Untitled Manuscript II

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Genre: Romance

_________

Run! Priya thought as she entered the lounge club in Gurgaon. It was crowded and loud. Though she couldn’t find fault with the place but her head had started to throb.

After the morning episode, she just wanted to curl-up and sleep. She was already regretting telling Aditi and Komal about the phone call. She felt as if she had betrayed Sameer.

‘Bad idea’ she muttered.

‘Did you say something?’ Komal asked. Priya shook her head. There was no escape. Komal and Aditi flanked her on both sides, as if she would run away. They were determined to keep her occupied and busy. ‘You both grab a table. I will take care of drinks’. Komal said.

Abhimanyu took his drink from the bar, turned…and stared. For the first time in his life he understood meaning of heart missing a beat. The girl, in yellow, was looking completely out of place with her lost and deserted look. Her long black hair cascaded down on one side. The most arresting features were her eyes with long black eyelashes. They almost touched her cheek when she checked her cell phone time and again.

‘Abhi! We are starting a new one.’ Rahul, called him from the table they had for themselves. He kept her in his line of sight and moved towards his friends. They were exchanging exaggerated stories of their tryst with girls in their respective offices. Though he pretended to listen to them, but his eyes tracked movement of the girl across the hall. She was with another tall girl in red and black. They seem to be waiting for someone at a cocktail table. The need to look into her eyes kept growing like an alien insidious weed.

Someone tapped his shoulder, he looked up with an annoyed scowl at the interruption.

‘Chal…’ Rahul was standing beside him.

‘What…’

‘Someone got your attention after a long time. Must be pretty special, let’s go and introduce.’ Rahul said.

‘I don’t think it’s a good idea. They seem to be waiting for someone. She might be with a partner.’

‘Well…for you my friend, I am willing to take the risk.’

Abhimanyu chuckled, ‘Leave it. You will get bashed up unnecessarily on your birthday.’ He glanced at the cocktail table again. ‘Oh that’s Komal!’ He spotted his cousin with miss-beautiful-eyes and smiled. Now things were looking up. ‘Ok let’s go…’ He stood up, ‘Wait a minute, why do you want to tag along?’

‘Why not? May be she will like me, moreover today is my lucky day!’ Rahul said and followed him.

‘Hey Komal!’ Abhimanyu said reaching their table, all along keeping his gaze on miss-doe-eyes.

He willed her to look at him. To his annoyance she dropped her cell phone and ducked under the table.

‘Rahul, Abhi bhaiya, fancy seeing you here’ Komal said and smiled. ‘I thought you were too mature for this kind of place.’ He grinned and followed the girl putting her phone together, battery, cover and all.

‘His highness has come at my insistence to grace my birthday party today.’ Rahul said. ‘You ladies can introduce yourself and wish me ‘happy birthday’ with a kiss, I don’t do presents.’
Komal introduced Priya and Aditi, and promptly pressed a kiss on Rahul’s cheek.

The girl just threw a fleeting glance at Rahul and him and continued to fiddle with the phone. This was a new experience. He was not used to females ignoring him. Priya…nice name.

Rahul invited them to join their table. They shifted to the alcove where two of Rahul’s friends were sitting. Rahul somehow managed to maneuver their seating arrangements so that Priya ended up sitting adjacent to him, while Rahul sat with Aditi. Abhimanyu noticed Komal wiggling her eyebrows at Rahul’s ploy. Rahul winked.

Priya was getting more and more miserable with every passing second. She was unable to delink her mind from that heart sinking phone call today morning, which indicated that Sameer was with some other women.

She couldn’t digest the explanation that it could be platonic. The husky bedroom voice was still echoing in her ears. Her call on Sameer’s phone was picked up immediately by the woman. But this only indicated that his phone was with the woman not Sameer. May be the woman hasn’t passed her message to him. But her call was dismissed so carelessly it seemed Sameer was with HER – Priya’s mind was having conversation on these lines since morning with different inferences and combinations. If it was innocent, then why was his phone switched off and why hadn’t he called? This couldn’t be happening to me, she thought. The whole incident had taken dream like proportion.

