Tuesday, 21 October 2014

The full BOMBAY experience

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Ruby Iyer Diaires. Entry - 3


RUBY IYER IS just another scared, screwed-up teenager growing up in Bombay, until the despotic Dr Kamini Braganza kidnaps her best friend. Now, Ruby will do anything to rescue him. Anything, including taking the help of the reticent Vikram Roy, a cop on a mission to save Bombay. The city needs all the help it can get, and these two are the only thing standing between its total destruction by Dr Braganza’s teen army. As Bombay falls apart around them, will Ruby be able to save her friend and the city? Will she finally discover her place in a city where she has never managed to fit in? And what about her growing feelings for Vikram.

Ruby wrote almost daily in her diary from the age of ten, till she left home at sixteen-and-a-half. It is from here I picked scenes from her early life.  They have been chosen in chronological sequence but are in no specific order of importance.


Diary entry - 3

TEN




I have always been addicted … to adrenaline.

It's right in the middle of my summer holidays. The sun ripples through the fronds of the coconut tree. Placing my hands on the low wall, which separates my apartment block from the one next door, I heave one leg onto the top; the other still dangling down. Balancing the full weight of my body on my arms, skinny biceps vibrating with tension I pull up my other leg, scraping it against the rough edges of the wall in the process. Heedless of the thin stream of blood trickling down my knee, I survey the scene from my now-superior height of four feet nine inches, plus another five feet added by the wall. I look down at the scattered boys and girl assembled below.

“Dare you,” pouts Sid.

“Ha!” I snigger back. I am taller than him—for now—and am going to prove just how much braver too. I stick out my tongue; and am instantly rewarded by him rolling both eyes towards his nose and sticking his tongue right back at me. 
Yah! Whatever. I’ll show you now! 

As light as a ballerina, I walk across the narrow surface of the wall towards the adjoining coconut palm. One of its long fan-like leaves hangs suspended. I tug on it, to make sure it's firmly attached to the tree trunk.  Then, holding onto it, I raise myself to the tips of my feet. 

Angling my head up towards the sky, I let the sunrays warm my face and neck, enjoying the little rise in my pulse. Then, as my heartbeat speeds up to tango with the blood now pumping through my veins, I jump. 

“Kreegah Tarzan Bundolo,” I scream at the top of my voice, sailing through the air, over the heads of my friends. I look down at Sid as I cut through the air near his nose. He raises his hand pointing towards something behind me. 
Yah! Right, no way am I falling for that trick now.

The ground rushes up to meet me.  I head straight for the pebbled mud just past where the group is standing, and hit the ground with such force that my nose slams into the dirt. Something hits me on the back of my head. 
Sid! How dare he? 

I shimmy up to my feet, my hands still grasping the palm frond, to find the kids laughing at me. One of the boys is literally rolling on the ground holding his side. The large leaf has come loose in my hand; it now drags behind me as if a large cape.

“Ha! If you are so strong, why don’t you wear your underwear over your pants like 

Superman?” The boy bursts out between his guffaws.

“She can't because she is a girl,” replies another. The look on his face suggesting he smells something horrid in the air.

“But you are a girl. So, how can you be Tarzan? You should be Jane,” bursts out the only other girl in the group. 

I walk up to her, more distraught than I care to admit. I don’t know why, but it seems terribly important to clarify, “I am Tarzan.”

“No, you are not!” The girl pushes her face right back at me, so we are nose to nose. 

Losing patience, I lift my hand and slap her. Thwack!

To see her features crumple, you would have thought I had socked her hard. For all that, its just a measly little slap. She bursts into tears. Can you believe that?

Sid goes up and comforts her. 

“You really shouldn’t have Ruby.” He looks at me sadly. As they walk away, Sid still holding her—as if she is going to die any moment—the girl looks back at me and sticks out her tongue. Then, turning around she places her head on Sid’s shoulder and continues her incessant crying. She holds her hand to her cheek for good measure.

So much for female solidarity. 

I learn that lesson quite early in life.


