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Heartbroken? Find Healing in Rithvik Singh’s ‘I Don’t Love You Anymore’

Loving someone who doesn’t love you back is something many of us have experienced. Rithvik Singh‘s I Don’t Love You Anymore offers solace to those who feel deeply and love unconditionally. Here are five powerful selections from the book, each one a gentle embrace for the heart, reminding us that healing and letting go are part of the journey. Dive in and let Rithvik’s words be the comforting companion you need on your toughest days.

 

I Don't Love You Anymore
I Don’t Love You Anymore || Rithvik Singh

***

If you ever knew someone who loved you enough to be terrified of losing you, I hope you know how rare it is to find someone like that. Someone who would leave flowers on your dining table, kisses on your forehead and the scent of love in your heart. Someone who would gently hold the pieces of your heart on days when life gets too hard. If you ever knew someone who loved you the way the sky loves its stars, I hope you didn’t end up breaking their heart.
And if you did, I hope life breaks your heart too.

 

***

You’re not the kind of flower
that can be plucked
and put in someone’s hair.
You’re the kind of flower
people find too pretty to pluck.
The kind of flower that deserves
to keep blooming. 

***

 

Things are hard with people who don’t love you hard. People
whose love isn’t the ocean but its waves. The ones who always
leave you confused. They don’t tell you that they love you, but
they also don’t accept that they don’t. They hold your hand but
refuse to hold your heart. They lend you space in their heart,
but they don’t let you stay in it.

***

 

I’ll watch nine episodes of a show in one day, but keep postponing
the last one. When things change. When fate changes. I avoid
watching it. I try not to make it to the end. I bury my curiosity
and start another show. I go out and meet a friend. I do
everything I can to not let the show end. But I know I’ve got to
face the ending, no matter how much it terrifies me, or how far
I try to run away from it. I know the show has already ended. I
know the ending won’t change.
This is not about the shows.

***

 

Love
It’s in having tea at midnight with someone who is used to
having it at night, only to give them company.
In forgetting the distance between cities and crossing it with
a smile on your face—only to put a smile on the face of the
person you love.
Seeing a flower shop and immediately getting a few for someone.
Sitting on video calls at night and not talking to each other
because you’re both tired, but never being too tired to not
make some time for each other.
Holding hands in busy streets and holding them tight at the
end of a busy week.
It’s in refusing to let distance change your feelings. In ensuring
that love never leaves.

***

 

Get your copy of I Don’t Love You Anymore by Rithvik Singh on Amazon or wherever books are sold.

Fool Me Twice: A Birthday Surprise Like No Other but Was it Worth the Risk?

Ever wondered what happens when teenage romance collides with life’s unexpected curveballs? In Fool Me Twice by Nona Uppal, the answer unfolds amidst the bustling streets of New Delhi. Brace yourself for a whirlwind of emotions as we delve into Sana’s journey of love, loss, and the resilience that follows.

Read this exclusive excerpt to know more!

Fool Me Twice
Fool Me Twice || Nona Uppal

***

‘Ashish, can you cut it out, please? You’re going to get us arrested.’ Bani had been game for Ashish’s plan in theory, which meant she, half-drunk on a pint of beer, had nodded furiously when he had explained it. Now that they were mid-execution, it seemed at least slightly criminal.

‘I’m too young and pretty to go to jail.’ Ashish turned around to glare at Bani.

‘I’ve got this,’ he hissed back.

‘Bhaiya, in sabka kitna (How much for these)?’ Ashish asked the man handling the roadside bird shop, pointing to all the birds on display. ‘And the ones at the
back too.’

The shop, called ‘Flying Dreemz’—a five-minute walk from our school, Horizon High International, in Hauz Khas—adorned the streets with the pastel hues of pink, blue and green cages that could only do so much to hide the sad faces of the birds trapped in them. The shopkeeper was understandably suspicious. Was he being recorded for a prank on TV?

 

‘Sab? Fifty ke fifty? Pakka?’ he confirmed. The deal was one of those too-good-to-be-true kinds.

‘Haan, pakka. All birds, no discount. Kitna?’

Ashish had no way to determine if the price the shopkeeper quoted was a steal or a loot. When his father had handed him the stack of notes, he’d been ultra-generous. ‘Make sure you get her something nice,’ he had said, patting Ashish on the back.

Handing the shopkeeper the money warily, Ashish wondered if this was going to be a disaster.

‘Badiya sir,’ the shopkeeper said, comically bobbing his head as he retrieved the notes from Ashish.

Having successfully completed the transaction, Ashish looked at Bani with his ‘Are you game?’ eyes.

‘This could either be epic or an epic blunder,’ she blurted out, her hands fixed on her phone camera, with Ashish positioned in the centre of the shaky frame.
‘Lekar kaise jaayenge aap inhe (How will you take these)?’ The guy asked Ashish, eyeing his i10. ‘Truckwruck ka kuch arrangement?’
But carrying the birds home was not what Ashish had in mind.

