Now that I’ve finally been given the go-ahead to remove the “forthcoming” tag from There’s a Ghost in My PC, I feel it’s a good time to dangle a carrot. Here’s an excerpt from the book:
Kumuda sat on the low wall separating the lawn from the apartment complex’s play area, swinging her legs and banging the heel of her sandals against the bricks. Celia Rees’s Pirates lay open in her lap, but her mind was hardly on the two girls and their swashbuckling adventures on the high seas. She was thinking about secrets. Other people’s, that is.
She had been watching Madhu’s face when Amma broke the news about the new laptop, and she really couldn’t understand why Madhu had looked more shocked than happy. It made no sense—Madhu was mad about computers, she was always talking about how her old laptop was outdated and asking Amma for upgrades, and now that Amma had said she was buying her a new one, it was almost as if she was … disappointed? No, that wasn’t it. It was more like alarmed.
Really, it made no sense.
Oh and if that wasn’t enough, now Kavitha and Meenakshi Chikkamma were having mysterious fights and variously threatening to lock the other in their rooms (Meenakshi Chikkamma), leave home (Kavitha), or alternately being sarcastic and ignoring each other (both of them).
Amma had been very categorical about it: it was Their Business, and she (Amma), Kumuda and Madhu were going to respect that. But this was the third time that Kumuda had come home to find them yelling at each other. She had also seen Meenakshi Chikkamma crying one time and Amma comforting her. And Kavitha was spending less and less time at home, and was always out with her friends.
It wasn’t that Kumuda wasn’t curious—she was, of course. In fact, “Curious” was her middle name, as Amma always said. But that was besides the point. It was just so upsetting. Given the choice between knowing and having things patched up between her aunt and cousin, Kumuda would choose the latter.
Or maybe not.
But the bigger mystery was the one about Madhu. Something Was Up with her older sister—something had been up for a long time really, now that she came to think about it. And after today, Kumuda was willing to put her money on the fact that it had to do with computers.
This wasn’t a new revelation, but a theory Kumuda had been nursing for a while. For the past few months, she had launched a meticulously engineered investigation into the matter. So far, her methods had involved eavesdropping on Madhu’s telephone calls and other conversations with her friends whenever she could. She had followed Madhu around the neighbourhood countless times. She had once even hidden under the bed—and seen a mouse run along the edge of the wall, eeeurgh!—when her friends were over.
She had also, much to her delight, discovered that Madhu had a journal hidden under a pile of socks and underwear. Unfortunately, it was also obvious that the diary lay not so much hidden as forgotten. Clearly, her sister had got tired of it after a week of entries like:
“Went to school today. Double period maths.”
“Holiday today. Because it is Sunday. But you already know that because you’re a diary.”
After having eliminated all other possibilities, only one angle remained unexamined: Madhu’s laptop. That was where the answer lay. Kumuda was sure of it.
But getting her hands on her laptop was easier said than done. Madhu guarded it like it was block of gold. She even kept it locked in her cupboard when she wasn’t at home.
What could Madhu possibly be hiding? Will Kumuda ever find out? Stay tuned for details on where to buy, etc. Or better still, start haunting the bookshops.