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16 Responses to “Untitled Manuscript II”

  1. Ruchi Singh April 14, 2014 at 3:33 am #

    Thanks everyone! Really appreciate the feedback !

  2. sridevidatta April 12, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

    Sorry I’m late for the critique.
    I liked the fact that you deal with two conflicts. However the nitpicker that I am, the following things came to my mind.
    Keep the thought distinct from action by italicizing it . Start with Run. It is a thought. Italicize it.

    Though she couldn’t find fault with the place but her head had started to throb.
    “Though she couldn’t find fault with the place” seems unnecessary here. She already found the place crowded and loud. So how could she still “not find fault with the place”? Since that thought is the process from where the entire conflict starts, I fell either remove the sentence in its entirety or add more description to the conflict between crowded and faultless.
    After the morning episode, she just wanted to curl-up and sleep. She was already regretting telling Aditi and Komal about the phone call. She felt as if she had betrayed Sameer.
    ‘Bad idea’ she muttered.
    Too many “she” in this para.
    Abhimanyu took his drink from the bar, turned…and stared. For the first time in his life he understood meaning of heart missing a beat. The girl, in yellow, was looking completely out of place with her lost and deserted look. Her long black hair cascaded down on one side. The most arresting features were her eyes with long black eyelashes. They almost touched her cheek when she checked her cell phone time and again.
    The transition from Priya’s thoughts to Abhimanyu’s thoughts is too sudden. Make it gradual. Blend it with the scene.
    Also no need of ellipsis in “…and stared”.
    For the first time in his life he understood meaning of heart missing a beat.
    This sentence gets too complicated. How about “For the first time in his life, his heart skipped a beat”.
    Again too many “Her”s.
    Abhi! We are starting a new one.’ Rahul, called him from the table they had for themselves. He kept her in his line of sight and moved towards his friends. They were exchanging exaggerated stories of their tryst with girls in their respective offices. Though he pretended to listen to them, but his eyes tracked movement of the girl across the hall. She was with another tall girl in red and black. They seem to be waiting for someone at a cocktail table. The need to look into her eyes kept growing like an alien insidious weed.
    ‘Abhi! We are starting a new one’, Rahul called out to him from their table . Keeping her in his line of vision he walked towards his friends. The guys(or boys) were boasting about their trysts with their female colleagues. He pretended to listen, yet his eyes followed the movement of the girl he had just spotted. She was with another tall girl in red and black.(Is the description of the companion really necessary. He was all the time occupied with Priya isn’t it?). They seem to be waiting for someone at a cocktail table. The need to look into her eyes kept growing like an alien insidious weed. (too sudden .Add to the conflict more otherwise this utterly poetic sentence would seem like a parody)

    BTW I could critique only half. The story has potential, But has many ambiguities and redundancies that need to be removed. Good luck with your project 🙂

  3. Payal Kumar April 12, 2014 at 3:14 am #

    I like the content and has a making of a good novel. It makes me eager to read more. A would appreciate if there was more description of Priya’s angst, anxiety and state of mind and also more detailed description of the reasons that Abhi finds Priya different from the other girls. Detailed emotions do tie the readers to the characters. Apart from the grammatical mistakes, it was well written.

  4. Rubina April 12, 2014 at 2:33 am #

    The characters jump off the page. As a reader that facinates me. I would love to know this arrogant guy and why Priya has this relationship with Sameer. It could be a novel in the making.

  5. FARIDA RAHMAN April 11, 2014 at 6:52 pm #

    Well, pretty simple story with a pretty heroine and a very special hero whose Lordship has deemed it fit to grace the occasion of his friend’s birthday. I should not like to find grammatical faults, since we are not sitting in a classroom. How to start a story is the prerogative of the writer so no advice on that level too. There is a lot of difference between the opening lines of Hardy and Jane Austen but both are classics. It is just the beginning of the story , may be the writer has some twists up her sleeve. Let’s be patient and wait for the real story to unfold.

  6. Devaki Khanna April 11, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

    I love the way the story begins–I would certainly like to know more about these characters.

  7. Arti April 11, 2014 at 5:43 pm #

    Loved the opening lines of the story.
    I feel a little more could be mentioned about priya before introducing Abhi.
    Gut feeling is that once it develops, the sameer factor will make the book unputdownable.