One by one, he unlocked the cages that weren’t really locked in the first place. Having been born and bred in captivity, it took a few seconds for the birds to
realize what an open cage meant. Only when one of them dared to flap its wings and fly into the blue sky did the others realize they could do it too.

 

‘Yeh kya kar rahe hain aap?’ the shopkeeper shrieked, finally looking up from counting his earnings.

‘Saala paagal!’ he scrambled to lock the leftover cages, yelling profanities at Ashish and Bani, but it was too late. The last bird had already flown away.

 

Ashish hadn’t gone mad, though. Far from it. Every day for the past two years, Ashish, Bani and I had walked out of our school’s main gate soon after the final school bell for a quick ice cream before heading back home. Our trusted Kwality Walls cart was usually parked right next to this bird shop, the ownership of which had been passed down to many different men over the years. Despite looking forward to my Cola bar all day, my skin burning from the sweltering heat, one look at the birds would make me lose all my appetite. I admit that it was mostly silly. But I couldn’t drown it out. All those pretty birds locked away in pastel-coloured cages, waiting for someone to set them free. Instead, they were bought by rich people and carried in cars to jazz up their maximalist homes.

 

It was one of those things I thought no one was noticing, a two-second glitch on my face that the most attentive of eyes could miss. Here’s where I got it wrong—Ashish was always looking. So, for my eighteenth birthday, when his consistent pleading for me to tell him what he could gift me failed, he rejigged his strategy. What could he do that would mean more than buying me a pair of shoes I would ditch for my Bata chappals or a bag to fill with stuff I would much rather carry in my hands?

 

After capturing the rainbow colours in the sky as the birds flew away, Bani panned the camera towards Ashish’s face. ‘Look here,’ Bani signalled.
Ashish faced the camera. ‘I don’t know if this is stupid,’ he said. ‘Umm, it probably is. But, fuck it. It fits because I’m stupidly in love with you. Happy birthday, Sana.’

 

Bani turned the camera around to record herself.
‘If you think it’s stupid, it was all his idea,’ she said, laughing. ‘But I love you too, munchkin.’

 

The end was a lot choppier than the rest—the camera being stuffed, while still on, in Bani’s bag, as they escaped in Ashish’s i10 that drove like it was always in second gear. I saw the video and heard the entire story a week later, on the night of my birthday, as Ashish and Bani sat next to me and played it on Bani’s laptop. Scrunching up the fabric of my loose t-shirt to wipe the fat tears trickling down my cheeks, I broke out laughing as the end scenes rolled. This kind of luck and love, I realized, might just be illegal to possess.

 

***

Curios to know what happened next?
Get your copy of Fool Me Twice by Nona Uppal wherever books are sold.

Spice Up Your Valentine’s Day with These Romantic Reads!

Love is in the air, and our curated collection of romance books is ready to steal your heart this Valentine’s Day! From sizzling meet-cutes to soul-stirring tales of love lost and found, these books are bursting with passion, drama, and everything in between. Get ready to fall head over heels into a world of romance like never before!

 

Fool Me Twice
Fool Me Twice || Nona Uppal

Set in New Delhi, Fool Me Twice is an unconventional story that will stump readers expecting a good, old romance trope. We meet and fall in love with a young couple planning their futures together when life rudely hijacks the steering wheel. Exploring the ways a twenty-year-old navigates grief and life after a loss that shatters most fifty-year-olds, Fool Me Twice looks at the complexity of falling in love ‘again’ at an age where most are falling for the first time, and what it feels like to move on from mourning one great love to make room for another.

 

All That Sizzles
All That Sizzles || Sakshama Puri Dhaliwal

A spicy meet-cute that will delight your rom-com palate!

Wedding planner Tanvi Bedi is all fired up about her latest project, the $100 million wedding of a media heiress. The only hitch is her high-profile client’s wishlist chef, Nik Shankar. Weddings are a complete no-no for Nik, but there must be something—or someone—he can’t resist.

Nik Shankar’s lifelong dream of inheriting his ancestral home is in jeopardy due to his estranged grandfather’s absurd caveat—Nik must get married to claim the property. When Tanvi storms into his office, an inconceivable solution presents itself: Nik will craft the wedding if Tanvi pretends to be his fiancée.

What starts as a recipe for disaster whips up into a delectable feast of simmering chemistry and fiery passion. But as the line between fake and real blurs, Tanvi and Nik must confront their inner demons before their charade goes up in smoke.

Could love be the secret ingredient they need?

 

All He Left Me Was a Recipe
All He Left Me Was a Recipe || Shenaz Treasury

Part fact, part fiction, All He Left Me Was a Recipe is a never-ending pursuit of love, a quest for the ever-elusive ‘Mr Right,’ all while kissing the ‘Mr Maybes’. It’s a rollercoaster ride through the fabulous and often hilariously complicated world of modern dating where love, lust and culinary metaphors are on the menu.
From ‘a-ha’ moments to giggles and even some epic heartbreaks with a fair share of tear-shedding, this book is a VIP pass to Shenaz Treasury’s heart in all its shapes and forms over the years. Every story wraps up with
a recipe—a memento from each of these unforgettable encounters—along with some timeless life lessons.
So, pour a glass of wine, get comfy and dive into a world that’ll make you laugh, shed a tear or two, and who knows, you might just find yourself along the way.

