And the man is reading…

I’m writing a book. And what, you might ask kindly, is the earthshaking bit about that? Wasn’t that what you plan on doing as your day job now? This time, the writing is a bit different. As is the writing process. In fact, it is completely different from what I’ve ever written. But, like I’ve always believed, a book writes itself. The author is just the medium. This book too, is just writing itself. I’m trying to think through plot, and theme and character but no, it is in such a hurry that it is giving me no time to think these through.
I’ve always been a furtive, secretive writer, dashing off things in a hurry, submitting in to my editor and not daring to open my eyes again or reread what I’ve written even once it’s all done and ready for print. I’m terrified I’d want to rework it completely, I’ll hate it and all the assorted insecurities that no doubt plague every creative person. And this time, was no different until I mailed the first chapter to the spouse. For me, this was a first. A first that anyone read what I was writing before I was even sure of what I was writing and where it was headed. And a first for the spouse because he only read my first book when the author copies arrived, printed and glossy. The spouse is a non reader. In the sense, he reads no fiction. He reads books on investing, self help books, Osho, Robin Sharma, Stephen Covey, Og Mandino, Albert Morris, Deepak Chopra, ah well, you get my drift.
The first day we met at a college festival, I was sitting on a bench outside the classroom where the event was going on, my nose buried deep into a feminist author’s work. I think it was Backlash by Susan Faludi. I could be wrong. I was at that phase when I was reading a lot of feminist writing. Faludi, Steinem, Greer. These were unfamiliar names to him. He sat down beside me on that bench the entire day, till it was time to leave and escorted me home. It was the first day we had met. He learnt that my happiest dates were those spent on the footpath outside Fountain where I scrounged for second hand and cheap books and no, I didn’t want diamonds or luxury brands (even though he was to give me both later), I was most delighted by books, any books.
That Why You Must Date A Girl Who Reads post that has been going around? I forwarded it to him recently, he read it and smiled. I’m sure he thought to himself, that’s not half of it. Nope, that isn’t. It is days of eating burnt food because the wife had her nose buried in a book, it is nights of wondering what you did to make her miserable when all it was was a story that got her morose.

I’m sure the spouse didn’t know the reasons why he was dating a girl who read. I’d like to think he found me attractive despite the fact that I was, err, am a nerd. I’m hoping he dated me despite the fact that I was a reader, that I built up impossible ideals of romance in my head, that I sought in him a combination of Mr Darcy, Mr Rochester and Heathcliff, and that was a tough act to live upto. That I wanted to be pursued and wooed and longed for and I wanted the highs and lows of living a life which all the multi hued drama that only a book could give me, and a man with a day job where he went in and clocked his hours could not.
It must have been difficult dating a reader like me, but he persisted. And of course, we got married. Eventually. He continued reading his non fiction. Me, I stuck to my cosy world of stories. And now he is reading. Chapter by chapter, this book as I write it out. For me, this is a complete first. It is scary to have a spouse read a book as it is being written. I’m not asking him for any feedback. He’s not offering any. He knows, I think, this is just me, needing him to hold my hand, metaphorically speaking, through the writing of this one. Like he’s held my hand through all of my adult life.


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published eight books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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7 Responses to And the man is reading…

  1. R's Mom says:

    For somereason, I found this so so romantic…awwww! (err..was it supposed to be romantic?) reminded me of reading one of those mushy tales where the girl suddenly realises that despite plain Jane looks, the tall dark and handsome guy likes her. 🙂

    and I LOVED your header…you look gorgeous 🙂


  2. Sue says:

    Bless him.


  3. BlueMist says:

    super like. I always adore your story, it is not full of mush and yet it is oh so heart warming.


  4. Nave says:

    Awesome! Em, Jane, Rand with their fictional characters in Heathcliff, Darcy, Roark hv spoiled women 😛


  5. Pallavi says:

    Awww, that is so sweet!


  6. Nirupama says:

    Yups since the first day he met you, he has been there always besides you, no matter what ups or downs came along , rock solid he has stood firm, besides you ! And that speaks volumes of his charming ( even if sometimes unspoken) pride in all that you do ! He was and is a sweetheart as always! Keep it the same you 2 ! xxx


  7. Taa's mom says:

    i know, it almost feels like an achievement, rekindling of that special bond once shared when romancing, all over again !!!
    feeling, heady, nervous and nail bitingish


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