Amazon India’s Deal of the Day


My second novel, Once Upon A Crush, is Amazon India’s Deal of the Day just for today at Rs 97 for the paperback and Rs 59 for the Kindle. 


Here’s what the book is about:

Rayna De, stuck in a dead end job with a boss from hell, zero love life and the big 3-O looming large on the immediate horizon, has started to panic a bit. No, make that panic a lot. Enter new object of lust in the office, Deven Ahuja, and Rayna is overpowered by inappropriate visions of Cupid aiming his arrows straight into her heart, with turtle doves doing their billing and cooing act in the backdrop. Alas, Deven is completely out of Rayna’s league despite the contradictory messages he seems to be sending out, and is, as decreed by page three supplements of the city newspapers, the man in the life of the gorgeous, light eyed model-turned-actress Sharbari Raina. As Rayna battles with her crush, shaky employment status and dithers about signing up for domesticity with the approved-by-her-parents Sid Bose, of the multi zero pay package and three-bedroom house, she discovers that life has its own plans…

The book is a fun read, and here’s what folks have to say about it and my writing.

“…after a long time, I have come across a book which kept me restless till I completed it. The book really ends in the last two pages, rather than many contemporary books whose conclusion one is able to understand beforehand.” – Sudatta Mukherjee

“…the author narrates the story in a refreshingly straightforward manner and infused with doses of wit and humour.”b00k r3vi3ws

Manral interjects her story with bon mots at the most unexpected times and that aspect of her writing is what I enjoyed the most in this book as well at her first book, The Reluctant Detective.” –Shunali Shroff

“Kiran’s writing style is witty, humorous and makes you think. She has a penchant for making even the most mundane, interesting because of the razor sharp observations, served with a dollop of dead-pan humour.”
Preeti Shenoy, bestselling author

“I enjoy reading Kiran’s books. The genre of easy reading and happy reading with inevitable style, she keeps you hooked on the book from the first page to the last.”

 Tisca Chopra, actor

Here’s the link to order the book:

Hope you enjoy it.



My story begins with my mother’s…


My story begins with my mother’s story, as my son’s story will begin with mine.

August 13, 2014

This article is part of the #BeingaModernIndianWoman archive, which is being launched on 15th August on Indian Independence Day. This storytelling initiative celebrates womanhood and freedom of (responsible) expression, and it’s a stepping stone to further economic opportunities for women in India. Please visit and for more information.

When I was nine, my father passed away. This was 1982. In the morning, he set off for an office picnic. In the evening, they brought home his dead body. A sudden heart attack, they said. There is nothing crueler than the death of someone you haven’t had a chance to say good bye to, I still dream of opening the door to my father standing outside, older, greyer, but undiminished by death and the afterlife, I dream of an opportunity to…

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The Freedom Chronicles- What Freedom Means To Indian Women- In the News Minute

By Aekta Kapoor

Freedom is subjective; it has no one definition. As a citizen in a committed democracy, it may be the right to walk down unaccosted to the local polling booth and vote for the election candidate of your choice. As an employee in a developing nation, it may be the right to go home on time and be paid fair wages for your work. As a young person in a conservative land, it may be the right to choose one’s own profession or partner without having to battle an army for it. As a child anywhere, it may be the right to an education and to be brought up without abuse or neglect. As a husband or a wife, it may be the right to one’s personal space – without having to tussle over the blanket.

Whatever your political stance, private values or public choices, freedom has an intensely personal connotation for all of us. We speak to Indian women from different walks of life and from all across India on what freedom means to them. 

Eina Ahluwalia
Conceptual jewellery designer

Eina Ahluwalia (1)

Freedom, to me, comes in many formats. Physical freedom means to be able to roam our world as we please, go where we want, whenever we want, wearing whatever we want, without a threat to our person or our lives. Mental and emotional freedom means to be free of family pressures and societal norms, and truly create our lives exactly as we please. Freedom of opportunity is to have equal rights to education, career, relationships, and positions of power, irrespective of gender, caste and sexuality. We as a country are far from freedom on all counts, and the oppressor is our mindsets. Things are changing slowly, for the better and the worse. Maybe this is the storm before the calm.

Latha Sunadh, Managing Editor,
Writer, thinker and perpetual dreamer

Latha Sunadh

Freedom for me as a woman and as a professional is about making my own choices and the world letting me live with them. I’m not talking about the good choices, the pat-on-the-shoulder choices, the “always right” choices. I’m talking about terrible choices, the ones who might not work, the ones that might not make sense and mostly, the ones that will help me make the right choices in the future by being stepping stones. And only, if only, the world will let me be happy with my own choices without pointing to the other side and calling it green. 

Sharanya Manivannan
Poet and writer

Sharanya Manivannan (Pix By Bhagirathy Samudram)

Freedom from fear, freedom to love, freedom to walk away, freedom to draw my lines, freedom to make art, freedom to share, freedom of access, freedom from questions, freedom to question, freedom to be silent, freedom to have the last word – every one of these is a freedom that I try to negotiate, every day, in all my capacities and identities. I don’t hold my identity as ‘Indian’ over any other, as I spent most of my life in other countries. And I hold each individual’s personal autonomy to be a self-evident truth, always.

