Monday, December 31, 2007

Live,Love, Laugh.

Really sorry--I have had to remove this post as it will soon appear in a book. Making it available online would have been very unfair to my publisher who has placed so much trust in me. I hope you enjoy the other posts as much as you enjoyed this one. A heartfelt thanks for your support and understanding.Thanks for continuing to read what I write.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Silence in the blogopshere


Most bloggers seem to have gone on vacation.(I just got back from mine in Kerala) There seems to be quietness and calmness that has arrived on a bus that seems to have lost its way, and is now unwilling to find its track. Niall's blog seems to have been taken over by Oskur. Keshi seems to be whisked away into party zone. Prats is off to Goa. Thinking aloud is thinking quietly, with her parents visiting. Tys is in Kathmandu. Joe is in Fort Lauderdale.

And while all this was happening, my 36th birthday arrived and it left quietly too. (On 21st December) I had to constantly remind myself that it was special. It didnt feel so. I almost forgot my birthday myself. We were too busy heaving sigh of relief that our tickets came through. (Why do I still feel like I'm 20?!)

See you all when you get back.Or rather, see you all when my mind gets back. (It seems to be still on vacation and I am trying hard to drag it back to write mode--pun intended)

I wish you peace, joy, calmness and all things beautiful.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The twisted tree--a thinking question.

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One of my favourite activity is thinking about various things. As adults, we become so mechanical, going about our daily routine that we forget to think.

When I interact with children (I conduct workshops for children on developing thinking skills) I am amazed at their perspectives. They come up with the most unique ideas about the most mundane things. As a part of the workshop, I have 'thinking questions' which are a lot of fun and which the children really enjoy. At one of my sessions, the children were asked to think of five uses of an umbrella apart from using it for the rain. A little girl aged 6, really surprised me when she said that you can hide in it when you are naked!

We went to Empress Garden, for a picnic, a few days back. I came across this amazing tree. It made me stand and stare. It made me think. I loved the way the branches twisted and turned. A bit like life, don't you think?

And this one made me think that sometimes, our live are so enmeshed with the lives of those we love, it is hard to say where one ends and the other begins and which one is what or whose!

So--here is your thinking question---What did the twisted tree pictures make you think of? I'd love to know.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Siblings without rivalry

Really sorry--I have had to remove this post as it will soon appear in a book. Making it available online would have been very unfair to my publisher who has placed so much trust in me. I hope you enjoy the other posts as much as you enjoyed this one. A heartfelt thanks for your support and understanding.Thanks for continuing to read what I write.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

What women want

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Really sorry--I have had to remove this post as it will soon appear in a book. Making it available online would have been very unfair to my publisher who has placed so much trust in me. I hope you enjoy the other posts as much as you enjoyed this one. A heartfelt thanks for your support and understanding.Thanks for continuing to read what I write.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The moment.

The prompt at Writers Island this time is 'The moment'. This is what I wrote.


The moment.

Isn’t life made up of moments? Some worth re-living over and over, some causing deep pain, hurt and resentment and some passing by insignificant, unnoticed, yet silently contributing to the span of your life?

Sometimes it takes just a moment to let a mindless thought slip out. You said it in anger; you were irritated when you said it and you did not mean it at all. Yet, you hurt deeply the person to whom you uttered these words. It takes only a moment to apologize, but it can take a lifetime to forget. Sometimes, a lifetime is not enough.

Sometimes, it takes just a moment to say something nice. You might have said it spontaneously. You might have meant it at that moment, but forgotten later. But the recipient of those words will remember it for a long long time. Kindness is usually not forgotten, perhaps because it seems to be rare in the times we live in.

I have had my moments of hurt, and my moments of joy. The latter still bring mad laughter when I remember, and are priceless moments. The former, I am just not able to forget. I am able to forgive the people who hurt me, but I just cannot forget. Many find it strange, as they feel forgiveness and forgetting are inter-linked. I don’t agree. When you forgive, it means you no longer bear grudges—but deep down you still remember. I think it is a bit like childbirth. Years later, you forget the pain but you are aware how painful it had been.

A Calendar which hangs on my bedroom wall says “Live the moment.” Each month has a beautiful photograph (and a caption) that captures the depth of living the moment. Two of my personal favourites are the ones I have displayed here.

One shows two boys splashing water in Yamuna river , having fun, living in the moment, with the Taj Mahal in the back ground. The other one shows a quiet peaceful moment, with a grandfather and grandson, fishing on a river bank. The caption says “There is a time to bait and a time to wait.” These two pictures , both showing moments by the riverside, really capture the essence of life—the more I think about it, the more I like it! I think I shall make it my motto for the New year.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A table for two

"May I take you order Sir?”

“We’ll have grilled sandwiches and some orange juice and some wine for the lady please.”

“Sir—you have to be eighteen for that! Sandwiches and orange juice coming right up”

In case you are confused, what this conversation is all about-- it is a game the children, (my son who is 10 and daughter who is 6) Satish and I sometimes play on weekends, before breakfast. The conversation is between my son and me. This game is one of their favourites.

We pretend that they are the customers in a restaurant. (The best in the world, according to them) Satish and I take turns being the Chief Maitre de, Chef and restaurant owner all rolled into one. (When one of us is in charge of the restaurant, the other joins the children and becomes the customer.) The best part is that we have so much fun. The fringe benefit is that the kids eat really well!

We set up a table outdoors. We present the food interestingly. One of my closest friends told me that eighty percent of the appeal lies in how you present it. Even a simple thing like sandwiches can be made to look interesting with some creativity. I couldn’t agree more.

This is what we did the other day. It was so simple, fast and quick


If you have children, you might like to try out this game sometime. If you don’t—well, surprise your partner or that special friend!

Bon appetite and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

FAQ--Sulekha, my writing and one other thing!!