From the author-

This was just a taste of Ruby Iyer’s life.  Read the complete Ruby Iyer Diaries here. Enjoy Ruby's story in The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer
Follow @RubyIyer and on Facebook. Subscribe to my newsletter
If Ruby intrigues you then please do mention her to your friends :)




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Ruby Iyer Diaries - 2

RUBY IYER IS just another scared, screwed-up teenager growing up in Bombay, until the despotic Dr Kamini Braganza kidnaps her best friend. Now, Ruby will do anything to rescue him. Anything, including taking the help of the reticent Vikram Roy, a cop on a mission to save Bombay. The city needs all the help it can get, and these two are the only thing standing between its total destruction by Dr Braganza’s teen army. As Bombay falls apart around them, will Ruby be able to save her friend and the city? Will she finally discover her place in a city where she has never managed to fit in? And what about her growing feelings for Vikram.

Ruby wrote almost daily in her diary from the age of ten, till she left home at sixteen-and-a-half. It is from here I picked scenes from her early life.  They have been chosen in chronological sequence but are in no specific order of importance.


Diary entry - 2

TEN


Sometimes it feels as if I have been scared all my life... Tried very hard to belong, know what I mean? 
At school during recess, I sit with my tiffin box on my thighs. My arms are placed over it; palms demurely folded one on top of the other. I take care to cross my legs just so. Making sure there is not even a tiny flash of my panties. Just as Mother Superior taught us.
I sneak a peek at Tania’s lunch. Cucumber sandwiches: nicely cut, crusts taken off, and chocolate chip cookies on the side. Of course I don’t want any of hers, I am not going to ask her. It looks so nice.
"So, what have you got?" Shali asks pointing to my unopened box. "Nothing..." If I keep peering at Tania’s tiffin, perhaps she will forget about me?
No such luck.
"Surely there’s something there? Show me!" Snatching up my box, Shali runs away. "Hey!" I stand up shocked at her audacity. Then, skirts of my navy- pinafore flying over my thighs, I give chase. She is taller, has longer legs. 
I am lighter. Swifter.
She runs past other girls scattered around the playground. Each one cheers her along as if she is the winner of the race, and I am the runner up. I am conscious of eyes boring into me, assessing my every move. It’s as if I am starring in a movie on the big screen, instead of running in a school playground.
I hate the attention. 
I don’t like coming second, even more.
Pretending I am invisible I give chase, and catch up with Shali just past the badminton court. I grab the braid streaming behind her, yanking her back. For a second there, we form the two arms of an inverted 'V.'
"Ow!" She screams, dropping my tiffin box, and holds her head in pain. I pull once again, so her neck snaps back with the force. My feet slip on the mud and falling to the ground I hit my cheek. Still I don’t let go of Shali, bringing her down with me so we are both on the floor. I am fuming. She is of course crying. What a weakling!
One of the girls has come up behind us and picks up the box that has burst open now. "Oh! Look... Dosas (rice & lentil pancakes)!"
All the fight goes out of me. My secret is out. I never seem to bring the kind of Westernised, sophisticated food my friends do. It’s not because of my lack of trying though. I have begged and begged at home to be given sandwiches instead of dosas... Food that marks me out as being backward, traditional. It’s just that Ma is never around, and Sarita only knows how to make Indian food. I mean how difficult can it be to pack sandwiches for lunch right?
I have never hated anyone as much as I hate my parents just then. 
The crowd gathers around us, faces peering down at me. One of them helps up the still sniffing Shali to her feet. Everyone’s staring at me as if they expect me to lose it again and attack one of them.
I am sorely tempted to stamp my feet in frustration.
Instead, I stare straight back, sitting up cross-legged now; not caring that the rough stones are biting my legs throughout the cotton of my pinafore. One of the girls picks up the tiffin box and lifting out the remaining dosa she gobbles it down.
"Yum!" She looks at me. "I wish I could bring home cooked food everyday. All I get is sandwiches," she grimaces.
OMG! I’d give anything to exchange my food for hers.
"Yeah, I know. My Ma loves me so much, she cooks it with her own hands everyday. And now she spilt it." I look to where Shali is looking at me with disbelieving eyes. My tone wobbles, very convincingly. I have learnt how to play the victim really well from Ma. After all, she’s had a lot of practice with Dad


