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A guide to Novoneel’s crime thrillers and Obsession Trilogy

Since the past few decades, India has seen a rise in the number of young Indian novelists and while most of them write stories about youth, love and family, there has been one author who has managed to change the face of the genre of Indian thrillers. Indian book stalls’ thriller section has often been graced by the famous Sidney Sheldons and Agatha Christies through years now but Novoneel Chakraborty is the one who seemed to transform everything.

He has managed to write over 20 novels, many of which have gone on to become bestsellers, some have been translated into 6 languages and a few have even been converted to web series productions online! With his latest novel Whisper to me your lies hitting the shelves, we bring you some of his past novels and a guide to step into Novoneel’s world before picking up his latest book.


Marry me, Stranger               All yours, Stranger              Forget me not, Stranger 


The Stranger Trilogy is one of his initial major successes traces the story of Rivanah Bannerjee, a regular, young Bengali woman working and living in Mumbai and her life’s intersection with a stalker she refers to as Stranger. Marry me, Stranger, All yours, Stranger and Forget me not, Stranger– all unveil several mysteries and their relationship unfolds in front of the reader’s eyes where the annoying stranger becomes a romantic interest for Rivanah, while constantly bringing mystery, thrill and drama to her life. If you’re into mysteries, this one will surely keep on you edge.


Forever is a lie                         Forever is true

 Forever is a lie and Forever is true are part of the popular thriller Forever series by Chakraborty and traces the life of an 18-year-old girl studying mass communication in Bangalore and the story of a dark romance that ensues between her and a man she falls in love with. The second part of the book narrates the twisted past of the man and what deadly limits one can go to because of a ruined childhood.


Roses are blood red     Cross your heart, take my name       Whisper to me your lies

His book Roses are Blood Red, (2019) and Cross Your Heart, Take My Name (2020) are the first two books in the Obsession Trilogy whose third book Whisper to me your lies is finally being released on the 18th October, 2021. After Vanav and Nihira’s encounters with obsessive crime, it’s now time to listen to Ekantika’s story of facing a murderer, who could perhaps be the Cellotape Killer of the 90s!


The literature of love and longing: Books to sweep you away this Valentine’s Day!

Few holidays induce as vastly differing reactions as Valentine’s Day, or stir up such a storm of emotion. Whether you’re floating on the throes of first love, nursing a broken heart, enjoying the calm fulfillment of your own company, or simply prefer fictional romance to the messiness of the real thing, we have the book for you!

Our Ultimate Valentine’s Day Book List will give you the perfect book to celebrate love and friendship across the spectrum through the most passionate prose and lyrical longing.

Memory of Light
Memory of Light || Ruth Vanita

If there was place and time truly meant for romance, it was 18th-century Lucknow, a vibrant city full of musicians, poets and courtesans, of languorous lovers and lilting poetry. Amidst this milieu Memory of Light weaves the exquisite tale of the love between-two women courtesan Chapla Bai and young poet Nafis Bai as they exchange letters and conversations feeding each other the heady fruit of desire.

French Lover
French Lover || Nasrin Taslima

The greatest and most basic necessity for a healthy relationship is to be able to know and love oneself. French Lover is a young Bengali woman’s search for love and independence in a strange city. Stifled in an unhappy marriage, Nilanjana’s long road to self-discovery is initiated by Benoir Dupont, a blond, blue-eyed handsome Frenchman. In her passionate, sexually liberating relationship with Benoir, she finally begins to have an inkling of her own desires.

Undying Affinity
Undying Affinity || Sara Naveed

You’ll fall in love as much with the city of Lahore as with the book’s protagonist in this simple yet touching romance by Sara Naveed. Caught between her childhood friend, Haroon and handsome professor, Ahmar, little does beautiful, spoiled Zarish know that one individual can completely change her perspective towards life. Packed with romance, drama and tragedy, Undying Affinity will stay in your heart forever.

The Beauty of the Moment
The Beauty of the Moment || Tanaz Bhathena

There’s nothing quite as intense or as memorable as the pangs of first love and this delightful YA romance truly celebrates the thrilling ‘beauty of that moment’When sharp and driven ‘new girl’, Susan meets ‘bad boy ‘ Malcolm, sparks fly. The ways they drift apart and come back together are testaments to family, culture, and being true to who you are.

