Guest Author: Ritu Bhathal ~ Marriage Unarranged Blog Tour!

Thank you so much for being the first stop on the blog tour for my first novel, Marriage Unarranged, Sue.

It’s no secret how long it took me to get this far (twenty years, if you didn’t know), and I have documented my writing journey several times on both my blogs (so if you are interested, please check out my links below).

What I haven’t really told my prospective readers, is more about the characters, so over the course of the tour, I will be sprinkling little nuggets about various characters.

As today is Day One, I thought it would be a good start to introduce you to Aashi. Aashi is the main character in Marriage Unarranged. Though, why should I write about her? I’ll just hand the post over to her!

“Oh! Hi there! I’ve never done something like this before, so I’m not quite sure what you want me to tell you!

So, I’ll start with the basics. My name is Aashi. Aashi Gill. I’m a British Indian girl, born and bred in Birmingham. And I’m Sikh.

I’m really excited because it’s the year all my dreams are going to come true; I’m getting married! I literally can’t wait! And I have the perfect fiancé, Ravi. Everything I ever wanted in a husband. He’s good looking, has a great job, he’s got a lovely family, and he loves me.

We’ve set the date, 5th August 2000. The gurdwara is booked. The venue is booked. I’ve even got the caterers arranged.

All the family knows, even though we haven’t sent out the invitations yet. It’s one of those typical Indian things. Any whisper of a prospective wedding, and the whole tabbar, that’s family, as in the whole extended family – all six hundred of them, is aware, then they want to get involved in the engagement ceremonies and the preparations. And when the date is set, it is announced to one and all, sort of like a ‘save the date’ thing.

Actually, I don’t even have invitations yet. But I will do soon. I’m off on a shopping trip to India with my mummy-ji and big brother, Sunny, soon, where I’m getting my wedding outfit, and a whole new wardrobe, basically. It’s a thing, you see, for my family to send me to my new home with a special marital wardrobe, called a daaj. I’ve got a folder filled with pictures of all the outfits I want to get.

It’s quite helpful that my daddy-ji works in the Indian clothing business. He has a shop on Soho Road. It’s like a mini India here in Birmingham. He’s got plenty of contacts back in India, so hopefully I can get all I want, with a good discount. And even if they don’t offer one, mummy-ji is an expert at bartering.

I can’t wait, because Sunny has even managed to get us an appointment with a proper designer out there, with a view to ordering my wedding outfit from him.

And we’ll visit Chandni Chowk in New Delhi to choose my wedding cards. I know it’s a long way to go for cards, but have you seen how much invitations cost here? Especially Indian wedding cards! They’re never a simple affair. There are inserts as well as the basic invitation, that detail all the pre-wedding functions. And, what with that six-hundred-strong family I mentioned earlier, that means a lot of cards. So, it works out cheaper, and there is so much choice!

The only other thing I need to do is choose where we’re going on honeymoon, and that’s not just my choice, is it? I’ll be popping over to meet Ravi in a bit actually, to finalise the destination. Oh! Look at the time, I’m going to be late! Hopefully, I’ll meet with you all soon too. Who knows, maybe you’ll be able to attend the wedding!”

And here is an excerpt from the beginning of the book…


Taking a deep breath, Aashi opened the door an inch. She then flung it wide and stood there with her arm extended, and her palm turned upwards. Her eyes searched Ravi’s face. In her trembling hands lay a piece of tissue. Inside it was… a condom wrapper.

“What is this? Don’t say it, I know what it is, but why is it here?” Tears pricked her eyes.

“Babe, I can explain,” Ravi muttered. “You see, one of my mates came over the other night, and his girlfriend was with him, and well, they must have, well, you know. Don’t worry. I’ll have a word with him.”

Aashi pushed past him into the bedroom. With her whole body shaking, she sat on the bed and wiped the tears away. That’s right. Of course, Ravi wouldn’t do anything. How could I even think it? She checked for a tissue box. Aah, on the bedside table. Noticing the slightly open drawer, she absentmindedly tugged at it. Something stuck, so she went to adjust it and shut the drawer. Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted Ravi’s hand, shooting out towards her.

Too late.

She removed the empty box, which once contained three condoms, and stared at it.

