Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Writing tips, a contest and a chat! #Campusdiaries #CD



Have you always wanted to write a story but never got the motivation to? Campus Diaries which is India's largest storytelling platform for students might just give that impetus to. They are runnin a contest where you can win prizes worth over a lakh.

Other than the fact that I would be judging the entries I have nothing to do with it :) So if you want to participate in it, head over HERE

They had interviewed me a few days back and asked me for writing tips. I maintain that I am still a learner when it comes to writing, even though I might have six best-selling novels behind me.



 I have a long long way to go and I am constantly reading up and looking for ways to improve my writing.
However, whatever I know I was happy to share. I loved the way they had presented the interview.

If you wish to read the writing tips I had to offer, head over HERE

The reason I have been a little slow in updating my blog is--you guessed it---I am working on my next book.
And it is going to be non-fiction..
and...and...and....

it is going to be something very useful to almost everyone!  It will definitely make you think, make you ponder and perhaps give you some answers.

I will not reveal anymore--you will have to watch this space.

Good luck if you are taking part in the story writing contest.
And even if you aren't you can head over to twitter tomorrow at 11.00 am, just to chat with me :)

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Buy my books: http://is.gd/preetibooks


Friday, May 15, 2015

Love does not recognise age.

 A friend and I were talking about age.  I have always felt that age is just what is inside your head and what you feel. In fact in one of my books, a character says this: You can be old at 22 or you can be young at 73.

I don't remember which book of mine it is! (If any of you readers remember it, kindly tell me in my comment box. My guess is it could Mrs.B from Tea for Two and a Piece of Cake or Mr.Adani from The One You Cannot Have)

In our country it seems to be taken for granted that once you reach a certain age, you have to lead a subdued life. Finding love is out of the question. You have to be content with singing Bhajans and visiting temples. The 2007 movie Cheeni Kum highlights this beautifully, where Amitabh Bachchan  plays a man in his 60's who is so unlike his peers and a 30 year old woman (played by Tabu) falls in love with him.

Today I came across a beautiful video made by a son for his mother. It so totally made my day. The mother is so full of life and such a wonderful lady. So is the son!

Do read this pos and do watch the video--it's a very short watch--just 4 minutes.. He filmed her secretly and she had no idea that he was doing it. Her reaction is priceless.






Whether she finds her prince Charming or not all I can say is that she is one lucky woman! So full of life. So inspiring. So beautiful. She is the kind of woman who makes you look forward to growing old.

Can you imagine anything like this happening in India? What do you say? :) Tell me in my comment box what you think.
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 Buy my books: http://is.gd/preetibooks

Friday, May 08, 2015

Is sex outside marriage on your Secret Wishlist? :)

cheating photo: cheating z182986840.jpg

A review I read this morning about my book 'The Secret Wishlist' amused me. Because  while the reviewer loved my writing style---he said it was so gripping that he just couldn't stop reading it---he had a problem with the extra-marital affair. He said he had read the book at the same time as Deepika Padukone's video came out and he felt that the book glorified adultery. Many people,both men and women,who aren't able to put the book down are not able to accept the fact that a woman can find love outside her marriage. It is not entirely impossible you know!

I came across a brilliantly expressed piece written by a marriage counsellor who sees hundreds of couples in relationship crisis. The piece is titled 'Why women leave the men they love--What every man needs to know'.
I quote from the above piece:
As a marriage counsellor working with men and women in relationship crisis, I help clients navigate numerous marriage counselling issues. While many situations are complex, there’s one profoundly simple truth that men need to know. It’s this – Women leave men they love.
They feel terrible about it. It tears the heart out of them. But they do it. They rally their courage and their resources and they leave. Women leave men with whom they have children, homes and lives. Women leave for many reasons, but there’s one reason in particular that haunts me, one that I want men to understand....

To read the rest of the piece go here 

Also he points out that the gender dynamics in the above piece is reversible. It can go both ways.

If you haven't read my book (The Secret Wishlist) and want to read it there might be spoilers ahead in what I am going to say. So do not read further if you hate spoilers.

What the counsellor talks about--- It is  exactly what my protagonist Diksha did too. She  is married at 19. Her husband isn't a bad guy--just a workaholic who finds it more interesting to play golf during weekends than spend time with her. She chooses to be a stay-at-home mother as she wants to be there for her son with whom she has a wonderful bond. Her husband says that he never stopped her from working. It is a choice that she made. He is an emotionally absent husband. And to top it there is marital rape as well. He has sex with her when he is turned on and even when she doesn't feel like it. She is financially dependent on him. She has no resources of her own.Also being married at 19, she lacks the courage to speak up and she has a child as well. So she stays in the marriage.
I find the scene where her husband  has sex with her, particularly heart wrenching. I cried for Diksha while writing that. The later scene in the book where she has sex with Ankit is so beautiful in contrast.
I am surprised that people do not see it that way. All they can see is 'sex outside marriage' and they sit in judgement about how it is morally wrong.

