Monday, December 26, 2011

A rose in december

There is this rose bush in my garden, which I planted with a lot of love. For months and months, I waited. I had no idea what the flower would be like. I would watch it somedays and wonder why it wasn't blooming. I had done everything right--the manure, the watering, the sunlight. I .had done everything I could. There was nothing more I could do really.

After a  few months I gave up thinking about it and it just stood there, sullen , defiant and almost mocking me. There were a few insect eaten leaves and I dutifully sprayed  a herbal bug repellant.

It made me think that sometimes, relationships are like that. You want it so badly but the other person does not respond and there is nothing you can do really. You learn to live with it.

When I left for Bentota (to celebrate my birthday) it did not have a single bud on it. Or if it did, I did not notice. I had nurtured it so much for so many months, and had got nothing in return that I had stopped noticing it even. It was just a part of the foliage in my garden.

But this morning I had a marvelous surprise.  Yes, it had finally bloomed, rewarding my months and months of effort.

And what a magnificent flower at that! A single one. A very large one. it stood proudly, like royalty among the Plebeians.

Of course I had to click a picture.




And here is a close-up.



What a lovely little reward for months of effort! And how fleeting and transient--in a few days the flower will be no more. Yet, the joy it brings.
Teaches you a thing or two about living in the moment, doesn't it?



And this picture below, was clicked on 21st December 2011. (My birthday)  I had uploaded it on my personal  FB account  and Shachi was kind enough to praise everything in the picture--she loved the outfit, the shoes and said I looked fab :)

Of course, the show-off that I am,  I had to share this too ;-)



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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Turning forty

Image from  http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
 
Why do people feel a need to hide their ages? And why are people so darn apologetic because they are over a certain age? 

There is so much emphasis associated with age and realms have been written about 'turning forty' and 'turning thirty'. 

My age is something I am darn proud of! I proudly tell my age, if anyone asks.I will be turning forty soon :) Funny how I have had thirty-nine birthdays and yet I still look forward to my birthdays with the same childish enthusiasm and I am still excited about birthdays. ( Who can forget the 'aaj mera happy birthday hai' scene from the movie Rangeela.I am a bit like that) :) Of course, I keep asking my family "What will you get for me on my birthday?" :)

The other day I was speaking to a friend and asked him how old he is. He said he is 42 and added that he is 'over the hill'.
I told him "Maybe you are over the hill, but I have not even climbed it yet!" 

And honestly that is what I truly believe.
Another friend of mine, a yoga instructor completely agrees with me. She is 37 and looks so much younger than her age. She says that it really is the attitude and the way you look at life that matters. And of course Yoga helps :). 

One thing that people constantly tell me is that I do not look as old as I am. (click here for photos).

I have been practising yoga since I was 14. Yoga is truly magic. Yoga (traditional yoga--not the hundreds of versions that have sprung up now) if practised right, does work wonders in reversing aging process. Click here to read a nice article about yoga and reversing aging through yoga. Go here to read about a very inspiring 77 year old  yoga pracitioner.

But I digress. We were talking about age.

Age is simply a number. A hype created by media mostly! At forty I am so much more content, happier and so much more surer of myself than I ever was in my twenties or thirties.

My children are now 14 and 10 and boy am I glad that the toddler and baby days are over! ( I did enjoy both my babies a lot but no way do I want to go back to those diaper changing stage!).It is great to have children with whom you can have intelligent discussions about a variety of things and it's great when you learn so many new things from them and they teach you  'to be cool' (pun intended) :D

If one has invested well in fitness and health when you are in your twenties and thirties, then it is time to start reaping the benefits in your forties. If you are in your twenties or thirties, I can't emphasize enough how important it is to take care of your diet, your health and do some amount of physical exercise everyday. (get up an hour earlier if you say you don't have time). Yeah, boring, I know! But anything worth having involves a lot of hard work :) (and a lot of discipline too!) 

This birthday of mine, I will be celebrating on the beaches of Bentota.  (yay! Really looking forward to it):) (yes, I plan to click lots of photos and yes, I will share).