The Rabbit and the Squirrel
The Rabbit and the Squirrel || Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi

The critically acclaimed and delightfully illustrated fable for contemporary times  is perfect for lending a dash of elegant whimsy this Valentine’s Day.   Lit with longing, and tender questions of the heart, The Rabbit and the Squirrel is an ode to the enduring pleasures of friendship, traced through the poignant love story of the eponymous Rabbit and the Squirrel who against all odds are fated for togetherness.

The Penguin Book of Classical Indian Love Stories and Lyrics
The Penguin Book of Classical Indian Love Stories and Lyrics || Ruskin Bond

When modern vocabulary fails to evoke romance for you, this extraordinarily lyrical compilation of love stories and poems from the classical literature and folklore of India will come to the rescue. Curated by the master of nuanced emotions, Ruskin Bond and set in regions of great natural beauty where Kamadeva, the god of love, picks his victims with consummate ease, these stories and lyrics celebrate the myriad aspects of love.

An Extreme Love of Coffee
An Extreme Love of Coffee || Harish Bhat

If you think of love as life’s greatest adventure that hits you like a caffeine kick An Extreme Love of Coffee is your cup of (not)tea!  This faced paced mystery romance follows Rahul and Neha who embark upon a quest for treasure, after drinking a  cup of ‘magic’ coffee, discovering their passion for warm frothy concoctions and each other as they race from the plantations of Coorg to Japanese graveyards!

Half Torn Hearts
Half Torn Hearts || Novoneel Chakraborty

Sometimes Valentine’s Day is a time to reminisce and to dwell upon the fact that first cut is the deepest. Half Torn Hearts is both a thrilling suspense story and a  coming-of-age tale of three layered individuals coming to terms with their first loss, which bares the devil that we all possess but are scared of encountering and which eventually becomes the cause of our own ruins.

The God of Small Things
The God of Small Things || Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy’s modern classic is equal parts powerful family saga, forbidden love story, and piercing political drama. The seven-year-old twins Estha and Rahel see their world shaken irrevocably by the arrival of their beautiful young cousin, Sophie. With its exquisite prose , it makes for  an unusual, but lyrical Valentine’s Day pick.

The Secrets We Keep
The Secrets We Keep || Sudeep Nagarkar

This thrilling romance will have you hooked from start to finish following the story of  Rahul, an intelligence officer on a secret mission,  who falls in love with the major’s daughter, Akriti. But is anyone who they seem to be, or is Rahul about to face the biggest shock of his life? 

Eleven Ways to Love
Eleven Ways to Love || Sreshtha, Sangeeta, Nadika Nadja, Dhrubo Jyoti, Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan, Preeti Vangani, Shrayana Bhattacharya, Nidhi Goyal, Anushree Majumdar, Sharanya Manivannan, Maroosha Muzaffar, D

Love stories coach us to believe that love is selective, somehow, that it can be boxed in and easily defined. With a foreword by the luminary, Gulazar these eleven remarkable essays,  widen the frame of reference: transgender romance; body image issues; race relations; disability; polyamory; class differences; queer love; long distance; caste; loneliness; the single life; the bad boy syndrome . . . and so much more.

TILL THE LAST BREATH by [Durjoy Datta]
Till The Last Breath || Durjoy Datta

This deeply sensitive story explores love in the context of imminent death and  reminds us what it means to be alive. Two patients, a young brilliant girl fighting to stay alive, and a youthful drug addict who can’t wait to die come together in Room 509. Two reputed doctors, fighting their own demons from the past, are trying everything to keep these two patients alive. These last days in the hospital change the two patients, their doctors and all the other people around them in ways they had never imagined.

Singing in the Dark
Singing in the Dark || K. Satchidanandan, Nishi Chawla

If love is vulnerability, these strange times have made us even more vulnerable. This global anthology brings together the finest of poetic responses to the coronavirus pandemic. More than a hundred of the world’s most esteemed poets reflect upon a crisis that has dramatically altered our lives, and laid bare our vulnerabilities.

You Are All I Need
You Are All I Need || Ravinder Singh (Ed.)

This collection of touching stories selected by Ravinder Singh  is an ode to the myriad facets of love . This book will make you laugh, cry, think and feel, all at the same time with its eclectic collection of love stories that will warm the cockles of your heart!

