It’s really exciting to be able to finally post these prologues.This post is dedicated to all the mothers out there! Wishing everyone one of you all, HAPPY MOTHER’s DAY!
‘Fernweh‘ is the novel I’ve been working on for the last couple months. The word ‘Fernweh’ , it means a strong desire to visit far-off places. So without further ado, here are the four protagonists of the story! A shout-out to my friends for helping out with the pictures and everything else 😃 !
Quarantine’s got us all dull and gloomy ( a little like zombies, hehe!). Let me sprinkle a bit of entertainment on all of you. The prologues are baked and ready! Relish them, during this time of uncertainty.
Finally, buckle up, and here we go!
Pigeons flew across her office multiple times a day, the eagles less so. The metro trains regularly passed from one station to another, every day, in a monotonous manner. High-rise buildings were being built, plans were made to engage the community to participate in, airports welcomed and bid farewell to countless number of people, parties were held almost every day of the week. Bangalore was a busy city.
She looked down the steel framed floor-to-ceiling windows, from her office on the 20th floor of her company headquarters. There were some cars and motorcycles parked, and trees were planted in a line with equal distances on both sides of the street. She saw a couple, hand-in-hand, exiting the café on the other side of the street.
Though she modelled for various products, ‘Pretty Things’ was her dream come true, her little gem. Pretty Things became very popular in the fashion industry, steadily. The line introduced new clothes, accessories regularly.
“Excuse me, ma’am.” Parker turned around to see her assistant, Ria standing by the door. She walked inside as Parker took her seat. She took out a file and listed out her meetings, business propositions one by one. Parker got the file from her, and went through the details. There was one extra schedule that Ria had left out. It was from the IMG.
Her eyes grew with each word she read. She was among the models who were to walk the Korean Fashion Week. It was to be held in a month. ‘OMG’ was all she thought before her assistant shouted, “Congratulations!”. and as if on cue, her staff members rushed in to her office.
She was alone after about an hour of ‘congrats’, from her peers and some of her friends in the industry. She then, decided to call her mom to let her in on the good news. The initial part of the conversation was good and things went downhill after her mom steered her into another topic, one she tried to avoid every time. The conversation usually went, something like this.
“Parker, it’s time for you to get married.”, her mom would start.
“No, not again. I’m only 22, Mom!”. The conversation then would go back and forth with her mother complaining and her persuading her mother to give her time bringing up reasons which were true most of the time. She wanted to meet Park Jimin, from her favorite band, BTS before she married. Not one soul knew about this wish of hers. But this time, her mother didn’t budge with her persuasions.
“Parker, enough is enough. I’m giving you six months and that’s it. And by the way, Congrats on the Fashion week, baby!” She never could understand how her mother went from being angry and stern one minute, to happy and cheerful the next. It reminded her of Nikki, one of her best friends. She had to tell them. She picked up the phone and sent a message in their group chat.
The lush green leaves parted ways with the crystal dew drops as the zephyr blew across its path. The hiking trail, was engulfed by tall trees all throughout, and with every step, Riana heard the crunching of the leaves beneath her. Through the dense canopy, she was able to make out, the pink sky. It would soon give way to the morning, and the serene, calm atmosphere would be interrupted with the bustling noises of people and the vehicles. Till then, it was just her and the magnificent forest.
By the time she reached her home, her olive hoodie was soaked wet, and her beloved Adidas shoes were worn a little bit more due to her constant use for the past four years. She ran into her home, grabbed her water bottle and came back out in the blink of an eye. She sat on the bench in the cliff, facing breathtaking views of Kodaikanal, her cherished abode.
The routine was monotonous. She grew to love the exhilarating feel of testing her limits and the blissful feel on achieving new heights. She embraced every minute of it, until it lasted. Because her mother didn’t her reciprocate her feelings. She echoed the laments and complaints of her family and the society about her choice of profession. She would promulgate the society’s views about the professions a woman should do. Riana bore the brunt of it every day, and chose to ignore it.
She turned to walk into her house, as the sky changed shades and the sun started taking its toll on her eyes. Her home wasn’t too lavish or too monstrous. It sat on the mountain cliff, a little distance away from the centre of town. With its rugged edges and worn paint owing to unpredictable rains, it looked perfect, complete with the backdrop of the looming forest and a couple other houses. She removed her shoes and placed them in the shoe rack.
Upon her entry, she could hear her mother in the kitchen, talking to their neighbor, Mrs. Nita. Riana never liked her much. She loved to discuss gossips and trivial news flowing around the city. Also, Mrs. Nita had a daughter who was studying to be a surgeon. Today, she seemed to be talking about Riana. Riana instinctively thought, ‘It’s not going to be a happy morning’.
Soon, they were all seated for breakfast. The table wasn’t filled to the maximum capacity as her sister was away, in college, studying economics. It was her mom, dad, grandma and her. The table, was unusually quiet, like it was before a storm. Her mother then started to no one in particular, “Do you know Mithila, Mrs. Nita’s daughter, she’s going to finish her MBBS this year? Her father’s planning to build a clinic for her here.” Riana never looked up, but she could see her mother eyeing everyone in the and her grandma trying not to look at her. The table was silent again.
Soon, her mother continued due to the lack of response, “Riana, what are you planning to do in the future? You studied business and started some company where I don’t know what you do all day.” Riana became agitated with her mom’s constant criticism. . Her company, Astra, was an upcoming sports brand, with her aim, to equip all people, and help them by tailoring their fitness programs. She decided to tell them what she’s been planning to do to take her sports company to the next level.