 

 

The Henna Start-up
The Henna Start-Up || Andaleeb Wajid

Abir Maqsood is angry.

She has things to do: a career to carve, money to earn, and, in the small stuff, a dining table to fix. But there are many obstacles in the way: lack of money, her parents’ over-protective attitude, and a most annoying distraction in class called Arsalan.

When her mother is not paid her dues for her henna service, Abir resolves to help her by creating a henna app. Her college is also running a programme for student start-ups so things look most fortuitous. But the path to getting funding is littered with more thorns than roses.

As Abir navigates through college, friendships and social pressures with determination, will she find the freedom that she is truly looking for?

 

 

Zen
Zen || Shabnam Minwala

In this deeply addictive, sweeping book about the life and times of the two Zainabs, is captured a short history of Mumbai, and of India. Of what we were and what we have become.

Zipping between the past and the present, between midnight’s children and millennials and getting both right, Shabnam Minwalla has crafted a page-turner whose heart is open, inclusive and populated by a host of memorable characters. -Jerry Pinto

 

Terminal 3
Terminal 3 || Debasmita Dasgupta

It’s August 2019 and Khwab Nazir is waiting to board the plane at Terminal 3 of New Delhi International Airport. Set to represent India at an international jiu-jitsu tournament, Khwab nervously looks towards her unknown future. She also reflects on her complicated past-of growing up against the insurmountable difficulties
of life in Kashmir.

Between happiness and emptiness, desire and grief, penance and peace-Khwab has endured. She has a dream that life will be a paradise, one day. Breathing against the backdrop of conflict, Terminal 3, is the story of the everyday people striving to live their dreams in the Valley.

 

The Girl Who Kept Falling in Love
The Girl Who Kept Falling in Love || Rheea Mukherjee

Told through the lens of urban myths, accounts of past lovers, bared confessions and half-truths that make up Kaya’s world, The Girl Who Kept Falling in Love dives deep into the futilities of being attached to global aspiration and fighting institutionalized hate while chasing a universal need for love and acceptance.

 

It was Always You
It was Always You || Sudeep Nagarkar

Have you ever regretted a lost love?
Karan and Shruti are a happily married couple. Until Karan’s ex resurfaces into his life one day. Soon Karan finds himself getting nostalgic over matters of the heart and thinking fondly of his first romance. Will he put his steady and seemingly perfect marriage at stake for his ex-girlfriend?
Meanwhile his best friend Aditya finds his own relationship with his wife Jasmine going through an emotional turmoil. Will both friends work towards keeping their marriage afloat, or make a decision they would later regret?

The Perfect Us
The Perfect Us || Durjoy Datta

Love is not having to hold back . . . but will she ever truly let him in?
Avantika is an investment banker, an ambitious go-getter and the exact opposite of Deb-a corporate professional turned failed writer, turned scripter of saas-bahu serials.
They’ve been together for ten years, surviving everything from college to rave parties to annoying best friends, including Shrey, who has no respect for personal boundaries, and Vernita and Tanmay-the annoying yet enviable ‘it’ couple who seem to have it all.
Now Avantika wants to take the next step. But will Deb be able to catch up? Or will it rip them apart? No matter how hard he tries, Deb can’t convince Avantika that he’s the one for her. Not as long as she is broken and her past looms in the background-pushing her, troubling her, goading her to question if their love is enough.
Will Deb be able to find their perfect place?
The Perfect Us is love’s struggle to find a happily ever after. . .

 

Heart Tantrums
Heart Tantrums || Aisha Sarwari

In order to be able to survive, Aisha Sarwari was told, love and devoted acts of service will always light the way. These however, become the very reason of her complete unravelling.

In this large and messy voice of a memoir, Heart Tantrums artfully describes the scatter of catastrophic losses-the loss of her father in early adolescence; leaving behind her family home in East Africa; and trying to fit into a completely different culture in Lahore after marriage. In 2017, when Aisha first held her husband Yasser Latif Hamdani’s brain MRI against the light, she began to also lose the man she loved to a personality-altering brain tumour.

 

 

I Too Had a Love Story
I Too Had a Love Story || Ravinder Singh

Do love stories ever die?. . . How would you react when a beautiful person comes into your life, and then goes away from you . . . forever?Not all love stories are meant to have a perfect ending. I Too Had a Love Story is one such saga. It is the tender and heartfelt tale of Ravin and Khushi-two people who found each other on a matrimonial site and fell in love . . . until life put their love to the ultimate test.Romantic, emotional and sincere, this heartbreaking true life story has already touched a million hearts. This bestselling novel is a must-read for anyone who believes in the magic of love . . .

