Feedback Fridays

Untitled Manuscript II

Constructive criticism is welcomed by all. However, any comments that are overly derogatory in nature will be removed. Please keep in mind that the author, while anonymous, will be reading your feedback. Submissions posted here are not edited and/or proof-read by Indireads.

If you are an author hoping for some feedback on the first 800 words of your unpublished manuscript, you can submit your work here.

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.


‘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.

Feedback Fridays


Our second submission is the first part of a short story, not a full manuscript, so judge it accordingly! Constructive criticism is welcomed by all. However, any comments that are overly derogatory in nature will be removed. Please keep in mind that the author, while anonymous, will be reading your feedback. Submissions posted here are not edited and/or proof-read by Indireads.

If you are an author hoping for some feedback on the first 800 words of your unpublished manuscript, you can submit your work here.


Genre: Romance

‘Ha ha ha ha…her guffaws rang out in waves across the quiet green expanse and the laughing river flowing beside them.

He smacked her leg playfully, the look in his eyes more eloquent than a dozen words.

She was piggy-backing, her legs wrapped around his waist, arms around him. He staggered, stabilised and then walked on the narrow raised strip between the rice fields

They weighed almost the same. Their height almost the same, pointy nosed and voluptuous mouthed, they both had dusky-bronze skin. They could well have been siblings. They were not.

Nitin and Barkha

There’s so much to do. Barkha pulled herself out of her easy chair, tucking a silvery grey wisp of hair behind her ear. The morning Sun, no longer soft, had begun to scorch her skin.

She had begun to lie down in the old easy chair very often.

Nitin’s grandfather had a few of the chairs carved from the best rosewood and they lay in the veranda that overlooked the back yard. Old and black, the wooden chair still gleamed. There were scratch marks all over made by the scores of children that had sat on it. Namely Barkha and her siblings; her brood: two daughters and a son.

On weekends Barkha and Nitin had sat there, just like they did now, though not ‘just’ like now, she thought. Back then, their children ran amuck in the green yard playing and screaming, stopping to snack from any one of the many fruit trees that they fancied. Things were different then.

She had kept back one chair for herself and one for Nitin. The rest had been given away to admiring relatives.

She glanced at Nitin.

He smiled at her. Vacant faced.

Like someone trying to recognise her.

Nowadays every time he looked at her, he was like that.

Like a child looking for something.

Or even a dithering idiot trying to figure out something remotely intelligent.

She smiled back.

He was a shell of his former self.

“I am going indoors now. Will you stay here”?

“Yes,” he smiled again, his eyes crinkling against the glare of the Sun, numerous fine lines on his once smooth face. He didn’t mind the Sun.

“Getting my dose of vitamin D,” he said.

She shook out her salt and pepper hair from the knot which had come lose, tied them up into a tight knot that made a certain statement and marched in through the back door.

She found that the maid, had sneaked in and was now at the kitchen sink, washing spinach in quick, sharp swishes, trying to get the cumbersome task out of the way before Barkha descended on her.

On hearing her footsteps, the maid changed her modus-operandi with lightening speed. She took the colander which she was meant to use and started to go slow, washing a few leaves at a time, under running water.

Barkha smiled at the little deception and filled the electric kettle. Another cuppa wouldn’t hurt.

The sounds of the boiling water sucked her mind into a whirlpool of thoughts which usually boiled below the surface of her cool exterior.

One cold morning in Coonoor, five years ago, the tea kettle screamed for attention, gave up and had burnt itself beyond repair.

Nitin wouldn’t recognise her.

Her Nitin. The one she knew right from college.

“Nitin, wake up.  Let’s go for a walk,” she had curled up next to him in an effort at drawing him out of his warm quilt.

A month ago he had given up his position as Manager of the tea plantations he worked for, since the last ten years. They had saved up a tidy sum so she wasn’t worried on that front.

Feedback Fridays

Untitled Manuscript I

Our first anonymous selection for Feedback Fridays. Constructive criticism is welcomed by all. However, any comments that are overly derogatory in nature will be removed. Please keep in mind that the author, while anonymous, will be reading your feedback. Submissions posted here are not edited and/or proof-read by Indireads.

If you are an author hoping for some feedback on the first 800 words of your unpublished manuscript, you can submit your work here.


Genre: Romance

FROM somewhere in the room my phone buzzed to the riff of Metallica’s ‘Master of puppets. I squirmed in my sleep, and ignored Hetfield’s intense guitar playing. However, as it began to get louder I couldn’t take it anymore and gave in.

In semi-drowsy state I rose to my feet and started locating the boom-box.

It wasn’t on the work-table, it wasn’t anywhere around the pile of clothes, or my Java and other android books, or the pile of clothes in the shelves of the open cupboard.

“Stop you frigging monster!” I shouted in frustration.

Finally I found it hiding from me behind my laptop. I wasted not a second pressing the cancel button, and put an end to the crazy mayhem.

Rubbing the corner of my eye with a finger I looked at the time. The screen showed 10:30. 10:30!

I almost panicked. But soon realized that I didn’t even have the time to panic – I was already too late. I rushed to the basin, washed face, and brushed teeth. After changing into formals I put a sandwich from last night into the microwave. While it heated up, sitting on the sofa I put on my shoes.

With the sandwich clutched in hand, and the backpack slung on shoulder I made way to the main street as fast as possible. An auto from there and I was soon onboard metro train.

I worked through all of it so fast that I seriously considered timing myself next time.

Yes, indeed there would be a ‘next time’. It was the typical routine. Life as an android-app developer could be really frazzling and demanding, contrary to what many people imagine.

The moment I stepped on the road I started pacing to the office. I considered boarding a bus – even though the office was barely two km away it would still save me plenty of time – but no bus passed by me that day.

