from u :)