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Set against the backdrop of modern-day India, Kismetwali & Other Stories, places the reader amidst circumstances that transcend place, purse, and prestige.

These eight stories offer a rare glimpse into the parallel lives of the privileged and penniless, converging on those astonishing moments when free will thwarts destiny, and in the process erases the rigid divide between social classes. Rather than lament the exacting lives of the walas and walis who inhabit the lowest rungs of Indian society—the common yet essential purveyors of goods and providers of service—each narrative celebrates them as individuals taking center stage as they discover their own power.


And who are these singular protagonists who dare to foil kismet as they go about their daily routines? In this book you will meet...

  • the shavewala, a humble barber who becomes an intimate collaborator in a love story that spans the seven seas;

  • the phoolwali, a scarred girl who culls the bone shards of the dead in a crematorium while longing to bring beauty and healing into world with her intricate flower arrangements;

  • the taxiwala, a conscientious cab driver who embarks on a fearful odyssey when his beloved faces death;

  • the malishwali, a lifelong masseuse who conceals a shocking secret while revealing sublime truths to the troubled family she serves;

  • the kebabwala, a culinary maverick who tweaks his time-tested recipe in a surprising way for a surly patron;

  • the safaiwali, a light-fingered maid servant who helps a young flight attendant clean up the emotional debris of a messy romance;

  • the kismetwali, a clairvoyante of modest pedigree who herself becomes the very fountainhead of fate for her desperate clients; and

  • the mithaiwala, an Indian expat (and ironically the son of a sweets vendor) who learns to come to terms with a bitter past.

Watch these and the other working class characters of these compelling tales as they cease to be mere spectators of their own lives and transform themselves into dynamic participants.


Is fate always the master puppeteer of human lives?

Only until one chooses to wrest the strings from its hands.

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