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                                     EXTRACTS FROM THE BOOK

EXTRACT-1: It is never easy to predict the right age of an editor, especially the male ones. Normal people wear wigs to look young. Balding, greying, weak eyesight are the brainy signs that editors aspire. Thirty year olds try to look over 40, those in their 40s try to look in the 60s and those actually in the 60s want to appear dead. I know at least a couple of editors who wore glasses though they were medically not required to, just to portray an air of knowledge, reading and books. Most smoke cigars and cigarettes to convey to those around that they are thinking hard. Many put on weight to look like uncles rather than young boys that they are biologically. An editor’s job is the opposite of a film star’s. The latter are supposed to look young, fit and botoxed, while the former strive to look old and haggard. There is a similarity between the two as well. Both the sets of people like to talk a lot, have opinions and solutions about every problem in the world. Like Shahrukh Khan, when an editor talks, he or she does not stop, unless there is nobody else in the room. I don’t know what SRK does when he is alone in a room. Maybe he talks to himself or calls up Karan Johar to continue the conversation, possibly underlining that he is greater father than a superstar, even after the stupendous success of Chennai Express.

EXTRACT-2: After talking for a while about various global issues, my father turned his attention on my future wife – about how much he cared for her as he had seen her grow in front of his own eyes. He even mentioned buying high quality active baby diapers for her from abroad when she was born, on request by her parents. I think Lata was a trifle embarrassed. It was quickly apparent to everyone present that my father was uncomfortable with developments in my personal life, just as he was not happy with progress in my professional sphere. I think both my parents believed I was not good enough to be married to a girl like Lata. They might have been positively inclined had she wanted to marry my high-earning elder brother. My parents were unsure about my value in the marriage mart. Rather, they thought I was valueless. A married man is weighed by his ability to stand up for himself and his family, especially monetarily that reflected in a high credit card limit. My father knew that my card was of the lowest student category, unlike Sid’s unlimited usage with periodic offers of free aeroplane and movie tickets, access to luxury airport lounges and golf courses. Sid gifted an add-on facility to my father who never used the sleek black plastic card with his name embossed on it. But, he showed it around as if it was an Olympic Gold Medal that Sid had won for the country.

EXTRACT-3: There was an unexciting footnote to my first wedded night. A strange feeling engulfed me that had nothing to do with the liberal quantities of Whiskey downed over days. My urge to make love to Lata had evaporated. When she was my girlfriend I could not disengage my hands from her body. On our first night as a married couple I just didn’t feel up to the sex, while she was desperate to have it. She thought it was auspicious to make out. The perfume she was wearing was exotic, the expensive lipstick tasted sweet, the tinkling of the fluorescent bangles sounded surreal in the bedroom of our new rented accommodation in Gurgaon. The lights were dim while I could smell the fresh new linen, rose petals strewn on the brand new soft mattress and bed cover. Each element, the occasion, the beautiful bride could only combine to create a heady aphrodisiac that could drive any man wild. The room had been done up by Lata and her mother, now officially my mother-in-law. Yet, I felt like a footballer at the end of a-90 minute gruel. I was completely out of wind. Lata whispered into my ears that she wanted me to ejaculate inside her instead of my tummy or hers. “You can feel free now. No need to stop yourself,” she said biting my ears and licking my face that I would have found extremely erotic anytime of the day or night. Though I believed it was a bit early to start trying for a family, I did not want to initiate a debate on my first night as a married man. The thoughts of kids, however, contributed to reducing my sexual appetite further. I tried every mental stratagem to make it happen. I thought about porn sequences, MMS videos, making love to Sushmita, Pooja and the village girl by turn. I thought about Bollywood and Hollywood actresses in various erotic situations. They were of no help.

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About the Book: India is in transition. The changes are not economic only. There are social, cultural transformations, attitudes and reactions to which vary. In the story, the protagonist drifts into journalism missing out on usual routes of Indian nirvana, IIT, IIM or IAS. He moves from adolescence to adulthood setting up an independent consultancy somewhere along the way. It is not easy to create a steady niche professionally and personally among myriad influences and sometimes fixated ideas of father, mother, brother, girlfriends, wife, married lover and more. The contradictions need to be managed, errors ironed out. Some experiences are expected, others not so calculated. There are mistakes. The journey of life is not easy. There are secrets that cannot be told, expectations not met, events that cannot be controlled. Retaining a bit of spice and humour becomes essential. A pair of dimples that women find irresistible is a relief but only fleetingly. There is happiness in speculative gains due to rising real estate prices. Some things fall in place, others do not.

About the Author : Siddharth Srivastava is an independent journalist based in Gurgaon, National Capital Region. He has worked for The Times of India. Over the last decade his writings have appeared in reputed publications across the world. His other assignments include India-related consulting projects from clients based in America, Europe and Southeast Asia. This is his first work of fiction.Siddharth has studied in St. Edmunds (Shillong) and Delhi Public School (RK Puram). He has a BA (Honours) degree in economics from Hindu College, Delhi University and a post-graduate in the same subject from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). He represented Delhi state at the national level in water sports.

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