Counting Beads & Other Memories
my debut auto-fiction novella, available Winter 2015
I have been writing these stories for more than 20 years now, picking up the pieces from what scatters around me, drawn from conversations and observations, dreams and nightmares. Some have kept me up at night as incomplete paragraphs and sentences or snapshots of a time and space. Some are waiting to be told, others wanting to be forgotten.
It is time they show their faces.
“Run!” screamed their old family matron Mota-ba and Johri abided her command. But where should she run to? ... She had heard of nearby villages, but was never escorted out and away – that trip was saved for her wedding day. Yet, at that moment, mortal fear demanded that she blindly obey Mota-ba’s command … Her simple mirrored skirt was dragging, it was now torn and dusty - she had to curl it under her feet while she crouched…her clothes were still warm from the kitchen fire where she sat preparing the morning meals before she was pulled into this commotion, now drenched with trepidation. With the smell of fear, a torn skirt and memory of their warm family hearth, Johri headed to Lanwa, a sister village, a few miles deeper into the hot Rajasthan desert.”
“The roots of the banyan tree swung gently above the Hanuman temple and called his name as they brushed his balding head. He imagined they were acknowledging his arrival. So many years ago, he had jumped and reached out his hand, stretching beyond his 4’ boyhood frame to swing on one of them. Those treacherous ones gave way, leaving Bandu scarred deeper than his scraped knee and a bruised, bloody shin. The one magnificent tree that cemented the faith amongst women in his country, sheltered the weary and imparted wisdom in the ignorant, and instilled belief in the present life and after-life, had betrayed him.”
“The guards knew when she left and when she was to return home. She could feel their eyes bore through her back and watch as she left the apartment block … that gaze following the slow ticking sway of a single long dark braid that ended above her hips, that gaze which almost penetrated through her conservative attire. Ana began to fear if some of them were watching from elsewhere in the compound when she was home. Her schedule was predictable which meant that Ana’s mundane life was being routinely and methodically imprinted on someone’s’ mind, being documented somewhere.”
Who is Johri and why did she run?
Where was Bandu and what about the Banyan tree?
Who was Ana and why was she being guarded?
Counting Beads and Other Memories weaves through the lives of three individuals Johri, Bandu and Ana scattered over four generations, spanning two centuries and traversing two continents, India and America. Although separated by time and breath, space and context, their lives infuse each others’ with tender threads of warmth, love, affection as well as hurt and disappointment to create a lilting, haunting set of memories; intense markers of emotion tied together by their fragile relationship to each other. These are stories about life and living, the coming of age and aging, of longing and belonging.
About the author:
A native of India and emerging indie author, Nandita was also a closeted poet. At 14, she had dreamed of becoming a mystery-writer, penciling a few small chapters about a theft and a mysteriously glowing rose bush. Although that mystery remained unsolved and her hand-written manuscript was lost, her curiosity about roses lead her to become an ethno-botanist and then landscape architect. She casually entered the culinary profession by teaching Indian cooking in 2005, and since then has become a cookbook writer. During this time she also learned to listen to people and hear their tales. Long shadows of neurological disorders began crouching into in her family tree and prompted Nandita to pen down her own stories, lest she lose them. Her cookbooks began to include poignant narratives of her own life and through them she unearthed a treasure chest of memories simply begging to be told.
“Counting Beads and Other Memories” is Nandita’s debut auto-fiction novella and her fifth self publication, all by choice. Nandita presently lives in Roswell, Georgia. An experimental gardener attempting to grow roses, Nandita frequently finds herself digging in her garden hoping to unearth more memories.
If you cant wait to read more and want to know when this ebook becomes available on Amazon & iTunes, send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org