Book Review: Hina Jadav’s Debut Novel – Equinox – BrandSynario

Book Review: Hina Jadav’s Debut Novel – Equinox – BrandSynario.

Advertisements

Prologue-Equinox

Prologue
R. Chase
I peer at the gloomy gray sky, frowning out of boredom.
“Lunch at three with Ian Butler, owner of Darkville Chocolates,” my secretary, Polly’s voice continues to come through the speaker phone.
I shake my head, briefly widening my eyes, trying to come out of my passed out state. The tedium is nothing to do with my secretary reading my schedule to me; pretending like a human appears to be getting ridiculously dreary by the day.
“Cancel,” I murmur, veering my car to the left, into a narrow trail.
My knuckles turn sapphire blue as I tightly hold the steering wheel. “Grand opening of Roger House on Oxford Street …”
“Cancel it all,” I growl, trying to dismiss her.
“Mr Chase this dinner is very important and it’s the third time …”
“I don’t care! Do as I say,” I snap, hanging up the phone. I scowl at the road, annoyed.
I hate these business dinners, but they are important events, so much business is done over a glass of champagne, I have to undergo it. I hate to admit it, but being a rich business tycoon does make it easier for me to keep my philanthropic commitments going. A way I found workable enough to tip the scales for my sins.
I turn up the music to Debussy’s Claire de lune poetic impressions playing inside my car, trying to come out of this comatose like state. As I continue driving up the hill through the scarlet woods, a familiar feeling of dullness swamps me. Mid-autumn gloominess adds to my dull, dismal mood. Loneliness has never spared me, no matter where I go. My days are blended with monotony and ennui. And, although, I have had an adventurous week in Monrovia, helping the flood affected people of the slumps I haven’t been able to kill this depressing feeling.
I speed up, as coldness crawls into the air that is gently blowing away dead golden leaves at the sides of the forlorn road.
A huge gray stone mansion on my right captures my eyes, instantly pulling me out of my sulky mood. I stare at the House, slowing down the car speed. My car moves past the orphanage, Broomley House, and a known restlessness takes me over. I race the car toward the church on my left, few blocks away from the House.
Pulling up in the car park opposite a narrow bridle path, I cut down the engine of my latest Maserati Gran Cabrio Sport. I briefly glance at my wrist watch, I still have half an hour before walking in.
Leaning back into the recliner, I push my hands at the back of my head and close my eyes, trying to make myself comfortable. I’m here on a mission-a monotonous mission concerning property acquisitions.
A commotion caused by a horde of girls brings me up in an upright position. Dispassionately, I gaze up at the bridle path on my left that runs from the House to the chapel, young girls walk up in groups toward the chapel. None of them interest me. No beauty in this world catches my slightest of attention. I can always see through their souls-tainted and sinned.
I watch them throw dry leaves at each other, laughing loudly. My mouth twitches at the corners, showing my usual irritation at such juvenile behaviour.
I pass an impassive drifting gaze over them as they near the church, and briefly hold my gaze over the young nun, Mercy, who is standing at the entrance of the church with another nun. She passes me a glaring stare and I chuckle at her annoyance toward me.
“April Rivers … you twat, you taking donkeys years to pass me the damn ball,” someone shouts, running backward toward the church. I look away, uninterested.
Abruptly the air around me shifts. I sense a pull, I instantly look up again, feeling off-balance. A burning sensation trickles down my body. What the hell? My eyes for a brief second linger over a girl with extremely long dark golden hair. My heartbeat loses its track as I sit caught up at the sight of her. With a clumsy movement of her arm, she hurls a ball into the woods. “Now, go get it!” she shouts back with a silly laugh.
“Awww … nice one, daft cow!” I hear the other girl shout.
But, my eyes are fixed upon the golden haired girl. They spark with interest, as she nears the church. She is ordinarily dressed in a pink pullover and dark blue jeans. It seems that she has been wearing the same damn clothes for years, the sweater being overly tight and the pair of jeans flabby. Tucking the locks of hair behind her ears, she then runs her palms over her grungy jeans. Whatever the hell happened to all the clothes I have been sending?
But none of that matters … A golden glow emits from her body, which obviously only I can see. A powerful desire takes over my consciousness. She is so damn beautiful! I briefly wonder how it would feel like biting those lush pink lips of hers.
Gloominess appears over her face, even as she smiles, peering at the girl babbling next to her. She gazes up at the chapel entrance, emptiness lingering between her starry hazel eyes.
I’m not only twitchy by the thought of being so close to her, but a craving builds up inside me. The very moment, intense hunger charges itself within me. A feeling of conquering her takes me over, and I can’t ignore it. I want her. I want her warm and tender body beneath me. At this moment, I’m nothing more than a predator, and she my prey.
I will slowly burn myself inside her mind, make myself her mania and then break into when she is the most vulnerable. There will be no other for her but me.
Check mate, Miss Rivers!
_____________________§®§_______________________