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At least 14 people instant- messaged me and asked me the same set of questions that I felt like making a FAQ!! (Frequently asked questions) Here it is! Please forgive me if it seems presumptuous—It is not intended that way at all. I’m merely clarifying as so many people asked the same things.

1.Why do you write for Sulekha?

I write for Sulekha simply because they are running something in association with Penguin publishers, where 25 best posts will be published in a book. Besides this, every month they pick 8 winners in various categories.(They have certain guidelines for the kind of posts they are looking for) The competition is intense and I love chalenges.

2. Does that mean you won’t write on blogspot?

Blogspot is my first and last love! All my good friends are on blogspot. So I shall continue writing on blogspot, just like I used to.

3. Why am I unable to leave a comment on Sulekha?

Firstly, one has to register on Sulekha to be able to comment on the posts. That takes only two minutes and it is fairly simple. Secondly, Sulekha still seems to be grappling with problems in their comments section. In case you are not able to leave a comment, you can try later—or just tell me in blogspot what you wanted to say!

4. Will my voting for you on Sulekha help you?

Yes, yes and yes!! One of the parameters they judge the post by is the page views it gets and the number of comments, apart from the number of recommendations a particular post gets. So, if you have left a comment, it means a lot to me—especially as not many people know me on Sulekha!

5. Why aren’t you posting what you posted on Sulekha here?

Sulekha has a policy that if it is to be eligible for the contest, it HAS to be posted exclusively there. That is why I am not posting it here.

6.How is it that the pieces you write for Sulekha are better that the ones you write here?

The pieces I write for Sulekha are usually on specific briefs given by the publications they have tied up with. Besides, my posts there are competing with hundreds of other posts, to be chosen. The intention when I write there, is to show case my writing skills. The intention when I write here is simpy to connect to all of you.

7. What are ‘featured posts’?

Everyday, out of hundreds of posts on Sulekha, 8-10 get picked as ‘Featured posts’ for the day. Getting picked as a ‘featured post’ usually means that the piece is a really good one. Once it gets picked, it goes into permanent archives, in the front page and it is an honor. ‘Featured posts’ are chosen by an independent panel of judges (I have no idea how they choose) and they attract a LOT of readers.

One other thing, a piece I wrote yesterday again got picked as a featured post today. This time the challenge was as under:

“I knew this would change everything but as I stood there transfixed, I felt helpless.”
Write a short story that starts with this line and let your creativity flourish!
Are you up for the challenge?

I wrote a story called Freedom’ and I was pleased that it got selected. Yesterday as I was posting it, a friend who knows me well, Instant messaged me and asked me what I was doing. I sent him the link to the story. He read it and was stunned. He said “Jesus—I don’t know how you can write something like this.” I loved his reaction as it meant the story moved him.

It evoked some very strong statements from people who do not know me at all. So much so that I had to tell them this

"Dear all,
This is a short story--an exercise in creative writing--the use of language,metaphors, descriptions etc to convey a scene or a fictional event--if it has evoked strong feelings in you, dear reader, I feel the piece has served its purpose. Thanks people!! "

This was mostly because people who dont even know me were so strongly voicing their opinion and arguing and I was feeling annoyed because of the moral judgements they seemed to be passing on the protagonist in the story.(It is a first person narrative)

It is a sad, moving story. If you want to read it, click on the word ‘Freedom’—and don’t forget to tell me what it made you feel.

If you feel like writing a story beginning with those lines, let me know where you posted it and I shall surely read it.

Monday, December 03, 2007

You just have to believe some things

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Paulo Coelho in Alchemist says “When you want something badly enough, the whole Universe conspires to give it to you.” This is essentially the message in Rhonda Byrne’s Secret too. Sometimes, you just have to believe in some things. Rationalists, Scientific thinkers and Oprah bashers might call it bunkum and nonsense without proof for weak willed people.

I do not agree with them at all. I know it works. It is strange, but till now, every thing I have badly wanted, I have got. It is incredible—it is amazing. That does not mean that I have not had my share of struggles. I have.

Yet, what I wanted I have got. (I consider myself very fortunate and blessed that way.)

Suddenly my writing seems to have turned into a profession from a hobby. I am pleased about it and I cannot yet believe that I am writer! (I am writing for a magazine published by Delhi press, I am also writing for a local monthly now and two of my articles got chosen to be published in 'Chicken soup' series) Writing is something I have always enjoyed doing and I have written and drawn pictures ,ever since I can remember. What surprises me is that at one point, as a child, I wanted to be a writer--but I never pursued it or even tried to fulfil that wish, yet it seems to be coming true now.

Gillian of Indigo Blue had a lot of positive things to say about me in her post today. Click here to read what she said.

Let me assure her that I am just as hassled as any other mom with two school going children---Click here if you don’t believe me!! (and I am sure you will smile after reading it! )

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Chicken soup for the Indian Mother's soul

Everyone has heard of the series of best selling books ‘Chicken soup for the soul’. I used to read them avidly when they were first published. There came a whole series and the stories continued to be as inspiring and moving as the ones in the first book.

What I never even thought was that I would one day, be a contributor in this great series of inspiring writing. A piece I wrote, got chosen to be featured in ‘Chicken Soup for the Indian Mother’s soul.’ I got an email today from Raksha Bharadia who is an author, compiling the collection on behalf of the publishing house, saying that she liked my piece and would I consent for it to be included in the book? (I had not even submitted it for consideration--Therefore the mail from her was so unexpected.)

I was pleasantly surprised and really happy. The icing on the cake was that this piece got selected as a ‘featured blog’ today. (Every day, out of hundreds of posts, 8-10 best ones are selected as ‘featured posts’)

I want to say a big thank you to all of you, who come here so regularly, encourage me with your comments and tell me that you like what I write. Your support means so much. I don’t want to sound like a Oscar winning star (when the only oscar I know happens to be a neighbour's dog! LOL) but sometimes there is no other way to say it. I honestly couldn’t have done it without you all. and I mean it.

