Sunday, May 14, 2017


A Mother's Day excerpt from my upcoming (re-release) MY LAST LOVE STORY, coming January 9th, 2018.

“I’m here. What’s the deal?” I asked, pressing the tote against my heart like a shield.

He closed the book and slid it into its slot on the shelf.

Rumi, I read off the spine. Zayaan’s favorite Persian poet. He used to quote Rumi all the time when we were kids. I hadn’t seen him read poetry, much less quote a couplet for a long time. No one who knew him now would’ve guessed that staid and to-the-point Zayaan possessed the soul of a romantic.

That night had taken many things from us.

I had taken Rumi from Zayaan, and for that, I couldn’t be sorrier.

He led me to the cashier’s desk cluttered with an insane amount of items and asked for the things he’d set aside. Turning toward me, he held up a book on Lord Krishna in one hand and a box containing a silver-plated Om in the other for inspection.

“What do you think?” he asked.

“They’re…cool.” I blinked at him. “Going back to your Hindu roots, are you?”

Some sects of Khojas were converted Hindus, which was why their language, customs and even their food were more Gujarati and Kathiawari in style than Islamic.

Zayaan did a double take before he burst out laughing. “Your punch lines always had perfect timing, Sims. Good one.”

Hmm. Great. Though I’m not joking.” I peered at the objects closely.

“For Mummy. Mother’s Day.” He gave a shy, charming little shrug. “Can’t decide what to get her.”
It couldn’t be helped. My heart became a puddle of chocolate goo at my feet. I went up on tiptoes and kissed his stubbly cheek. But I quickly stepped back when he leaned in just as unconsciously, exactly as I had in reflex. He froze as I moved away.

Khodai. We’d become so awkward around each other, never knowing which lines to cross and which ones to leave alone.

“You’re sweet, Zai. Let me see. She’ll definitely love the book,” I said, roving a critical eye over both objects.

Lord Krishna was the patron God of Nirvaan’s family, and the book was an intricately illustrated romp through Krishna’s early life as a cowherd. The pictures were augmented by well-known hymns and poems.

Krishna was known as the Complete Man in Hindu philosophy. He was a prankster, a flirt, a diplomat, a musician and a great orator. If ever there were classic examples of God’s influence on His believer, Lord Krishna and Nirvaan were them.

“Well,” I said, flipping through the glossy-paged book, “the artwork is beautiful.”

It was. The artist had done a brilliant job of creating the village of Mathura and the forest of Vrindavan where the Lord and His flock of female devotees danced and flirted through the night.

I gave the Om-shaped incense stand a cursory glance. True, my mother-in-law would light incense sticks every morning in their home temple as part of her daily prayer ritual but…

“Give her the book. You chose it because the renderings of Krishna look like Nirvaan, didn’t you? Apart from the skin tones,” I guessed shrewdly.

Lord Krishna was always depicted as a blue-skinned deity.

“That’s why I wanted a second opinion,” said Zayaan, giving me an adorable squinty-eyed grin. “I thought I was being fanciful. Like you.”

Fanciful. Yep, that was me.

I shook my head, letting him know he wasn’t being fanciful. The book would please my mother-in-law. In truth, I fancied it would bring her immense succor to see her son’s face in her Lord.

They said faith in God could relieve us of pain. It was a good thing I had no faith, then, because I didn’t deserve to be free of my pain. Ever.

All rights reserved © Falguni Kothari.
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