Wednesday, April 3, 2024

A to Z April Challenge 2024: C for CHIRAG BHATIA


In this post, I am introducing you to a protagonist from my book, called AQUARIUS REBEL, which is from my Written in the Stars 6-book series. 

Chirag is not only a handsome hunk, but an intelligent and successful businessman who owns and runs an ad agency in Delhi. The youngest of three siblings, the commitment-phobic Sagittarius is happy to let his older sisters provide the grandchildren for his parents to play with, while he himself prefers to lead the life of a fun-loving bachelor.  

It’s deep attraction at first sight when he meets Shreya from South Africa at a party (Leo’s Desire) held at his friend’s place. It isn’t long before they enter into a rocking affair which lasts the better part of four years, as they continue to be in a long-distance relationship.

He doesn’t want to commit to long-term (read permanent)… until he receives Shreya’s wedding invitation, to someone else. 

To let you know more about CHIRAG BHATIA, I bring you a sample chapter from my book:


Ambika and Sunil Udhas have great pleasure in inviting you to the wedding of their daughter SHREYA, with… 


His face draining of colour, Chirag Bhatia shouted the word as he forcefully threw his cell phone on the sofa in one corner of his office, not far from where he was standing at the window. His heart thumped heavily, sweat forming on his forehead and upper lip as he fumed. He had just got to know that Shreya, his girlfriend of four years, his fuck buddy, the woman he was having a long-distance affair with, was getting married. The invitation was a forward from her younger sister, Aadhira. 

But why? How?
And no, Chirag didn’t want to know the date, or the name of the man who was the bridegroom. That wasn’t the reason for him losing his temper.
Chirag had been sure that Shreya wasn’t keen on marriage, same as himself. And she had been thwarting all her mother’s efforts to push her into wedded bliss.
While he lived in Delhi, India, she was based in Durban, South Africa. But the distance hadn’t mattered during the four years they had known each other.
In the beginning, all Chirag had been interested in, was a brief fling. Shreya was not only beautiful with a gorgeous figure, but she was also extremely intelligent and Chirag had been totally drawn to her right from the start. He had been confident that their affair would run its course. But it hadn’t, not even after four years. 

Then why the hell had she agreed to marry some other man? Chirag was all set to blow his top. Agreed, he hadn’t shown interest in tying the knot with her. But neither had she. If she had… Chirag paused for a few moments. What would I have done if she had told me she was interested in getting married?
He shook his head to himself, not very sure. Would he have offered to marry her? Was he ready for marriage? From the day Shreya entered his life, Chirag had not glanced at another woman, at least not in a flirtatious light. In fact, he had not even felt an urge to check out women, young or old; beautiful or ugly; not after meeting Shreya.

Did that mean he was in love with her? Chirag did not know. 

One thing he was clear about though—the roiling jealousy he felt at the pit of his abdomen, for the man who was planning to marry Shreya.

“Hey, is something wrong?” Nishaan Ahuja (Hero, LEO'S DESIRE), Chirag’s bestie from childhood, walked into the office cabin, startled to see the way Chirag punched his fist into a wall.

“Yes, damn it! My world has fallen apart,” shouted Chirag, turning to glare at Nishaan as if it was all his fault.

“Eh? How come?”

“Shreya is getting married,” said Chirag, his tone suggesting that the world was coming to an end indeed.
“So?” Managing to curb a smile, Nishaan gave his best friend a curious glance. He could read all the symptoms of a man in love in Chirag. Only, he had been denying it for all of four years. It looked like the time had come for Chirag to face the truth. 

Chirag was all set to jump down Nishaan’s throat. “What the hell do you mean by that? Didn’t you hear what I said?”

Nishaan shrugged. “Of course, I did. You said that Shreya was getting married. But so what?”

Chirag reached across to catch Nishaan’s jacket collar in both his hands, shaking him, not very successfully. “My Shreya is getting married,” he shouted, his black eyes thunderous as he glared at the other man. 

Nishaan clamped his hands around Chirag’s forearms to pull his hands off his collar. “Is she? Your Shreya, I mean?”

“If you weren’t my best friend, you’d be sporting a black eye by now,” growled Chirag, stepping away from Nishaan, just so that he wasn’t tempted to punch him. Such was the heat of his temper! Couldn’t Nishaan see how terribly hurt he felt by what he saw as Shreya’s duplicity? How could she go behind Chirag’s back and get married? It was only six weeks ago when they had spent four blissful days roaming the streets of Paris, and spending each night making torrid love in their hotel room. She had not breathed a word to him of her plans even at that time. What kind of a woman did that make her? This was betrayal at its height! 

He began pacing the length of his office, his face grim as he wondered about how to deal with the situation. That he still wanted Shreya was obvious. Their love affair was over by no means. And she couldn’t simply walk out on him like this. 