This was just a taste of Ruby Iyer’s life. Here's the complete Ruby Iyer Diaries. Enjoy Ruby's story in The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer
Subscribe to my newsletter 
If Ruby intrigues you then please do mention her to your friends :) 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 4 October 2014

The Ruby Iyer Diaries - 1

RUBY IYER IS just another scared, screwed-up teenager growing up in Bombay, until the despotic Dr Kamini Braganza kidnaps her best friend. Now, Ruby will do anything to rescue him. Anything, including taking the help of the reticent Vikram Roy, a cop on a mission to save Bombay. The city needs all the help it can get, and these two are the only thing standing between its total destruction by Dr Braganza’s teen army. As Bombay falls apart around them, will Ruby be able to save her friend and the city? Will she finally discover her place in a city where she has never managed to fit in? And what about her growing feelings for Vikram. 

Ruby wrote almost daily in her diary from the age of ten, till she left home at sixteen-and-a-half. It is from here I picked scenes from her early life.  They have been chosen in chronological sequence but are in no specific order of importance.

Diary entry - 1




THE SOUNDS TRAVEL through the layers surrounding me. I am snug in my warm, little world. I am ready to go.
Impatient, I kick out, only to slam into a barrier. Trapped! I throw out my fists. 
I long to be free.
Then, a voice soothes. Music filters through. Lush, solemn and gentle it pushes away my thoughts, replacing the chaos with white. I quieten. 
I am drowsy, but can't sleep. 
Ma’s misery wraps me in swathes of grief. 
Lonely, she is so lonely. Adrift in a world where she does not belong anymore. As if she has been pushed against her will. Is it possible to feel such unhappiness? It’s dark enough to cloud the spotless silver of my mind. I can scarcely move. What is it that disturbs her so much? 
When I tell her about this, my first awake memory, she dismisses it. "No one remembers what it is like to be in the womb, I can tell you how it was to carry you though," she continues. Once she gets going, there is no stopping Ma. She is like a fireman’s water hose - unplugged, out of control. Nothing can withstand her frustrations. "You were the most violent baby ever. So restless I thought you were going to tear your way out. Not like your brother. The calmest child he was."
Just another day, when I have disappointed her.
There really is no way to make Ma happy. It’s going to be many years before I realise that. Perhaps I never will.
Right now, I am a ten-year-old trying to figure out the ways of this world. A place, where grown ups tower over me. Where if I don't do as I am told I am punished.
I am always being told to share. Today is when I decide I simply don’t want to share my home with another kid.
He is an adorable little doll like creature, my brother. He crawls all over following me, wanting to sleep in my bed, to play with my dolls. He wants to imitate me. 
I guess I should be flattered.
He slithers towards the balcony, and standing up holds onto the grill. Above the parapet is vacant space. Opting to keep the flat stylish, Ma’s decided not to have any grills put on the bannister. Sanjay places his chubby little hands on the railing, looking through the grills. I lift him up. He is a heavy baby. Little Mr. Pleased-with-himself he is.
 I started life much like him. But the weight just slipped off in my third year. Its probably the stress of having to take care of Dad while Ma is away on another of her social engagements. That was until little bro—Sanjay came along. The child that almost never happened. The boy she had always wanted.   Ma didn’t have time for me earlier.
She has less for me now.
I kiss Sanjay on his cheek. He smells of baby powder. My lips touch his pale, pink cheeks and my tongue comes away with the taste of fresh cheese. I am enveloped in a white, sugary rush of affection.
Ma says he smells like himself but also like her.
I hate it.
I heave him up at eye level with the railing. So tempting… It will be easy to simply push him just that little bit over the edge.
I turn away still holding him in my hands. The baby wails, attracting the attention of both Ma and the nanny she’s hired for Sanjay. But Sarita keeps me company instead. For, Ma will not let her darling out of sight. Surprise, surprise, she is the first to reach me: Ma covers the length of the room, in a single leap. I have never seen her move so fast. Ever. She snatches up her precious son.
She has no idea how close she came to losing him.

Do read Ruby's complete story - The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer 




a Rafflecopter giveaway