Excerpt from The Pokhraj

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/

An Excerpt from The Pokhraj

The following excerpt is from The Pokhraj, by Irina Gajjar.

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.

Conversation was animated over the background of string music. Victor and Sunil Khanna were talking about stocks. “I’m betting on a 20 percent gain in the market this year,” Sunil said. “That’s unlikely. I’m staying invested because I don’t know what else to do, but I’m being selective. It could be a while before we have another real bull run, Victor opined. “The bottom line is that we don’t have a stock market any more, only a market of stocks.”

 

To purchase, The Pokhraj by Irina Gajjar, visit our Amazon Link.

 

 

A Fictional Horoscope

The following horoscope of a fictional character initially came from my imagination. The actual horoscope followed several months later and matched everything I had planned for the baby. The astrological reading was based on a birth date and hour. In my novel, I blended the details already developed for the character, including her name, with the details sent to me by a reputed astrologer.

Here is how it starts:

“This reading is for Sheela Landau, a strong girl born in Kumbh Rashi (sign of the water jug). The time and place of her birth -3:50 a.m., January 1, 2001, Houston Texas, USA- indicate that she would benefit from a name that begins with the sound Sh, S, or G.

“Sheela comes to her family with a strong need to complete the development that was cut short in her last life. She has chosen parents that have the power and intelligence to help her, but to use their power to the fullest, they will have to find ways to cope with Sheela’s stubbornness.

“In her most recent previous life Sheela belonged to an educated and religious family that lived in a large city on the eastern coast of America. She had one half-sister and no brothers. Her father was an immigrant who left the country of his birth at a young age. He died prematurely, and his baby daughter was raised by a loving stepfather. Her mother was conceived in Europe, but was born in America. The mother was a professional and her insistence on working outside the home, even though she had a well-to-do husband and children, created something of a scandal in her time.

“Sheela was lean, agile and graceful. As a child, she silently longed to study ballet, but she never expressed this longing to her parents because she thought she was too tall to become a dancer. Her dream of becoming a dancer was one of many unfulfilled dreams.

“In her present life Sheela will reunite with two souls remembered from at least one earlier life. These souls and Sheela’s soul will meet again in at least one future incarnation.

. . .

Read The Pokhraj, by Irina Gajjar to the rest of this horoscope and to consider how much a good astrologer might foresee, even in the case of an imaginary person.

Fictional Astrology

Astrology is an opinionated science. There is something to it, but it is not reliable. It is subject to interpretation and it is certainly fodder for quacks and manipulators. Yet we cannot totally ignore the influence of stars, so we view their influence as comforting or disquieting depending on the messages we get.

I have seen cannily accurate personal histories written about friends and relatives that described their lives in surprising detail. The astrologers picked pages out of a collection of supposedly ancient texts. I have seen written good and awful predictions come happily or horribly true. I have seen skeptics become believers and believers turn into cynics. But my strangest astrological experience has been with a prediction pertaining to a fictional character.

I was writing my first novel, The Pokhraj, and decided upon a date for the birth of its protagonist. I submitted the date and circumstances of birth to an astrologer in order to use the predictions in formulating my character’s personality and future. However, the horoscope did not arrive and my character evolved. So, I decided I would proceed writing and alter the horoscope if and when I received it or else I would make one up. After all, the work was fiction.

Much later I finally did get the requested horoscope and to my great surprise everything matched what I had already written.

See The Pokhraj, by Irina Gajjar

God as a Composer

635835580236433207-960523141_mus

In a novel about the life of a Jewish family, I offer a child’s view of God as the Creator of the music to which the world dances. The child considers life to be the composition shaped by both the dancers and the dance. Together, the dancers and the dance are simultaneously unique and universal.

The dance of life takes place in the world which the child sees as a great net. Life occurs within and upon the net. Every step is triggered by and triggers other steps just like brainwaves are triggered by and trigger other waves. In this way every bit of the net and the entire net is both a stimulus and a response.

Yet the net exists only to dance to the music God makes.

See chapter 18 of The Pokhraj by Irina Gajjar to explore this and other ideas.

Being Jewish

 

jewish_genealogy

What do you think of this conversation?

“. . . I’m afraid our baby will grow up bereft of its historical identity if we just let the issue of Jewishness slide.”

“There is no way Jewishness can slide, Nat. Being Jewish is different from practicing Judaism. It’s not a question of following arbitrary rules. It’s a question of who we are and how we are perceived.”

“Exactly, we are the products of a long cultural and religious tradition. We are descendants of rabbis and Talmudic scholars. How can we determine that the so-called rules we have rejected are arbitrary when we don’t even know what they are let alone what they represent?

Excerpt from The Pokhraj, by Irina Gajjar.