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?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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.