Prologue- Revised Edition-Equinox

Prologue
R. Chase
I peer at the gloomy gray sky, frowning out of boredom.
“Lunch at three with Ian Butler, owner of Darkville Chocolates,” my secretary, Polly’s voice continues to come through the speaker phone.
I shake my head, briefly widening my eyes, trying to come out of my passed out state. The tedium is nothing to do with my secretary reading my schedule to me; pretending like a human appears to be getting ridiculously dreary by the day.
My knuckles turn sapphire blue as I tightly hold the steering wheel. “Cancel,” I murmur, veering my car to the left, into a narrow trail.
“Grand opening of Roger House on Oxford Street …”
“Cancel it all,” I growl, trying to dismiss her.
“Mr Chase this dinner is very important and it’s the third time …”
“I don’t care! Do as I say,” I snap, hanging up the phone. I scowl at the road, annoyed.
I hate these business dinners, but they are important events, so much business is done over a glass of champagne, I have to undergo it. I hate to admit it, but being a rich business tycoon does make it easier for me to keep my philanthropic commitments going. A way I found workable enough to tip the scales for my sins.
I turn up the music to Debussy’s Claire de lune poetic impressions playing inside my car, trying to come out of this comatose like state. As I continue driving up the hill through the scarlet woods, a familiar feeling of dullness swamps me. Mid-autumn gloominess adds to my dull, dismal mood. Loneliness has never spared me, no matter where I go. My days are blended with monotony and ennui. And, although, I have had an adventurous week in Monrovia, helping the flood affected people of the slumps I haven’t been able to kill this depressing feeling.
I speed up, as coldness crawls into the air that is gently blowing away dead golden leaves at the sides of the forlorn road.
A huge gray stone mansion on my right captures my eyes, instantly pulling me out of my sulky mood. I stare at the House, slowing down the car speed. My car moves past the orphanage, Broomley House, and a known restlessness takes me over. I race the car toward the church on my left, few blocks away from the House.
Pulling up in the car park opposite a narrow bridle path, I cut down the engine of my latest Maserati Gran Cabrio Sport. I briefly glance at my wrist watch, I still have half an hour before walking in.
Leaning back into the recliner, I push my hands at the back of my head and close my eyes, trying to make myself comfortable. I’m here on a mission-a monotonous mission concerning property acquisitions.
A commotion caused by a horde of girls brings me up in an upright position. Dispassionately, I gaze up at the bridle path on my left that runs from the House to the chapel, young girls walk up in groups toward the chapel. None of them interest me. No beauty in this world catches my slightest of attention. I can always see through their souls-tainted and sinned.
I watch them throw dry leaves at each other, laughing loudly. My mouth twitches at the corners, showing my usual irritation at such juvenile behaviour.
I pass an impassive drifting gaze over them as they near the church, and briefly hold my gaze over the young nun, Mercy, who is standing at the entrance of the church with another nun. She passes me a glaring stare and I chuckle at her annoyance toward me.
“April Rivers … you twat, you taking donkeys years to pass me the damn ball,” someone shouts, running backward toward the church. I look away, uninterested.
Abruptly the air around me shifts. I sense a pull, I instantly look up again, feeling off-balance. A burning sensation trickles down my body. What the hell? My eyes for a brief second linger over a girl with extremely long dark golden hair. My heartbeat loses its track as I sit caught up at the sight of her. With a clumsy movement of her arm, she hurls a ball into the woods. “Now, go get it!” she shouts back with a silly laugh.
“Awww … nice one, daft cow!” I hear the other girl shout.
But, my eyes are fixed upon the golden haired girl. They spark with interest, as she nears the church. She is ordinarily dressed in a pink pullover and dark blue jeans. It seems that she has been wearing the same damn clothes for years, the sweater being overly tight and the pair of jeans flabby. Tucking the locks of hair behind her ears, she then runs her palms over her grungy jeans. Whatever the hell happened to all the clothes I have been sending?
But none of that matters … A golden glow emits from her body, which obviously only I can see. A powerful desire takes over my consciousness. She is so damn beautiful! I briefly wonder how it would feel like biting those lush pink lips of hers. I shy away from myself, feeling sick in the gut.
Gloominess appears over her face, even as she smiles, peering at the girl babbling next to her. She gazes up at the chapel entrance, emptiness lingering between her starry hazel eyes.
The very moment, an aggravated hiss explodes inside my head. She is not yours. She is mine …her soul belongs to me … I’m not only twitchy by the thought of being so close to her, but a craving builds up inside me. Intense hunger charges itself within me. A feeling of conquering her takes me over, and I can’t ignore it. I want her. I want her warm and tender body beneath me. At this moment, I’m nothing more than a predator, and she my prey.
I will slowly burn myself inside your mind, make you my mania and then break into when you are the most vulnerable. There will be no other for you but me. Check Mate, Mlle Rivers!
_____________________§®§_______________________

