Thursday, January 22, 2015

An open letter to all teens.

I am distraught, despondent and disturbed as I write this. The local newspaper (Bangalore Mirror) for the last three days has been carrying the story of Monali's suicide in detail.  My children (both in their teens) and I were horrified when we first heard about this incident on Monday. In case you haven't read it, click here to know the full story.

The newspaper yesterday said that the school did not even declare a holiday and it was business as usual, and the school denied having anything to do with it. Her death went unmourned at school. Click here to read that story.

And today her father has broken his silence and spoken out. There is also the full text of both letters that the school had issued Monali.  Click here to read it all. I am shocked at the language used by the school. It is made out as if Monali committed a grave crime.

My heart weeps for Monali's parents. What a ghastly ending. A young life, full of promise snuffed out. For what? ! For her 'crime' of hugging a boy? Let's go a step ahead. So what if both of them were 'in a relationship' or so what if they were far more licentious than the newspaper reports. What business is it of the school? Agreed , the school has rules for 'proper behaviour'. But who decides what is 'proper' and what is not?! Why wasn't the boy who was involved suspended? I can only imagine the mental trauma the poor guy must be going through.

I have written in detail about  all of this in my column which will appear in the Financial Chronicle this Saturday (24th Jan 2015) Do read it.

Adolescents today face huge pressures. We as a society, especially the schools and parents need to understand that having crushes and being attracted to the opposite sex is a natural part of growing up! There is nothing wrong in it! We have to be in our child's corner. We need to support our children and stand up for them.

As a mother and as an author whose books have dealt with adolescent love (oh-- how well I understand it!)  this is what I want to say to every single child in India, between the ages of 12 and 19.

Dear Teen,

You parents love you. They want the best for you. They might push you to work hard. They might yell at you to study more. They might tick you off for not cleaning your room and breaking curfews. They may not let you go out with friends because they are worried about your safety. You might get annoyed, agitated and may get furious with them. But remember, nobody in this world loves you as much as they do.
Speak to your parents as equals. Try to make them understand that you are no longer a child and that you are perfectly capable of taking care of yourself. Bring your friends home and introduce them to your parents. Tell your parents where you are going and with whom you will be. Tell them what time to expect you back---and stick to that time. Give your parents reasons to trust you. Show them that you are responsible and capable.

Also, remember you are growing up. It is only natural to be attracted to a single person of the opposite sex. Their presence is going to make you happy. If he/she pays attention to you, you will feel on top of the world. A day without them will seem like torture. You might exchange a 1000 messages in a span of a few hours and still not be bored. You will find that he/she is the only one person in the world who understand you perfectly.

You may not believe me right now when I say that this won't last. You might feel that this is the real thing and it is forever. Trust me, five years from now, you  will know that I was right.

Live in the moment. Enjoy it while it lasts. But also be responsible. Do not rush into sleeping with someone or kissing someone because you are afraid that they will like you a little less if you do not. Please wait till you are 18. And after that, make an informed choice.

You are precious. Your time is valued and precious. Do not squander it on the ones who do not deserve it.

Discipline yourself and put away you smart-phone from 6.00 pm till the next morning. Do NOT check FB, get on snap-chat or google plus. They are big black holes which drain your time, effort and energy and leave you feeling mentally exhausted at the end of it, even though you may not realise it. Take a walk instead. Go get some fresh air. And exercise.

Sit still for a few minutes, doing nothing. Think. Let your imagination wander. Read books.  Read newspapers. Read magazines. Read a lot. It makes your mind grow. And it increases your intelligence.

Discover stillness. Love yourself enough, to be alone for a few minutes each day. Enjoy your own company. As you become comfortable doing that increase the time frame. No contact with outside world.No Internet, No TV, No phones. Slowly, you will begin to savour the stillness. And you will discover facets of yourself that you never knew existed.