Prem Purana
Prem Purana || Usha Narayanan

No one is untouched by love, not even devas and asuras, kings and nymphs. This collection of celestial love stories from Indian mythology celebrates the love of Ravana and Mandodari, Nala and Damayanto among many eithers. Tormented by passion, tortured by betrayal and wracked by the agony of separation, these stories deify love in its many splendorous forms.

With Love
With Love || TTT

The go-to portal for sweet, sharp, heart-wrenching stories brings this collection of letters that celebrates all the different forms of love and bonds we make, spanning the spectrum from family to our childhood homes , from  former loves and future husbands.  Deeply personal and intimate, these letters are a great choice to peruse on Valentine’s Day.

This Time Next Year
This Time Next Year || Sophie Cousens

A lovely  contemporary romance that will give you all the warm fuzzies. Quinn and Minnie are born on the same day, but their lives follow completely different trajectories even as fate conspires to bring them together. This moving, joyful love story, This Time Next Year explores the way fate leads us to the people we least expect–no matter what the odds.

The Time Traveler’s Wife || Audrey Niffenegger

This book is a hugely popular modern classic for a reason, its heartwarming, innovative and a moving depiction of the effects of time on love. Henry is a time traveler–cursed with a rare genetic anomaly that causes him to live his life on a shifting timeline, skipping back and forth through the years with no control. Despite the fact that Henry’s travels force them apart with no warning, and never knowing when they will be reunited, he and his wife Clare try to lead a life of normalcy based on an abiding and passionate love.

The Fault in Our Stars || John Green

One of the most popular and  moving love stories of our times, this brilliantly explores the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love. Despite the tumour-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by [Becky Albertalli]
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda || Becky Albertalli

An  incredibly funny and poignant, coming-of-age, coming out story—wrapped in a geek romance! When an email falls into the wrong hands, sixteen year old and not-so-openly-gay Simon finds his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone without fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Novoneel Chakraborty’s new thriller is an intricate game of smoke and mirrors

‘She was a blur when I first saw her.’

No matter how deeply we believe we know someone, there is always something that eludes us. Yahvi eluded Garv, and she’s nowhere to be found. Get a taste of Novoneel Charkaborty’s latest thriller Cross Your Heart, Take My Name with this excerpt:


‘Let’s play a game.’
‘Game? Whoa, all right.’
‘Yeah, a game. A game of any sort always makes the moment interesting.’
‘Second that. So . . . ’
‘So, the game is that we don’t give out any details about ourselves. The other person has to guess intelligently from whatever he or she can deduce.’

Impressive, I thought and said, ‘Bring it on.’
‘I’ll start. Then we can alternate.’
‘Got it.’
‘The fact that you haven’t brought your phone out in the last ten minutes or so tells me you aren’t into social media. You are the type who uses it when you need it,’ she said.

Wow! Is the game more interesting or the woman? I wondered and said, ‘Bang on. I really don’t like to . . . ’

‘We don’t have to give any justification or explanations. Just say true or false. Your chance.’

I took a few seconds before responding. I didn’t want to sound dumb with my observation.

‘Since you brought along an old Samsonite, I believe you don’t travel much. Else you would . . . ’

‘True!’ She didn’t let me complete my sentence. But a childlike happiness filled me when she confirmed my guess.

‘My turn,’ she said and added, ‘You aren’t a reader.’

‘Why do you say that?’

‘Someone who gets a flimsy magazine to pass time before a delayed flight is more about pictures than words.’

‘Kind of true.’ I was looking straight at her and yet wasn’t able to decipher much from her expression. That was a problem with me. I couldn’t understand what a person was thinking from his or her face. I knew a lot of people who could. And it was a helpful skill as it let you get ahead in conversations like these.

‘Kind of?’ She sounded bemused.

‘All right, I don’t read much. In fact, I didn’t buy the magazine for the pictures either.’

‘Ah, you were seeking some kind of company.’
‘Maybe. Weren’t you?’
‘That’s the game. What makes you think I was?’
I knew I had to think on my feet. And I did.
‘Why else would you sit here with a stranger and play a game? You also want to pass time like me. I had my magazine. You have me.’ The remark was a bit flirtatious, and I didn’t know if it was too direct or made her uncomfortable.

‘A magazine can be flipped through at will. Not a human being.’

The change in the tone of her voice took me by surprise. If she was a book, even though I was not much of a reader, this was when I would conclude that ‘she’ was unputdownable.

