Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Mohana Rajakumar - The Dohmestics is featured in the HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

The Showcase is a special feature of the Author's Spotlight. It is designed to highlight Spotlight author's NEW releases and their soon to be released novels.

The HBS Author's Spotlight SHOWCASES Mohana Rajakumar Book: The Dohmestics.
Award-winning Author Mohana Rajakumar is an writer based in Qatar. She has a PhD and has been involved in various foundations supporting young writers.

The Dohmestics

Author: Mohana Rajakumar


Edna, Amira, and Noof are neighbors but that doesn't mean they know what happens behind closed doors or that they have anything in common with their hired help.

Maria, Maya, and Lillie live in the same compound as their employers but that's where the similarities begin and end.

There's never a dull moment for anyone in this desert emirate.

The unending gossip and unrelenting competition may be business as usual for expatriate communities but the unspoken secrets threaten to destroy life as everyone knows it.


Chapter One

Dust laid a film of grit on the boxes in the entryway of the sand-colored duplex. Emma pulled straying pieces of elbow-length hair back into the bun, held together by a pencil spiked through the center. Dust, heat, desert. Their new life, waiting for Adam to become full captain.

Four years. Maybe longer. The wilted plants in ceramic pots on doorsteps up and down the street were evidence the desert sun was winning. Emma tasted particulate on her tongue; the sandstorms would play havoc with Adam’s sinuses. Everywhere she looked, there were buildings similar to hers; whether villas, apartments, or duplexes, the exteriors were the same beige cinderblock front. Wider entryways for duplexes and three steps for the approach to villas distinguished the bigger units from the smaller ones. No driveways for the neighborhood existed inside the compound boundary wall. Four years was fast tracking in the airline industry, but Emma felt each of these early days pass like a month.

At noon the parking spaces were empty; the beige canvas awnings melded into the adobe-colored walls of the buildings. Across the street were the wider front entrances of the villas; there was a bit more variety in these that more resembled houses back home. These were two story affairs, with wide fronts to the street, beige again with beveled glass, three actual steps for an entrance, rather than the flat approach to the rest of the buildings, like the one Emma lived in.

She swiped at the sweat on the back of her neck. Her footsteps echoed on the tile, determined to unpack the next set of boxes. Adam was away. Alice was at school. The silence was deafening.

“Why not get a job?” Adam had asked. “We could save that money too, for the house?”

“I can’t tell them I have to leave halfway through the day to go pick up our daughter, now, can I?”

“Hire a maid,” Adam replied with a shrug, as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

“But that would cost money,” she protested. “We’re trying to save money.” Their love of entertaining had built up quite a pile of bills.

“No one pays them that much,” he said. “A few hundred riyals.”

“To have someone in the house with us, when we’re tight on space as it is.” She shook her head. “Plus, is that legal, a few hundred riyals?” She didn’t get a reply before he left for the gym, a workout an essential for the days he was home to balance so much time in the air.

Gone was the routine schedule as co-pilot of a cargo plane, as regular as the post, bringing Adam home every night for dinner. The company had folded in the financial crisis. Commercial airlines were hiring—foreign companies anyway. Now they were in the Middle East with Adam flying anywhere from Hong Kong to New York, while she stayed at home.

Her thumbnail broke as she ripped the tape off the next lid. She chewed off the rest of the nail, glad Alice wasn’t there to see the forbidden act. Emma’s eyes drifted to the pile of adverts left in the door overnight; a glossy one featured women with blow-dried hair sipping tea. Yes, maybe that’s exactly what she needed. She snatched up the house keys and made her way down the street towards the clubhouse.

The weekly neighborhood coffee morning was one of those all-female, expat gatherings Emma had read about on forums before making the move to the Arabian Peninsula. She hadn’t planned on attending one, but the stifling silence drove her out of the house, looking for adult conversation that didn’t involve flight schedules or school pick-up routes.

“Where are you from?” asked a woman with wire-framed glasses that made her brown eyes owlish.

“England,” Emma said. She answered a string of familiar questions in every group she came to, the most common being, “How long have you been here?” Those who answered in the longest number of years to this question seemed to be mostly Indian, clustered together away from the other women. Everyone white wanted to know whether or not she worked. When Emma said she didn’t and confessed her school pick-up dilemma, the women had the solution: a full-time housemaid.

“You’ll have so much more time to spend together, with your husband,” said a petite brunette with a waist the size of a teenager’s.

“And you won’t spend it doing those tasks that you have to do again and again, like cooking or laundry. You can spend it with your child,” a blonde with perky breasts chimed in.

“Do they steal things?”

The blonde and brunette shook their heads as one, sharing a glance.

“If they do, they’ll be jailed,” the brunette said, the dimples disappearing from her heart shaped face.