When I was still halfway to the office, then as if being late, and with no bus coming my way was not bad enough already, the grey sky exploded. And it didn’t rain water, but cats and dogs!

I took shelter under the nearest tree and waited for the rain to stop. But apparently, there was no stopping to it. If anything, it seemed to be getting intense.

Finally I gave up, and holding the backpack above my head I started running towards my office. I didn’t have a choice after all. Reaching the office doused in rain was still better than getting reprimanded for reaching late. That especially on the day when one of the biggest projects Mobisoft had received was to be completed and sent to the client.

As I stepped inside the office I immediately felt relieved – it was so cozy and warm there. Luckily, and surprisingly, I didn’t get too wet and just swabbing of handkerchief on the neck and hands did the trick.

I stood in front of the fingerprint scanner and pressed my index finger on the red slide to mark my attendance.

“Please wait for a few seconds” the female pre-recorded voice from the device said.

“Sorry! Please try again.” came the response. I rubbed my finger on my trousers and tried again. But again the response was the same. “Please try again”. Once more. “Please try again” And once more. “Please try again.”

“Damn it!”

“Hey, you better get a new finger. Your current one is not working.” Dushyant said as he passed by me and sniggered. A few others also joined him from their desks.

Ignoring the remark, as well as my attendance, I walked to my desk and slumped into the chair.
About Dushyant’s behavior, it was not that I had any choice. He was the project manager, team leader, whatever. You can call it anything you want. The thing is – he was a douche.

“Rough day, eh?” Ashish said.

“Just another normal day in my life.” I said as I placed my laptop on the table.

Other than Manav sir, the company head, Ashish was the only likeable and trustworthy person I found in the office. He was dark (in a good way), had good dressing sense, and was audacious. He could have easily mingled with any other guy in the office, even the influential ones. But instead he chose me to stick with, working from the desk right next to mine.

News & Events

The Launch & The Reviews

The big news this week has been the launch of our romantic comedy, Done With Men. The book has received rave reviews and celebrity endorsements. Faraaz Kazi, the best-selling author of Truly, Madly, Deeply had this to say about the book. “Perfectly summarises the life of a modern day working woman with an easy-going style of writing that will go down well with all readers. Good job, Shuchi Kalra!

We have launched the book with an innovative and fun social media campaign; please use the Indireads page on Facebook and follow us on twitter (@indireads) to stay on top of the conversation, and get a chance to win merchandise and books. If you haven’t seen it yet, you may want to check out this fun video about what women and men are saying about Done With Men. Intrigued? Do remember to check out the video trailer.

The buzz continues today, with more Valentine’s Day fun. You can now send your loved ones a virtual rose; you and the recipient will also get a free gift from us. Alone this Valentine’s Day? No worries. Come celebrate Singletine–because Single is the new Awesome–and flaunt your Singletine badge to say it with style!


This week, we have exciting feedback from reviewers and readers to share. Take a look at what reviewers have been saying about our books by clicking on the links below:

Julie Valerie reviews Done With Men by Shuchi Kalra

Contemporary Romance Reviews reviews Done With Men by Shuchi Kalra

The Lemon Review reviews Haveli by Zeenat Mahal


Goodreads and the social experience of reading – Naheed Hassan

Some times Goodreads feels, to me at least, like the modern day equivalent of the neighborhood aunty collective. In the old days, every aunty in the neighborhood knew exactly what each household was having for dinner that night—and probably contributed a recipe or an ingredient or two. Goodreads does connects readers the way the over-the-wall aunty network did many years back.


While at school and college part of the joy of reading was to discuss the book—its merits and demerits and how it made you feel—with a group of like-minded friends all generally reading the same category and level of books. As one embarks on the journey of career, partner and home-building, less time is available to discuss books, and the finer things in life. Who has time the to discuss books when a deadline looms, a child cries or the perfect dinner party has to be planned.


That’s where Goodreads steps in. If you don’t have the time or inclination to join a physical book discussion, it allows you to interact, review, react and engage with other readers, but in your own space and time. And that’s what I find magical about Goodreads—it allows me to indulge my passion of sharing my views on books that I love or hate, and connect with others who feel the same way; a truly social experience. Oh, and by the way…we’re having pasta for dinner tonight.

Naheed Hassan

News & Events

Indireads in Salaam Bahrain

Indireads was recently featured in the August issue of Salaam Bahrain. From the article:

“The thirty books that have been launched to date have been penned by 25 different authors, and interestingly, nearly 30% of them have lived in the Gulf at some stage of their life.”

“As a South Asian, I have always craved to read stories closer to home and dealt with experiences I could relate to. And my book is a fun, frisky read (it is a college romance) which I have tried to keep current by using phrases which are commonly used in college.”

“Even though the rest of the world categorizes us as South Asian, we know that the people of each country bring their very own diverse standards to the table. In the Gulf countries, you get to see this at close quarters. However, you also see how alike we are in terms of our family values, ethics, approach to education, [and] religion…”

Download the article here.


Mini-Jeopardy — A Puzzler

Double Jeopardy author, Sundari Venkatraman, has a little brain teaser for you—a small puzzle to help you while away the day. Those who have read the book have a huge advantage, but you could possibly get most of the answers from the preview of the book.

Download and print out the puzzle [PDF, 422KB]

And, for those of you who have already worked it out, here’s the solution…



We Have a Question for You


In the Author’s Voice: Double Jeopardy

Download, share or listen online to Sundari Venkatraman’s reading of her novella, Double Jeopardy.


Sundari Venkatraman on Becoming an Author

Download, share or listen online to Sundari Venkatraman as she recalls her journey to becoming an author.