But I guess each one is entitled to their views. Maybe they would prefer being raped in a marriage than go outside a marriage. Maybe they think marriage is sacrosanct and everything that the husband does is okay and the wife has to dutifully comply. Maybe they feel that sex is a husband's right. (What about the wife's rights?)

I must also mention here that I got hundreds of mails from women all over India, who said that they felt I had crawled into their heads and written their stories--except that they did not have an Ankit in their life.
 I can tell you one thing--it takes far more courage for an Indian woman to walk out of a bad marriage than it does for an Indian man. The odds are skewed heavily in the man's favour.


Shinie and me



My friend Shinie Antony  who is  one of the best writers I know (and also one of the founder members of the Bangalore Lit fest)  had written a very relevant piece about Marital rape in Economic times. Click HERE to read her piece.





 I have said it earlier (in my piece on Deepika's video) and I say it again: Ultimately a relationship is between two consenting adults. If you are in a committed relationship then both parties have choices to make. The choices they make might hurt the other person. Whether you decide to compromise and stay or whether you decide to walk out or whether you decide on other ways to navigate the twists and turns of the relationship is up to you and your partner.
Nobody else has a say in it---Not the Government, not your parents, not your children nor your best friend.
And rape is rape--whether it is outside a marriage or within it. I am sure Diksha would agree :)

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Buy my books:http://is.gd/preetibooks


Monday, May 04, 2015

A note on my tryst with Ashtanga Yoga

One of the best things that I have done in my life (other than writing 6 books so far ;-)) is enrolling for Ashtanga Yoga.
I have always been practicing  Yoga ever since I was introduced to it, which was when I was about 11 years old. We had Yoga in school as a part of our curriculum and my yoga teacher always selected me for the Yoga demos which he would give at various places,mostly  inside IIT campus Chennai, which was where I went to school.
I continued my yoga practice long after I left school and I would do it on my own, as I knew all the asanas. I developed my own routine. When I moved to the UK too, I continued my practice. Of course, at times there would be months and months when I wouldn't do Yoga at all, but much like old lovers  whose lives are inextricably entwined, I couldn't stay away for too long. I would always go back to my practice.

Then, after doing yoga on my own for so many years, I joined a Yoga class when I moved back to India. I did it along with everyone else in the class, but I found the pace too slow. I had many years of yoga experience but the teacher would tailor the class to suit even absolute beginners and hence I found that the class did not include my favourite asansas which are Chakrasana (wheel pose on the right) , Pashimotannasana (Seated forward bend in the picture above) and

 Sarvangasana.
I would be a little disappointed and would then come home and practise these  on my own.

I longed for a Good yoga teacher who would push me more than I was capable of, so that I could grow in my practice.

In October last year, my wish was fulfilled when I discovered Ashtanga Yoga.
 Ashtanga yOga has to be practised every single day, except on 'Moon days'. (full moon and new moon days')

And since then I have never been the same. Ashtanga yoga is not easy at all and requires discipline and commitment. It requires that you place your entire trust in your teacher/Guru ( and hence it is important that you go only to a genuine Guru).

At the end of first session itself, I was hooked as I was sweating profusely by just the surya namaskaras or sun salutations . (In ashtanga is called ' boiling the blood'). It is  complete detoxification for the body and extreme focus of the mind. It is a mental workout as much as it is physically demanding. Also it is a guru-sishya tradition where  the teacher decides whether you are ready to progress to the next asana or not. Sometimes you could be stuck in the same pose weeks--till the teacher decides that you have now perfected it.

Now it has been 6 months  since I started it and I can see for myself how much it has transformed me. I now find an unshakable inner strength---something that I did not have before. Every morning, Satish and I wake up at 5.15 and we drive to the yoga class. There are days when we do not feel like, but we go nevertheless---sometimes I motivate him and sometimes he does.

While there are many teachers who teach yoga, I think it is important to find the one that is right for you. In Ashtanga you can see the authorised teachers in their official website: http://kpjayi.org/

It is also important to read up about Ashtanga so that you are fully aware of how it is different and whether or not it is for you.

This is what Pattabhi Jois said about 'Power Yoga' and other forms of yoga.

"I was disappointed to find that so many novice students have taken Ashtanga yoga and have turned it inot a circus for their own fame and profit (Power Yoga, Jan/Feb 1995). The title "Power Yoga" itself degrades the depth, purpose and method of the yoga system that I received from my guru, Sri. T. Krishnamacharya. Power is the property of God. It is not something to be collected for one's ego."
Here is a video which demonstrates  the primary A and B series:




Whether you do Ashtanga or not--do try and incorporate some form of yoga into your life. (But you need to find the right instructor. Expensive instructors aren't necessarily the best. My guru charges a very nominal amount.)
Trust me--you will feel the change. You will have more control of your mind, your actions and your thoughts.

Yoga can change your life.


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Buy my books:http://is.gd/preetibooks