See you when I get back! Enjoy your Christmas hols!
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Random rants--Ten things that annoy me.



Image courtsey:Freedigital photos


Mostly this blog is about positivity, laughter, living life to the fullest and all good things. Rarely, very rarely, do you find rants here.
I am no Buddha even though I have learnt to smile Buddha-like at most things. Yeah, sixteen years of marriage, two kids, one husband and a very large dog does that to you. :)

But myths must be shattered and so I thought I'd post ten of my pet peeves--stuff that makes me see red and takes away that cloak of Buddha-ness and turns me into a shade of the colour you get when you cross a Cruella de Vil with Miranda priestly, mostly in a non-lesbian sense. (Stop salivating, all you men out there and some women too. Heh heh)

Here are ten things that irk me in no particular order really.(but hey, they had to be numbered and arranged in some order). And fortunately for me at no point in time do my one husband, two kids or one very large dog indulge in any of the following :-)


1.People who talk loudly and pass comments while watching a movie at a multiplex.

I told off a burly looking Sardar who couldn’t keep his mouth shut when I watched ‘Ladies versus Ricki behl’ and to my surprise he cowered down and obliged by stuffing his mouth with pop-corn and not speaking for the rest of the duration of the movie. I should have done it sooner. Had the  offender not listened to me, there was nothing I could have done—except maybe put him in a book and killed him.


Ha! I knew it—there has to be some advantage of being a writer.

2.Gluttony and bad table manners

It somehow puts me off. People who eat with their mouths open and some people who eat like there is going to be a famine in the next few hours and some other people who seem to have the appetite of Ghatotkacha and a bulging belly to match are a big turn off for me. Eat to live not live to eat—that is what will score you brownie points—which will be taken away if you gobble all the twelve brownies ;-)

3. SMS lingo

Ppl hu cnt b bthred 2 type prply do nt dsrve 2 be rd.

Aaaaargh! I have worked myself up trying to type the above! Use the T9En option people! I got  mails, full bodied e-mails written in the above lingo. I refuse to even read them. You want to me reply, at least make that effort to write properly.

4. People who say “I have been soooooo busy. Let me see if I can catch up with you in Feb/March or maybe June” (substitute a date which is 3 or more months later) when you invite them over.

If you have been busy, I have been busier! Go take a hike! Fact is all of us are equally busy. If something is important to you, you WILL make time for it, no matter what. If someone does not call you or someone does not want to keep in touch, it is not because they are soooooo busy—it is simply because you aren’t important enough for them to ‘make time’ to talk you. I refuse to buy the “I am too busy” excuse.

 If you are so busy, so be it! There are some of us, less busy folks ;-)

5. People who break promises or do not keep up their word.

Call me childish or old fashioned but I do think keeping up one’s word does mean something. I hate people who promise to be there for you but tuck their tail and run at the first hint of ‘trouble’. I hate people who do not mean what they say and who just say it for the sake of saying it.

6. Bad body odour and personal hygiene.


Gosh! What can I say?  You do not have to use an expensive Versace (ooh, I do love that fragrance) but people who smell are a huge turn off for me. Can’t you bathe (even with an ordinary Hamam soap is ok!) and wear clean clothes? My house help (who is an elderly lady who must be around fifty) turns up everyday for work in pristinely clean clothes and neatly combed hair and a smile on her face. I do appreciate it hugely.
So when I see people who sometimes turn up for work with gunk in the eyes and eye crusties—that is a gigantic YUCK from me. I will definitely run a mile. Actually twenty miles.

7. People who make remarks about my accent or way of speaking and then try to ‘guess’ which part of India I am from.


I constantly moved as a child and have studied in various Kendriya Vidyalayas all over India. I speak seven languages and I can read and write in three of them. When a person listens to me accent and then says ‘Oh, your accent sounds like you are from ___________” (insert whatever state they presume), I truly feel like slapping them hard and telling them that making a personal comment like that is downright rude! Respond to whatever I am saying instead of commenting on my accent! (and yeah if you want to hear what I sound like you can listen to my radio indigo interview)
I am unapologetic about my accent. For the record, I can do a Brit accent and an American accent too but I prefer my own :-) My Brit friends have no problems understanding anything I say in my own accent and I will stick to it till the day I take up a job in a call centre :P :) .