If  there is something is bothering you, write it down. If you are afraid of your parents or siblings or friends finding it, make a secret journal online that is visible only to you. Pour out all that you feel out there. Do not ask for advice on FB. Trust me most do not care and what they say does not matter.

In this newly created stillness, you will discover the voice of your heart.
And in the end that is all what will matter.

Always  remember that there are people who love you a lot--they may not always express it the way you want them to. And whatever happens, it is truly not the end of the world. It happens for a reason. (though you may not know it right away. I whole heartedly believe that).

Look after yourself.
You are valued. You are special.  You are cherished.
Take care.
With all my love
Preeti




My latest book 'It happens for a reason'  is about a 19 year old girl who gets pregnant, breaks up with her boyfriend and decides to keep the baby:


Amazon: http://is.gd/Ithappensamazon
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Amazon: http://is.gd/Ithappensamazon
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Crossword: http://is.gd/Ithappenscrossword
- See more at: http://blog.preetishenoy.com/#sthash.nqbtscLc.dpuf







Friday, January 16, 2015

On starting an organic terrace garden.

In the past, I have posted many pictures of my organic terrace garden.


Satish and I have managed to succesfully grow Tomatoes, Brinjals , Mint, Amaranthus, Beans, Bitter gourd, Bottle gourd, Green chillies, Celery, Parsley , Rocket leaves, Lemon grass, Basil, Fenugreek (methi) to name just a few!

It's almost like a farm that we have on the terrace of our 14th floor penthouse. When we started off this organic terrace garden, we had no experience whatsover. I was inspired by this video.
(do watch it. It is about 18 minutes long and worth a watch. very inspiring)

We initially tried to grow carrots but we failed miserably. We had no clue how exactly to go about it. All we knew was that we were doing something wrong.Then we started researching online and I found there was a wealth of information available there. I also stumbled across this wonderful group on Facebook, which I am now a part of, and they have so many tips for beginners.

Armed with those, we began. We started this in April 2014 and now, we have a really nice garden. Here are a few snapshots from it.


And here is a set of a few more pictures.




Many of my friends who have seen  my organic terrace garden wanted to know how to start one and what I did. They asked me to blog about it.

There are many resources available online if you want to start one.

Here are a few links:

How to start an organic terrace garden:
http://www.thealternative.in/lifestyle/a-beginners-guide-to-organic-terrace-gardening-what-do-you-need-to-get-started/

Dr.B.N Vishwanath is a pioneer in organic terrace gardening. He conducts many workshops. You can also get a handbook here:
http://www.cityfarmer.info/2008/03/05/a-handbook-of-organic-terrace-gardening-bangalore-india/

Another good resource for beginners is Garden guru's blog:
http://geekgardener.in/2009/12/15/so-you-want-to-start-a-kitchen-garden-part-ii-seed-starting/

Those of you who want to start one, please begin by first watching the video which I linked and then reading up each of these links. There is a wealth of information given in the FB group which you will have access to, once you join.

Personally, the soil mix that i have used for my garden is

1/3rd red mud, 1/3rd coco-peat , 1/3rd horse and goat dung.

Coco-peat allows the roots to run freely and it prevents the red mud from caking up and becmoing hard. I used compressed coco-peat of 5 kgs. (You have to soak it in 25 litres of water and then the 5 kgs expands to 25 kilos. You can also use 1 kg of it and soak in 5 litres of water. Instructions are on the pack). You could go to any gardening store in your respective cities and pick up all the stuff mentioned above.
I have bought almost all that I need from the store at  Lalbagh Botanical Garden, bangalore.

The thing about gardening is that it needs a lot of hardwork and patience. You will not get instant results. You will have to spend at least 15-20 minutes with your plants every day. You will have to remove weeds, watch out for pests, diseases etc. You will have to add compost to the soil every week, remove dead leaves etc.