Kiran Manral
Author and school-gate mom

Kiran Manral (1)

To me freedom is the ability to think for myself, to do what I wish of my life, to spend my time as I choose, judiciously or otherwise. As a woman, freedom to me is the ability to earn my living, to choose whether I want to be a mother or not and at what point in my life, to choose my life partner, to be able to step out of my home at any time and know that I will be safe. As a writer, freedom to me means putting down words as they come to me, without scratching them out, toning them down, worrying about how they might be interpreted or misinterpreted. Freedom to me is still ephemeral, still a destination, still a journey.

Nadika N
History buff, editor and filmmaker

There are many freedoms given to us. As long as you conform. But a freedom that a set of people do not get is the freedom to be themselves. If you are man or woman, your freedoms are yours to exploit or give away. Yes, women in India aren’t exactly free. There is denial, a societal oppression. However, for transgender people, the oppression is deeper. A denial of the right to be oneself, the right over one’s own body and a suppression of identity.

I am a transwoman. I was designated male at birth, although I’ve felt less and less comfortable in that role. I believe (and to a certain extent, medically it is true) I am more female than male. But growing up in the 80s and 90s in a middle-class south Indian family, I was denied this right to even explore my identity. I do not have agency of myself. I cannot dress, behave, and express myself as a woman without inviting the scorn or judgement of strangers and family.

Freedom is the recognition that there are no binaries. There is a continuing spectrum. A pantheon of gender possibilities and sexual orientation. And that we each are a different shade of pink, blue, red, black, white. Freedom is a society that does not care if you conform to it.

Meera S Datta
Adjunct Professor, NIIT University
New Delhi

Meera S Datta

Freedom as a woman means to be able to walk on roads without constantly being on high alert against stalkers, harassers and roadside Romeos. I am okay if this freedom is given at least during the daytime to begin with! Sadly, this menace seems to have no age bar – I thought I’d be safe as I grew older but that does not seem to be the case. Freedom as a woman and a professional also means the right to have my opinions sought, listened to and valued at home and at work without being viewed through “woman-tinted filters”, and decisions taken with my opinions (if relevant) counted and, most importantly, acknowledged. It means to be able to do my job without having to imitate the behaviours of the opposite sex – working for long, unearthly hours, bonding at after-work official parties, and so on. It means having power to act and shape workplace rules and environment to harmonize with my equally important roles as a wife, a mother, a daughter and daughter-in-law. 

Arti Jain
Co-founder, and
New Delhi

Arti Jain

Freedom for me as a woman and a working professional is freedom from fear. The many fears that haunt the lives of women like me – fear of physical safety, fear of having to succumb to social pressures, fear of losing hard earned financial independence and the fear of losing that elusive game called ‘Balancing It All’. It is noise of these fears that distracts us and makes us lose clarity and direction. It is these fears that make us hedge when the time comes to step up and take what’s ours with pride. The ability to be fulfilled emotionally, creatively, professionally without any of these fears defines independence for me.

Yasmin Kidwai
Award-winning documentary filmmaker
New Delhi

Yasmin Kidwai

Freedom to me is essentially having choices and being able to exercise those choices. It means to be able to walk out of office when I want a cup of coffee. It means to live the choices I have made with gratitude every day – and also to have more choices to change the choices I had first made!


An interview in

Kiran Manral (Goodreads, FB, twitter) a journalist turned writer based out of Mumbai. She is the author of The Reluctant Detective (2012) and Once Upon A Crush (2014). She is also the founder of India Helps, a volunteer network to help disaster victims and part of the core founding team of Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month and Violence Against Women Awareness Month. Her parenting blog, karmickids, is among the top five parenting blogs according to blogadda and her personal blog, thirtysixandcounting is listed in the top blogs of India directory. In her spare time she can be found fighting off temptation, either from Nutella or from Up To 50 % off sales.

Her books are available on Amazon and other book stores.

Kiran’s answers to 5 questions are…

1. Why do you write? Why would someone else want to be a writer?

Why do I write? That is one of the most difficult questions to answer and I keep getting asked this over and over again. I really don’t know why I write. I write because there is nothing else I enjoy doing more. I write because the words dance in my head until I run screaming to the computer and start keying them out. I write because what other job, except acting perhaps, would allow me to be different people ever so often, and spend all my spare time on the internet in the guise of research. Seriously though, I write because I must. And if anyone reading this wants to be a writer, they must write if they must too.


2. How do you come up with an idea? Ideas for plots, sequences, scenes, characters and other things? Do you use any tools?

Ideas are very ephemeral, I start with a character and build a story around that character. I use no tools except my fingers and my keyboard, and perhaps my imagination. I also read a lot, anything and everything I can lay my hands on, and the strangest ideas, scenes, etc might pop out of something I’ve read a few days ago or years ago.