…‘Time to leave,’ she said and excused herself to join the queue. The way she went off, without a care, told me she was good at severing connections. In today’s times, I thought, that was one helluva skill to have. The ability to detach oneself just like that. I too stood up and walked towards the gate.


Front cover Cross Your Heart
Cross Your Heart, Take My Name||Novoneel Chakraborty

… Garv was feeling lonely. The way you felt when you had someone in your mind but not beside you. And then there were questions to make the loneliness worse. What had she meant  by that message? They did meet. They had tea together. She kissed him as well. He couldn’t  possibly have imagined all these things. She told him loud and clear that their plan to disappear had to wait for some time. And he understood. Like he always did, without questioning her.  This was not a Mills & Boon romance. Both of them were married to different people.

The note Garv had written and placed under the vase of fresh lilies was for his wife, Nihira. He’d taken an entire day to think what he could write to justify his act. What could a husband say to a wife before leaving her abruptly for no fault of hers? He simply didn’t have the courage to tell her the truth. That was wrong, he knew. And he’d convinced himself that a note would make up for it. After dwelling on it for a long time, he thought the best thing, instead of a long emotional message, would be to write three simple words: I am sorry. To tell Nihira that he still loved her, he kept the note under the vase with lilies, her favourite. Few words; old- fashioned symbolism—the end of a relationship.

Nihira was supposed to fly back from Bengaluru today. And what did he have for her? A note stating that he was sorry. The more Garv thought about it now, the more ridiculous he felt. How had he come to this decision? Was he simply being impulsive? As he tore up the note and threw it in the dustbin, Garv realized he had something more important to find out: Where on earth was Yahvi? He had been messaging her since last night; he had tried her number twice in an interval of three hours but there had been no response. The first time it rang but the second time the number was switched off. Had the battery drained out or had she intentionally switched it off? Garv wondered but concluded she must be up against some problem. And beyond a phone call or a WhatsApp message, there was no way he could reach her. Yet this was the person with whom he had decided to ‘disappear’ for the rest of his life and create an alternate reality.

… Garv drove to the Pune airport to pick up Nihira. This was the longest they’d gone without meeting. and the first sight of her made him feel guilty.

… Right then, Nihira’s phone rang and she excused herself to answer it. Garv could make out it was a work call. He drove to their apartment in silence.

As they neared their gated apartment block, they saw a crowd gathered at the entrance. Garv honked his way in. He wasn’t interested in knowing what the bedlam was about, but Nihira immediately jumped out once the car stopped and walked to the main gate. Perhaps it was this insatiable curiosity that made her want to get involved in people’s stories. and that is why she was doing so well at the NGO.

Garv was unlocking the main door of their flat when Nihira came up, her eyes clouded over.

‘A woman died in the afternoon. Didn’t you get to know when you left the building to come to the airport?’ Nihira asked.

‘No, I came straight from office.’
‘I see.’
‘Some Yahvi Kothari,’ Nihira said. Garv froze for a second before recovering quickly and turning the key one last time. The news left him numb.


The excerpt is not enough, we know. Cross Your Heart, Take My Name will keep you racing through the pages.






Meet the Author of 'The Best Couple Ever', Novoneel Chakraborty

The Best Couple Ever by Novoneel Chakraborty, is a book which talks about the reality of social media in today’s world. Do you think the couples who wave their love for each other with pictures on various social media platforms are actually happy all the time? Moreover, do you think you are one of those couples amongst your friends who set major couple goals on these platforms for the world to relish and be jealous of? If yes, then beware because you might just be their next target.
In this book Novoneel Chakraborty portrays the various sides to the cyber culture that is on the rise that hides reality and gives a picture of things that people want to see. Here are a few things you should know about the author:

Do you flaunt your happy moments in the form of filtered photographs on Facebook, Instagram, etc.? If no, then chill. If yes, then congrats! You are their next target. Read Novoneel’s new book The Best Couple Ever.