The piece I wrote--It is called " Who killed Imagination?" (click on the words in green to read it.)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Writers Island 6--The letter.

The prompt at Writers Island is 'The letter'. Writers Island gives you prompts, on which you can write short stories, essays, poems--anything that you want to. What I have shared is a true incident.(as is evident from the photograph)

The letter

The letter arrived as unexpectedly as a cool gust of wind on a sultry day. It brought so much joy-- not for its contents, but for the fact that the sender had taken so much effort. It was in response to a birthday card I had sent earlier.

“Dear Preeti”, it began.

“Thank you so much for your thoughtful birthday card. That the heart remembered is what is needed—delay did not matter. My initial reaction was to send a short message on the cell-phone. But decided otherwise as I feel that if one can sit and send a short letter, as you have done with the card, it may go a long way?” It continued and it was a treat to read the rest of it.

These are the times of cell phone text messages and e-mails and Instant messaging. Who writes letters any more with a pen?

I am so glad, some people still do. This letter was sent to me a few months back, by someone I admire a lot. Nothing beats the joy of holding in your hand a piece of paper, on which the sender has hand written his thoughts. There is something magical in reading a ‘real’ letter, compared to an e-mail or a text message on the cell phone. The letter occupies a place of pride on my desk. I read it off and on. It brings me so much joy.

It has indeed gone a long way.

If you haven’t written a letter for ages, try sending one today. One does not have to wait for an occasion, to bring some unexpected joy, into your life and the life of your loved ones. It will mean a lot to the person who receives it and I am sure, it will be read many times over.

Have you received any ‘real’ letters? Or do you intend to send one soon?

If you like to share, I’m listening.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

It happened one night.

Really sorry--I have had to remove this post as it will soon appear in a book. Making it available online would have been very unfair to my publisher who has placed so much trust in me. I hope you enjoy the other posts as much as you enjoyed this one. A heartfelt thanks for your support and understanding.Thanks for continuing to read what I write.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wordless Wednesday no.4

Doing a Wordless Wednesday after long.

This picture was clicked by me, in London, when we were waiting to get into the Millenium Wheel, also called the 'London Eye'. It had just stopped raining.When I looked up, this is what I saw.

I just loved this picture.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

'Curious as a cat'--An interesting meme.

It has been a while since I did memes now.I found a nice one at 'Curious as a cat' and I decided to do it.Here it is.
1)Which one person would you choose to understand you better?

A childhood friend of mine who is still in touch with me. Sadly she has never understood me. We grew up together and were great friends. As adults, life took us in different directions.Our priorities in life are totally different but we are still friends.

2) What do you think is the best age to be? Why?

My current age. I’m really enjoying life. The diaper changing days and the sleepless nights are long over.Kids are independent, yet not ‘grown up’ and we have a great time together.

3) Of all the people you know, who would be the easiest to seduce? Why?

‘Easiest’ very obviously be my husband. Why--because at times I don’t even have to try ;-)

4) What's the best advice you didn't heed?

I tried hard to think if there indeed was any. Cannot think of anything! I usually ask for advice of a trusted friend, only if I really dont know what to do--and most of the time, I heed it.

5) Show and Tell. What comes to mind first when you see this picture? Or, tell a story if it reminds you of one.

Public domain photo

First thing that comes to my mind is that my son has to be at school at 6:50 am (yes—that’s not a typo) on Monday morning as he has an exam. GROAN!!


If you want to do this meme too, just let me know-- I’d love to come and read it.(try it--it really makes you think)

If you don’t have a blog, you can answer the questions in my comment box. I’d love to read that as well!!


As an afterthought, I feel memes get done only when you tag someone! So here are the ones I'm tagging...

Ritu --Vivify!

Prats--Emotional Ecology

Suma--Thinking aloud

J-- On the rocks

Sweetstickychewy--A different story

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The shoes fit but they dont feel right.

I took my mom out shopping today. She is visiting me for a few days. By itself, it seems such an insignificant thing. To me it was not. I’m fighting my tears as I type this.

It was always Dad who used to take her out. They have spent 35 years together, and were still very much in love. My dad adored my mom. My mom had to just mention, “I feel like going out today” and my Dad would take out the car (he loved to drive and was excellent behind the wheels) and off they would go. They were like teenagers, even at that age. I loved the way my mom made an effort to look pretty, when it was time for my dad to come back from work. Even after he retired, this ritual would continue. They would sit together, have a cup of tea, laugh, talk and even squabble at times. They hated spending time apart from each other. My mom would blush when my dad told her how pretty she looked.

She is incredibly brave. She is picking up the pieces remarkably. I admire the way she is dealing with her deep grief and helplessness. At the same time, when she is out of sight, I feel so sad that I sometimes break down.

It has been just over a year now, since my dad died.(click on the red words you don’t know the story) A friend asked me if the grief had lessened. I told her that the pain never really goes away. It still feels raw.

When I took my mom out, I told her she looked great. She smiled. We went to a mall. She was happy. She enjoyed the outing. I overheard her calling up her sister, long distance and telling her proudly that I took her out. With my mom, I do a great job of being brave. I joke and make her laugh and console her.

I seemed to have stepped into my dad’s shoes.

They seem to be a perfect fit but I miss him more than ever.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Learning to Multi-task

A friend called me up when I was cooking. I told him that I cannot do two things at the same time and switched off my stove.

“But you are a woman. You are supposed to be able to multi task.” he said

“Well—That part of my brain is not developed enough” I replied.

It seems to be true. Last few days I have been struggling to multi task. Really exciting news has been that I am now writing articles, for a soon to be launched magazine, published by Delhi Press.

Not so exciting news is that I have not been able to blog—worse I have not even been able to visit you all and see what you have been up to.