8. People who do not take care of books and people who ask to borrow my books.


I do not lend my books. If I have to borrow books, I borrow only from the library and I have no qualms about refusing to lend. I do take very good care of my books. I value them, I treasure them. I detest people who handle books badly, use their saliva to turn pages (YUCK) and fold the pages instead of using bookmarks. They truly should be banned from reading! How dare they?!

9. People who judge others without ever walking in their shoes.

I know some people who pass judgments on others without ever really trying to look at it from the other person’s point of view. Of course apart from obviously heinous crimes there are so many shades of gray in life. It is never black or white. There is never ‘completely right’ or ‘completely wrong’. No matter how thin you slice it there are always two sides.

10. People who steal and copy and also people pass off good lines as their own on social networking sites.

Some people put famous lines from books without even mentioning the book or author and pretend they made it up. Recently someone used a line from the book Shantaram without mentioning it was by Gregory Davids or without even mentioning the book.
I have a problem with dimwits who do this.I love quotes and I don’t mind someone putting up an inspiring quote provided they mention who said it or which movie it is from.
I also abhor plagiarists and if you say imitation is a form of flattery I would rather not be flattered!

So these are my pet peeves.  What are yours? :)
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ps:  My third book will be out in Feb. Follow my FB page for details. 

Addendum: Totally loved this comment by Suma:

Preeti, uff the perks of being an author, people don't want you to have peeves any more...

I see from the comments, that there are a few who don't agree with your rant, but as far i understand, this post was about something which YOU disliked.

it's like saying that you hate the color green and you have 10 people insisting that you should like green because it is such an environmentally cool color!

erm..coming back to the post, most peeves are mine too, I also hate it when i tell people my name and they mostly extend it to more than it is!



Saturday, December 10, 2011

Results of the handmade card giveaway

Here are the results of the handmade card giveaway of my 600th post!

I used  random number generator to pick five 'winners'.

Here are the numbers it threw up--71, 18, 3, 27 and 65.

 Here are the names! (it was fun to put faces to the lucky numbers!)

71.Jaanaki Shanker

18.Trupti

3.Gayu

27. Ramya Ranganathan

65. Soorya

Do send me your postal address and I shall send you the cards!! :)

Thanks all of you for taking part :)
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You can interact with me on my Facebook page if you have something to say and don't want to comment here!


Monday, December 05, 2011

This is how I work :)


Yeah, this is how I work! :)This picture was clicked just a few minutes ago.


Am doing some research for my fourth book. Lostris is happy as long as she can stick like a velcro to me :)


She is my shadow. She follows me wherever I go. She hates being away from me and is happiest if I am nuzzling her. Her birthday is on Dec 16th :) She will be One! (yeah she is just a pup)


Isn't she gorgeous?  And we work really well as a team :)


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ps: My third book will be out in Feb! Follow my Facebook page for release date and details.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Some news and a really difficult tag

First  some nice news from my end. I have been invited for the Jaipur Literary Fest and yes I am attending :) *Big beam on face*
If you happen to be in jaipur on 20th and 21st of Jan, come and say a hello  and tell me you looooove my writing and you will make someone verrrry verrry happy :)

Second the other news from Blogosphere. Reflections, on of my favourite bloggers tagged me, a very very difficult tag. I cannot say no to her. Especially after she said
"She needs no introduction….writer, artist, mom, blogger all rolled into one. I love all her posts except for the ones where she posts her pictures. I tell you nobody has the right to look so sexy when they are touching 40;-(. And nope, before u ask..nope she wont be mad at me for telling her age. Atleast I think she won't. She's not like that. I'm very sure she won't. Oh dear....."
 How can I NOT retaliate now? (and of course I have to show off  too, so Reflections--this picture, clicked in May this year, is just for you!) *posts pic and runs away* :D




Now for the very difficult  tag:

Rules:
1) Blogger is nominated to take part

2) Blogger publishes his/her 7 links on his/her blog – 1 link for each category.
The links are:
- Your most beautiful post
– Your most popular post
– Your most controversial post
– Your most helpful post
– A post whose success surprised you
– A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved
– The post that you are most proud of

3) Blogger nominates up to 5 more bloggers to take part.