“Or worse,” the blonde intoned.



“But another person,” Emma fretted, another worry with the new concern about flight attendants. There had been none for airfreight. “Do I have to be with her all the time?”

“She’s your employee,” the blonde emphasized. “She works for you. She isn’t your friend.”

“But you have to watch the younger ones,” the brunette insisted.

“Especially Filipinas.”

“Watch them? They steal?”

The women tittered.

“That’s not the worst.”

“Your husband is a pilot?”

Emma nodded the affirmation.

“Stop scaring her, ladies.” A statuesque woman interrupted the onslaught, waving her immaculate nails hello. “Amira.” Her manicured hand reached out for hers.

“Emma,” she said stuttering at the sound of her own name. “I meant, would she need entertaining? Would the two of us watch television together?”

Amira laughed, as if Emma had told her a funny joke. “You’re new. You’ll see. They make it so you can entertain yourself.”

“Myself?” The word sounded lonelier than she had intended.

Amira led her away from the group, motioning over to the tray of cookies.

“Your maid is the least glamorous and last person to worry about. My husband is a pilot as well. They’re around gorgeous, young girls all the time. You know the airline. Men, women, everyone is impeccable.” She wiggled her eyebrows with a wink.

“I had noticed,” Emma said with a laugh. “But is there someone else I should worry about?”

She looked around the room of immaculately groomed women. “Should I lock up my husband?”

Amira laughed.

Author Genre: Essays & non-fiction projects with young adults

Website: Mohadoha - Modern Mother, Writer, Scholar
Author's Blog: YouTube Channel - Mohana Rajakumar
Blog: Author Amazon Page
Twitter: @moha_doha
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description: Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar is a South Asian American who has lived in Qatar since 2005. Moving to the Arabian Desert was fortuitous in many ways since this is where she met her husband, had two sons, and became a writer. She has since published eight eBooks, including a momoir for first time mothers, Mommy But Still Me; a guide for aspiring writers, So You Want to Sell a Million Copies; a short story collection, Coloured and Other Stories; and a novel about women’s friendships, Saving Peace.

Her coming of age novel, An Unlikely Goddess, won the SheWrites New Novelist competition in 2011.

Her recent books have focused on various aspects of life in Qatar. From Dunes to Dior, named as a Best Indie book in 2013, is a collection of essays related to her experiences as a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf. Love Comes Later was the winner of the Best Indie Book Award for Romance in 2013 and is a literary romance set in Qatar and London. The Dohmestics is an inside look into compound life as well as the secrets kept between housemaids and their employers.

After she joined the e-book revolution, Mohana dreams in plotlines. Learn more about her work on her website at or follow her latest on Twitter: @moha_doha. Mohana is currently working on her first historical novel, set in the East Asian country of Laos.

Author's Book List
Love Comes Later
Hind is granted a temporary reprieve from her impending marriage to Abdulla, her cousin. Little does anyone suspect that the presence of Sangita, her Indian roommate, may shake a carefully constructed future. Torn between loyalties to Hind and a growing attraction to Abdulla, Sangita must choose between friendship and a burgeoning love.

A modern quest for the right to pursue love and happiness, even when it comes in an unconventional package, LOVE COMES LATER explores similarities between the South Asian and Arab cultures while exposing how cultural expectations affect both men and women. Identities are tested and boundaries questioned against the shifting backdrops of Doha, Qatar and London, England.

Order the Book From: Amazon
Winner of the SheWrites New Novelist competition 2011

"Mohana's entry, out of all of them, stood out for its story and for its distinct and engaging voice. Mohana made us want to read more…" Kamy Wicoff, author and founder of She

Sita is the firstborn, but since she is a female child, her birth makes life difficult for her mother who is expected to produce a son. From the start, Sita finds herself in a culture hostile to her, but her irrepressible personality won’t be subdued. Born in India, she immigrates as a toddler to the U.S. with her parents after the birth of her much anticipated younger brother.

Sita shifts between the vastly different worlds of her WASP dominated school and her father’s insular traditional home. Her journey takes us beneath tales of successful middle class Indians who immigrated to the U.S. in the 1980s.

The gap between positive stereotypes of South Asian immigrants and the reality of Sita's family, who are struggling to stay above the poverty line is a relatively new theme for Indian literature in English.

Sita's struggles to be American and yet herself, take us deeper into understanding the dilemmas of first generation children, and how religion and culture define women.

Order the Book From: Amazon
From Dunes to Dior
Called everything from the world's richest to fattest nation, Qatar has been on the breakneck path towards change for several decades. The capital city Doha, is where our family of three has lived since 2005.

FROM DUNES TO DIOR is not the stuff of newspaper headlines (they made their money from oil! Thirty years ago everyone was living in tents!) but real life stories about being a South Asian American who lives here (no, I don't have to cover my hair, and yes, I can drive).