Review of Invasion by Nidhi Shendurnikar.

Review of Invasion written by Heena Jadav Sunil. Editorial support by Aisha Jabeen
By
Nidhi Shendurnikar-Tere

Invasion – Humanity Triumphs

Heena Jadav Sunil’s short story titled ‘Invasion’ is an extremely bold yet sensitive attempt to unearth a largely ignored issue in our society. To a naive reader, it may come across as disturbing, yet it conveys a message that draws our attention to a problem to which society has turned deaf ears. We have been trained to think of religion as sacrosanct, a practice that can never go wrong and something that we must abide by unfailingly. It is these assumptions that ‘Invasion’ deftly critiques and questions through the story of Shiv and Gauri. While Gauri is the protagonist who has undergone a life-destroying event, Shiv is a character whose relationship with Gauri is not specified. Despite this lack of clarity, Shiv and Gauri’s relationship comes across as endearing to readers. The reader can make out that they are bound by the relationship of humanity – paramount than any other affiliation in this world. The story of the troubles and trauma that Gauri goes through has been aptly described by the author.

The pain that she endures is visible through the language employed in the story. The thrust of the story revolves around sensitive issues such as child sexual abuse, child marriages and marital rape that still plague our existence. These are issues that we prefer to remain silent about as they are deeply connected to our religious beliefs. Not many would want to step out of the comfort of their religious beliefs and tell a story that completely shakes one’s assumptions and beliefs in the values and culture that we so passionately adhere to.

Mummy’s voice rang in my head, “even if it pains you should make him happy. Don’t deny him the sex … People will see you with utmost respect.’’
In a slow motion I took my clothes off. I don’t want this respect. I just want to go home.