Cheaters by Novoneel Chakraborty – An Excerpt

Novoneel Chakraborty is the bestselling author of ten romantic thriller novels. His novel Forget Me Not, Stranger debuted as the No. 1 bestseller across India. Known for his twists, dark plots and strong female protagonists, Novoneel is referred to as the Sidney Sheldon of India by his readers. His latest book, Cheaters,  tells nine short stories of infidelity in today’s times when societal norms are still the same-archaic.
Here’s an excerpt from this gripping read.
Alarm four: 4 p.m.
It struck me last morning when Atulit and I had prolonged toe-curling, stomach-churning and emotionally draining sex. I had an arranged marriage. I didn’t know my husband well enough before getting into bed with him. There was an undeniable restraint in me, which he negated with a subtle force from his side. I think it was necessary else I wouldn’t have been able to do anything at all. Was I comfortable? That’s a different story. Although unknowingly, but it happened differently with Atulit. We chatted and at times talked over the phone. By the time I met him, I felt that I knew him. This knowledge produced a certain comfort during our sexual tryst the previous morning. We always judge people on the basis of their sexual preferences and practices in spite of knowing that emotions are all that matters. I didn’t fly to Gurugram for sex. If it was only about sex, I could have done it in Kolkata itself and nobody would’ve ever known. This vacation was intended for other purposes: to believe that I can still be desired by someone other than my husband, that there is more to life than my family, that I’m not a victim of nuptial attachments, that I can live a different life without upsetting the equilibrium associated with my roles as a wife, mother, daughter-in-law. I managed to help Mini complete her homework via a video call. I updated my husband last night about my fake friend’s health status, asked him about everyone at home. Even though I lied, I didn’t compromise my duties. And I feel good about it. Honestly, I had my doubts about Atulit. Had he come across as predatory, I would have left immediately. But thankfully he wasn’t anything like that. We had dinner at this lovely Burmese restaurant called Burma Burma in Cyber Hub. He is quite chatty, which I like. I know he is trying to impress me. I’ve also distinguished a hint of awe in the way he looks at me; he is chivalrous and gives utmost importance to my comfort. I feel so damn alive. Sometimes I think that a little attention and care are we all need. But I know for sure that if our dalliance stretches beyond a week, Atulit’s adoration will start fading. And he too might turn into my husband. How I wish we can forever remain elusive to our domestic partners. But then I also know that that’s the essence of a domestic relationship: the mundane and the monotonous. We are all emotional explorers deep inside. Some are easy to pacify and some aren’t. For the last twelve years I had been itching for an exploration and I’m happy that I’m having it now.
We went for a movie and then had lunch at his favourite restaurant in Connaught Place. He wanted to take selfies but when I told him that pictures make me uncomfortable, he didn’t insist. He wanted to shop for me as well but I was strict. I couldn’t allow him to do that. Maybe he doesn’t know that I flew to New Delhi not for him, but for myself. I won’t blame him if he interprets my visit as something that I’m doing for us. By the time this ends he will hate me forever. I know it. And still I am okay. For once I’m being selfish. If that’s the price I have to pay for being myself, for once, I guess I’m okay with it. We came back to Gurugram. Atulit wanted to take me to an amusement park. But I reminded him that I’ll have to be at his flat. The alarm beeps. It’s time to go on a video call with Mini. I need to finish her homework. I can sense Atulit’s irritation, but he says, ‘After that whatever I say. Okay?’ I smile and nod. I’ll be back to this reality in a few hours, I tell myself.
For over forty hours, we haven’t left the apartment. I’ve been the centre of his attention. It feels so good to mean something to someone, even if it is just for a day or a week. I feel like a word which kept wondering about its existence till it read its meaning in the dictionary. Atulit, for now, is my dictionary, where I read about different meanings of myself. It’s funny how different people help you realize different meanings of yourself. My husband, at the beginning of our marriage, had a completely different meaning, or idea, of me. He was always trying to be mischievous with me. I enjoyed it too. But I don’t know when it simply ebbed away. Nowadays, we go without sex for months without even telling each other, ‘Listen, we should do it. It has been long.’
Relationships are like a bag full of gifts. The moment we get it we are excited to open it. But after we find out what the gifts are, the excitement fades. My husband and I are past the initial, exciting stage. But with Atulit, I’ve only just started. In between our love making, I look at him and smile to myself. He once asked me to leave my family and be with him. He is so naïve. He really thinks it is that easy to leave everything. He actually thinks I’m with him because I’m done with my family. No! This isn’t a runaway scenario. Nor is it an escapist module. This is just a vacation. And vacations are meant to be temporary. They are meant to rejuvenate you. Perhaps prepare you well so you can take on the monotony of life again. But I don’t tell Atulit anything. I keep nodding whenever he talks about our future. I only make sure I am not misleading him with false hope and fake promises.