“Mom, I’m planning to set a Guinness world record.” The table was silent once again. Then the chatter began again. Riana tried to answer them as calmly as she could without snapping at them. The record she believed would give her the needed recognition to take her brand forward. The day passed by as usual without any more quarrels.
The next morning, after her hike, she unlocked her phone to see a message from Parker.
It was about 9 AM when she woke up due to the annoying alarm her assistant had set up. She hadn’t gotten around to changing it. As she drudgingly walked towards the alarm, still half-asleep, she noticed she was in her living room and that she was still wearing the dress from the meeting last night. She scolded herself, for falling asleep in the living room, again.
She couldn’t be blamed though. At work, she had a lot of talk scheduled every day, and with her recently winning the Miss India title, the work load had multiplied. She hadn’t gotten much sleep recently. Her day was set up and slotted with meetings with the reporters, photo shoots, and her talk show occupied all the residual time. She almost forgot how her life was prior to the title. After college, she started her talk show, which gained popularity, and she lived the life she always wanted.
As soon as she switched off the crazy alarm, she looked at her room. It was a mess, as if an earthquake had struck when she was sleeping. The room decorated in a minimalistic way by one of her friends and looked like one of those rooms you see in the front cover of a magazine, now looked nothing like that. The bedsheets were crumpled, the pillows on the wooden floor, and beside it lay, shattered in pieces the vase that had been on the bedside table. She didn’t remember the events of last night, nothing after she got back to the apartment and locked the door. A yawn escaped her mouth, as she put her hands on her face and a took a deep breath to compose herself. It was an hour before she cleaned everything and her apartment was back to normal. She, herself, then got ready.
After breakfast she found herself in the living room, lying on the sofa, snuggled under a blanket, watching TV. It was Sunday, and she had nothing scheduled for today. Her assistant said she’d call her if something came up. She was about to fall asleep again, when the something vibrated beneath her. Her phone had slipped into the slit in the sofa. As soon as she fished it out, and unlocked it, her inbox bombarded with calls, texts and messages from various people. She sorted through them. She hoped it was just people calling to schedule meetings. She skipped everything and called her assistant, Tina. She picked up immediately.
“Melanie, I’ve been trying to call you….”, she said as soon as she picked up. Melanie wasn’t in the mood for small talk.
“Why’d you call me?”, she spoke curtly, wanting nothing more than to lie back on the sofa with her cozy blanket above her.
“Um, something came up and I couldn’t reschedule it.”, she replied, quickly going into the details.
“Oh god”, she slammed the phone into the sofa, in frustration. In the next hour, she changed into a white t-shirt and a leopard print skirt. She put on minimal makeup, to hide her dark circles and also wore her black shades. The makeup team would take care of the rest, before the meeting. She put on her heels and was out the door with her wallet and phone in hand. Her driver was waiting for her downstairs. She got in the car and they were on their way to her office. It would take them quite some time to get to her office amidst the Mumbai traffic. A big city equalled annoying traffic, she thought. She took the time to go through the messages. Almost everything was work related. Except for one. Her group chat with her friends. Parker had got the Korean Fashion Week. She was happy for her, texted a congratulations to her, and was lost in her world as they moved through the city, inch by inch.
Her idyllic house, one that looked like it was something out of the movies she loved to watch, suddenly didn’t seem so. She was sitting on the wooden bench with her laptop and a notebook on the table, overlooking her house. Her house was set upon a cliff of a mountain in Kodaikanal. It was a beautiful, mesmerising place with the lakes, parks, forests which were seasonal hot-spots for tourists. Her hometown too, was idyllic.
She had come out with the belief that fresh air and a change in atmosphere would give her the push she needed to move further with the plot of her novel. She had typed a few lines, that lead to her getting agitated which gave rise to crazy thoughts.
Has my novel made me hate writing?
Is something wrong with my brain? Maybe I should visit a doctor?
Will I ever be able to publish another novel?
Was my first novel a fluke?
The comments, emails that people had put up, partly accounted for her thinking. The subtle calls from publishers, asking her about the progress, slightly aggravated the situation. She felt her plot, didn’t seem intriguing. She thought it would make the readers bored. She was stuck in a hole with no glimpse of even the shadow of a ladder.
She closed her laptop, her notebook and lay on the bench with her hand behind her head acting as a pillow. She closed her eyes, hoping to have a moment of quiet in her chaotic brain. She was about to pass into what she liked to think of blissful sleep, even though the sun was staring straight at her, when her father called, “Nikki, it’s lunch time.”
She took all of her stuff and walked into her house. It looked normal now.
Mm. Maybe I need to close my eyes occasionally to remain calm.
She washed her face and went to the dining room, where her family minus her brother were seated. They started without her because as was tradition, she was late. She sat in her seat and filled her plate with fried rice, prawn gravy and cooked beetroot. Her favourite combo since childhood.
After lunch, the whole family was lounging in the living room, watching a movie. She didn’t even know what movie was going on. She was lost in thought, visualising a scene. There she was… Laurie lying unconscious in a dark alley, when suddenly she feels someone lift her. She could make out a blurry face, sharp jawlines, she could feel as she attempted to touch the face. She broke out of her thoughts. It seemed plain, and like a tale told one too many times. She needed something new and exciting. Dinner was a blur, and all she remembered was falling onto her bed, and watching some funny videos on her phone.
She laid on her bed staring up at the ceiling after she woke up. She felt useless, and felt she had hit a new low in life. Her phone on the bedside stand pinged with a message. It was Parker.
Ta da! So, what did you think? Do you have any predictions? Did you relate to any of the characters? Let me know what you thought of it in the comment section below 👇!
I know it’s only the beginning but a huge thank you to everyone who were a part of it, big or small!💙
Until next time, Au revoir !