4) These bloggers publish their 7 links and nominate another 5 more bloggers

5) And so it goes on!


It's really hard to choose from 600 posts! (and in case you missed it, I am doing a handmade card giveaway for my 600th. Just scroll down and read my previous post.)
But if I have to choose, I'd choose these:

My Most beautiful post:  Well, most of my good posts have already been taken off as they are going into my books and therefore I am not including them. So from the remaining if I had to choose my most beautiful post, it would be  this one: A tribute to one of the coolest people I have ever known
My most popular post: How do I judge which was the most popular--is it by page views or comments left? I am going with the number of comments option because, most bloggers thrive on comments. Comments is our currency :) If you are a true blue blogger you will understand that statement. I am also only counting the posts published in 2011 for this (the rest are so old and besides it will take me forever to go back that long!)My most which got the maximum number of comments in 2011 was my 500th post:

My most controversial post:  Just because I endorsed Steve Pavlina's views, a lot of people were shocked. Then they went on a volley of comments to vociferously say they beg to differ--which is fine for them! I am a total non-conformist and I do think marriages are a LOT of bloody hard work! And honestly if satish wasn't this nice, i would have run away long back!
My most controversial post has to be this one: Marriage and its other implications.
My most helpful post:  All my posts are helpful--don't you agree?  :-) I guess if I had to pick one post I would pick this:  A pencil portrait and what goes into it.
A post whose success surprised you: Whenever I look at which post gets the maximum hits by search terms and maximum traffic, I am so surprised to find that it is this post: Doodle Art
Whoever thought!

A post you feel didn't get the attention it deserved: I truly could not think of any post which went here, but if I had to pick one, I guess I would pick this poem: Slicing the Silence
I guess the suicide reference and chop on the wrist scared away most people :D heh heh.

The post you are most proud of:  I am proud of almost all my posts! (yeah vain me :D ) But I have to pick one and I know this post brought comfort to a lot of people:

Now to tag 5 people;
I tag


He makes even a person who is not the least bit interested in Corporate world, read his blog. He writes a superb business blog and he always does my tags! :P When I was in the UK, whatever I heard on the BBC radio, would coincidentally be the next post on Ramesh's blog. After I moved to India, I stopped listening to the BBC (desi Boyz are better ;-)) . Instead, I just read Ramesh's blog :)


She is just discovering the joys of motherhood and is a working professional based in the US of A. She always comments on my posts and is now a friend too.





Her no holds barred way of writing and expressing her love for me and surprising me with cards and texts--awww..I just had to tag her :)



 She writes well and needs to write more in her blog!



I absolutely love her blog.


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Ps: My third book will be out in February! (Yay!!) It is being published by Random House! :) Please follow my Facebook page for details!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

600th post and a giveaway of handmade cards!

The last time I had done a handmade card giveaway on this blog, there was an amazing response! This my SIX HUNDREDTH post!! I cannot believe the places my blog has taken me and the amazing friendships I have made through my blog in different countries. To celebrate my 600th post, I have made these five cards. Four of them are quilled. (My latest fascination. I learnt how to quill recently)





I would be giving away all these five cards to five different people. If you want me to sign it, I can sign it for you, else I can leave the inside blank so that you have a handmade card to sent to anyone special in your life who deserves it! You just have to leave a comment on this post for a chance to win. I shall just use a random number generator to pick five numbers--so when you leave a comment, just begin the comment with your comment number. (Person who comments first is No.1, next one No.2 and so on)

You like them?  Want them?