  8. Devaki Khanna April 11, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

    My two bits:

    Run! Priya thought as she entered the lounge club in Gurgaon. It was crowded and loud. Although she couldn’t find fault with the place, her head had started to throb.

    After the episode in the morning, she just wanted to curl up and sleep. She was already regretting telling Aditi and Komal about the phone call. She felt as if she had betrayed Sameer.

    ‘Bad idea’ she muttered.

    ‘Did you say something?’ Komal asked. Priya shook her head. There was no escape. Komal and Aditi flanked her on either side, as if she would run away. They were determined to keep her occupied and busy. ‘You both grab a table. I will take care of the drinks’. Komal said.

    Abhimanyu took his drink from the bar, turned…and stared. For the first time in his life he understood the meaning of the phrase: his heart missed a beat. The girl in yellow looked completely out of place with her lost and desolate expression. Her long black hair cascaded down on one side. Her eyes with their long black eyelashes were the most arresting features. Her lashes almost touched her cheeks when she checked her cell phone time and again.

    ‘Abhi! We are starting a new one.’ Rahul called him from the table they had taken. He kept her in his line of sight and walked to his friends. They were exchanging exaggerated stories of their trysts with girls in their respective offices. Although he pretended to listen to them, his eyes followed the girl across the room. She was with another tall girl in red and black. They were waiting for someone at a cocktail table. The need to look into her eyes kept growing something alien and insidious.

    Someone tapped his shoulder; he looked up with an annoyed scowl at the interruption.

    ‘Chal…’ Rahul stood beside him.

    ‘What…’

    ‘Someone has got your attention after a long time. Must be pretty special; let’s go and introduce ourselves.’ Rahul said.

    ‘I don’t think it’s a good idea. They seem to be waiting for someone. She might be with a partner.’

    ‘Well…for you my friend, I am willing to take the risk.’

    Abhimanyu chuckled, ‘Let it be. You will get bashed up unnecessarily on your birthday.’ He glanced at the cocktail table again.

    ‘Oh that’s Komal!’ He spotted his cousin with miss-beautiful-eyes and smiled. Now things were looking up. ‘Ok let’s go…’ He stood up, ‘Wait a minute, why do you want to tag along?’

    ‘Why not? May be she will like me; moreover, today is my lucky day!’ Rahul said and followed him.

    ‘Hey Komal!’ Abhimanyu said, as he reached their table, keeping his gaze on miss-doe-eyes all the while.

    He willed her to look at him. To his annoyance, she dropped her cell phone and ducked under the table to pick it up.

    ‘Rahul, Abhi bhaiya, fancy seeing you here’ Komal said and smiled. ‘I thought you were too mature for this kind of place.’ He grinned and stared at the girl, as she put her phone together, battery, cover and all.

    ‘His highness has come at my insistence, to grace my birthday party today.’ Rahul said. ‘You ladies can introduce yourselves and wish me a happy birthday with a kiss; I don’t do presents.’

    Komal introduced Priya and Aditi, and promptly pressed a kiss on Rahul’s cheek.

    The girl just gave Rahul and Abhimanyu a fleeting glance and continued to fiddle with the phone. This was a new experience. He was not used to females ignoring him. Priya…nice name.

    Rahul invited them to sit at their table. They shifted to the alcove where two of Rahul’s friends were also sitting. Rahul somehow managed to maneuver their seating arrangements so that Priya ended up sitting next to Abhimanyu, while Rahul sat with Aditi. Abhimanyu noticed Komal wiggling her eyebrows at Rahul’s ploy. Rahul winked.

    Priya was increasingly miserable with every passing second. She was unable to delink her mind from that heart sinking phone call early this morning, which indicated that Sameer was with some other woman.

    She couldn’t digest the explanation that it could be platonic. The husky bedroom voice was still echoing in her ears. She had called Sameer’s phone; her call was picked up immediately by the woman. But this only indicated that the phone, and not Sameer, was with the woman. Perhaps the woman hadn’t passed on her message to him. But her call was dismissed so carelessly it seemed Sameer was with her – Priya’s mind had been running on these lines since the morning, and coming up with a variety of inferences and combinations thereof. If it was innocent, then why was his phone switched off and why hadn’t he called? This couldn’t be happening to me, she thought. The whole incident had taken on a dream-like quality.