Forever is True: Prologue

It has been six months since Prisha was pushed to death by the person she loved the most, Saveer. Novoneel Chakraborty is back with a riveting finale to his bestseller ‘Forever is a lie’.
Here’s an excerpt from the prologue of the book.
Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru
Private cabin, 10.35 p.m.
‘I’m sorry, Prisha, but I had no other option,’ the person said, standing close to the hospital bed on
which Prisha was lying with her eyes closed. Beneath a blanket that covered her till her bosom, she was wearing a sky-blue patient’s uniform. Her forehead was freshly bandaged. Her right hand, with a drip, was placed on her belly while the left one was by her side, a pulse-monitoring clip attached to the index finger. There was a saline water stand beside the bed. Her left leg was plastered and her face bruised. It was quiet except for the occasional beeping of the monitor that was keeping a track of her heartbeats. The room was bathed in an eerie green-coloured light.
‘Just like I had no other option with Ishanvi. She was a good girl. So were you. But you both fell for the wrong person, bad person. And sometimes, even when you aren’t at fault, life still holds you guilty and makes you pay for it. But how do you atone for something you haven’t done?’ Silence. The person grasped Prisha’s left hand. It was cold.
‘Not that I expected you to be alive but now I can at least talk to you, unlike Ishanvi.’
After a deep sigh, the person added, ‘I had tried warning you like I had tried warning Ishanvi but neither of you paid heed. Why? You were in love. Love! I hate that emotion because it is the most customizable emotion a human can feel. Its definition changes the way one thinks. Its syntax changes the way one feels. It is not like sadness or happiness. It is not absolute. Though we think it is. I hate it. In fact, hate is a soft word. I abhor love, loathe it. If you had been in your senses, I’m sure you would have asked what makes me so anti love. Well, it is a long story but I carry the moral in my heart every day. And will do so till I turn into ashes.’
There was silence. The person caressed Prisha’s forehead.
‘Unfortunately, nobody will ever know my story. But that doesn’t bother me. The only thing that bothers me is that the person who mattered the most to me will also never get to hear my story. You tell me, Prisha, is it fair to live someone else’s story all your life? But . . .’ The person leaned close to her left ear and whispered, ‘If you can listen, then listen well. Chances are you will die soon on this bed. But in case you survive, don’t push me into killing you again. Next time, there won’t be any passerby to bring you to any hospital on time. One last request: don’t test me for I’ve been killing people for a long time now. You are my only failure. And failing is something which doesn’t go down well with me.’ After staring at Prisha for a while, the person said, ‘May your soul rest in peace, Prisha. Next life, choose someone better. Choose someone who’s worth it.’
The person stopped caressing her forehead and tiptoed out of the room. Prisha had opened her eyes by then. She had been in her senses throughout. Or was she? She didn’t see the person’s face but she did feel the person’s touch. Contrary to the person’s words, the touch wasn’t threatening. The last statement had made her hair stand on its end.
This was the first time Saveer had visited her in the hospital since she had regained consciousness. Why would he want to kill her? she wondered. Or for that matter Ishanvi?
These, however, were the least of her concerns at that moment. There was something she noticed that was extremely disturbing. Prisha saw the person leaving the room. But in a woman’s attire.
What’s wrong with Saveer? she wondered. Then she thought to herself: was she hallucinating because of the heavy sedatives she had been taking for some time now? Prisha couldn’t tell. She dozed off.

Penguin Fever Schedule

It’s that time of the year again but this time it’s under the autumn sky. Six days of literature extravaganza is going to start from October 26, with numerous literary icons as panelists.
Here are the dates you should mark on your calendar.
October 26, 7PM: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness – Arundhati Roy in conversation with Shohini Ghosh
October 27, 7PM: Zara sa jhoom loo main – Shobhaa De on turning seventy – and having a blast! In conversation with Vidya Balan. Sonia Singh to moderate
October 28, 5PM: Inconvenient Truths: Are we heading for an environmental disaster – Sunita Narain, Prerna Bindra, and Pradip Krishen
October 28, 7PM: The Heart of the Matter – Ravinder Singh, Durjoy Datta, and Sudeep Nagarkar in conversation with RJ Ginnie
October 29, 5PM: The Man from the Hills – Ruskin Bond on life, writing, and his love for lemon cheesecake!
October 29, 7PM: Criminal Minds – Brijesh Singh, Ravi Subramanian, Novoneel Chakraborty. Poonam Saxena will moderate the session
October 30, 7PM: The Line of Beauty – Perumal Murugan, Kannan Sundaram, Bibek Debroy, Rana Safvi, Namita Gokhale as moderator
October 31, 7PM: The Rise of the Elephant – Shashi Tharoor, Gurcharan Das, Sonu Bhasin, Shireen Bhan as moderator
Open Air Library: October 26–31, 11AM onwards
If you haven’t already, register for the Penguin Fever here:
See you there!

