13th November 2018
Shayamukthy cruises through life: shooting hoops, daydreaming and listening to her favourite books. Even moving from the US to India, to a new school, a new culture, hasn't really rattled her. But something isn't right anymore and it begins when 'New Girl' joins the school.
She pulls Shui into a world of magic and wonderment, a world she has been hidden from all her life. What starts as a quest to look for a lost book, hurtles Shui into a world where people live in trees, talk to the dead and speak to butterflies.
But like all power, magic comes at a steep price, and under all things wondrous lie demons waiting to crawl out. The more Shui learns, the more she doubts everything and everyone around her.
Will she be able to master her powers, or will they devour her and everyone she loves?
‘So then,’ she said, ‘tell me all about school.’
And I did. I told her about the crazy house names and the basketball; how I haven’t been able to shoot very well in a while. I told her about the move from Denver, the first few terrible days and months. I told her about the teachers, their eccentricities, how Mr Nelson never finished his apple at lunch. I bitched about Malvika, avoided Aadyant completely, and we laughed about the basketball hitting her stomach. We wondered how Malvika would feel if she woke up in the morning and found her porcelain cheeks covered with pustules.
I asked about her pendant, a doughnut-shaped stone that nestled between her collarbones, and about her goth-like ring. She said they were both the Ouroboros, a snake eating its tail, and that they had belonged to her mother. She told me about her mother, how she’d died and I felt terrible. I told her about my knot, the one that was buried deep in the cotton that clogged my brain up. We talked about the whys and the hows of Kate Bush, whom I had no idea about, and Ranbir Kapoor’s abs; she giggled when I showed her his picture on my desktop. It was 10 p.m. when Ma walked in and asked Anya for her dad’s phone number so that we could get permission for a sleep over. By 4 a.m. we had talked ourselves out; our mouths were dry and our fingers were tingly. And the candles never went out.
Travel writer and novelist Reshma K Barshikar is an erstwhile Investment Banker who, as she tells it, ‘fell down a rabbit hole and discovered a world outside a fluorescent cubicle.’ As a travel and features writer, she contributes to National Geographic Traveller, Harper’s Bazaar, Grazia, The Sunday Guardian, SilverKris, The Mint Lounge and The Hindu. Fade Into Red, published by Random House India was her debut novel and featured in Amazon Top 10 Bestsellers. She also holds well renowned workshops for young adults at both BDL Museum and Kala Ghoda and is keen to build a strong Young Adult reading and writing community to fill the desperate lack of young adult fiction in the Indian Market. Her new Young Adult novel, The Hidden Children, will be launching at the Vizag Junior Literary Festival. Reshma is from the ISB Class of 2003. She calls both Mumbai and the Nilgiris home.