  9. Percy Kerry (@percykerry) April 11, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

    I like the story, and the author does have a certain flair for writing intriguing, suspenseful romance, something I admire. I would really love to read the rest of this story :). But I will definitely nitpick some flaws here, to make this story shine with its real potential:
    1.There are some small typo errors- eg. ‘Run!’ should be in Italics to emphasize a thought.
    2. Third sentence, 1st para should be- ‘Though she couldn’t find fault with the place, her head had started to throb’
    3. Punctuation marks are missing. Eg. ‘Bad idea!’ she muttered; ‘…I will take care of drinks,’ Komal said.
    4. Paragraph 5, ‘Abhimanyu took his drink….checked her cell phone’ has grammatical errors.
    5. There are other small grammatical mistakes in the MS-missing ‘and’ and ‘the’ etc.
    6. Like one of the reviewers above, I agree about the need to delineate POV. Also, in the paragraph about the seating arrangements- the second to last para-there is confusion between who sat with Priya and who with Aditi.
    I wish the author and the book All The Very Best! This has tremendous potential!

  10. Monika April 11, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

    The plot line is purely ‘desi’ and seems interesting. I would, as a reader, however, would like to read more emotions as Priya cruises through her anxiety or anger. Thank you. All The Best!

  11. Ruchi Singh April 11, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    Hi, I am the author of this submission. Thank you…thank you so much… this is exactly what I was looking for. Since the conflict is in the thought process of both the main characters, hence two POVs. I wanted to show his attraction to her and her inner reflections on the phone call. Please advise.

    • Sabahat Muhammad April 11, 2014 at 9:46 am #

      There needs to be a stronger transition, Ruchi, between the two POVs. There are natural ways to do this – a reference to the protagonist, a glance their way, something that introduces us to Abhi. You started off with Priya’s inner struggle, and then moved into a wider view of the club. Why not describe the lounge with a sweeping look and have her notice Abhi and his group? If Komal knows him, maybe she could wave at him, or catch his eye. You can switch points of view with a transition like this, but it must be natural.

      And this is just nitpicking, but the word ‘though’ is a modifier, just like ‘but’, so you can’t have two of them in the same sentence: Though she couldn’t find fault with the place but her head had started to throb. This sentence would work one of two ways:

      1. Though she couldn’t find fault with the place, her head had started to throb. OR
      2. She couldn’t find fault with the place but her head had started to throb.

      • Ruchi Singh April 11, 2014 at 9:55 am #

        Great thanks!

  12. vidya April 11, 2014 at 8:44 am #

    It has all flavors of a desi romance…
    It instills a curiosity to know what happens further and whats with her lover Sameer.

  13. Devika Fernando April 11, 2014 at 8:34 am #

    I’m not going to go into details on the grammar here (Indians and Sri Lankans do have certain weaknesses when speaking and writing in English), but I’ll comment on the content itself:
    I like the setting as well as the contrast shown between Abhi and his friends and Priya and her group. That phone call is a good choice to introduce the conflict. Maybe we could have Priya thinking more about it and expressing how exactly she feels about it? Suspicious? Angry? Hurt? Worried? (I know, this might follow in the sentences not included in the preview, but I just feel it would flesh her introduction out and make her situation more understandable.

    • Sabahat Muhammad April 11, 2014 at 9:01 am #

      Yes, there are glaring grammatical and language errors, but if we move beyond those, the abrupt switch from Priya’s POV to Abhi’s is very unsatisfying. This starts off well, but the glimpse into Priya’s dilemma is too brief. There is no segue into Abhi’s POV (nor one that would change it back to Priya’s), which makes the whole script jerky, and it looks like the whole meeting with Abhi was inserted as an afterthought.

      The sequence of events needs to be changed, or needs to be explained better. A single POV would have probably helped with this.

      I would also like to see a little more description of the lounge other than ‘crowded and loud’. And if it is loud, wouldn’t they be shouting to be heard? Or words would get lost, they may not hear everything. Things to think about when writing dialogue!

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