You know what to do! :)
And FB comments are not eligible for this card giveaway! This one is for all those who take the trouble to write me such lovely comments!

I shall announce the five names on 10th December!
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ps: You can interact with me on my Facebook page if you have something to say and don't want to comment here!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A beautiful gift.

Something truly beautiful happened to me last Thursday.

Here is the story in pictures.





 Guto Paganotti  is an engineer and is also a  part of a vocal group in his city 'Madrigal in Casa'. The music he sent me was by his choir.

It was soul stirring--such beautiful msic which transports you to a different place altogether.

I cannot possibly embed the whole CD here but if you want  sample of what kind of music it is,
click HERE

And you know what was the MOST special thing about this gift he sent me?
His mother knitted it by hand!(she loved my first book and was moved when she read it)

ps: Guto later told me that his mother made it for my daughter but I can wear it too :)
How sweet is that!

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You can interact with me on my Facebook page.  I reply to almost all comments and I check it very regularly. I do read all the comments left here too  and manage to reply most of the time even if slightly late :)



Sunday, November 20, 2011

Notebooks for thoughts and doodles

Any place that I travel to, anywhere I go, the one thing that always catches my eye is any shop that sells stationery. I have a wide range of notebooks collected from my travels to different places all over the world. I hoard them like a miser hoards his treasure. I love the texture of handmade paper. I love moleskine notebooks, I love nightingale--basically I just love any texture that is sensuous to touch and aesthetically appealing.

My handbag will always have pens and a notebook, and whenever anything strikes me (especially lines for my book that I happen to be working on) I immediately jot them down. My notebooks are filled with my story outlines, descriptions, doodles, poems--anything that is running through my head which I feel is worth capturing.

Right now, this is the one that is next to me .





I had bought it from a street vendor in Mc.Leod Gunj.  This is the first page. Inside, the pages are full of my third book outline, plot, dialogues, planning and more stuff. So I can't show you any more pages until the book is published! :)
It will be out in February !


Yesterday, at the Bangalore book Fair, I bought another notebook--the  you see on the left in the picture below. I also bought a few Stabilo pens.


And naturally,  notebooks like these and pens right there beside them, it just beckons me (well actually screams at me) to do something with them!

I did not realise that the brown notebook was ruled as it was packaged. I usually buy only unruled ones, but what the heck! It is  a nice notebook.

This is what I did:

 
 
And then I did this:
 
 
 



Notebooks--oh I would be so darn lost without them!

Psssst:  So you now know what to gift me on my birthday. (It is next month) ;-) Heh heh.
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You can interact with me on my Facebook page.  I reply to almost all comments and I check it very regularly. I do read all the comments left here too  and manage to reply most of the time even if slightly late :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Seven lies we tell ourselves

Almost all of us are guilty of lying to ourselves. Why do we do it? Why do we fool ourselves?
Mostly because it is a easy way out. The hard hitting truth is, most of us are lazy. We want the path of least resistance. We want things to happen easily. The second reason we do it is out of fear. Most of us are so afraid of change. We fear the unknown. We fear rejection. We fear failure.

Over the years, I have discovered that many a time I too have been guilty of telling little white lies to myself--but that does not definitely make it okay! I am happier when I face the truth and take action on what I can act upon.

Here are seven white lies we all tell ourselves:


1.If only __________(fill in suitably) came back to my life, I would be happy : After my books became best-sellers, hundreds of people have written to me lamenting over a love lost. Sometimes the person would have walked out. Sometimes they would have dumped somebody. They keep feeling that if things went back to what they used to be, they would be happier.

For me, I faced my biggest personal loss when I lost my father(who meant the world to me) all of a sudden in 2006. There had not been a single day when I would not have spoken to my father on the phone. He was hale, hearty, healthy. And then in a moment he was no more. For nearly two years I was totally stricken by grief, so much that I felt debilitated. I kept thinking that if only dad was around, I would be happy.

