My So-Called Bollywood Life(85)

By: Nisha Sharma

Winnie pinched his arm before laughing so hard that the sound had to be smothered with vanilla-sweet kisses.

No matter how crazy her love life had become, fate had helped her find her Bollywood romance. She held Dev tight as she thanked the gods that her Bollywood hero had finally shown up, with his camera, his smart mouth, and ice cream in hand.


Winnie hadn’t had a crazy dream in a long time, but she knew she was in one when she stepped under a blinding spotlight, the only light in a pitch-black room. Her footsteps echoed like she was in a warehouse.

“What the hell?” She was leather-clad, diamond-studded, and belly-baring. Her perfectly curled and highlighted hair billowed around her shoulders thanks to a fanlike breeze.

“It is I, señorita.” Shah Rukh Khan’s voice echoed in the dark. A second spotlight shone a few feet away, and she could see that the movie star carried a red rose. He was also wearing way too much leather.

“Thanks, Shah Rukh.”

He walked purposefully toward her, his spotlight following every step of the way. “Congratulations on getting into NYU.”

She’d received the letter that afternoon. She’d berated Dev into applying, too, and he’d also gotten an acceptance letter. Winnie couldn’t have been happier. “My boyfriend and I also have summer internships on Gurinder Chadha’s new film. It’s local, so we’re pretty good candidates to help her.”

 “You’ve finally gotten the happy ending you’ve always wanted. You’ve met your soul mate, and you’re going to college. See? You didn’t have to sacrifice one for the other.”

“You’re right. Dev is…amazing. Thanks. For all your help. You’ve guided a lot of my best decisions.”

His signature laugh filled the space. “You’re welcome. But there is still one thing left to do. Are you ready, señorita?”

“Uh, yeah. Sure.”

A booming sound thundered around her, and blaring overhead lights flipped on. Dozens of people dressed in matching spandex unitards posed throughout the warehouse space. The scene looked absolutely ridiculous.

Shah Rukh Khan snapped his fingers, and a drumbeat began to thrum around them.

“Let’s dance!”


It took a small, diverse village to write this book, and each and every member of that village has my deepest and sincerest thanks. To Alison Magnotti-Nagel, Smita Kurrumchand, and Laura DeSilva Romero, my partners in crime and the best friends a girl can have. Thank you for keeping me sane all these years, for reading my horrible work and telling me it was good anyway. To my incredible MFA mentor, Cecilia Galante, for being my cheerleader throughout the entire writing process. Your positive energy was infectious, and I’ll forever be grateful that I met you at Wilkes. Thanks to Susan Cartsonis, a baller woman in the film industry who provided input and honesty when I needed it the most. Susan, thank you for loving my story. To Gurinder Chadha for her insight, edits, and support. Punjabi mentor of my heart, I hope you like the changes I made. A special thanks to Blaze at Movies 14 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, for showing me how to splice film and teaching me about projectors. Blaze, you’re as cool as your name, and if I screwed up any of the explanation in this book, it’s all on me. Thanks to my agent, Joy Tutela at David Black Literary, who has been my confidant, my advocate, my therapist, and, most important, my friend. Because I could never forget the woman who believed in me and my writing, to Phoebe Yeh. Thank you and the fantastic crew at Crown Books for Young Readers. Your hours of time, effort, and energy are humbling. Last but not least, to my writing community, including my Desi writers, the Sweet 16s, the Debut 17s, and the Electric 18s. You supported me when I was at my lowest, and losing hope. I made it to the finish line kicking and screaming, but I had you at my side the whole time. For that, you have my undying gratitude. I hope I’ve done the story justice and made you all proud.