The reader will be able to relate to Gauri’s story, her pain and sufferings and the manner in which she emerges triumphant. However, there is an air of despondence to the story as the reader might feel stuck in a situation that is not so positive and may not result into a very hopeful scenario. The use of ‘religion’ as a metaphor is also quite evident from the work. In present times, full of religious extremism and intolerance the story will be able to strike the right chord with those who are committed to eradicating evil practices that thrive in the name of religion. At the same time, it may also offend those who perceive it as a critique of a particular religion. Religion is a sensitive issue and as a matter of one’s faith, we may not be accommodative of the criticism of our own religious practices. Gauri’s story, apart from being a critique of the underlying hypocrisy of religious beliefs and values is also a story of ‘agency’ and ‘empowerment’ being imparted to a vulnerable character. Religion only serves a representative purpose in the story; the larger message is for humanity to be sensitive to ‘others’. As a society that is taking giant strides towards modernization and globalization with the help of technology, we still have a long way to go before we can address grave issues that affect our children, women and marginalized sections of society. ‘Invasion’ promotes a message that goes beyond the narrow understanding of religion, rituals, values and culture to address a larger audience that will be able to empathize with the injustices perpetrated in the society in the name of appeasing God.

… There was no reply to my cry. There was nothing but just the scary silence building up into a tornado inside me. Mummy was not around! Even if anybody heard my screams, they would not open the door to help me.

The need of the hour according to the author is to go beyond our limited understanding and look at issues from the prism of humanity. Only then can this world claim to have socially sensitive humans who venture beyond their selfish interests and think about the ‘other’. The premise that ‘Invasion’ addresses is not unknown, it is all out in the open for us to think about. The manner in which the author deals with such a sensitive issue by operating on the broader canvass of humanity is what makes the story an interesting read. The story is deeply engaging as the reader travels along with Shiv and Gauri, not knowing what Gauri has been through and how Shiv is helping her out (though one can easily make out that something terribly wrong has occurred with Gauri).

… But, the thing between his thighs jabbed me recklessly… Hunger overcrowded my stomach, breaking me.

Until the end of the narrative, this speculation about the real situation faced by Gauri keeps the reader hooked. At one point it even comes across as mysterious. One can also relate to the inner strength, resilience and conviction that Gauri exhibits. Through the use of a fictional setting, the message that ‘Invasion’ conveys will certainly have a long lasting impact on the reader’s mind. At the core of ‘Invasion’ lies a belief in humanity and human values, a belief that a day will soon come when we will transcend the innumerable barriers that set us apart to unite for a just cause. This is a must read for those who despite all the gloom that surrounds us are still convinced with the healing power of human values.

Excerpt from Chapter one, Equinox- Where to ma’am?

I wandered out of the chamber, to withdraw to my dorm. A soon as I came at the opening of the stairs I heard someone say my name from behind me. I turned around to see who it was. My left foot remained in mid-air, at the edge of the stairs, and I gawked at him; hooked and astounded by his mysterious forceful presence. Leaning against a column in the corridor with his thumbs inside his jeans pocket, he grandly stood. Of course I was day-dreaming. But he looked so alive.
I was woozy. I closed my eyes praying.
“God please… not my bones…….”
I did not fall? Finally.
His thin silk shirt crumbled between my fingers. I factually hung at the edge of the stairs, clasping onto his shirt. I managed to steady my footing firmly seizing his shirt, and thankfully balanced myself from falling. But, mercilessly, I ended up exposing the delicate curves of a chest, which a moment ago was buttoned inside the dark purple silk shirt. His shirt buttons tortuously went sprinkling all over the stairs. Oh, his gorgeous smell was enthralling! I had never known anyone who smelled so bewitchingly enticing.
Clutching his extended hand, I tipped my head back, to shift my line of vision from his lean six-packed chest, to his face. His left hand tightly clasped my waist, and with subtle touch of fingers he hauled me closer. Oh god! He was young, around twenty two-twenty three. Ginger blonde hair fell over his pale forehead, sparsely masking his thin brows. His softly flushedthin lips, brutally seductive, curled on the sides as he smiled. My eyes traced the shape of his soft alluring lips; his tight oval jawline loosened slightly, but his features otherwise became blank.