Nishaan plonked himself down on one of the visitors’ chairs in front of Chirag’s desk and called the office kitchen for some coffee and sandwiches. “I’m famished,” he declared in the way of explanation when Chirag turned to glare at him with a raised eyebrow. 

“Feel free,” said Chirag, highly sarcastic. Not that it mattered. Nishaan was always welcome in his office and did not have to ask Chirag’s permission for anything. But right now, Chirag needed a punching bag and Nishaan was available.

Nishaan didn’t bother to respond to Chirag’s sarcasm as he watched his friend pace the office angrily, a serene expression on his own face. 

Chirag came over to sit in his office chair when an office boy brought a tray with coffee, along with cheese and chicken sandwiches. “Why are you so quiet?” he asked Nishaan.

Nishaan shrugged. “Didn’t want to disturb you as you appeared deep in thought.”

“Deep in thought, my ass,” growled Chirag, keeping his coffee mug down violently, uncaring when some of the beverage sloshed over into the tray. “I’m going to kill Shreya with my bare hands,” he snarled some more.

“To what purpose?” asked Nishaan calmly, an eyebrow rising in query as he glanced at his friend’s enraged face.

“Huh?” Chirag frowned at Nishaan, trying to wrap his head around the latter’s words. Finally comprehending, he snapped, “Just for the pleasure of it.” 
“I thought humping Shreya gave you pleasure enough. What has changed?” asked Nishaan, biting into a sandwich with relish. 

Chirag, who had picked up his coffee mug once again, paused in the middle of carrying it to his lips, to glower at Nishaan. “Do you think it’s funny?” he bit out.

Nishaan shook his head. “Of course not. I’m only trying to understand the situation here. You never wanted to marry Shreya, did you?” he asked gently.

Chirag swallowed the coffee with difficulty as he felt something clog his throat, unfamiliar with the emotion driving him. Realising that he might gag if he had more of the beverage, he returned the mug once again to the tray and stared at Nishaan unseeingly. Suddenly recalling that the other man was expecting an answer from him, he said, “I don’t know, yaar. I really don’t know.” 

Chirag had never associated Shreya and marriage in his life. But then, he had been having so much fun with her that he had not given marriage a thought. Luckily, his parents hadn’t either. It was a good thing he was the youngest of three children, and a male at that. His parents had been busy getting their daughters married off; and later, helping them with the birth of their children. Chirag had three nephews and one niece from his two sisters. 

Nishaan glanced at the pathetic expression on Chirag’s face, feeling rather sorry for him. He could make out that his friend was on the verge of discovering that he had fallen in love with the woman he had been having an affair with. That the relationship had lasted for more than four years must have told Chirag something before now. But it was obvious that Chirag had chosen not to give the prolonged time frame too much thought. And despite being Chirag’s closest friend, Nishaan didn’t think it was his place to point things out to the other man. Nishaan was sure he didn’t want his head bitten off for his efforts. The funny part was that Chirag was the one with the sunny nature. But he appeared driven just now, all set to explode in frustration.
“Want to go for a drink?” asked Nishaan.

Chirag stared at Nishaan, a faraway expression in his eyes. Right now, he wanted to be alone as he tackled his abject misery at what he considered to be Shreya’s treachery. Forgetting all about Nishaan, he went to get his phone from where it was lying on the corner sofa to check the date of her wedding. A deep sigh shuddered through his lean frame when he saw it was to be held after three months, and in Durban. He scrolled up the invite to see if there was any information about the bridegroom. He clenched his jaw hard when he noticed that it was someone called Reyansh Bhargav based in Durban itself. Grr!

“Chirag?” Nishaan tried to garner his friend’s attention.

Chirag looked up from his phone blankly, as if wondering what Nishaan was doing in his office. Suddenly recalling that the latter wanted to go out for a drink, he said, “You go on, yaar. I’m not in the mood,” his mouth drooping at the corners.

Nishaan was torn, wondering if he should leave Chirag alone in this melancholic mood. But then, he respected that the other man wanted to be by himself. The reason why Nishaan had gone over to Chirag’s office was to share some news from his side; that he and his long-time girlfriend Chaahat Wadhwa, had finally set a date for their wedding. But Nishaan realised that the present time was not the right one to share his good news with his best friend. It will wait, as the date was set for two months from now.  

“If you’re sure,” said Nishaan, getting up. He walked across to Chirag and patted his shoulder. “I’m sure things will work out for the best.”

“From when did you become a philosopher?” asked Chirag, glowering at the other man.

Nishaan gave him a grin. “From the day I met my match.” And he left.

Chirag jumped to his feet, his mind working in a frenzied fashion. His friend Nishaan Ahuja had been a gay bachelor; actually, he still was. Only, these days he had a steady girlfriend in Chaahat. In fact, Nishaan and Chaahat had been together for five years, all because the two of them were in love. They were even planning to tie the knot soon. 