 

Something I Never Told You
Something I Never Told You || Shravya Bhinder

When in love, you tend to take each other for granted, and sometimes, that can cost you a lifetime of togetherness . . .
Ronnie knew that his first crush was way out of his league, and yet he pursued and wooed Adira. Shyly and from a distance in the beginning, and more persuasively later. He couldn’t believe it when the beautiful Adira actually began to reciprocate, falling in love with him for his simplicity and honesty.

Slowly, as they get close and comfortable with each other, life takes on another hue. From truly magical it becomes routine. There are fights and then making-up sessions-a clash of egos and doubts.

Things begin to change for the worst.

It is too late.
Ronnie and Adira will probably never find their forever after . .

 

Something I'm Waiting to Tell You
Something I’m Waiting to Tell You || Shravya Bhinder

‘Letting go of her was not easy but winning her back was harder than anything I could have ever imagined’

After nearly losing the love of his life to a terrible accident, Ronnie realizes how much he loves Adira and what an idiot he had been to hurt her. What’s more, her overprotective mother now takes care of her, and does not like Ronnie being anywhere near her daughter.
He’s going through hell-unable to go back in time and fix things, unable to say what he missed saying to her, ‘I love you . . .’
All he wants now is a second chance, to trace his steps back into a loving relationship and win Adira over. It will not be easy because life is tough; love, even tougher.
Something I’m Waiting to Tell You is the sweet, intense conclusion of a story that started with Something I Never Told You, a book that will teach you a thing or two about soulmates.

 

Make A Move
Make A Move || Stuti Changle

Join rising YouTube star Alara, struggling but hopeful stand-up comedian Aarav, and zany but zen beach shack owner Ricky on a quest for the truth in You Live Only Once.
Discover yourself with Myra, Kabir and Sandy, three individuals who refuse to give up on themselves as they make life-changing decisions, in On the Open Road.
Embark on the adventure of growing up with Iti, Nishit and Shelly in Where the Sun Never Sets.
Bestselling author Stuti Changle’s trio of novels are life-changing stories of human relationships, of introspection, and of having the courage to follow your dreams.
Now together in this boxset, they promise to entertain, inspire and, of course, compel you to Make a Move.

 

World's Best Girlfriend
World’s Best Girlfriend || Durjoy Datta

When he turns, I see his eyes. There’s a sense of surety in them, a sense of danger, a sense of entitlement and definitely, arrogance.’

Daksh and Aanchal meet under improbable circumstances in the most unlikely of places-a posh resort in the Andamans. While Aanchal is fighting hard to escape the shackles of a lower middle-class existence, Daksh is aimless and unsure of what his future holds. Strangely, they are drawn to each other.

‘My gaze drifts to her exposed back, and the tiny knot that secures her shimmering choli in place. Emotions of anger mix with a strange desire in me.’

Four years later, when they meet again, Daksh’s world has crumbled around him. The burden of caring for his sick father and six-year-old sister has left him with little time for anything else. Yet, despite their diverging paths, Daksh and Aanchal find themselves reconnecting in unexpected ways. Their mutual attraction deepens.

Till now, fate has been pushing them together, but what will happen when they decide to take matters into their own hands? Will life be as they’ve imagined, or will destiny take even that away from them?

 

World's Best Boyfriend
World’s Best Boyfriend || Durjoy Datta

Hate, is a four letter word.
So is love.
And sometimes, people can’t tell the difference…

Dhurv and Aranya spend a good part of their lives trying to figure out why they want to destroy each other, why they hurt each other so deeply. And, why they can’t stay away from each other.
The answer is just as difficult each time because all they’ve wanted is to do the worst, most miserable things to one another.
Yet there is something that tells them: THIS IS NOT IT.
If you want to know the answer to it all, read the book.

8 Romance Audiobooks to Remind You How Single You Are!

Get ready to swoon, sigh, and maybe shed a tear or two as you dive into these 8 irresistible romance audiobooks that promise to tug at your heartstrings and remind you of the beauty (and occasional agony) of love. From chance encounters to shattered hearts and second chances, this handpicked collection has got it all.
So grab your headphones, cozy up, and prepare to be swept away into Durjoy Datta’s world of romance, where love reigns supreme, even if you’re flying solo this Valentine’s Day!

 

World's Best Girlfriend
World’s Best Girlfriend || Durjoy Datta

‘When he turns, I see his eyes. There’s a sense of surety in them, a sense of danger, a sense of entitlement and definitely, arrogance.’

Daksh and Aanchal meet under improbable circumstances in the most unlikely of places—a posh resort in the Andamans. While Aanchal is fighting hard to escape the shackles of a lower middle-class existence, Daksh is aimless and unsure of what his future holds. Strangely, they are drawn to each other.

‘My gaze drifts to her exposed back, and the tiny knot that secures her shimmering choli in place. Emotions of anger mix with a strange desire in me.’

Four years later, when they meet again, Daksh’s world has crumbled around him. The burden of caring for his sick father and six-year-old sister has left him with little time for anything else. Yet, despite their diverging paths, Daksh and Aanchal find themselves reconnecting in unexpected ways. Their mutual attraction deepens.

Till now, fate has been pushing them together, but what will happen when they decide to take matters into their own hands? Will life be as they’ve imagined, or will destiny take even that away from them?

