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.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
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!!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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! )