Somehow, I don’t feel like writing till I read what you have to say. So I didn’t write—and I didn’t read and didn’t write and didn’t read, and I discovered to my chagrin that a whole week has gone by! Two articles of mine got submitted---and finally today I decided that I simply must take a break.

Kids are at home as they still have Diwali vacations going on. Poor things have been warned that until I should not hear even the feeblest, faintest,tiniest cry of “Mummy”. They have been read out the ‘No-disturbing-unless-house-is-on-fire- Act’. They have been allowed to do what they like. (read watch TV which is an absolute no-no on usual days)

Now that I am learning to multi task,I shall drop by today itself! :-)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Unforgettable --Frozen moments.(writers Island 5)

We took off from India. We were on our way to UK. The plane had not yet landed. The pilot announced that it would land in Heathrow airport, in about 30 minutes and the local time was 5:30 am.

My watch was still on India time and it showed me 10:00am.I set it back. It felt funny to ‘go back’ in time.

Suspended in air, 30,000 feet above the ground,I wished I really could. Just to re-live those happy moments. Revel in them. Cherish them. Savour them and relish them.

But we cannot. Each moment that ticks by, is gone forever. Sometimes forgotten, other times,unforgettable. I guess that is why each picture tells a story.

I looked out of the window. The sun was just rising. It filled me with a sense of exhilaration.
It made me want to click a picture. And freeze this moment, in time.

I did.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

How real is virtual?

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How real are virtual relationships?

The Internet has totally revolutionized the way we socialize. It has broken barriers of time, geographical boundaries and distances. It has shrunk the world, and you can reach anyplace in any remote corner of the world, including inside minds of people, with just a click, without even moving out of your bedroom.

There are reams and reams written about dangers of social networking, as well as advantages of them. All of us, who are regular internet users, have at least a few ‘online’ friends, whom we have never met. They fulfill all the requirements of a friend in ‘real life’. They listen to your problems, offer you help, are there when you need them and you can count on them for emotional and moral support.

Apart from the social networking sights, there is the enormous blogosphere, which serves as an ideal platform, to interact with many interesting people. It is amazing how quickly relationships move, on the internet, almost at the speed of light. You find yourself connecting so quickly through blogs and mails and offline messages left for you. I am amazed when many of you, write to me, as though you completely know me (which in fact you do, through my blog) and treat me like a long lost friend.(I feel happy and am honored too, to share a bit of your lives)

Personally, I have had a great experience. I had earlier written about how I met Ritu, so randomly, in real life and how she recognized me because of my blog .We have become such good friends now. (Click here in case you want to read the whole story)

With Niall too, but for my blog, I would never have made such a good friend. This was only because I was willing to let online become ‘real’.

For the last two days, a friend whom I had lost touch with and whom I reconnected through Orkut ,(It is amazing how many people it has helped to connect with) had not come online. I texted her asking if anything was wrong. She told me that her monitor was faulty and had gone for repair. She was happy to hear from me.

I was touched when Asha (a fellow blogger whom I have never met) sent me a message on my dad’s first death anniversary ,telling me that I was in her prayers.

To me, all my blog friends and all the people who leave comments, are as real as my ‘real life’ friends. I think about, Sue and Marja and Hershey and Gillian and many others whose blogs, I read and comment on regularly. They are not just people who live somewhere in cyberspace. To me, they are friends whom I have never met.

Therefore, I was really shocked when an online friend (whom I consider a good friend, but whom I have never met) said that most people are just killing time and that while he does care about his 'real life' friends,the people whom he has not met, are just faceless idiots, not worth bothering about. I was shocked at the insensitivity and the cruelty in that statement he made. It left me thinking. (Was I a fool to take an online friendship seriously?)

It led me thinking though—How ‘real’ are these friendships or relationships? Are you only as relevant as your last blog post? For instance, if you stopped coming online from this very moment, how many of your online friends, will really bother to call and ask you what has happened? Do people really care?

What do you say? Are virtual friendships providing us with a false sense of intimacy and support? What is ‘real’? What is your take on this?

I would love to hear what you have to say.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Haunted (Writers island 4)

The prompt at Writers Island this time is 'Haunted.'Strangely it matched my mood, and compelled me to doodle this picture,after I wrote this piece.


Haunted is when you wake up and the dreams still continue.

Haunted is when you cannot stop thinking and thoughts continue inside your head like a whirlwind.

Haunted is when you know it is not possible, but you hope anyway.

Haunted is when you wish and wish you could have just five minutes, with that person.

Haunted is when you go through every photograph you have of them, at least a 100 times.

Haunted is when you comb and comb your memory just in case, you pick up little bits of togetherness, that by a miniscule chance got left behind.

Haunted is a lump in your throat at just the mention of their name.

Haunted is feeling sad, even at a very happy bit of news, just because they aren’t there to share it.

Haunted is when the pain still stays, even after what seems like eternity..

Haunted is when nothing else matters.

Haunted is a longing for something that can never be.

Haunted is when you want to die, but have to live.

Haunted is just a permanently empty place, in your heart.

Haunted is where I am, right now.

© Ps

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The stranger (writers island 3)

The prompt this time at writers island is 'The stranger'. This is my piece.