 

Wish I Could Tell You
Wish I Could Tell You || Durjoy Datta

Can you find yourself after you have lost that special someone? A disillusioned and heartbroken Anusha finds herself in the small world of WeD. Struggling to cope with her feelings and the job of raising money for charity, she reluctantly searches for a worthwhile cause to support.

For Ananth, who has been on the opposite side, no life is less worthy, no cause too small to support. Behind them are teams for whom going to extraordinary lengths to save lives is more than a full-time occupation. In front of them is the virtual world of social media—watching, interacting, judging, making choices, and sometimes, saving lives. From the virtual to the real, their lives and that of their families, entangle in a way that moving together is the only solution. They can’t escape each other. In this world of complicated relationships, should love be such a difficult ride?

 

A Touch of Eternity
A Touch of Eternity || Durjoy Datta

Born on the same day and at the same time, Druvan and Anvesha know they are soulmates in every sense of the word. Their parents, however, refuse to accept their “togetherness” at first and try to tear them apart. Druvan and Anvesha try their best to explain why that cannot happen.

In the same timeline, the world has made huge progress in science and some of the first experiments to combine the body and the soul have begun. This is an opportunity for them to prove their love and tell the world that it is love that can make the impossible, possible.

Druvan and Anvesha participate in the experiment as if their life depends on it, because it does. The only thing that remains to be seen is, will the dream of a man to control love and life come true? And when the time comes, can one stay true to their soulmate?

 

If It's Not Forever It's Not Love
If It’s Not Forever It’s Not Love || Durjoy Datta, Nikita Singh

When Deb, an author and publisher, survives the bomb blasts at Chandni Chowk, he knows his life is nothing short of a miracle. Though he escapes with minor injuries, he is haunted by the images and voices he heard on that unfortunate day.

Even as he recovers, his feet take him to where the blasts took place. From the burnt remains, he discovers a diary. It seems to belong to a dead man who was deeply in love with a girl. As he reads the heartbreaking narrative, he knows this story must never be left incomplete. Thus begins Deb’s journey with his girlfriend, Avantika, and his best friend, Shrey, to hand over the diary to the man’s beloved.

Highly engrossing and powerfully told, If It’s Not Forever tells an unforgettable tale of love and life.

 

The Girl of My Dreams
The Girl of My Dreams || Durjoy Datta

We are in the car. She’s looking at me. I can see the love in her eyes for me. Then a huge crash. She’s flung out of the window. I’m thrown out too. A pool of blood. Her eyes are still on me…but now it’s a death stare.

I am Daman, and I wake up to this nightmare. Every. Single. Day.

Waking up from a long coma, Daman learns that he was in a massive car crash with a girl who vanished soon after the accident, leaving him for dead.

Strangely, all he remembers is a hazy face, her hypnotic eyes, and her name – Shreyasi.

To come to terms with his memory lapse, he starts piecing together stories about himself and Shreyasi from his dreams, which he then turns into a hugely popular blog.

When he’s offered a lucrative publishing deal to convert his blog pieces into a novel, he signs up immediately. However, he gives in to editorial pressure and agrees to corrupt the original edgy character of Shreyasi.

Big mistake.

From then on, Daman is stalked and threatened by a terrifying beauty who claims to be Shreyasi and who will stop at nothing to make him pay for being a sell-out.

Before Daman fights back, he needs to know: Is she really who she claims to be? What does she want from him now? What if he doesn’t do what she wants him to?

The Girl of My Dreams is definitely not your usual love story.

 

The Boy with a Broken Heart
The Boy with a Broken Heart || Durjoy Datta

You’re asking me to hold your hand. And now you’re turning away from me. You are saying something, but I can’t hear you. It’s too windy. You’re crying now. Now you’re smiling. I’m done. I love you….

It’s been two years since Raghu left his first love, Brahmi, on the edge of the roof one fateful night. He couldn’t save her; he couldn’t be with her. Having lost everything, Raghu now wants to stay hidden from the world.

However, the annoyingly persistent Advaita finds his elusiveness very attractive. And the more he ignores her, the more she’s drawn to him till she bulldozes her way into an unlikely friendship.

What attracts at first, begins to grate. Advaita can’t help but want to know what Raghu has left behind, what he’s hiding, and who broke his heart. She wants to love him back to life, but for that she needs to know what wrecked him in the first place.

After all, the antidote to heartache is love.

 

She Broke Up, I Didn't
She Broke Up, I Didn’t! || Durjoy Datta

Deb is absolutely crazily in love with the stunning Avantika. He can’t believe she is his. Their relationship is going great except for the one time when Deb faltered by breaching her trust. After he apologized, Avantika grudgingly accepted him back. However, his insecurity about her seems to be pushing him into infidelity again. The trust he had worked so hard to build is lost once again. Will Avantika take him back this time, or will she move on?

In She Broke Up, I Didn’t!, Durjoy Datta explores the themes of fidelity, love, and lust through a roller coaster of misunderstandings and mistakes that are so common in relationships today.

