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A Window To Her Dreams
by Harshali Singh (Book Preview) | Published On: 19-Jan-2017

A Window To Her Dreams is a book about a young lady, Aruna, her family and her life. Hers is a large family living in a Haveli that has 100 doors. Her father, Arun Sharma is owns a saree shop in Old Delhi. Her mother, Uma is a house-wife. She has six siblings, Bhavya, Charu, Dheeraj and the triplets Iti, Fanny and Gina.

 

Just after getting out of an abusive marriage to Rafi, Aruna decides to marry Bhuvan, who is in love with her. Aruna’s learned conditioning, developed as a result of her past, keeps coming in the way of their married normalcy and on the other, Bhuvan cannot fathom the signs of her distress.

Soon, she finds herself standing on the precipice of a second failed marriage. What happens next is for the reader to explore.

 

 

In this part of the book, Bhuvan is heading to the marriage hall to be wedded to Aruna.

Excerpt

There had been no bachelor’s party, contrary to the norm. No friends making a huge ruckus, cracking crude jokes. Bhuvan woke up alone to a solitary breakfast.

 

The storm hit when his family came to escort him tothe banquet hall, which they had rented. He picked uphis bag and looked around his empty flat for the last time. In no time, Aruna would be accompanying him. He wouldhold her hand and carry her over the threshold, he thoughthappily.

 

He rushed to meet his excited family, reminding his neighbour, Sweety aunty, to come for the wedding againas they climbed down the 10 floors of their building together. Sweety aunty lived with her temperamental husbandMr. Singh, and her Metallica-loving son JD, just below hisapartment.

 

She was a kind lady, sending paranthas and karhi, and mutton, and other delicacies for the poor, hungry puttar, as she liked to call him, who lived alone above her flat.

 

JD would ring his doorbell and pass on the plastic box, his eyes rolling as Bhuvan bent down to sniff at the food. Shewas equally smart not to send the food in anything other thandisposable utensils, the kind you get from restaurants withhim being a bachelor.

 

Her loving thoughts behind this gesture, reinstated his faithin people and their basic kindness. She had taken him underher wing, he supposed, and he was sensible enough to playhis part right. He hoped she came for the wedding.

 

A strange flutter in the pit of his stomach was his constantcompanion since the past few days. Something was nagginghim. Did men have pre-wedding jitters too? He wondered.

 

 

 

 

The book has an interesting character, the Haveli, who keeps giving the reader a new perspective. In this part, the Haveli is telling us something about the family’s past.

Excerpt

 

The Sharma family is worried and fidgety.

 

As darkness descends, I hear Uma’s harried footsteps echoingin my long passages.

 

Once they used to be confident.

 

The family is not new to times of strife and yet, somehow, theyare unable to fling this cloak of doom that has settled over theircollective lives. The long court battle with Arun’s brother had tested their mettle once before, but they had sailed through those times.

 

More than the lack of money, it was the lack of hope and thestruggle to accept that was eating at this family’s core.

 

They are at crossroads yet again.

 

Aruna stands at the window, clinging to hope. She had beensuch a happy child, spinning fantasies of love at this very window,the blue swirls aiding her in this mental quest.

 

I can still see her rushing to the window and leaning against thatugly black grill the day her father had finally won the exhaustinglitigation for me. This old pile of stones, as she fondly calls me.

 

I was theirs!

 

Arun’s stepbrother had fought for me for years, forcing him towonder if it would be better to surrender his claim rather than gointo more debt.

 

But Ma Lakshmi had smiled, as Uma says every time shethinks of the past.

 

That day, over a hot cup of tea and samosas, a visibly-shakenArun gathered everyone and said, “We shall be giving each of youa room to share with your sibling, which you may decorate as per your mother’s wishes.”

 

He wanted to say more, but what could you expect from a manof few words? And so, passing the baton into Uma’s capable hands,he made a move towards his room. When Fanny launched herself at Arun’s legs and asked him, “Daddy, did we win?” I, alone, saw his moist eyes.

 

“Yes Fanny, we did. This house is ours and no one is going toask you to leave.” He somehow managed to utter. The smile thathad ignited his eyes silenced all the unasked questions.

 

All the children, expecting him to brush Fanny away, had heaveda sigh of relief when she wrapped her arms around his neck. Shesensed it was a good time and demanded a story. Arun took herwith him to the study, precariously balancing an almost cool cupof tea in the other hand.

 

It was then that the hailstorm of decisions and squabbling, peppered with choices and compromises had begun. The question was, who would share which room and with whom.

 

Only Dheeraj and Charu were granted a separate room forthemselves. Dheeraj, the only boy among the siblings, and Charu, because of her disability, required extra space.

 

Kothris meant for storage were converted into rooms for the twochildren, but at least they had a room all to themselves.

 

Aruna, full of romantic dreams, picked the room with Bhavya, her closest sister in age, with only two years separating them. Boththe girls were inseparable and more like twins.

 

Aruna was drawn to this window even as a young girl.

 

This window with the prison-like grill had been replaced at herinsistence, and the beautiful wrought iron grill with swirls wasbrought in against Uma’s better judgment.

 

Couldn’t Aruna have bought anything else for her room, like Bhavya’s purchase of assorted lamps or Charu painting her room in a forest mural? Uma wondered, but Aruna insisted on a grillof all things.

 

Arun’s unexpected kindness and an insight for the children ata time when she least expected it out of him, made him special inher eyes.

 

The tough and usually stoic Arun would let his love for hischildren trickle out in actions, if not in words. He did love themdespite everything.

 

Unable to dissuade Aruna, the grill was replaced and paintedblue. Uma secretly admitted to it being the right choice once it wasmounted, though she would never admit it out loud to Aruna.

 

She liked seeing the swirls of blue. When she asked Aruna the reason why she wanted it just so, Aruna had looked at her motherand said, “I can fly on the back of my dreams even when I am stuckin this room. The blue swirls are the north wind that will carry meto the love of my life, even if it is only in my mind for now.”

 

Scandalized, Uma scolded Aruna for her silly dreams and askedher to concentrate on her studies. Always the pragmatist, my Uma. But when Aruna was not at home, she too would stand before the window on the pretext of cleaning the grill.

 

Hard work though it was, she insisted on doing it herself. Toher, the blue swirls represented waves in the sea or a soft zephyrbestowing a feeling of openness and beauty. Transporting the personwho stood at the window to any imaginary world that only theyhad a gateway into, I heard her whisper once.

 

Tonight, like all other nights, Aruna stands alone, the unsulliedtimes of her past trudging across the moors of her mind. She strives hard to find the crossroads from where she took the wrong turn into the present. It’s going to be another long night.

 

Wait! Is that a car I hear coming down the road?

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Author
Harshali Singh

Harshali Singh

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