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Read an Excerpt from Rudrabaan
Jaideep was now definitely staring at the two of them. How does Bobby do this? How does he just win people over? Jaideep was feeling confused and irritated. If it wasn’t for the fact that Bobby was his best friend and that he was gay, Jaideep might have just ripped his limbs apart for hugging Shruti. He wanted to be in Bobby’s place right now, smelling her hair and gently kissing her forehead as she leaned in. He pictured himself pushing his fingers into her curly knots and bringing her head closer to his chest.
Thwack! Prashant’s broad hand landed on Jaideep’s back. ‘Let’s go, buddy. Did you not hear your name?’
Participants were now divided into two groups and given logs of wood and thick ropes. They had to make rafts that would take them across the stream. Lunch was being served on the other side of the stream. Eager to have lunch, the teams put their backs into making the rafts.
Shruti and Jaideep sat on opposite sides of the raft as they were part of the same group. About a meter from the bank, the ropes of their raft began to come undone, and the logs of wood separated, toppling the team into water. The other team who had reached the bank began laughing as they stepped into the water to pull people out.
‘It’s all your fault. If you didn’t know how to tie ropes you should have left it to the experts,’ Shruti shouted at Jaideep.
‘Like you are an expert on everything?’, he retorted as he looked at her wet cotton shirt. It was clinging to her skin and the water had made it see-through. Jaideep was looking at the clear outline of a yellow bra as he spoke.
‘I wasn’t talking about myself. But if you took the time to pull your head out of your ass, you would know that!’ she said and stomped away, water dripping from her clothes as she walked onto the bank of the stream.
The rest of the group had already gone ahead to where lunch was being served and didn’t notice the exchange of words between them.
Jaideep grabbed Shruti’s arm and pulled her close. They looked at each other with daggers in their eyes but kindred embers in their souls. He wanted to bite her lower lip as he glared at her, his eyes lingering a second longer than intended on her luscious lips and moving furtively down her neck.
He tore his eyes away from her and forced himself to look away as he said, ‘What is your problem? Why do you hate me? I am just trying to have a decent, hard-earned holiday. Please!’
Shruti wrestled her arm out of his grasp. She tried hard not to focus on why her body was melting in response to his touch, like a smitten kitten and she said, ‘Don’t you dare touch me again. I don’t know you enough to hate you. You are not that important to me. Please enjoy your holiday and stay the hell away from me!’
Shruti walked away huffing, but her body seemed to be yearning for that fervour she felt a few seconds ago when Jaideep had clutched her wrist. She had been so afraid that he would feel her pulse quicken and hear how loudly her heart thumped inside her chest when he touched her.
Neither of them saw that a flaming arrow had landed right next to the riverbank that they had stepped onto. The flames flickered and the arrow disappeared once again.
About the Author:
Nitya Neelakantan is a writer and yoga teacher from Bangalore. She has three paperback novels that are awaiting publication with Rupa Publications and Readomania.
Nitya graduated with a degree in Hotel Management before moving into the learning space as a technical trainer and then a soft skills trainer. Her writing and yoga journey began simultaneously as she hung up her corporate boots in exchange for more time with her two and four-legged family.
When not teaching or reading, Nitya enjoys travelling with her husband, son, and two fluffy dog-babies. She is an amateur blogger who is also passionate about composting, slow fashion, and conscious living.
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