I have been writing my fifth novel, ‘I Still LoveYou’, which is a full-length novel spanning around 65K words.
The novel is about Murali who is betrayed after the demise of his girlfriend, Falguni. He falls in love with a Software Engineer, Pratibha, who has been transferred to Hyderabad from Bangalore on a short time project assignment. But Pratibha is already dating Rahul and planning to get married to him after returning to Bangalore. Will Murali be successful in retaining Pratibha in his life and uniting with her?
I would like to share a portion of an initial chapter, and I hope you like the snippet.
Murali’s glance shifted to his buzzing cell phone placed on his desk at his office. His close friend, Prakash’s name lit the screen. He grabbed the phone and pressed the green button.
“Hey, Prakash,” Murali said, sounding jovial. It had been more than a week since they spoke last.
“Where are-” Prakash stumbled for words.
Murali’s heart started racing. What had happened to Prakash? Why is he mumbling? “Yes, tell me, Prakash. Is everything all right with you?”
“I have a bad news,” Prakash said. “But you need to control yourself.”
Bad news? Murali’s pulse quickened. What had really happened? “Yes, go ahead. What’s that bad news you’re talking about?”
“Your fiancé, Falguni -”
Why Prakash stopped in between? “Yes, tell me, Prakash.” Murali sounded excited. “What has happened to Falguni?”
“She has met with an accident.”
Murali’s heart sank. Nausea filled his mind and his vision blurred. He waited for a moment to compose himself. “Where is she now?”
“You need to control yourself, Murali. She is battling for her life in the Apollo hospital.”
Murali’s breath caught in his chest. He heaved a heavy sigh. “What the doctors are saying?”
“They’re not committing anything.” Prakash paused. “Are you planning to go and see her?”
“Yes, I should. I leave my office in a few minutes.” Murali paused and then said, “How did you get to know this?”
“Falguni’s friend called and told me the news a while ago. She wanted me to tell you the matter. She couldn’t dare to speak directly with you.”
Murali longed to see his fiancé. “Why don’t you join me? I’ll come and pick you up.”
“But Falguni’s brother-” Prakash stopped short of his words.
Even though Murali feared for Falguni’s brother, who had been trying to break their love affair, Murali needed to go there and see her. “I want to see Falguni, Prakash. And I’m not scared of her brother.” He waited for a moment and composed himself. “Where are you now?”
“I’m at my home.”
“You be there. I’ll come and pick you up.”
“All right, call me when you arrive here.”
Murali pressed the red button and gently threw his phone on his desk. He hadn’t expected things would turn so unfavourable to him. He had been dating Falguni for two years and they had been trying to convince their parents for the union. Everything turned upside down because of this accident. He hoped Almighty would save Falguni’s life. And he would unite with her.
Murali would’ve married to Falguni had they both belonged to the same caste. He hated Falguni’s parents for their stubborn stance over their friendship. Her parents and her brother were hindrances to their efforts to unite. Falguni’s parents were a hard nut to crack.
Murali believed his mother, Payal, would not bother whom he married because his parents belonged to two different castes.
He shifted his glance to the computer clock. It was just before noon, and he would ask for half day leave to his manager, Vikram. He needed to see Falguni. I am sure Falguni will survive and she will feel relieved after seeing me.
He crossed a few cubicles and approached Vikram, whose eyes were glued to his laptop screen; he was busy reading a technical document.
Murali cleared his throat. “Hello, Vikram.”
Vikram turned around. “Hey, Murali. What’s up?” His cheerfulness faded after seeing Murali.
“I am taking time off this afternoon.”
“Time-off? Why?” Vikram sounded curious. “Is there anything urgent?”
“Yes. I need to go to the Apollo Hospital.”
“Apollo Hospital?” Vikram looked sideways. “Is someone not well?”
“My girlfriend, Falguni, is admitted there.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.” Vikram knotted his brows. “What has happened to her?”
“Well-” Murali swallowed a lump in his throat. He wasn’t sure how to reveal the news.
“Yes, tell me, Murali,” Vikram said, his tone reassuring. “I’ll try to help you.”
“Falguni met with an accident.” Murali stared down at the floor.
“Oh, I’m so sorry.” Vikram paused. “Yes, you can go and see her.”
“Thank you, Vikram. I will keep you updated.”
“All right.” Vikram raised his palm, gesturing him the best.
Murali stepped out of his office. The moderate, cold wind made him shiver; the sun glowed in the centre of the clear, blue sky. The cold winter breeze obscured the warmth of the intense sun rays. Murali crossed his arms to feel balmy as he strode towards his car.
He needed to pick up Prakash before he went to the hospital. Murali had enough courage to face Falguni’s brother, who hated him. But he had promised Prakash he would pick him up; he needed to go with him.
The afternoon traffic was heavy. He waited at the intersection with patience for the red light to turn green. A traffic police tried to ease the congestion in spite of the signal lights.
Murali accelerated to cross the intersection and headed down the street. He parked his car outside Prakash’s house and called him. Prakash arrived and sat in the passenger’s seat. Murali drove out of the residential area and headed down the main street.
“You better be calm if Falguni’s brother tried to brawl with you,” Prakash said, gingerly.
Murali looked at Prakash for a moment before he fixed his gaze back on the road. “I don’t think he will argue with me as Falguni is admitted to the hospital. He will stay calm to keep up his dignity.”
Prakash remained silent. He seemingly agreed with what Murali said.
“Do you know how and where it happened?” Murali asked.
Prakash remained silent.
Murali waited for Prakash to answer; he continued looking ahead at the road.
“She was driving her scooter on the state highway,” Prakash said. “And she tried to pass a heavy vehicle.”
Murali’s hearts sank. She is hit by a heavy vehicle!