 

World's Best Boyfriend
World’s Best Boyfriend || Durjoy Datta

Dhurv and Aranya spend a good part of their lives trying to figure out why they want to destroy each other, why they hurt each other so deeply. And, why they can’t stay away from each other.
The answer is just as difficult each time because all they’ve wanted is to do the worst, most miserable things to one another.
Yet there is something that tells them: THIS IS NOT IT.
If you want to know the answer to it all, read the book.

Healthy. Unhealthy. Toxic. What’s Your Relationship Spectrum?

Ever wondered what happens when a girl falls for a guy nicknamed ‘Frankenstein,’ despite all the warning bells ringing around her? Join Shenaz Treasury in All He Left Me Was a Recipe, a rollercoaster of love, laughter, and life lessons, as she spills the beans on relationships, awkward moments, and recipes that turn out to be more than just ingredients on paper.

 

All He Left Me Was a Recipe
All He Left Me Was a Recipe || Shenaz Treasury

***

They called him Frankenstein.
Her friends, Malini and Jarna, were wary of him.
‘He’s shady.’
‘He parties too much.’
‘He cheated on his ex.’
‘He lies.’

 

Their warnings rang in her ears, but she ignored them all.
There was just something about him. He was smooth, charming and made her laugh and giggle.
He loved strawberry ice cream. They often found themselves in Naturals licking ice cream together, giggling at his jokes.

 

She travelled for the first time in her life to Europe.
A solo backpacking trip. But after a few weeks he started missing her and showed up at her dorm.

 

They went to Italy and Switzerland. And while she wanted to see everything, he just wanted to chill, but somehow they found a balance and giggled all the way about how different they were. They laughed a lot.

 

All his jokes were funny until a year later, when the feel-good hormones and brain chemicals were starting to return to normal, and she suddenly began to notice little things. He drank way too much and his drunk rambling, which was once adorable, had become increasingly confusing. He had a myriad other habits that she couldn’t help noticing. It was a broad spectrum that ranged from blatantly flirting with girls in front of her to fights instigated by him on Fridays that lasted the weekend after which they’d find their way back to this bubble of infatuation by Sunday. In this bubble, he was still so attractive, still made her laugh and they still travelled, ate a lot of strawberry ice cream and had a lot of fun together.

 

And that’s the thing about attraction; it can blind you to everything else and throw caution to the wind.

 

She was in the studio hosting her 1000th episode on MTV. It was a big day and a great number of people had tuned in. She was on the couch, taking questions. She called on a girl from the live audience who had raised her hand.

 

‘Hi, I’m Jugnoo. Don’t you think it’s still a maledominated world out here in India?’

She considered the question.

With a deep breath she replied, ‘Hi Jugnoo. Well, um . . . Yes. I think that it’s a male-dominated world if we let it be. I mean, the world is the world we let it be, but we can make it the world we want it to be.’

 

Meanwhile, on the other end of the screen, her best friends were watching her from a beauty parlour. Jarna was getting a head massage and munching on potato wedges drenched in mayo with her big belly (she was pregnant at the time), and a very sad, tired looking Yogi, who had just broken up with her boyfriend, was getting her legs waxed.

 

‘Indian women face challenges, we all know that. We may feel boxed in by customs and fears and expectations. But we should be allowed to reject those things if they aren’t . . . right for us.’ In the beauty parlour, Yogi yelped as a strip of wax was pulled from her leg.

 

At the same time, in her living room, her parents, sister and a group of aunties were watching too.

 

The aunties all beamed with pride when they heard her say, ‘My own loving, beautiful mother looks at my world, my choices and my possibilities, and it’s a world she doesn’t even recognize. Our generation of women have the opportunity to create a world that isn’t, as you say, male dominated. And I believe we can.’

 

On hearing her speak, one of the aunties was compelled to share her own pearl of wisdom: ‘She sounds like she’s lost weight.’
The live audience clapped, and the switchboard lit up. It was time. ‘All right, let’s go to a call. We’re on with . . .’ she announced as she read from the screen. A muffled voice responded on the other end, the words not quite audible. She looked over at the control booth. The confused engineer held his hands up behind the glass panel.

‘Hi, you are on air.’ Suddenly, the muffled voice responded. It was positively female, and it said, ‘TV GIRL, stop seeing him.’
Her eyes widened.

 

Confused and wary, she ventured in an amiable voice, ‘Sorry? Do you have a question for me?’
The muffled female voice on the other end hesitated. ‘He . . . is with you and me, and God knows how many others for God knows how many months.’

In her home living room, her parents, sister and the aunties were all shocked.
‘Frankenstein?’ her sister screeched.

***

Curious to know what happened next?
Get your copy of All He Left Me Was a Recipe by Shenaz Treasury wherever books are sold.

Can Nik and Tanvi’s Fake Engagement Save the Day?

Let us introduce you to the dazzling world of  All That Sizzles by Sakshama Puri Dhaliwal, where wedding planner Tanvi Bedi faces a spicy challenge – organizing a $100 million wedding for a media heiress. The twist? She needs chef Nik Shankar, a guy who avoids weddings like the plague. And well…Nik must find a life partner to secure that bag because…REASONS!