The stranger

Really sorry--I have had to remove this post as it will soon appear in a book. Making it available online would have been very unfair to my publisher who has placed so much trust in me. I hope you enjoy the other posts as much as you enjoyed this one. A heartfelt thanks for your support and understanding.Thanks for continuing to read what I write.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

No magic pills

There is SO MUCH written about weight loss. Weight loss industry in India alone, stands at about Rs.8000 crores (1 crore =10 millions) Every day, when I open the newspaper, there are at least 5 advertisements for weight loss and fitness. There are many which charge you for the number of kilos you want to lose!
Almost all my friends are trying to lose weight. They ask me how I manage to be, the way I am, despite having two kids and despite being 35. (I am 5 ft 4 inches tall & weigh 53 kgs which is about 117 pounds) When I say that I watch what I eat and I work out, they say “Oh!—but YOU don’t need to work out. You never put on weight.”
Excuse me!!! EVERYONE puts on weight (yes—I have had my share of battles with the bulges too.) and I NEED to work out. Isn’t prevention better than cure?
Somehow, I am paranoid about putting on weight. I watch my weight carefully and the moment it goes to 54, I step up my work out and eat healthier. (more fruits, less fried stuff etc )
It is no picnic to try and lose even 1 kg. It is an uphill task—literally. Theoretically it is easy. Everything you eat, has calories. Calories are burnt for every single activity that you do, including sleeping.—If you burn more calories than you consume, you will naturally lose weight. It is that simple. The rate at which you burn calories is called Basic metabolic rate. You can do many things to boost your metabolic rate. This article is a good one.

There are no easy methods—there are no short cuts. If you starve yourself, you will end up with saggy skin and hair loss—not to mention other ailments caused by lack of nutrition. If you work out too much and not eat right, you will again fall ill. What is most disappointing is that you do not get instant results. It will take at least a week to ten days, to lose even 500 grams.(unless you go on crash diets—which are not healthy)

Personally, I don’t go to any gym. I have a professional treadmill at home. On most days, for half an hour, my view is this.(After this I do a bit of yoga and ab-crunches)

Since treadmill can get monotonous and boring, I usually use my mobile and text friends. Or I watch an interesting movie on my DVD, while on the treadmill. (The experts call it the disassociating effect—where you switch off from what you are doing) I also have weights at home, though I confess I haven’t touched them ever since I got back, from my holiday.

My brother has been a great influence on me, when it comes to fitness.(He is a fitness maniac, into body building and I have seen the amount of dedication and care he takes. He has a very high pressure corporate job, yet makes time for fitness) He once told me “Don’t compare to yourself to your next door neighbour or friends. Your role models should be somebody you really admire.” I told him that the ones I really admire are celebrities and they have an army of servants to take care of their children and also have personal trainers. He told me to not use that as an excuse and see what I could achieve, given my ‘limitations’.
Today, I am happy I took his advice.
If you want to lose weight, the first thing is to accept that it is tough and is going to take a LOT of hardwork. Second is to eat healthy. Third is to drag yourself to workout, even on days that you don’t feel like it. The last is to persist, persist and persist.

Good luck!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Moms are always special

Mothers—Aren’t they darlings?

I never understood my own mother, till I became a mom. When I was expecting my first child, I had absolutely no clue what it all involved. As I went from stage to stage, realization dawned on me for the first time, that this is exactly what my mother must have gone through, when she was having me. My respect for her increased hundredfold. Instantly.

When I was in college and she worried about me when I got home late, I used to laugh at her concern and tell her not be paranoid. When my own two, started going to school, I understood exactly why she worried.

When she used to proudly tell her close friends about my achievements in sports as well as academics, I used to be embarrassed and insist that she should NOT talk about me. Now that I have my own children, I know just how much it must have meant to her.

When she used to stay up the whole night, just because I had a fever, I used to tell her to stop being fussy, and it was only a fever, for God’s sake. Now, when the slightest cough, from one of my kids wakes me and I am at their bedside, in a jiffy, I understand why my mom could not sleep.

I had got this in an email forward and I could so relate to it---as all mothers can, I guess.

You Know You're a Mom When...

You count the sprinkles on each kid's cupcake to make sure they're equal.

You find yourself cutting your husbands' sandwiches into cute shapes.

You can't bear to give away baby clothes - it's so final.

You stop criticizing the way your mother raised you.

You hire a sitter because you haven't been out with your husband in ages, then spend half the night checking on the kids.

You have time to shave only one leg at a time.

You hide in the bathroom to be alone.

Your kid throws up and you catch it. Someone else's kid throws up at a party. You keep eating.

You use your own saliva to clean your child's face.

You've mastered the art of placing large quantities of pancakes and eggs on a plate without anything touching.

You cling to the high moral ground on toy weapons; your child chews his toast into the shape of a gun.

You hope ketchup is a vegetable, since it's the only one your child eats.

Your feet stick to the kitchen floor, and you don't care.
You no longer object to cold pizza for breakfast.

Your purse is crammed with emergency toys, candy and first aid supplies.

You can talk on the phone, pack a lunch & breast feed all once.

You wonder why it was you ever feared being alone.

You spend an entire week wearing sweats.

You can remove chewing gum from just about anything. You say at least once a day, "I'm not cut out for this job", but you know you wouldn't trade it for anything.

The older one gets, the more one realizes how precious these relationships are and how short life really is. Many a time, you don’t realize the value of what you have, till you lose it. (click here for a detailed explanation)

My mom lives in Kerala, which is about 1200 kilometers, from where I live. I speak to my mom every single day. Sometimes, several times—just a short call to tell her that I am thinking of her and I love her. Today too, I did—but today is special, because it is her birthday.

Happy birthday, Mom! When I reach your age, if I am half as pretty as you and half as courageous as you, and I do half as good a job as you did in raising your kids (wink!) I would truly be thrilled!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Message in a bottle (Writers island 3)

The prompt for Writers island this time, is 'Message in a bottle'. I had made a painting (Oil on canvas) nearly 12 years back--and it seems apt for this poem I wrote, as my entry for this prompt.

Message in a bottle.

Past washed ashore
In bits unseen,
Snatched glimpses,
Of what could have been.
Perhaps life would
Have taken a different turn,
Had you felt my pain,
And seen me yearn.
Bottled up now
And thrown to the sea,
I wait no more,
Yet I am never free.
© Ps

Sunday, October 14, 2007

My laptop went on a date!

Of all the electrical and electronic appliances that reside in my home, my laptop probably is the most hardworking!

