I have already published three of my books through Amazon.com:
In the meantime, I intend blogging the first few sample chapters of the novel for everyone to read. Every alternate day, a new chapter will be released through my blog. Avid readers may please read and send me their comments.
I would appreciate if readers can indicate their preference about using their comments as part of the book
Here you go with the opening chapter .......
Mani Shankar was a lonely man. He had just given a send off to Gowri, his wife, who was on her way to USA where their children lived. She had got her Green Card from the U.S. Immigration Authorities only recently and she couldn’t be away from U.S for more than six months. Mani Shankar was ambivalent opting for permanent residency in U.S.A. He found life, over there, purposeless. He had seen enough of U.S.A and his ideas about that land had changed drastically over time. Gowri agreed to seek permanent residency to help their children with the newborn kids, but Mani Shankar dilly-dallied. He felt his presence there was irrelevant. He liked his children and grandchildren, but to be doing only baby-sitting all the time was not his cup of tea. He had enjoyed freedom and recognition all through his life and career and that was not available to him now, anymore, in his children’s place. He decided to stay back in India and visit U.S.A once in a while.
Mani Shankar was in tears, as Gowri waved her hands from a distance, to proceed to the security check at the airport. Gowri was his strength and greatest companion. He couldn’t run to her to have a final hug before she departed, as he had seen in many movies. Movies were make-beliefs, without any touch of reality. He was alone now and he felt miserable.
‘What do I do now?’
An impulsive thought flashed his mind. ‘Why not I go to Joshimatt or somewhere and roam around the places?’
He was an ardent traveler and Himalayas fascinated him, all the time. He had gone there several times. He didn’t even think further. He had his small shoulder bag that had virtually become inseparable from him and it contained all that he needed – his wallet, debit cards, cell phone, iPad, net-book, the Sony digital camera, and MP3 player. They were sufficient for him to spend his time with. He had a brain that constantly manufactured ideas and he never felt bored. His mind chattered all the time.
The lights, from the Trishul suburban railway station, shimmered across the highway, inviting him. It was four in the early morning. He walked across the deserted passage to the station. The station was empty and semi dark, reflecting his mind.
‘Am I doing the right thing?’
As he waited, ruminating, a train arrived, with many empty coaches. He couldn’t think again and boarded it. He got down at the Park Station. He crisscrossed the road, maneuvering to avoid several speeding fish carts and tempos, even in those early hours, and reached the Central Railway Station. The station was busy and never seemed to sleep away. There was a morning special train that took longer to reach New Delhi. He didn’t mind, rather he preferred the long train journey to air travel, since that gave him plenty of time to brood over things. He was a great brooder, too. He bought a current ticket to New Delhi, hoping to manage some sleeper berth once inside the train. He bought a Sidney Sheldon and Chetan Bhagat, from a book vendor on the platform, just before the train departed. The Travelling Ticket Examiner was a decent man, didn’t hesitate to oblige him with a side-upper sleeper berth. All the better, he thought.
His train reached the Hazrat Nizzamudin station in New Delhi, late into the evening the next day, after several hours of delay. He didn’t mind it, again. What is there to lose? He took an auto-rickshaw and went to the New Delhi Central railway station. He found a room in a hotel, owned by a former friend, in the Pahar Ganj area, opposite to the station. Several shops were still open and he did some quick shopping, buying a few essential things - two sets of pajama Kurta, undergarments, a shaving kit, a backpack, a light shawl, a sweater, a torch light, and medicines for his diabetes. He would miss reading books, but that shouldn’t be a problem as he had already downloaded a number of e-books to his net-book. Thank Amazon.com. He was now ready for his lonely next couple of months.
He was so excited, planning and anticipating his solo sojourn to Joshimatt and he never knew when he eventually slept. The next morning he went to the Inter State Bus Terminus at Old Delhi and took a bus to Hardwar. The bus looked like a vintage showpiece and he thought times didn’t change things in Uttar Pradesh and Uttranchal. In Hardwar, he went to one of the Ashram on the banks of the river Ganga and sought stay there for the night. Early next morning he dipped himself in the freezing Ganga river water, quickly dressed, took some hot parathas in a roadside dhaba for breakfast, located a bus that was leaving for Joshimutt and boarded it. The bus was another vintage model.
When the bus coughed and left Hardwar, little did he realize that loneliness had a value and that it was productive, albeit, very painful, too!.......... to be continued with Chapter 1