“Perhaps, it was Falguni’s fault as well. She didn’t slow her scooter even though the driver signalled her not to pass. The truck driver has confessed these facts to the police.”
Murali couldn’t believe Falguni made a mistake. She drove her scooter with care. She had been driving for the past five years. There must be some other reason for the accident. “What else her friend said?”
“Well-” Prakash stumbled for words.
“Yes, tell me. What else she told?” Murali repeated.
Prakash remained silent.
Prakash must be hiding something from me.
The hospital neared. Murali didn’t want to pursue the matter. There is no point in knowing the past. I will meet Falguni and see how she is doing. I will pray God she becomes all right.
The parking place was almost full. Murali drove past the parked vehicles and found a vacant slot; he parked and stepped out of his car.
“Where has she been admitted?” Murali asked as they marched towards the main entrance.
“In the ICU.”
Murali’s chest constricted. He hoped God would be kind to Falguni.
“We will get it confirmed,” Murali said. He walked along with Prakash to the counter located at the centre of the hall.
An attendant, in his white uniform, shifted his gaze from computer screen to Murali.
Murali cleared his throat. “I would like to meet a patient admitted to the ICU.”
The man behind the counter took a register book. “What’s the name of the patient?”
He opened the book and glanced at the contents. “The patient has been discharged.”
“Has she become alright?” Murali sounded excited.
The man paused. He started down for a moment and then said, “I am sorry. She is no more.”
Murali’s breath caught in his chest. He looked at Prakash with his eyes widened. He tried to say something but words failed him. He went to a nearby seat and collapsed on it.
Tears touched Murali’s lashes. He blamed God for snatching his girlfriend from him. He couldn’t believe Falguni died. He had taken her to the Chat Bandar at Koti the previous evening. What had happened now? I don’t think she is no more. I’ll go to her home and see she is still alive. God can’t snatch my love from me.
He buried his face in his palms and cried. He cried and cried until Pradeep put his hand on Murali’s shoulder.
“Murali, please console yourself. We don’t have any control over births and deaths. It’s all in Almighty’s hands.”
“No, Prakash. I can’t believe Falguni is no more. She is still alive. I want to go to her home and see her alive. She can’t leave me alone.”
“I told you to relieve yourself. You need to believe what the hospital staff said.” Prakash paused, holding Murali’s hand. “It is better you don’t go to her home.”
“How can I-”
“I know,” Prakash said. “I know you loved her and want to see her. But you need to safeguard yourself. Her brother has already threatened you not to see her, right?”
Murali stared down, contemplating. He did scare when Falguni’s brother had cautioned him. But Falguni loved him; she had told Murali not to care about what her brother had said. And her assurance had made Murali continue his friendship. “Let him do whatever he wants to. I would like to see my friend.” Murali rose. He waited for Pradeep to join him.
But Prakash remained seated on the chair. Maybe, he was scared of some backlashes at Falguni’s home.
“I can go alone if you don’t want to join me.” Murali grimaced.
Prakash stared down; he sighed; he shifted his glance back to Murali. “Okay, let’s go.”
Murali slid behind the wheel and drove towards Falguni’s home. Seated in the car, he glanced at her home premises through the main gate. A few people, in their white dresses, stood in groups. Murali located a vacant slot among the parked vehicles and parked his car.
His heart sank and it pounded to his ribcage. Falguni really went to the almighty. Many people had gathered to pay their homage.
“I still suggest you not to attend the funeral, Murali,” Prakash said.
“You are too scared, Prakash.” Murali stepped out of his car. He pressed the remote; the car chirped, locking its doors.
He went past the people in white dresses and stepped into the porch. Prakash followed him. Murali’s eyes welled with tears. Falguni was laid on the floor of the living room with a white sheet draped over her body. The face was also covered. Perhaps, her head was also injured. Murali wailed aloud and hid his face in Prakash’s chest. Prakash rubbed his back and tried to take him to the living room.
“Don’t get inside.” Someone shouted while Murali approached the main door.
He shifted his glace towards the source, his eyes widened. Falguni’s brother, his nostrils flared, looked at Murali. His breath increased when Murali continued looking at him.
“It’s all because of you, you know that?” Falguni’s brother approached and held Murali’s collar tight. “I told you to leave my sister alone. Had you listened, my sister would’ve been alive.”
Murali held his hands and tried to loosen his clutches. He wondered how he was responsible for Falguni’s death. Falguni too loved him and she often told him not to care what her brother said. Her brother’s claim that Murali was responsible for her death puzzled him.
Falguni’s brother dragged him by his collar. “Leave the premises, now.”
“I don’t want to listen to your words anymore.” Falguni’s brother dragged him towards the porch steps.
Prakash held his hands. “Let me take him outside.” He freed Murali from his clutches. He shoved Murali out of the scene by placing his hands on Murali’s back.
Murali continued looking back at the porch as they went out of the main gate.
“I told you not to attend the funeral,” Prakash breathed heavy. “Thank God I’m with you.”
Murali remained silent. He wiped his tears with a hanky. “I never expected God will snatch Falguni from me.” He composed himself, seated in the car.
Falguni’s brother complained Murali was responsible for her death. Murali tried hard to understand his words. “Did you hear what her brother said?” Murali sounded astonished.
Prakash avoided his gaze.
Murali suspected something took place before Falguni met with an accident. “Prakash, do you know what really happened before the accident?” He waited, hoping for Murali to tell the truth.
Prakash continued staring down for a moment and then said, “She argued with her parents and brother about your affair before she met with her accident.”
Murali’s blood rushed through his veins. Falguni had been trying to seek her parents’ consent to marry Murali. It is her parents and brother who is responsible for her death, and not me.
Murali prayed God may Falguni’s soul rest in peace.
Did it create an interest in you? Share your thoughts and let me know!