So it was only inevitable that she (yes --the laptop is definitely a she—Can any male endure such harsh treatment, unintentional neglect and so much work?!) wanted a break. So off she went, on Tuesday night, with a total stranger (the software engineer who had come over to take her on a ‘date’) riding pillion, in his backpack. She did not even look back. (Sigh!)

She was supposed to be back on Thursday morning. But I think she was having too much of a good time. 4 frantic calls to the software engineer (The rogue refused to answer two of my calls.) and I came to know that she would be coming back ‘for sure’ on Friday morning. Friday went by.

The calls multiplied to 16.( They have a way of increasing in geometric progressions, when interlaced with panic and internet withdrawal symptoms—not to mention a gnawing worry, that SHE had been kidnapped)

Pukka madam—aaj raat tak ho jayega ” The software engineer assured me. ( a rough translation for my non-Hindi speaking friends "Sure m’am. It shall be done by tonight")

She finally came back to me, on Saturday night. Like all of us, she too had a holiday hangover. She refused to connect to the net. She had to be coaxed (read configured) by another software engineer, who managed after a great effort, to convince her, that she has to get back to reality!

So here I am, blogging away-- (oh, how I missed it!) and a bit annoyed that my intentions of updating my blog every other day, took a break because of my laptop. But when I think that she has been upgraded to 160GB (from an earlier 40GB) and is now ‘performing’ so much better (the icing on the cake being that all the earlier data has been transferred into her new hard drive too) I feel happy.

Also, since she takes a break only once in four years or so (I don’t even remember when was the last time she took one.) I guess, it is forgivable!

See you more often now! (Unless she decides to go on a strike.)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Renewal (Writers Island 2)

The prompt for Writers Island this week, is "Renewal". Here is what I have to say on it.


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They say you have to reinvent yourself every seven years, in order to not stagnate, and in order to grow—emotionally and psychologically.

Whether we like it or not, we all grow older, as each second ticks by. As children, we are constantly discovering things. We are growing –both physically and mentally. There is so much to learn and so much to do.

As adults, we seem to have seen it all and done it all. Very often, we define ourselves by our work identities. “I am John and I am a senior Vice president at Microsoft” or “I am Lina, and I head HR at Glaxo.” Somehow I feel, this work identity seems hollow—simply because you do not get to know the person underneath. Also, if your identity is your job, it is frightening to think what happens if you get laid off or retire.

I know of many mothers who gave up corporate jobs to be stay-at-home-moms and then sank into depression, as they felt they were ‘doing nothing’. The present day society places so much of emphasis on being productive—and ‘Being productive’ here, is equated to whether or not the activity generates income. I have met many women, especially in my country, who apologetically confess to being ‘just a housewife’. Their identities seem to be “Wife of so and so, and mother of so and so.” I cannot understand why they feel apologetic. The work they are doing cannot be measured in terms of money. They are running a home and raising a child. What an enormous responsibility, that by itself is! Hats off to these women who have the courage to be what they are and do not juggle a career, home and kids , just to ‘prove’ that they are not ‘mere housewives.’ (Somehow I hate the word ‘housewife’. “Home maker” would be more appropriate.”)

Why should we reinvent ourselves if we are content to be who we are? I say, it is because you do not know what lies on the other side, till you spread your wings and look. We have to shake ourselves out of our comfort zones and push ourselves, to discover what we are capable of.

They don’t have to be big things. You could make a start, by renewing a hobby that you gave up when you started working. You could renew old friendships that somehow took a back seat when you got busy or moved to a different town.

I would say even something like completely changing the way you dress,(try wearing fiery red, if you have always worn pastel shades) or getting a new hairstyle (if you have had the same one for years) would be a good start.

Have you reinvented yourself in the last few years? Have you done something completely different? I would love to hear what you have done.

As for me, I was completely different 10 years back, from what I am today.(and I am happy about the change). I’ll tell you about myself, but after I hear yours!

And if you haven’t done anything what are YOU going to renew? (and please don't tell me you are going to renew that library book or your club membership! You know that's not what I mean!!) :-)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

And sometimes dreams come true.

Some things leave you with an ache, a longing and deep despair to hold on to them, even as they slip through your fingers, like sand on a beach. My meeting with Niall and my holiday was one such thing.

Niall already wrote about it—you can read it here.

For me too, it was a like a dream come true. I couldn’t believe that I was actually inside this dream, and this dream in reality, is a reality! I was interacting with Jan, for the first time and I felt I had known her all my life. My kids too got along with Annie really well.

Niall gifted me EIGHT of his pictures. I just couldn’t take my eyes of them. Seeing them ‘in the flesh’ (as he puts it) is something else. The prints that he has of his pictures, are such high quality that you cannot distinguish at all, between the prints and the originals. They are incredible. He had inscribed them, and it makes it so special. He later told me that he has given his originals to very few people--and I felt so honoured to be among those few.

At the hotel room, when he took them out, I asked him which one was for me.
He said “All of them.” I was speechless. His pictures are simply Sui generic, outstanding, brilliant. I feel so proud to own so many of them—that too inscribed. These paintings are treasured so much and always will be.

Sometimes words are simply not enough, to express the depth of a friendship, a relationship or an emotional bonding that transcends all bondaries. If you find a friend like that, you must do everything to hold on to it.I feel really fortunate to be blessed with such friends.

We were there for about nine days. We did all the touristy things. Went to all the places worth going to. (or at least what the tourist brochures say are worth going to!) For me, more than these places, it was the chance that I got to actually gaze at Van Gogh and Rene Magritte (my favourite artists) ,Georges Suerat (along with Niall, at the National gallery) , Manet and Monet and many others. I never thought that I’d ever get an oppotunity to see all these paintings. Niall remarked that it is like meeting old friends. I couldn’t agree more. These images were so familiar, having grown up, gazing at prints of these pictures, and even copying some-- and suddenly here they were—the originals.