He paced back and forth, a deep frown on his forehead. “I don’t want to be disturbed,” he snarled when someone knocked on his door before opening it. Seeing his second-in-command, the vice president of his company, he barked, “Go home, Vikrant. I want to think.” He didn’t bother to find out if Vikrant Bakshi (Hero, IS THIS LOVE?) followed his order as he continued to wear down the carpet with his furious pacing. 

“Are you sure, boss?” asked Vikrant, stepping inside to stand next to the door, his legs at ease, and his massive arms crossed over his equally massive chest. While his eyes smiled, he kept his expression stern as he looked at Chirag. The two men went a long way, and had become friends over the years. 

Chirag stopped pacing to glare at Vikrant. “About what?” he snarled. 

“You’re being rude.” 

Chirag sighed, extra loudly. “What do you want?”

It was nothing very important, and Vikrant didn’t want to bother his boss about it, not when it was obvious that Chirag was upset about something. “Forget it. I think there’s trouble in paradise?” asked Vikrant, lifting a thick eyebrow in query.

“Do you think it’s any of your business?” asked Chirag, going to stand in front of the younger man. They both were equally tall and big built as they stood toe to toe.

“The last time that happened, it was my business,” said Vikrant, giving Chirag a cheeky smile.

“Just go, Vik.” Chirag quietened down to speak softly.

“Want some advice?” asked Vikrant.

“Will it be of use if I tell you that I don’t?” Right now, Chirag wouldn’t mind the other man’s advice—after all, Vikrant Bakshi was extremely adept at trouble shooting.

Vikrant laughed softly. “Why don’t you put yourself out of misery and make Shreya Udhas your wife?” His words were gentle, but spoken in a firm voice.

The colour disappeared from Chirag’s face, leaving it pale and haggard. “You seriously think so?” he asked, a stunned expression in his eyes.
“Of course, yes, Chirag. Why will I tell you so if I didn’t believe it’s the solution for your unhappiness?”

“Why did you never tell me before, you bastard?” asked Chirag, a pathetic expression on his face. The few times the thought had arisen in him—that maybe he wanted a more permanent relationship with Shreya—he had squashed it mercilessly, every time.

“Why? Because I would like my head to continue to remain attached to my neck; and I would like to keep my job too; in that order. I’ll see you, boss.” Vikrant took an about turn and would have left the cabin, only to stop when he heard Chirag’s anxiously whispered words. 

“But it looks like it’s too late.”

“What? Why?” Vikrant turned right back to face Chirag.

“Her marriage is already fixed with someone else,” said Chirag, his voice bitter as he stared unseeingly at the wall.

“Oh!” Vikrant’s eyes went wide in shock. Thinking on his feet, he said, “When is the wedding?”

“In three months.”

“There’s still time then.” There was utter relief on Vikrant’s face as he looked eagerly at his CEO.

“For what?” Chirag looked at the other man with dull eyes. 

“To stop that wedding and marry her yourself.” Vikrant spoke in an enthusiastic voice. “All the best, boss,” he said, before leaving the cabin. 

Chirag plonked down on the visitors’ chair which was closest to him, burying his face in his hands. Is that what he wanted to do? To make Shreya his wife? He thought of his best friend Nishaan Ahuja. Nishaan was in a happy space—had been from the time he met Chaahat. 

Chirag lifted his face suddenly to stare at the door. He had met Shreya four years ago, and had not looked at another woman after that. Chirag, the man who used to flirt with women of all ages, one who had always had only brief love affairs, had stopped giving other women a second glance. All because Shreya had become the centre of his existence.

And today, receiving the news of her forthcoming marriage, had shaken Chirag to the core of his being. How much ever he wanted to blame Shreya, he didn’t really have the right, did he? He had made no promises to her. Nor had she made any to him. There was no commitment between the two of them, as they met whenever they could and had fun, both in and out of bed.  

But that still didn’t stop him from feeling as if she had made a fool of him. Worse than that, he felt such a deep and unfamiliar anguish in the region of his chest, as if his heart was being squeezed, hard.

Chirag gasped loudly, when his mind threw up the most bizarre possibility. No, he wouldn’t admit even to himself that this was not the first time he had thought about this being the case.  

Have I fallen in love? 


  1. You found my blog, so I'm reciprocating. I commend you on your productivity... so many titles. I don't read romance often, I'm a scifi reader and listener, but I wish you good luck on this challenge and your writing career.

  2. Ohh... I'm hooked. I like light romances. :)

    1. In that case, you will love my books. Thank you Srivalli Rekha

  3. Thanks for visiting my blog... your story is intriguing... will find you on X...

    1. My new blog is You Go, Squirrel... this was my old blog site...

    2. Thank you for stopping by. Will check out your new blog for sure