Even to this day, I cannot deny that there are days when I miss him a such lot that it almost hurts physically, especially when I achieve so much success and he is not there to share it, but I also now recognize, how my life has changed because  he was no longer around and because I learnt to ACT, and not keep lamenting.



2. I  would do it if only I had the time: Many of us fool ourselves saying 'I really want to do it, but I do not have the time."  That is a big lie. Truth is time is just an excuse. If you want to do it that badly you will always find the time or make the time. If it is that important to you, you will! You can cut out on your TV viewing time ! (personally I do not watch TV at all and I only watch movies and that too after reading up on IMDB) Or perhaps the time you waste gabbing on the phone? (I do not know what works for you, but when I am writing I do not answer the phone and I do not answer the doorbell too) .We can get up an hour earlier (yeah ,it is okay to get just seven hours of sleep--you wont get any dark circles under your eyes!) if we desperately want to do something.


3.It's okay to be a little bit overweight and to have a beer-belly or love handles, especially if you are married/middle aged/older : It is definitely NOT okay! Personally I know many people who are in their forties,fifties and even seventies who are in TERRIFIC shape. I know a seventy year old who could any day give a twenty five year old stiff competition in fitness.I truly want to be like him when(and if)  I reach his age.

Being healthy and fit does work wonders when it comes to self-esteem (especially in the jealousy department!) It is indeed important to work out and adopt a healthy lifestyle.

A friend of mine once told me "But you are married and a mother of two. You can afford to put on weight." I could have murdered that friend. It is AWFUL to let oneself go, just because one is married or has become a parent.


4. I will get around to it someday, just as soon as ____________ (fill in suitably): This is another lie we tell ourselves.I am guilty of this too.Many a time when i do not want to do something, I find that it is easier to just lie to myself saying I will eventually get around to it  'someday'. The 'someday' never comes and suddenly one finds that YEARS have gone by and now it is impossible to do it. Procrastination is indeed the biggest thief of time. If you want to do it, do it today..Do it now! And no it cannot wait! :)

5. If  only ___________had not happened, I would have been better off: This is again a 'wish it could have been' lament. I was guilty of this too. But then I realised that certain events happened and only because they happened did certain other events happen and though it did cause me a lot of pain, it also helped me GROW, as a person. I learnt so much from it about myself, about people,about life. Today I am more accepting and less resentful about those things that happened which caused me so much grief but which I could do nothing about, but bear it.


6.I have to do  _________________ (fill in suitably)else my partner will get mad at me:This is probably a lie we so cleverly believe that we might find it hard to even accept that we are lying. Fact is we do have a choice. We have a choice to make our partner understand. But it involves confrontation and explaining. Most of us like to avoid that. I have broken off friendships (which caused me pain) simply because I felt too much pressure from the other end to conform to their ideal view of how I should be. I did try (a LOT) to explain, to make the other person see it from my perspective. But I did not succeed. I am happier today because I have been true to myself.
Please realise that I am in no way advocating break-ups just because your partner does not see your point of view!! It would be really foolish to be so presumptive. But I do think that certain things, one HAS to stand up for, if it means a lot to you.


7.I am not talented enough: You are! All it takes is constant practice.Some might argue that how can it be when they do not have even one artistic bone in their body.I would say to such people that you have not found the right teacher. Yes, there is a difference between a natural gift and one that is cultivated..But definitely it CAN be cultivated. For example I am not musical at all. (Satish is very musical and he has a ear for music, he sings well too and can pick up tunes on his own and play the keyboard and guitar). But I did learn to play the key-board and since I did not have a natural gift, I had to work doubly hard, but play it I did.
Same goes for drawing portrait, playing a sport--anything really.
You CAN , if you work hard enough!

So what lie are you going to stop telling yourself today?  If you care to share I am listening.
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You can interact with me on my Facebook page.  I reply to almost all comments and I check it very regularly. I do read all the comments left here too  and manage to reply most of the time even if slightly late :)





Thursday, November 10, 2011

On what it means to be an author

There is no denying it. My life has completely changed over the past four years.