When all of us were walking outside, Big Ben, Niall said to Atul (my 9 year old) that the inscription on the clock, just under the clock face, says that the last person to go to bed has to wind it up. Atul and I actually looked up to see if it actually said that.(you never know—with the English sense of humour, they actually might have something like that!) A second later I realised he was joking and I burst out laughing. Jan quickly clarified to Atul that Niall was only joking, and the inscription was in Latin.

We went to Cambridge too—that was a stunning , magnificent and a picturesque town. It deserves a whole new post, and I shall write about it soon.

Here are some pictures—and I shall drop by your blog soon to see what you have been upto!

Monday, September 24, 2007

I will be back!

Hello there!

Excited, excited as I am going on a vacation. I leave tonight.I am going here and will also be meeting him!

I get back on October 4th.I leave you with a crystal ball that will answer your questions!(if you don't like the answer it gives, just keep trying till it gives you one you like!) :-)

Good luck! And see you when I get back!


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Another tag.

This time, Vidya tagged me. And I told her I would do it later. (usually I keep up my word!) So here it is...

1. Pick out a scar you have, and explain how you got it.
To be honest I have many scars. Collecting them seems to have become a hobby! Here is my last one.(picture was taken when it was still raw. Now it is a fading scar) Can you guess how I got it? Am sure you will NEVER guess!

*Sorry* Have removed picture as it no longer exists.

2. What does your phone look like? List your reasons to buy it?
This is my phone.I didn’t buy it.It was gifted to me on valentines day, three (or was it four--don't remember!) years ago.I continue using it as I have dropped it at least 50 times and it still functions !

3. What is on the walls of your bedroom?
A painting I did and gifted to Satish on one of our anniversaries.This is the one.

4. What is your current desktop picture?
This one. I simply love it.

5. Do you believe in gay marriage?

6. What do you want more than anything right now?
To bring someone I lost, back to me.

7 . What time were you born?
8:40 pm.

8. Are your parents still together?
Nopes—Not in body, but in spirit they are. They would have been, had my dad not died.

9. Last person who made you cry?
Dad.Never thought he’d die this way.

10. What is your favorite perfume / cologne?

I also like “love her madly”

11. What kind of hair/eye color do you like in the opposite sex?
Colour of hair or eyes really doesn’t matter. (Colour of the heart does!)

12. What are you listening to? Why?
Listening to the cricket commentary of India-Australia 20-20 match! Because, I am simultaneously following it, along with my husband and kids who are glued to the TV.

13. Do you get scared of the dark?
No. Never--in fact, sometimes I like dark.

14. Do you like painkillers?
Of course!

15. Are you too shy to ask someone out?
Hell, No! I’m 35!! :-)

16. If you could eat anything right now, what would it be?
Vanilla ice cream with hot chocolate sauce—ain't I predictable?

17. Who was the last person who made you mad?
I don’t bear grudges—I tried hard to remember and I don’t!(that proves I really do not bear grudges)

18. List one habit you have that has the potential to annoy people?
I am really frank and sometimes too honest .I mostly speak my mind.

19. Who was the last person who made you smile?
This friend ...And I am still smiling! :-)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Gift.(Writers Island 1)

Writers Island is a wonderful site that I discovered from Blue’s blog. Every Tuesday they give a prompt. You have to write a story, poem essay or anything you feel apt, on the topic.The topic this time is “The gift”. This is my entry. And hey—it is a true story!
Really sorry--I have had to remove this post as it will soon appear in a book. Making it available online would have been very unfair to my publisher who has placed so much trust in me. I hope you enjoy the other posts as much as you enjoyed this one. A heartfelt thanks for your support and understanding.Thanks for continuing to read what I write.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A timeless love story

This is a painting I made in February 1996. It hangs on the wall, in my mother’s cottage, in Kerala.
It shows Lord Krishna and Radha. Theirs is an immortal love story that that has inspired painters, musicians, poets and artists for centuries. There are thousands of songs and paintings ,dating back to the 16th century,describing and expressing this love affair .It has an element of adultery too--but oh, the passion! The story is indeed timeless and continues to inspire and fascinate people, even in this age.
I was no different. I remember that day, when I made this painting. I was just 24 then and barely 10 months, into my marriage. I hadn’t had my children. I had accompanied Satish, on one of his official trips, to this beautiful place called Hyderabad. He had taken permission from his company, for me to accompany him. We were staying in a luxurious and posh place. He left for work early that morning. I was free, to do what I pleased-- to explore the city on my own or just laze around. We had decided that once he completed his work, we would go to see some places together—otherwise I would go on my own to some art museums and galleries.

That morning, I was sipping my tea and browsing through the well stocked collection of books and I came across this image. It was compelling, fascinating and alluring. I simply loved it. I felt this intense urge to copy it. It was a small image.(perhaps 8cms by 6cms) I wanted to recreate it and paint it much bigger.

I always carry my art supplies, when I travel. I can never say when I am seized by this uncontrollable urge to paint. That morning I was.

I spent the whole day painting this picture.(The finished painting is about 2 feet by 1 and a half feet) I did not budge till I completed it. I did not even take a break to eat. I was so engrossed in it.

When Satish came back from work that evening, that’s how he found me—huddled over the painting, ecstatic about how it had turned out—and very very hungry!

It has been 11 years since I made that painting. Looking at it, transports me back in time. It definitely is not easy to resist a good love story! ;-)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Blessings big and small--happy ganesh chathurti

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Today is Vinayak chaturthi—an important Hindu festival. To put it simply, it means it is the birthday of Lord Ganesh.
In the state where I stay, it is celebrated on a very grand scale. There are beautiful idols everywhere. The whole city reverberates with beats of the drum. People dance in front of elaborately decorated ‘pandals’.There is no equivalent of a pandal in English language—One has to see it to understand what it is. At best, it can be described as decorated raised wooden structure, on which Ganesha is housed, in all his splendour –majestic and towering with offerings of incense, flowers and fruits surrounding him like a sea.There are pandals in every nook and cranny in my city right now.The mood is festive. Today, I read in the newspapers that even in Paris, Ganesh festival was celebrated.
Click here to know more.