Join the fiery passion as Tanvi and Nik embark on a fake engagement that might just turn into the love story they never knew they needed.

Can you hear the sizzle?

All That Sizzles
All That Sizzles || Sakshama Puri Dhaliwal

‘And to my grandson, Nikhil, I transfer the following assets:
1. Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore (first edition, hardcover, 1912) [Annexure II]
2. 1924 Rolls-Royce [Annexure III],
3. The apartment in Mayur Vihar, New Delhi [Annexure IV/A]
4. The property in Ambargarh (Alwar, Rajasthan) [Annexure IV/B]
5. Rs 8.62 crore in fixed deposits and bonds [Annexure V] conditional upon his marriage.’

 

Ruq frowned. ‘What happens if he never marries?’
‘As per a caveat in Clause 13.2, the condition expires in 2035,’ Rahul said.
‘So, I have until 2035 to get married?’ Nik asked.
‘Yes.’
‘And if I don’t?’
‘Clause 13.4. The assets will transfer to the Ministry of Culture.’
‘Can I trade the other assets for Ambargarh?’

 

Rahul looked at him like he had taken leave of his senses. ‘That doesn’t make sense financially. The car alone is worth more than—’
‘Can I do it?’ Nik asked.
‘Unfortunately, not.’
‘Can I buy it back from the government?’
‘You can try,’ Rahul said drolly. ‘Good luck navigating the reams of red tape.’

 

For the first time in years, Nik felt a hot, blinding rage towards the sadistic bastard that was his grandfather. Over the last decade, he had carefully cultivated a feeling of indifference towards the man, deigning to give him mind space only when their last remaining connection came up: Ambargarh.

 

The property had been bequeathed to Nik’s mother, Suchitra Devi, by her great-uncle, the Prince of Alwar, but had been under dispute for several years. After the fateful night that had ripped their family apart, Suchitra had moved into an ashram in Kerala, leaving her father— Nik’s grandfather—Vijay Pratap Singh Chauhan, as the attorney-in-fact.
Last year, the courts had finally awarded the property to Suchitra, leaving Vijay Pratap to do with it as he deemed fit.
Nik wanted it more than anything in the world.
And that sonofabitch knows it, he thought bitterly.

 

‘Ghost pepper,’ Nik muttered.
‘Huh?’ Rahul asked.
‘He’s pissed off,’ Ruq explained.
‘He is?’ the lawyer asked sceptically. His client seemed extremely composed, almost zen like.
But Ruq knew better. For years, she had witnessed Nik’s involuntary reflex of naming foods that accurately captured his thoughts in the moment. The ghost pepper was one of the spiciest chilli peppers in the world and certainly the hottest one they used in their kitchen.
Nik might be known for his patience and even temper, but Ruq could bet that underneath his calm demeanour, the chef was simmering.
‘He is,’ Ruq confirmed.
‘I’m fine,’ Nik gritted, his tone belying his words.
Rahul casually brushed a piece of lint off the lapel of his charcoal grey suit. ‘You could just speak to your grandfather, you know? Ask him to reconsider the terms of—’
‘I would rather die,’ Nik said.
‘I suppose that limits your options,’ Rahul shrugged.
‘To what?’ Ruq asked.
‘Marriage,’ Rahul said bluntly.
‘What if he gets married, takes possession of the assets and divorces his wife?’ Ruq asked.
‘Now that definitely sounds like a bad movie,’ Rahul said dryly.
Ruq arched an eyebrow, waiting for a response.

 

Rahul resisted the urge to roll his eyes. ‘I suppose he could. With an ironclad prenup.’
‘Can they prove that he’s not married?’ Ruq asked.
‘What?’ Rahul asked, bemused.
‘What?’ Nik repeated.
Ruq’s eyes widened, and Nik could almost see the wheels in her head turning. ‘Can they prove he’s not married?’
‘Can you prove he is?’ Rahul countered.
‘What proof do we need?’ Ruq asked.
‘A marriage certificate. A wedding card. Photos. Not to mention . . .’ Rahul paused for effect. ‘. . . a wife.’
‘What if she’s not his wife yet, but—’
‘I can guess where this is going,’ Rahul held up a hand. ‘The less I know, the better. As Nik’s lawyer, I can only advise him to pursue a legal path.’
‘But isn’t the law open to interpretation?’ Ruq argued. Rahul looked at her like she was deranged.
‘Call Prabhakar inside,’ Ruq said.
Rahul ignored that. Ruqsana might be Nik’s partner,
but Rahul didn’t take orders from her. He turned to Nik.
‘What do you want me to do?’
Nik looked at Ruq, What the hell are you playing at?
She gave him a reassuring nod. Trust me.

 

A few minutes later, a stout bespectacled man walked into the room. In contrast to his thinning hair, his moustache was thick and bushy, covering most of his upper lip. He wore an old, cheap suit over a striped polyester shirt. The buttons barely held his shirt together
and his stomach threatened to break free from their shackles any minute.