But oh the joy of watching a seed sprout, slowly grow, then blossom into a plant that starts giving fruits! It is unmatched! And trust me, once you get the first crop, you will be hooked. It is addictive, this business of growing your own food. It will be the freshest, tastiest stuff you hve ever eaten. No amount of money can give you that satisfaction of having something that yiu have grown yourself.

Give it a start! You don't need a huge space. Just a small balcony which gets adequate sunlight is more than enough to grow beans, tomatoes and greens.

Happy gardening!
_____________________________________________

ps: My new book has been rocking the bestseller charts.
get it at a great price:

Amazon: http://is.gd/Ithappensamazon
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Saturday, January 10, 2015

On being a popular author.


Two of my titles are in the Nielsen top ten today.( Hindustan times--10th Jan 2015)




 One is the evergreen 'Life is what you make it' which incidentally was No.1 highest selling book of 2014 (see tweet above from my publishers) and the other is ' It happens for a reason' which is my new book that has been getting some fabulous reviews.  

You can download the first few pages (with a personal note from me and a signed photo too!) of the book by clicking here.
 A lot of people ask me how it feels to be this successful. Honestly it feels great! (How else will it feel?!) But I do feel that many miss seeing the hardwork beneath the glamour of success.
Some attribute it to luck and good fortune. Some even have the gall to imply that best-selling authors buy their own books to enter the Nielsen charts!! I find that absurd. Why in the world would anyone want to buy their own books just to enter the charts?!! The fact is authors get a percentage of sales as their royalty. Successful and well established authors also get an advance royalty which is adjusted against sales. So if you buy your own books, you lose more than you earn--as simple as that!


I make a living out of writing  --and it makes no sense at all if I am spending more than I am earning. So the short answer to that is--- It is total nonsense to suggest that! Also, the Nielsen list has a lot of transparency. You can see for yourself what the sales figures are---and nobody can claim to be a ' best-selling author'  anymore as it is all validated by Nielsen, which I feel happy about.

The other thing that I want to say is that while I love interacting with all my readers, I must also emphasize that I have my own personal life! And while it may seem as though I share every single thing on my blog, and I lead a very 'public' life, the truth is far from that! I share only the stuff I want to share and the stuff that i do not mind sharing!  What I share on the blog is just ten percent of my life.

Many feel that they know me well because they read my blog regularly. Also many expect me to reply to all their tweets, all their pings and all their messages. Many 'seek my blessings' for something that they are doing or undertaking. Many want me to wish their friends for their birthdays as their friend is a huge fan of my writing and it would mean a lot to their friend. While I do oblige to the extent that I can, please understand that I am a person with my own life too.

I am fortunate to have a wonderful family  and a great set of close friends with whom I love to spend time. I have my newspaper columns to write. I have my books to work on and several interests that I pursue.

So it may not be possible to reply to every single message that you send me--and no, it doesn't mean I am angry with you or upset with you. Frankly I do not have time to be upset with a single reader!! So kindly do not take it amiss if I do not reply. It is nothing personal. I get at least 30-40 mails a day and I do reply, as and when I can.

If you like what I write, do continue to buy my books---that would be the greatest endorsement for me.

Like this letter that a mother shared (am sharing it here with her permission). It contains spoilers, so do not read it if you intend to read the book 'It happens for a reason'!





Mails like the above make my day. Mails requesting for blessings, and mails asking if you have annoyed me---sorry you haven't and also my good wishes are always with you! Mails asking for endorsement/opinion  of your writing--sorry I don't do that either.

My time is limited (as is yours!!) and I think we should all spend it doing stuff that makes us happy!

So have a great weekend and I shall blog again soon.

_______________________________________________________

Buy my new book at great prices: 
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Tuesday, January 06, 2015

5 resolutions to make you a happier person in 2015






This, being my first post for this year, let me begin by wishing you a Wonderful new year! New beginnings are always exciting and there is certainly something about the date 1st January. Some believe in making new year resolutions and some don't. The ones who do not make them say that technically  you can start your resolution on any day of any month---you can make a fresh start on 19th October or 20th June or any random date that you think of.
But somehow, it just isn't the same. At least for me.

resolutions photo: resolutions calvin.jpg
 I do believe in making new year resolutions. I think they are important as they reflect the commitment that we are making towards our personal growth. We want to change things. We want to do better that we did in the past. And that is always a good thing--whether made on 1st of May or 20th June or 1st January (my personal favourite).