On a slightly different note---when it rains it pours!

So many people are being really kind to me—and I’m feeling happy about it. One should always be thankful for kindness and blessings—big and small.

First it was Akanksha who nominated my blog for schmooze award.This was sometime in August.

Then Rayne from Crunchy bits nominated my blog for Outstanding blog of the week. Apart from her blog she has a fabulous story site “So many stories

She said something really nice about me—click here and scroll down to week of August 27th, if you want to see what she said.

Then Marja of ‘Dutchcorner’ nominated my blog for ‘totally fabulous’ award.

And today I had a nice surprise when Gillian of ‘Indigo blue’ mentioned my blog for Blog day award. Blog day happens just once a year—and I feel honoured that Gillian mentioned me.

Mentioning all these awards was long overdue—but somehow I kept putting it off, as I had so much to share. I still do—but I guess those will be in posts to come.

Today I bow my head to Ganesh ,the remover of all obstacles.(i loved the symbolism explained in this picture.Click to enlarge.If it does not enlarge click here ) I wish you a happy Ganesh chaturti—even if you do not celebrate it, may all the obstacles in your path be removed.

Surely—that is something nobody can deny wanting!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Do you wanna partner?!!

One of the fringe benefits of having kids is that they are a great de-stressor (when they aren’t stressing you out that is!)

Yesterday, my two, invented this ridiculous game, which had all of us, rolling on the floor with laughter. The game involved a current bollywood number which is topping the charts. The song is choreographed in such a way, that the dance steps involved itself, makes one smile. It stars one my favourite stars-- Salman Khan (I find him really good at comedy. My husband insists that it is only his well toned body that appeals to me!) It also stars Govinda who is well known, in India, for his comedy sequences.

This is the song that I’m talking about.

The rules of the game were simple. All of us had to dance in turns, to this song individually. (and copy the steps in the song!) Suddenly, any one of the audience, would shout 'freeze' and we had to freeze at once, in that very posture. If you laughed or moved you were out!

None of us lasted more than 10 seconds!!
Getting out was really worth it! And I’m laughing uncontrollably, as I type this. If I wasn’t laughing so hard, I’d have clicked pictures. But if you watch the song and imagine me and the kids dancing like this and freezing, I think you’ll agree that the pictures wouldn’t have done justice!

Monday, September 10, 2007

From the heart

Hi there,
How are you all doing? I got back yesterday (see previous post) and this is a picture I clicked in kerala at my mom's house.Somehow it seemed apt for what I'm going to tell you.

This is a note from the heart. A heartfelt, deep and a sincere thanks to all those who cared enough to leave comments on whatever I wrote. A big thank you, to all those who wrote such encouraging words. A big thank you to all of you, who continue to read what I have to say.

You have no idea how much your words have helped me .When I first started this blog (click here to read my first post) I had no idea what to expect. Many people , whom I thought were good friends, suddenly became very busy when I called to tell about my loss. Maybe they had no idea what to say. Till then, I had always been the laughter generator, the life of the party, the clown, the bubbly, enthusiastic, jovial, ever smiling, ever ready fun person. Suddenly I wanted to share something a bit more deep. I was hurting, I wanted to talk—and to my total shock, many turned away.

I realized then, that I had indeed been na├»ve to consider them friends. I was just amusement for them—and till such time I was witty, clever and smart they wanted to be with me. But they couldn’t handle my sorrow (perhaps it was too deep).

In desperation, I turned to blogging. Looking back, it was one of the best things to have happened. I met so many genuine people who have gone on to become good friends in real life. The encouragement and comments I received from all of you helped me tremendously. It did not lessen the pain—but it made me realize that I was not alone and there were many like me. It helped me understand better. All of you helped me reach out.

Thanks for caring. Thanks for sharing and above all, a big thank you for being there.
I shall visit your blogs soon.
With love

Monday, September 03, 2007

A journey.

Kerala, known the world over as God’s own country, true to its well earned sobriquet, is a magical place. I must have been there more than a hundred times --(as my dad and mom both grew up in this place) as a child and as an adult. (Had written a post about it once. Click here to read it and click on 'kerala' for official website) My mom, still lives there, in a very picturesque cottage, surrounded by a lovely garden that she tends to, herself. It is picture perfect, serene, peaceful and an oasis for city wracked nerves. Here are some pictures. (yes--that's my mom,kids and me in the pics)

This is however, the first time, that I will be going there alone. All by myself. No parents, no sibling, no husband, no kids. It is a journey I have to make. And I want to make. I’m going there to meet my mom and spend a few days with her. I don’t want her to be alone on September 7th.It was last year on this day that my dad died. It has been exactly a year since I went back to Kerala.

In a way, I was running. Each and everything there, holds too many precious, happy memories. Each turn that the road takes is going to remind me of something my dad said or how he once drove on these roads. Many of the trees that he planted there (and they have a beautiful garden) is going to painfully remind me of his loving hands that tended them. The river where he taught me to swim, the small shop where he used to buy me lemon sodas, the rubber estates where we used to have our walks, the kids to whom he used to teach conversational English—I’ll have to face all of it.
The place where they stay is a tiny village and my dad was a well known figure there. Whenever, we ‘city dwellers’ visit, there is always excitement and curiosity generated.
Nobody there understands or speaks English, and my kids and I are always, a ‘novelty’ when we visit. The people are very friendly and sweet. They had gathered in multitudes when my dad passed away and had helped so much. At that time I was in no frame of mind to even talk.This time I will have to.

I used to think that one truly becomes an adult when one has one’s own child. But now I feel that somehow, you grow up, when you lose a parent.

I did.