7 Quotes by Novoneel That Will Leave a Chill Down Your Spine

Novoneel Chakraborty is a master when it comes to romance thrillers. His books A Thing beyond Forever and That Kiss in the Rain have been appreciated by thousands all over the country. They have also appeared in numerous bestsellers’ lists at different points in time since their releases.
Novoneel is back with another beguiling tale of dark romance and thrill, Forever is a Lie.
Here are seven quotes from the book that will send a chill down your spine.
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Intrigued? Get your copy of Novoneel Chakraborty’s Forever is a Lie right now!

Forever Is A Lie: An Excerpt

Novoneel Chakraborty is the bestselling author of nine romance thrillers and he is back with another beguiling dark romance thriller. The first of a two-part series, Forever Is a Lie is about an eighteen year old girl who falls in love with a man, almost double her age. But what she doesn’t know is that whoever the man loves, dies.
Here is an excerpt from the book.
This was her profile information on Facebook. Ditto on Tinder, a dating app. With moist eyes, she checked the about me section on the app, which she had just filled up:
I’m here to hook up for a night. Anyone who wants anything that goes beyond a night, please swipe left.
Prisha forced herself not to think as she started browsing through men’s profiles on the app. Tinder was recommended to her by Zinnia, her roommate. Two years her senior in college, Zinnia was from the same neighbourhood as Prisha in Faridabad. She had shifted to Bengaluru to pursue media management from Cross University.
Prisha had followed in her footsteps and shifted to Bengaluru a month ago and had taken admission at the same university. She had enrolled herself as a BA student, with a major in mass communication. Zinnia and Prisha stayed together in a rented apartment on BTM Layout.
It was Zinnia who had first described Tinder as a saviour of singles in the city. But Prisha hadn’t made an account on the dating site because she was single, but because she had been feeling emotionally violated for a few months now.
Anyone remotely good-looking and Prisha would swipe right. In fact, looks didn’t matter at all for what she had in mind. She had heard about Tinder earlier from a number of friends but had never imagined using it one day. Why would she? She had been in a committed relationship since she had turned thirteen—until two months ago when she had stepped into her penultimate teenage year. In all these years there had been only one boy she was doggedly, single-mindedly and with utmost sincerity committed to.
Utkarsh Arora had wooed her for an entire summer vacation before she had finally said yes. She was in Class VII and he was in Class X. (Love, then, was an alien feeling. It slowly turned real as they gave it time). And just when Prisha had started believing that there could be no one better than Utkarsh, he let her down.
She had invited him to a family function. It was a dream to see her boyfriend enjoy with her family and cousins; everyone had approved of him. Three weeks later, she had noticed that Utkarsh’s Facebook relationship status had changed from: in a relationship with Prisha Srivastav to in a relationship with Shelly Srivastav. Shelly was her cousin and two years older than her. Prisha demanded an explanation but all Utkarsh said was that he was now in love with Shelly. Now? Is love a prisoner of time? Not only did Utkarsh not give her any plausible explanation, but he repeatedly dodged her calls and then blocked her on social media and on his phone. When she turned to Shelly for an answer, she simply said, ‘He loves me, not you.’
At eighteen, when one’s world collapses, it also brings down with it the beliefs one has grown up on. You stop trusting in truths altogether. You start believing that a truth is nothing but an illusion. Some call it the loss of innocence. It is then that people start giving in to the collective lies that makes everyone sorted adults. Prisha’s attempt at creating a Tinder profile was proof enough that she had given in to it as well.
Love, Prisha concluded within a month of her break-up, was a fallacy. Lust was real; the body was real. And henceforth, she would get real too. Even if it meant living a life she didn’t believe in.
Seven hours after she had made her Tinder profile, there were thirteen matches. When Zinnia came back from college, Prisha gave the phone to her.
‘I think this dude looks cute. What do you think?’ Zinnia said, looking at the fifth match. Prisha couldn’t care less. Zinnia chatted with the guy on Prisha’s behalf and in no time fixed a date later in the night at Harry’s in Koramangala. Zinnia knew Prisha’s story, but she wasn’t the one who had given her the idea of a one-night stand. It was something Prisha had inquired herself when Zinnia kept ranting about some guy who went by the name the ‘Mean Monster’ in the Bangalore party circuit. Mean because he was infamous for his edging technique—a method by which orgasm could be delayed, pushing the body to feel pleasure like never before. And monster because what he carried between his legs was two inches more than that of an average Indian’s. Zinnia was more than excited when she was finally able to trace the elusive guy and pin him down for a date, coincidentally on the same night that Prisha was supposed to meet her Tinder date.
‘You’ll have to come with me, Zin,’ Prisha said as soon as Zinnia had fixed the place for her to meet the Tinder guy.
‘Of course! But I too have a date, sweets,’ she said. Prisha noticed that Zinnia was blushing slightly, which was very unlike her.
‘What?’ Prisha asked, surprised.
‘Finally I’m going to meet him tonight.’
‘The Mean Monster.’