3. Do you keep a rigorous writing schedule? If yes, what is your writing schedule?

I’m at my desk 9 am to 2pm every day except weekends when I don’t touch the computer.

Edit Note: Charles Dickens’ followed the 9 to 2 schedule rigorously. He would write from 9 to 2 and then go for long walks (link)


4. How often do you get interrupted by writer’s block? How do you go about working around your writers’ block?

I don’t allow writer’s block to interrupt me. I just keep writing through it. At the worst, I will have 1000 words of which I will need to delete 500 and 500 will still be of use. If I sit back and wallow in my writer’s block I will have no words to show for the day’s worth of work and that to me is a sin.


5. What is the best advice on writing that you’ve ever received?

So many, so many. Nadine Gordimer‘s statement, “The guru of writing is reading.”

I believe I spend more time reading than writing. I read everything. I have finally conquered my OCD about completing a book no matter what and happily discard books that don’t grip me. Life is too short to waste it on books that you struggle to finish.

Then there is that very wise statement from Stephen King, by the way his book On Writing is a bible for aspiring writers, “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work,” he says. Treat your craft as a profession.

Think of Malcolm Gladwell‘s Outliers and the 10,000 hours of practice. You have to practice your craft, you have to hone it, work at it, refine it. You need those 10,000 hours of practice.

And finally, I recently read Cheryl Strayed in a reply to an aspiring writer. She says, “Writing is hard for every last one of us—straight white men included. Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig.”

Therefore to me now, those words are profound, let’s not talk about how hard it is to write, just get out there and write.

Thanks Kiran for such insightful answers!

Should you have any followup questions for Kiran, please leave them in the comments box below.

– See more at:

A review of Once Upon A Crush on All In A Day’s Work

Book: Once Upon A Crush
Author: Kiran Manral
Genre: Fiction
Published by: Jufic Books, 2014
No. of pages: 224
Cover price: Rs. 195

The cover design of ‘Once Upon a Crush’ with slightly smudged heart and red-coloured lipstick, sets the mood for the fun, light-hearted pleasure that this book is.
The red and gold cover is playful – the lipstick, the heart, the smudge and the colour.

Rayna De is the main protagonist of ‘Once Upon a Crush’. She’s independent, about to turn 30 and has not love life. Her parents are after her to get married.
She has a crush on Deven Ahuja – Rayna compares him to Edward Cullen and Mr Darcy. Oh, and he has cheekbones comparable to Benedict Cumberbatch.

The stage is thus set for the emotions and the insecurities of being attracted, of getting to know someone. The hesitation of not asking a question frankly, and then looking for answers in gestures and random statements.
And especially our minds making mountains out of every molehill of gesture, statement and even silence.
The choice of not marrying, yet the insecurities of being alone.


I had just read the first couple of pages when I knew I would enjoy reading this one.

I was hooked when I read Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings mentioned in the same sentence. Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, Fifty Shades of Grey, Phantom, When Harry Met Sally, Twilight Saga, and many more make this book a reader’s delight. Even the Queen of sarcasm and outspokenness, Aunty Acid finds a place.

Rayna’s day-nightmares make for great mental visuals – her shriveling ovaries and open pores on her face spouting geysers of oil.
So do her day-dreams – wanting to feed her boss bit by bit to very hungry crocs.

Favourite quotes from ‘Once Upon a Crush’

  • “What do butterflies get in their stomachs when they get nervous…”
  • “Maybe we humans needed to take lessons from the animal kingdom where all females were busy playing Prove Your Love with the Hapless males of their species before they consented to get down and dirty with them.”
  • “Maybe marriage was a communicable disease.”
  • “Complicated happens when bodily fluids are exchanged on a regular basis.”
  • “… the funny wigs that airhostesses wore as part of their uniform, making them look like they were the airhostess version of Oompaloompas having emerged out of some cookie cutter airhostess factory run by Willi Wonka…”
  • “The scariest thing about growing up must be the realization that one’s parents are closer to their date with mortality than one would like.”

I wish there were more about Pixie in the book. Pixie is Rayna De’s friend. Obviously I can’t tell you much about her, as I don’t want to fill up this review with spoilers. As the book ends, it left me wanting to know Pixie better, I want to know her story now – more about her past, and a lot about her future.

May I suggest to the author a sequel with Pixie as the protagonist. Tentative title ‘Once Upon a Marriage’ – depending on what path Pixie chose for her life.

The way the author plays with words is fascinating.

After reading this book, I find my head telling me to ‘Carpe the Diem’ instead of simply telling me to ‘stop lazing around’.

The book is great for easy reading with lots of humour thrown in.

There is not a moment of boredom reading this book. The story may not throw up any great surprises, but the words are strikingly expressive.
There’s a serious risk of having a smile on your face while reading this book and thus, attracting questioning stares.

Read the original review here