RUBY IYER IS just another scared, screwed-up teenager growing up in Bombay, until the despotic Dr Kamini Braganza kidnaps her best friend. Now, Ruby will do anything to rescue him. Anything, including taking the help of the reticent Vikram Roy, a cop on a mission to save Bombay. The city needs all the help it can get, and these two are the only thing standing between its total destruction by Dr Braganza’s teen army. As Bombay falls apart around them, will Ruby be able to save her friend and the city? Will she finally discover her place in a city where she has never managed to fit in? And what about her growing feelings for Vikram.
Ruby wrote almost daily in her diary from the age of ten, till she left home at sixteen-and-a-half. It is from here I picked scenes from her early life. They have been chosen in chronological sequence but are in no specific order of importance.
Today is just another day in the rest of your life.
That’s what Dad likes to say. He’s, really cool. Full of all these awesome quotes. I often creep into his study and hide behind the door of his cigar room. It is cool there, unlike the rest of the house, which is right now boiling hot, reflecting the sweaty weather outside.
Dad hates air-conditioning at home. He thinks its unhealthy to live cooped up, breathing in the same recycled air. It is one of the few fights he has won with Ma. A rarity, in our home too.
The only exception is his walk-in humidor. It is more a cubicle, the size of closet, leading off his study. It is always cool here. When I step in it is as if I have entered my own secret world: where that shrieking demon aka my Ma can’t find me. Often I can hear Dad putter around as he works. Today I can hear him chat with a colleague from the research Institute who is visiting.
He lights up a cigar, the smoke creeping into my little closet. The nutty-sweet, caramel taste of the smoke makes my mouth water. Inside my little universe I am surrounded by brown, leafy rolls. I am sorely tempted. Spying a lighter, I reach out for the closest cigar box and removing one, place my lips around the cigar. I have to purse my mouth completely in an ‘o’ to get my lips around it. So this is why Dad calls it, kissing a cigar.
Ha! I am now the only girl I know, who kissed a cigar before kissing a boy.
I take a drag, and cough immediately. My throat is burning, eyes watering as the smoke burns through my insides. A pungent taste of burnt chocolate hits my tongue, making me gag. Yeesh! It’s nothing like the blissful look that fills my Dad’s face when he lights up.
Then the door to the humidor is flung open and I meet the shocked face of my Dad, his eyes rounded in astonishment. A puff of smoke escapes my mouth. It makes my eyes water, and I blink it away. I squeeze my eyes shut waiting to be scolded, perhaps to be slapped to within an inch of my life.
I hear the sound of laughter.
I open my eyes, to see Dad clutching the humidor door, his mouth open, peals of laughter bubbling up like a mountain stream. Around him, his friends take up the chant too. The room is filled with the mirth of grown men. To say I am shocked is putting it mildly.
Dad puts out his hand and I take it.
He will forever be my hero.
Dad swings me up into a bear hug. I put both my hands—the smoking cigar still clutched—around him and hug him tight. “Love you Dad.” I whisper. It’s the first time I have said that to anyone. It will be a very long time before I say those four words to anyone else.
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From the author-
If Ruby intrigues you then please do mention her to your friends 🙂