This year I have resolved a few things-- which I am happy to say, I have followed till date. I am usually strong willed like that. Once I resolve something, my mind stays made up. I do not break resolutions easily. (Nor do I break promises. A promise is a promise.I am old fashioned that way).

Here are 5 things that I have resolved and those I think will go a long way in improving my quality of life:

1.Yoga every day: Since October last year, Satish and I have started Ashtanga Yoga. Yoga is a wonder drug, a magic pill , an elixir. I swear by yoga. Though I have always practised some form of yoga or the other, I find myself increasingly drawn to Ashtanga yoga for the discipline it takes. It is not easy at all, and definitely not for anyone inclined to laziness. It requires a lot of commitment.  In case you plan to join a class, ensure that you join only one run by an authorised guru. Here is a video which shows the primary A and B series.(we do this every day)  Isn’t it amazing?



As regards power yoga and other forms of yoga, this is what Pattabhi  Jois had said (and yes, I subscribe to his thoughts) :


2.Walk at least 25 minutes every single day: Walking is one of the best things that you can do for your body. It keeps so many health related ailments at bay.  It increases heart and lung fitness and it reduces the risk of cardio-vascular diseases. Muscular pain, joint pain, High cholesterol, BP----all of it gets banished with walking. I have been walking for about 25 minutes  every single day  since the start  of this year and I intend keeping it up.


3.Cut out negative people/negative situations : This is something I have learnt to do as I have grown older. When I was in my twenties it was hard for me to do it. Especially if the negative person happened to be related. But today I know that time is an extremely limited commodity. It is not worth squandering time on those that get you down. If you are unable to wholly cut off from them, keeping contact to a minimum helps. And no, you are not being selfish by doing so.

4.Gift yourself something every week/every ten days: One of the biggest things that a writer should have is motivation. My work involves sitting alone, cut off completely from the outside world and writing every single day. I have written 6 books since 2008. Which means many many hours of discipline, sitting at the key board and channeling the creative energy, refusing to go to parties and refusing to do anything that can distract from my writing. I set my self goals. And of course I reward myself, when I achieve those goals. It is important to reward yourself and love yourself. It makes you feel great and makes you want to work that much harder. Do not depend of external validation. You can gift yourself  things that make you happy! Validate what you have achieved and it pushes you to raise the bar.

5.More movies great movies, More books:  Recently I watched the movie Boyhood. What a brilliant movie it is!  I am currently reading Jill Mansell , Ruskin Bond and Neil Gaiman. (yes, I read three books at a time—and no, I don’t get distracted or bored! In fact I find it hard to stick to just one book). I plan to do more of that this year. More reading means less time online, less time on FB (the biggest waste of time) and less time mindlessly  commenting on things that don’t really mean anything to you. Invest your time in reading good books and watching great movies. Research shows that reading makes you smarter, keeps your mind sharper, Increases vocabulary (closely linked to intelligence), improves analytical thinking, memory as well as writing skills.People who read do better in life than the ones who don’t. So make time to read. I intend to read more this year.


So there--I have shared my resolutions with you. If you feel they will work for you, do feel free to adapt them/ steal them and make them yours as well. Let's grow together in 2015!

___________________________________________________

ps: My new book 'It happens for a reason  has made it to the nielsen top 5! The first print run has already sold out. It's sold more than 30k copies even before release. Grab it at a great price:
 Amazon: http://is.gd/Ithappensamazon
Flipkart: http://is.gd/Flipkartithappens
Crossword: http://is.gd/Ithappenscrossword