Forever Is A Lie: Prologue

On the Eve of His Twenty-Eighth Birthday
9 November 2010
He looks at the arrangement on the terrace of a forty-floor high-rise in Mumbai. A cosy mattress, a transparent tent and five love candles around it. He heaves a sigh of satisfaction. He recently bought the terrace and the floor below it without telling her about it. Tonight he will turn one of her fantasies into reality. They will make love under the stars. Tonight he will also realize his five-year-old dream. He will ask her to marry him the moment the clock strikes twelve—on the eve of his twenty-eighth birthday. He has never been happier.
She is attending a corporate training programme, which is due to end in an hour, at a resort in Lonavla. She has checked her watch at least ten times in the last five minutes. Time seems not to be at its usual pace today. She does a quick mental math for the umpteenth time. Five more minutes for the training session to get over, two minutes to greet everyone, say goodbye, another two minutes to hit the highway and then a couple of hours to reach Mumbai if there’s no untoward traffic. She has already asked her friend, an expert at baking, to make his favourite: blueberry cheesecake. She will make a detour after she reaches Mumbai to collect the cake, which will not take more than half an hour. She will reach his place by 10 p.m. Good, she tells herself and checks her watch yet another time.
The tent is right in the middle of the terrace. He places the smooth white mattress inside and puts a soft blanket over it. The air has just the right amount of chill, which makes him crave for her. For a moment, he can almost see the two of them becoming one inside the tent. He snaps out of the tempting reverie and readjusts the position of the candles. Tonight should be the perfect night, the kind lovers fantasize about, or so he has in mind. He places a sixth candle, a fake one, right above the mattress, where they will place their heads. It is actually a candle-shaped box and has a diamond ring inside.
She feels elated to hear the final ‘thank you for being such a nice batch’ from the trainer. The session is officially over for the day. She rushes out, greeting whomever she meets on her way. Almost everyone asks her if she wants to accompany them to Lion’s Point, a famous mountaintop, but she politely says no and calls her driver.
Satisfied with the preparation on the terrace, he makes his way to the flat and heads straight into the kitchen. He had googled and written down the recipe of sun-dried tomato risotto, her favourite, on a
Post-it note. He has also arranged for Montoya Cabernet Sauvignon—one of the best red wines in the world—as the perfect accompaniment. Suddenly he wants to hear her voice and decides to call her.
She is in the car now. She picks up her phone to call him and finds him calling her. This is how synchronized they are in their relationship. Be it matters of the heart or the mind, they are always on the same page. And it’s this very perfect timing that has gently pushed them into seeking a forever together every day. She says a soft hello into the phone.
He talks to her for some time and then lies that he has some important official work to complete. He has never been the kind who would surprise anybody, but this time he wants everything to be special, a memory that would last forever. She believes his lie. He cuts the call and wears an apron.
She hums her favourite romantic song while checking the photo gallery of her phone. Her car climbs the treacherous roads of Lonavla, with hills on one side and a gorge on the other. A boulder is displaced a few feet above the road that her car is on. Tearing the safety net around the boulders, placed to stop them from sliding down abruptly, it falls exactly on top of her car. It crushes the vehicle out of shape and the driver and her out of recognition. Her heartbeat stops almost immediately.
He keeps waiting to surprise her.

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