Shoving Ravi away, Aashi fled down the stairs. Snatching her bag and her car keys, she rushed out of the house. She scrambled into the car; her vision blurred. She didn’t need the rear-view mirror to know her face was awash with tears.

What’s so wrong with me? She searched the tear-stained, slightly blotchy, face in the mirror. After all those long chats about the future and how important it was to save yourself for the right one. How could he do this to me? Has there been anyone else?

As she studied her face, Aashi became aware of a figure approaching the car. Ravi. Oh no you don’t! Aashi locked the car and went to start the ignition when Ravi appeared at her window.

“Please, babe, open the door. We’ve got to talk.”

“Leave me alone!” Aashi screamed. “I don’t want to see your face, EVER AGAIN!” She turned away and started the engine.

“Aashi, honey, you have to listen to me.” Strange, his voice sounds clear for someone standing outside the car. Aashi glanced to the left, and there he was, sitting beside her.

“Please, get out, before I do something I regret.” In her hurry to start the car, she somehow pressed the central locking button on her key. Typical. Even inanimate objects are betraying me now.

Marriage Unarranged

Ritu Bhathal

It all started ended with that box…

Aashi’s life was all set.

Or so she thought.

Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.

But then Aashi found the empty condom box…

Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.

Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.

And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets? A stranger who’s hiding something…

Author Bio

Ritu Bhathal was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but with Indian origin. This colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her.

From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is credited to her mother. The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her writing, from fiction to poetry. Winning little writing competitions at school and locally encouraged her to continue writing.

As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, she has drawn on inspiration from many avenues to create the poems that she writes.

A qualified teacher, having studied at Kingston University, she now deals with classes of children as a sideline to her writing!

Ritu also writes a blog,, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which was awarded first place in the Best Overall Blog Category at the 2017 Annual Bloggers Bash Awards, and Best Book Blog in 2019.

Ritu is happily married and living in Kent, with her Hubby Dearest, and two children, not forgetting the fur baby Sonu Singh.

Find and Follow Ritu

Author Website    But I Smile Anyway Blog   Amazon Author Page   Twitter    Instagram    Facebook   Pinterest    Goodreads   Flipboard    Stumbleupon
Tumblr    Bloglovin     Mix

If you are a writer, artist or photographer…If you have a poem, story or memoirs to share… If you have a book to promote, a character to introduce, an exhibition or event to publicise… If you have advice for writers, artists or bloggers…

If you would like to be my guest, please read the guidelines and get in touch!

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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38 Responses to Guest Author: Ritu Bhathal ~ Marriage Unarranged Blog Tour!

  1. Ritu says:

    Thank you so much for being the first stop on my blog tour, Sue!


  2. Ritu says:

    Reblogged this on Ritu Bhathal and commented:
    Here is stop one on the Blog Tour! Come and visit Sue’s blog to meet Aashi!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Guest Author: Ritu Bhathal ~ Marriage Unarranged Blog Tour! | But I Smile Anyway...

  4. Pingback: Guest Author: Ritu Bhathal ~ Marriage Unarranged Blog Tour! | willowdot21

  5. A very entertaining post, Ritu, and a fabulous extract. I know that wedding invitations for Indian weddings are very expensive. My Indian friends have also procured their invitations directly from India.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Darlene says:

    A great way to get to know your main character, Ritu. Good luck with this long awaited book.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. willowdot21 says:

    Lovely to see Ritu here at your place Sue 💜💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  8. JT Twissel says:

    Nice getting to know Ritu. I’ve seen her name and read her comments many times! Best of luck with the book!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. What fun! So enjoying reading this at the moment and looking forward to welcoming you to my blog on the 10th. Wishing you every success Ritu. And all the best Sue, great start to Ritu’s tour.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Erika says:

    Makes curious to know more…

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Mary Smith says:

    What a great first stop on your blog tour. I feel I know Aashi already and am rooting for her. Loved the extract.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Great to see you here, Ritu – I’m so excited for you!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. This sounds so good! It’s also a great way to learn about other cultures. Congrats, Ritu!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Congratulations and best wishes, Ritu! Sharing…

    Liked by 2 people

  15. balroop2013 says:

    Wishing you great success Ritu.

    Liked by 2 people

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