What if you ran away from your life today?
Twenty years later, three people are looking for you.
One is dying to meet you again.
The other wishes you had never met them.
The third wishes they could have met you at least once.
You are one person. Aren’t you? But you are not the same person to each of them.
In You Only Live Once, find the answers about your own life in this story about searching for love and discovering yourself. Join a broken but rising YouTube star Alara, a struggling but hopeful stand-up comedian Aarav, and a zany but zen beach shack owner Ricky as they undertake a journey to find the truth behind the disappearance of Elisha.
Here’s an excerpt from the book that throws light on the quandaries in Alara’s heart and her longing for love.
Irena, my stepmother, is a new-age fashion influencer and helped me set up my YouTube channel. She isn’t really talented, but she married a wealthy guy, and fancy social media accounts are part of the assets you create if you have a lot of money. After all, rich people can afford to buy new clothes for every post they make.
Having said that, she is a nice person at heart. I don’t really hold anything against her.
I’m not close to anyone at home. Not really. I’m close to my guitar. It’s because it always meets my expectations. People? They often fail to do so. Unfulfilled expectations lead to unfulfilled relationships.
‘Hey! Alara,’ says my step-aunt Betty as I enter La Epicurean.
‘You’ve grown up to be a beautiful woman,’ she continues.
‘Thank you,’ I respond. I don’t talk a lot when it comes to Irena’s siblings. They’re five women, full of gossip and unnecessary banter. Also, here in Czech, women outnumber men, so they’re on a constant lookout for a foreigner to settle down with. Betty is the youngest one and I heard her own siblings discuss her relationship with a guy from New York who is half her age. He is the one who gave her the name Betty too. Living the American Dream has fascinated the world since the 1960s.
‘Which song are you performing tonight?’ she asks.
‘Time,’ I say, wondering if she would even understand the depth of the concept. Time it is, the one thing that has never been on my side. Time is what ruined my game early on. Time is what I challenge as I hope to find my mom, or perhaps, an answer.
‘You have not published a new song in months. What keeps you busy these days?’ she inquires. ‘You don’t even have a day job,’ she adds.
Yes, this is where I draw the line. Relatives can get so unbearable at times. I am facing a writer’s block, I write my own songs after all. What would she know of it? She is the kind who would seek Irena’s help to write even an email.
‘Soon,’ I smile wide. Curt. Short. Sweet. She deserves to know that much.
It’s been quite some time since I last published a song on YouTube. I wish to release my first album. But I have run out of ideas, literally. I know deep within my heart that leaving this place would help me ideate and write songs. Here, I am consumed with much more than writing and performing at cafes. I have to attend customary functions like today. My dad is respected in the community, and that’s the thing about rich people. They never get bored of partying and socializing. Me? I told you, right? I struggle with a sense of belonging.
I long to be myself sans all the responsibilities and sensibilities I find myself compelled to fit into. I long to meet you, mom. Let me tell you, your mother would perhaps be the most overlooked person by you, trust me. You might not even appreciate the food that she cooks with all the love. But there are people like me who don’t even know what food cooked with love tastes like.