I had no idea that living the life of my dreams (including a husband and precious baby) would coincide with the rapid development of one the smallest and safest countries in the world, an oasis of calm smack dab in the global hotspot of the Middle East.

Order the Book From: Amazon
Saving Peace
You go to college to meet your bridesmaids," or so the saying goes in North Carolina, on the campus of the all female Peace College. But what happens when the friends you thought you were making for life, betray you? The same ones you'd be in the retirement home with aren't speaking not ten years later?

The ups and downs of women's friendships are tested in SAVING PEACE. Thirty years intervene in the friendships begun at the all female Peace College.

Sib, the local news anchor with dreams of going national. Mary Beth, the capable, restless mother of three. Kim, the college president who admits male students.

SAVING PEACE is the story of promises made and broken, love found then lost, and redemption sought for the past. Three women. Two choices. One campus.

What if there's nothing worth saving?

Order the Book From: Amazon
Hip Hop Dance - The American Dance Floor
Rapping. Breakdancing. MCing. DJing. Beatboxing. Graffiti art. These are just some of the most well-known artistic expressions spawned from hip hop culture, which has grown from being an isolated inner-city subculture in the 1970s to being a truly international and mainstream culture that has taken root in countries as diverse as Japan, France, Israel, Poland, Brazil, South Korea, and England.

Stemming from its humble origin as a lifestyle of minority youth in New York City, hip hop dance is now a global phenomenon that has transcended ethnicity, nationality, and language. Today's hip hop culture is so popular and pervasive, the U.S. Department of State describes hip hop as "now the center of a megamusic and fashion industry around the world."

This insightful book provides not only an overview of hip hop's distinctive dance style and steps, but also a historic overview of hip hop's roots as an urban expression of being left out of the mainstream pop culture, clarifying the social context of hip hop culture before it became a widespread suburban phenomenon. Hip Hop Dance documents all the forms of street music that led to one of the most groundbreaking, expressive, and influential dance styles ever created.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Mommy but Still Me
Imagine a man volunteering to trade in his game nights for heart burn and back ache. Good thing there are women around to ensure the survival of the species. This hilarious look at the journey from high heels to high blood pressure, as a jet setter turns into a bed wetter, is what your doctor won't tell you and your own mother may have forgotten in the years since she was blessed by your arrival.

At our first meeting my future father-in-law waited until we sat down in the Thai restaurant, the oblong menus placed in our hands and the waiter was a distance away, tending to other diners, before turning towards me, his eyes glowing. This was the first time we were all seeing each other after his son had proposed to me. "When will I get to hold my first grandchild?"

For my father-in-law and everyone else, I have a question of my own: When will any of you be satisfied?

Order the Book From: Amazon
So You Want to Sell a Million Copies?
You're trying to write a book; and you're not the next Shakespeare - not yet, anyway. You could be. But no one will ever know if you don't get those marvelous words out on the page (or screen). In easy to do, daily steps and exercises, Mohana breaks down the steps of getting started as a creative writer. From getting past writer's block (excuse of the weak!) to putting that blog to work (every body's got one), the tools of the trade are revealed.

If you've had a story idea in your head for a day, year, (or longer) that it doesn't seem to be writing itself, you may want to take a closer look at this book. Designed as a concise guide for aspiring writers, you'll find here the key principles of how to get started, keep going, and finish a manuscript, all told by a fellow accidental writer who took the long way developing a writer's formula.

Order the Book From: Amazon
Coloured and Other Stories
What's it like being the ant in the ice cream? The characters in this short story collection will show you; experience life as they know it as transplants from across the world into American suburbia.

Adapted from real life anecdotes both her own and those of others, Mohana takes us into the world of the South Asian immigrant living the American Dream. Think of her as a cultural translator for those who you may not notice otherwise, living in the margins of our cities.

"What are a few inches when you know he will provide for you the rest of your life," her mother would have said, smacking her in the cheek.

The sight of his feet, white, broad toes, and clean, short-clipped nails startled her. Americans normally wore their shoes everywhere; they had special shoes to wear inside their houses, shoes specifically for their bedrooms. BABY

Book Trailer: Coloured and Other Stories
Order the Book From: Amazon
Qatari Voices
Qatari Voices is the first anthology that represents 25 young creative Qatari authors. The anthology reflects concerns and aspirations of the young Qatari generation illustrated in essays and stories.

They are intimate glimpses of old reminiscence and longing to the simple past, as well as photos that show concerns of a challenging present and aspirations to the future. They also tackle sensitive issues such as arranged marriages and gender discrimination. Qatari Voices is a mirror of reality of the Qatari society from a young generation perspective.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
eBook Author’s Corner
Mystery Reader’s Circle

Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

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