 

‘So? We have reached agreement?’ Prabhakar asked in his broken English.
‘Apparently,’ Rahul said with a resigned sigh, gesturing to Ruqsana.
‘Do you think Mr Chauhan would consider relaxing the condition to “engaged” instead of “married”?’ Ruq asked.

Understanding flashed in Nik’s eyes.
‘You are engaged?’ Prabhakar frowned at Nik.

 

***

Want to know what happens next?

Get your copy of All That Sizzles by Sakshama Puri Dhaliwal wherever books are sold.

How Do the Young and Single Find Love in Bengaluru?

Welcome to Bengaluru, where the excitement of tech meets the search for love. Authors Malini Goyal and Prashant Prakash spotlight the experiences of young entrepreneurs, as they navigate the city’s startup culture and dating platforms. Gear up to unravel the complexities of modern dating in Bengaluru and find out whether this city, known for delivering everything on tap, can also deliver the elusive emotion of love.

Let the unboxing begin!

 

Unboxing Bengaluru
Unboxing Bengaluru || Malini Goyal, Prashanth Prakash

***

From coffee to condoms, this city of young techies can deliver everything on tap.

Well, everything except perhaps love.

I spoke to multiple male founders who are young and single to understand their point of view. On one Sunday in October, I spent a leisurely evening catching up with a well-to-do founder—let’s call him S. Ashwin—in his early 30s. He is an NIT engineer with an Oxbridge MBA. Founded in 2014, his startup had scaled up decently with 300-odd employees. For a long time, his monthly salary was a measly Rs. 60,000. ‘Initially, many women thought since I was a founder, I would be loaded. What they didn’t understand is that all my wealth was on paper,’ he says. Soon, he figured out how to signal correctly for his Tinder dates. He would arrive in his run-down scooter on first dates. Instantly, his conversion rate from first to second date dipped. But then the second to third date conversion rose sharply. ‘The elimination strategy worked,’ Ashwin says.

 

Whether they are men or women, for founders in general, the initial few years are always hard. They could be working seven days a week, twelve hours a day, with zero vacation time, little money and a rollercoaster life that is constantly on the edge. Consumed by their startup and the all-round pressure, there is little bandwidth for anything else. Such distractions or preoccupations during intimate conversations can be very off-putting. Lack of time for social engagements can be a deal-breaker. Raghav Chakravarthy, thirty-three, cofounder of Walnut Knowledge Solutions, experienced this first-hand. ‘Being an entrepreneur, I was so busy building my startup that I often found myself zoned out during conversations. There wasn’t enough time to build a relationship,’ he says. In 2022, as the startup stabilized, he finally took the plunge and got married.

 

 

However, there is a consensus among both men and women that dating platforms have made casual hook-ups very easy but finding love or companionship and building a long-term relationship very difficult. Start with the available pool on the platforms, with its gender and demographic skew. With a strong bias towards younger singles in their twenties, older singles have a tough time finding matches on these platforms.

 

Beyond this, men and women face different sets of issues. Women like Gowda and others worry about fake profiles, men lying about their relationship status and about falling prey to fraud. Men have very different problems. Many complain about not finding enough matches on dating apps. ‘On dating platforms, conventional attributes like tall, fair men with beards, good cars get many more matches than people like me,’ says pet parent Siddharth Ram. Ram has been using these dating apps for a few years now. He says the ratio on these platforms could be as bad as ten boys to one girl.

 

His experience on matrimony platforms like BharatMatrimony.com and Shaadi.com has been much better, but they pose another set of problems. ‘Here, I got fifty to sixty matches. It was a great morale booster. But it had another problem. It was the girl’s  parents who were the arbiters. So my condition was that I will not talk to parents. The thing with parents is that they just fuck up the entire dating experience. They don’t understand what figuring out is,’ he says. Also, these sites offer filters like horoscope, caste, gotra that often do not resonate with the younger lot. There are others, like IITian Shrrinesh Bala—who is now building his startup Mello—who are looking beyond dating apps. ‘I wasn’t very lucky on dating platforms. So I was surprised by the many interesting profiles I got through matrimony sites like IITIIMShaadi.com,’ he says.

 

What are these young men and women seeking on these dating platforms and in their relationships? Have things changed at all? It’s a question I ask many young people in the city. Sex and casual hook-ups are obvious. And it isn’t just men seeking it. ‘There is equal desire on both sides. Women are quite comfortable with it,’ says Ram.

 

For those looking for longer-term relationships, there are many filters, old and new. Like the decision to have kids. It is no longer a given. ‘Many more women today don’t want to have kids and are upfront about it,’ says Ashwin. Similarly, the topic of marriage or cohabitation does come up occasionally. For some, a shared love for pets is important and can be a deal-breaker. ‘In general, I notice that what they want isn’t very clear but what they don’t want is absolutely clear,’ he adds.

***

Get your copy of Unboxing Bengaluru by Malini Goyal and Prashanth Prakash wherever books are sold.

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