Project Main Details
There won't be a flat, all-in, fee. Talent will be paid for finished hours of audio. There will be no royalties.
This will be distributed digitally on Audible.com
We'd like WAV files of each chapter delivered after each day of recording. We'll need punch-record audio, but we'll be doing all the editing & post on our end. 2016-09-13 17:14:17 GMT 2016-09-21 12:00:00 (GMT -06:00) Central Time (US & Canada) Yes (click here to learn more about ) Closed 1 0 15 direct invitation(s) have been sent by the voice seeker resulting in 0 audition(s) and/or proposal(s) so far. Voice123 SmartCast is seeking 20 auditions and/or proposals for this project (approx.) Invitations sent by SmartCast have resulted in 1 audition(s) and/or proposal(s) so far.
sapling growing. You notice that a seed has sprouted but you don’t pay much attention to it. Suddenly,
before you realise it, it is a little plant, firmly rooted, with leaves, stems, buds, and it grows, slowly but
steadily, changing every single day, with small, seemingly imperceptible changes, which later all
measure up, add and contribute to it.
Sometimes it happens overnight. Like a phone call, after which you can never go back to what was
But it is rare that both these changes happen together. In my case, they haven’t exactly occurred at the
same time, but they have happened one after the other. I usually do not think much about it, and I am
not one to philosophise, but for the past day and a half, lying in this hospital bed, I have had plenty of
time to think.
The hospital is as unfriendly a place as can be, with its stark rooms, antiseptic smell and the Spartan
pieces of functional furniture—just what is essential and nothing more—do not help. Dr Shylaja, a
spinster at sixty-four, attired in starched cotton sarees as stiff as her unsympathetic heart, runs the hospital
with the precision of a military sergeant. She is extremely good at her job, and one of the best in the
country. Which is why my parents thought it would be a good idea to get me admitted under her care.
Whatever it is, I am here now. And it feels like a nightmare.
Except, it is no dream. The IV drip is real. So is the little rubber tube that goes into my right
‘It is for the oxygen, so that the oxygen levels do not fall. It might be a little uncomfortable but you
will be okay soon,’ a smiling nurse says in her heavily-accented English that screams she is from Kerala,
as she adjusts the tube in my nose.
The intravenous drip attached to my left arm hurts a bit, but when the nurse asks if it’s too painful, I
shake my head. I have been admitted here since last morning. Dr Shylaja has visited twice. There are
nurses walking in and out, writing down all sorts of things and every now and then checking if I have
‘dilated enough’. They also keep checking my temperature, my blood pressure and assure me that I am
How can my life have changed so drastically in less than a year? Yet it has, and it is a choice that I
made. Ten months ago, I was on the cover of Glamour, which is no mean achievement. And even
though my parents never approved of my modelling career, I know my mother boasts about it to the
ladies in her circle. Privately they have ticked me off, castigated me, tried to knock some sense into me
(in their words) and tried to make me use my intelligence, instead of my body. But I don’t see anything
wrong in what I did. My mother has never been around for me. Nor has my dad.
Agreed, they have given me every single thing that money can buy. There is nothing I have lacked,
including an expensive boarding school education. But I don’t think my parents care for me. The only
time I got a chance to see them was during the two months of summer vacation, which I hated. Dad was
always travelling, and for my mother, I was just a minor inconvenience that got in the way of her very
hectic social life. Once, when I was seven, I had walked into my parents’ bedroom and climbed into the
bed between them. My mother had woken up and screamed at me and told me to go back to my own
room. I had pretended to, but I was just outside the door when I heard hushed whispers, and the male
voice was not my dad’s.
‘Damn—do you think she realised?’ he had asked.
‘I don’t think so, but I think you better leave,’ said my mom.
A few months after that, I was sent to a boarding school which was where I celebrated my eighth
Being popular in school, I was always invited by one friend or the other to spend the summer
holidays with them. It was always Suchi’s house I chose. Somehow I never wanted to spend time at
home and it suited my mother just fine.
Suchi, with her loving, large family of three older brothers, a mother who was affectionate, and most
importantly, parents who loved each other, and had time for their children—it was everything that I
craved for but didn’t have.
I wish she were here with me now, instead of in the US, where she is doing her Bachelor’s. While in
school, the grand plan was that we would both study together. But life has a way of foiling promises
made when you are twelve, no matter how sincerely and earnestly they were made.
Had Suchi been here, she would have understood. Unlike my parents who never could figure out why
I needed to have a career in modelling when they could give me all the money in the world. There is
something that is unexplainable, which no amount of money can buy. It is a feeling, a bond, a deep
connection with something larger than oneself—heck, I can’t even begin to explain all this to my
parents. Besides, I don’t think they will have the time, even if I want to try.
Now, lying in the hospital bed, I think that never in my life have I felt this helpless, this out of
control, this dependent, this scared. I wonder what the hell I have let myself in for. But I can’t turn back
the clock now. This is my decision and I am sticking to it, no matter what.
Dr Shylaja walks in again and asks the nurse to get the CTG machine. She does not bother to
explain to me what it is, or why she is using it. She never says a single word more than is necessary to a
patient. Any question is met with a frown or a nod of the head. The nurse applies a gel to my tummy
and then places an elastic belt around it. It has two round plates, about the size of a tennis ball, and it
feels cold as it makes contact with my skin. I wince. To distract myself I turn to the machine and try not
to look at Dr Shylaja’s face. The machine starts printing out what I presume to be heartbeats on
something that looks like graph paper, the kind we used in math class, but this one is way longer and
Dr Shylaja studies it, and then tells the nurse, ‘She will need prostaglandin. Start it. Call me when
dilation is six.’ Then she walks out without a word to me. As though I don’t exist. Most of the time I
don’t care, but this time I want to yell at her, ask her if she has a heart. Can’t she see I am worried,
scared, but trying to put up a brave front?
I wish I had someone here with me, to reassure me that things are going to be okay. Now I wish I had
told Manav to come. I know he would have, had I asked him. But I didn’t want to.
The nurse performs a vaginal examination. I hate it.
‘Hurting?’ she asks kindly.
It doesn’t hurt. But it kind of humiliates. I don’t think she will understand that though.
‘I will be putting catheter. This is for gel,’ she says, and then I can feel something being inserted into
my vagina, and that is when I start crying.
I don’t think the nurse realises though. She leaves the catheter there and assures me that everything is
going to be okay.
I am so exhausted that I don’t care anymore. I lie on the hard, steel bed, in the hospital gown, my
legs spread out, with a tube down there going inside my body, a tube inside my nose and an IV drip in
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