Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Extract from Ganga Jamuna by Sunita Lad Bhamray - Blog Tour

This excerpt is taken from the first chapter of the book, titled Abani from the book Ganga Jamuna. Abani is the central character and these paras take the reader through the bustling alleys beside the Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu. Another highlight of this chapter is the intrigue that it is built around the serenely beautious heroine which has been achieved through an intricate weave of words.

Chapter 1                                            Abani

It was that time of the morning when the sun’s rays had just begun to warm the cold air. People were heading towards their destination, some with a haste in their gait. The uneven stone pattern in the sloping pathway ushered scores of individuals from the main road to the temple at its far end. Each stone and the chipped grouting encircling it probably had a story to tell. 

No one had the time to stop even for a moment to hear the stones voice these stories out, as each one’s tread had a purpose that varied. A purpose which was possibly as simple as getting a domestic errand out of the way or as complex as finding the ultimate truth! 

In this chaos was a figure, moving rapidly, dodging passers-by with remarkable finesse. The valance of her wavy tresses offered glimpses of her pointed yet delicate jawline and of a nose that could be best described as small and impish.The form and face of this diminutive figure was a riveting sight for even the busiest of onlookers. The practiced steps of the woman probably accounted for the fact that she was familiar with the process of rushing to her destination through this crowded space. A shawl, with a riot of paisleys woven into it, was wrapped around her body. It partially concealed an oversized robe that she wore beneath. Slung over her shoulder was a large, bulging bag. Its contents, a water bottle and a lunch box, outlined among others, indicated that perhaps she was going to undertake a job, or had business that would require the consumption of a fair number of hours in the day ahead.

As she ascended hurriedly, she collided with a harried mother, who had a baby at her hip and a petulant toddler trailing behind. “Hernu sak daina tapayle!” The woman cursed coarsely. 

Maaf kar loo hala,” she whispered an apology, her luminous face directing a soft look towards the child. The small family soon disappeared into the crowds as she strove on. She gazed with her large, unadorned eyes at the line of shops as if doing a quick reconnaissance. Her brief survey was returned with admiring stares from some of the storekeepers seemingly engaged in the morning’s customary preparations. A youthful shop assistant’s gawk said it all, his eyes tracing the outline of her lips as though weaving a lurid dream. Their actions were a part of a chain reaction to the lovely woman before them. The shutter of his shop, which needed to be wrenched up, had to wait now, the vision and his dream taking precedence. Further uphill, a portly shop owner paused all movement and stared at her lustfully. He deferred his routine of garlanding an idol of Goddess Laxmi installed in a gaudy aluminium altar by the entrance, till the beauty remained completely in view. The woman was undeterred by their leering; she glared back at them in hasty contempt. She was desperately searching for something. This sparring of glances proceeded till her gaze came to a halt at a tiny shop halfway up her path. Her eyes lingered on the closed fa├žade of the shop, which was crested by a signboard, announcing that brass temple wares were sold in its cramped confines. 

Instantly she stopped, her body and bearing ceasing their search. Then an expression laden with a multitude of mixed emotions settled over her brow: concern, tenderness and desolation, all in undisguised fleeting succession. It was difficult for a bystander to fathom any of those expressions unless one knew more about this captivating woman . . . Abani.

A zealous single mother must travel from her home in Nepal to Singapore in order to access an experimental surgery that could save her conjoined twins in this empowering novel of love and survival.

Abani has so far lived a life of quiet resolve. Admired by strangers for her striking beauty and soft-spoken demeanour, she has pressed on without complaint through the challenges life has thrown at her growing up in a poor family. After she learns she is pregnant with conjoined twins, Abani faces an even greater trial: the only hope she has of saving the lives of both her children is a revolutionary new surgery performed exclusively in Singapore. With only the few supplies she can carry - and the advice and support of her friends - Abani begins the impossible passage across the Indian continent: a mother's mission to save her unborn children.

About Sunita Lad Bhamray

Sunita Lad Bhamray is an author and educator living in Singapore with her husband and two children. After earning her graduate degree and enjoying a long and rewarding career teaching internationally, Lad Bhamray now devotes her time to writing. Ganga Jamuna is her third book; her first, Triumphs on the Turf, released in 2011, was about horse racing in India. It was followed by Grandma Lim’s Persimmons, a storybook for children, in 2013. Ganga Jamuna by Sunita Lad Bhamray (published by Kitaab International 8th April, 2016) is available to buy from online retailers including amazon.co.uk and can be ordered from all good bookstores.


Ganga Jamuna on Amazon

If you liked this extract then please do follow along with the rest of the blog tour.

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