The following excerpt is from The Pokhraj by Irina Gajjar. The Pokhraj, a yellow sapphire, is the key to mystery that envelopes an upbeat Jewish family living in Houston.
The Landau dinner party was turning out to be a success. Natalya had planned the evening weeks ago as a surprise birthday celebration for her husband. Victor relished having guests in his home. He basked in their appreciation of his elegant condominium and its view of the city and he was comfortable and at ease on his turf. Thus, tonight, even though he purported to dislike organized festivities – particularly birthday parties, and most particularly his own – he was pleased. Forgetting that he “hated being happy on command” and that he was categorically opposed to gifts, his spirits were high. The group was small enough for intimacy and his guests were good friends, all fun to be with.
They were at about the same place in life as he and Nat were and they shared common interests. The women, like Nat, were attractive and they sparkled with insightful wit. And his presents were to his liking. Besides a broad band gold ring inset with three little diamonds from Nat, he received a bottle of his favorite champagne, Veuve Cliquot, a copy of the Kama Sutra, a dozen glasses with the insignia of Harvard University – his alma mater – Sauvage cologne and The Warrior Angel trilogy on micro disc.
“I’d drive a hundred miles for this dinner,” Victor said with a warm smile. His remark was worn with repetition, but it was endearing because its sincerity was fresh. Indeed the meal was superb. Natalya was an excellent cook and she had stayed away from the office this Saturday in order to go all out. She served a salmon baked in pastry, a baby lamb roasted with herbs, a vegetable ratatouille, new potatoes, home baked bread and salad. The birthday cake was Victor’s favorite, a babá au rum.
To learn more about The Pkhraj or to purchase the book, visit http://irinaspage.com/literary-fiction/the-pokhraj/