A PAT ON THE BACK

I assume I deserve a pat on the back for today I successfully released my latest novel, Survivors of a Mutiny Book II, on Amazon.com, as well as Pothi.com (for readers of paperback in India). Needless to mention, besides writing, I did the formatting and designing the cover. Here’s the link to go directly to the page https://www.amazon.com/dp/B095GFBZ9V,

https://store.pothi.com/book/syed-survivors-mutiny-book-ii-coming-days/

An excerpt from the novel:

 It was one of those frosty, foggy mornings when the sun looks like the moon and the misty clouds are in no hurry. Kabir and Ashraf, with haversacks on backs, were trudging up Kumaon Hill along with Zorro and Zima. Zorro was acting as the pilot for the other three as they clambered over moss and rocks that lay on the track beaten by the sturdy local folks. Ashraf could not contain his smile when he imagined Zainab’s reaction to the ongoing expedition. And Angela’s radiant image was perennially energising Kabir. While the excursion was right up the legs of Zorro and Zima.

 Raeesa had packed roasted hind of a spotted deer and parathas as tiffin for the boys’ journey. Ashraf’s tummy tweeted when he got a whiff of the roast as they were negotiating a steep bend, so he said, “Shall we stop and eat something.”

“I was about to say that,” Kabir said, and he called out, “Zorro, stop!”

Both sat down on the rock overlooking a cliff and unsaddled their sacks. Zorro, too, smelt venison and couldn’t believe this was not a fairy tale. Then Zima came close and nestled beside Kabir. He patted her and removed the colourful gloves that his sister and mother had taken turns to knit for him.

“My hands are so numb that I can’t even feel my nose,” he said as he struggled to open the lid of the tiffin box.

Ashraf rubbed his palms. “We could have lit a fire, but that will take time and we have to reach before sunset.”

“So let’s get busy,” replied Kabir.

A tribesman and his family, along with their Bhutia mountain dog, had been coming down the same track and that instant, they reached the makeshift picnic spot and then abruptly stopped in bewilderment. Zorro, too, stood up, and both dogs assessed each other’s strength and character. Kabir stepped in front of Zorro and signalled to the headman to divert their footfalls and move ahead. The headman got the message, and with eyes fixed on the tigress, he and his family staggered down.

 Then the bunch from Neoria broke bread, leaving nothing for supper.

Before the sun could disappear down, the two local alumni, each holding the rein of a carnivore, were steadily moving forward on Mall Road. Clad in familiar blazers, they were heading to Nainital Sailing Club, nonchalant to the bewildered looks of passers-by. As they approached the port of call, Kabir said to Ashraf, “You go ahead with Zorro; the guard will stop you again. Then I’ll come with Zima.”

As expected, the turbaned durban blocked the urban, “Were you not told the club has banned your entry?”

 “I know, but try stopping us this time,” dared Ashraf.

 “Who are us?”

“Here they come,” and he whistled.
Kabir was waiting at the corner for that signal, so he smiled and patted Zima, “Chal, beta.”

In ten seconds, he was climbing up the steps with Zima frowning behind the mist gushing forth from her nostrils. The durban saw what he was eager to know, and his mouth split open. Then, as Zima took the third step, he turned and bolted inside towards the open to air deck overlooking the lovely lake. Zorro wanted to give him a chase, but as he was on the leash, he unleashed a volley of barks. The path was now clear, so the foursome sauntered in to explore what was so great about the club.

All this while, the doorman had been hollering to whoever came across, “Sher has come, sher has come!”
Soon, everybody rushed out from their respective stations to collect at the deck. Among the staff were Daniel and Major Carey, who now took over command. “Where did you see the tiger,” he asked the doorman?

“Sahib, they were at the entrance.”

“Do you mean there’s more than one tiger?”

“No Sahib, there is one tiger, one dog, and two men.”

Then Daniel spoke out, “Are they the same people who came the other day”?

“Yes, Sir, but this time they have come with a tiger.”

Major Carey then realized the doorman had not been hallucinating, so he instructed the remaining staff, “Everybody look around. Find the buggers.” But, except for Daniel, everybody was now looking for an opportunity to slip out.

The book cover

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