We shared the first of a five-part series of excerpts from the romantic novel ‘Tick-tock we’re 30’ on Valentine’s Day. This is from the first Indian Mills & Boon author, Milan Vohra. Check out the second excerpt below!
Milan’s comment about the excerpt:
This is from one of the early chapters in ‘Tick-tock we’re 30’ when Lara, my main female protagonist meets Nishad, one of the guys from the gang she grew up with, after 10 years. Nishad and she had made a pact back in college that if neither of them had hooked up with anyone by 30, they’d hook up with each other. Except, Lara was dating pro-moto racer Ranndeep then and that didn’t turn out so well. Now, the last thing she wants is to give Nishad a chance to rub it in, that he was right after all about Ranndeep being so wrong for her! When I was writing this scene, I wondered if it is at all possible to feel a new chemistry with someone you’ve known in the past, not been romantically attracted to earlier and meet after a long time. Read the book and let me know what you think!
HOW IS IT THAT JUST AT THE MOMENT you want to look your elegant best, you can be sure you’ll be caught with the chewiest piece of tikka in your mouth? While I am still trying to quickly get it down my throat—Nanhi is out of her sofa in a flash, running to give Nishad a bear hug. ‘Where the fuck did you vanish to for so long?’ she booms.
Sita is standing proudly beside Nishad like he has personally materialised him, Copperfield style. ‘Hey man, you made it, after all.’ They are now at our table and Sita is making brilliant attempts at subtle humour. ‘Lara, meet Nishad. Nishad, this is Lara, in case you haven’t recognised her- though personally I think she’s doing a fine job of ageing gracefully.’
‘Ah … ha… ha… ha… ha,’ I dry-laugh, holding my stomach, then throw Sita a glare. I put down my nice frosted glass and awkwardly extend my cold clammy fingers to shake Nishad’s hand. Nishad, in the meanwhile, has been standing there looking cool in a grey zip-up jacket, black T shirt with a message I can only read the centre part of. ‘eer. Elpin men anc’.The rest is hidden by the jacket. He is standing with his legs slightly apart in charcoal grey flat-front trousers, back as ramrod-straight as I always remembered it. I don’t know why he does it but as always, he has that faintly amused expression as he looks at me.
‘Hi, Lara. So glad to see you’re not letting it get you down,’ Nishad smiles. Ten years since I met him last, and the first thing he says to me is still loaded with his brand of sarcasm. ‘Not letting what get me down?’ I rejoinder with a brilliant comeback. What it lacks in wit, it makes up for in frost. I half expect Nishad to launch into a ‘Now look, it happens to everyone’ kind of discourse on turning thirty.
‘The company you keep obviously.’ Nishad says blandly. Nice save.
‘Saleh… this is the thanks I get for finding you!’ Sita good humouredly pulls up another chair. More drinks are ordered. Nishad takes his jacket off and hangs it over the back of his chair. Goody. I can see the full message on the T shirt. It would have killed me guessing. I read it aloud.‘Beer. Helping men dance since 1865’.
Nishad laughs,‘I think I’ll have one, though it’s done nothing for me yet.’ Cute. The message, obviously. Sita proudly informs Nishad that even though the club has become all swish and they’ve even started serving single malts, he still sticks with his rum-and-coke like in the old days. ‘And the waistcoats too, see?’ he points. Nanhi boisterously insists this is as good a day as any for Sita to get rid of his dated sleeveless jackets. I watch the three of them swing into the old banter so naturally, and wish I wasn’t feeling so awkward around Nishad. Well, he really does look different. At the risk of sounding M&B-ish, I think he’s become quite, um… manly. That hand I shook so gauchely just minutes ago looks different too. His fingers are still as tapered and artistic as I remember them. But his arms have filled out and there’s this overall sense you get that he’s pretty fit. Not in an ugh, pumped-up, rippling-biceps kind of way but, well, nice! The smile is more open. Less judgemental. More attractive.‘So good to see you Lara!’ Nishad turns to me, while the other two are still gassing. I’m about to respond with a surprised smile when he continues. ‘Still in one piece. No broken jaw, no bent nose, no fractures. You survived all those wild rides with what’s-his-name?’ In a second, it’s like nothing has changed. Nishad may have gymmed the last ten years and built this very toned body for all I care, and who knows, gone to parlours as well and dipped his hands into little hot tubs to get his fingers looking so clean and sexy; maybe even got his chest waxed (though somehow I think not) but it is no use. Nishad never could get rid of that superior tone every time he spoke to me.
I think it best to get on my feet and ignore the ass.
Milan Vohra gained international recognition when one of her short stories won a nationwide Harlequin short story contest and made her the first Indian Mills & Boon author. Her book ‘The Love Asana’ became a huge bestseller and is being translated into several languages. Milan has also written a play, a musical comedy called “Maid in India’, short stories for anthologies like ‘Vanilla desires’ by Unisun Publishers , Young Adult stories for Penguin in ‘Love like that and other stories’ and also written TV scripts for Sesame Street in India.
Milan’s latest book ‘Tick-tock we’re 30’ by Westland is a reflective rom-com about old friendships, new chemistries, and imperfect urban relationships. Milan’s real claim to fame, she says, is that she is the world’s best worst dancer. You can follow her here on Facebook.
Get 42% off ‘Tick-tock we’re 30′ here, the book Times of India calls ‘high on humor…’
Reader review on flipkart: ; Priyanka Acharya, 13 May 2013
Great exploration of relationships, both romantic and platonic
The pleasure in reading this book comes not only from the humor, but the realistic look at young adult life and the intricacies of friendships that have long histories behind them. I was most intrigued by Lara’s complicated friendship with Reeti, which is riddled with insecurity, unlike her friendships with the other gals in the SV gang. However this is just one example of an interesting interaction, and the multitude of characters gives us readers a chance to relive all the complicated relationships we have had with friends and lovers. A book that makes you laugh while also giving you the chance to play armchair psychologist? What more could we ask for the perfect summer read!