Earlier, whenever I met people and they asked me what I do, my replies would vary from working in an MNC, teaching at a school, running my own art classes, running my own thinking workshops for children, teaching the underprivileged kids English and Math or conducting workshops at schools.(I have done all of those at different points in my life)

But these days, I am a full time writer. (My third book has already been written and will be out in Feb/March. I have already started working on my fourth too). And yes, getting this much success (my second book has consistently been on Hindustan times top ten fiction, it was number one on flipkart best-sellers and even made it to India today lists) has definitely changed my life.

Eighty percent of the people I now meet have either heard of me or of my books. Has that changed me as a person? No! But has it changed how people react to me? YES!

Typically there are two reactions:

1. Their eyes light up, they are over joyed and they feel they are encountering a real celebrity. "Oh my God, I have heard of you!" they exclaim. They stare at me, studying every feature, looking me up and down, while I squirm inwardly and hope that every hair is in place and that I have not suddenly sprouted a horn from the middle of my head.Then they tell me that they have never met an author before and that I am a very interesting person. I thank them politely, secretly wondering what it is that people find fascinating about authors.

2. If they haven't heard of me, they usually ask what I write about. I proudly tell them (oh, I don't miss a chance to boast about my books ;-) ) that both my books are best-sellers, a third and fourth are on the way and blah blah blah. (Well, they asked!) They say 'Oh I want to write a book too.'
I secretly wonder if they even know how many words it takes to write a book! I wonder if they know what  writing an interesting plot, creating believable characters whom you grow to love, writing dialogues that sound real, creating scene after scene to tell your story and then finally getting publishers  and readers to absolutely love what you write, even means. I truly do not want to discourage them and so I do not tell them it is bloody tough to write a book. Writing a book is like standing totally naked under the glare of a hundred harsh tubelights for the world to stare at, and they are free to make any darned comment they like (they paid for your book, didn't they?). It means exposing yourself completely. (any piece of writing that you do does reveal a lot about you as a person). It means developing a really thick skin to negative comments (oh the unbelievably cruel things some people say about my books--it is indeed very hard to just brush it off) and above all, believing that what you write is really going to matter. It is bloody tough.
So I politely smile and say to them, " Oh, that is nice," and I suddenly become interested in something else.

Then there are a third category of people who suddenly re-surface in my life after 10/15 years, thanks to Facebook. "Oh, we never knew you  had it in you to become a best-selling author," they say. ( I too did not know, else I would have written you a notice asking you to treat me with a lot more respect, thank you very much!) Some people from this category, ask me if they can tell their friends that they know me. I truly do not even know what to say, so I ask them to go ahead.Secretly, I am totally flabbergasted, flummoxed, perplexed even. Honestly I am just that same person you used to know all those years ago.

So now, I have finally understood why writers become recluses, why writers do not want to meet people,  and why writers want to run away to a place in the woods and why writers behave in varying degrees like Jack Nicholson in 'As good as it gets'.

But the good part is all the wonderful, warm, deeply moving letters and mails I get. People write to me saying I am an angel, saying my writing gives them hope, saying that they are eagerly awaiting my next book and saying that my words truly changed their lives. Oh, I do love to hear positive feedback. (and I do try and respond to each and every mail at least once..how can I not respond when someone has taken the trouble to write and express and tell me how much my book means to them)

There is only one thing that makes all of this worthwhile--- YOU who are reading this.



 
And I thank you from the bottom of my heart.




Much Love!
Preeti :)

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You can interact with me on my Facebook page.  I reply to almost all comments and I check it very regularly. I do read all the comments left here too  and manage to reply most of the time even if slightly late :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Five maxims to live by.

Over the years certain things I have learnt and accepted have stood me in great stead when things in my life went awfully wrong. Here are five maxims that I live by and swear by!

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1.There is NOBODY who will understand you perfectly except yourself. Not your soul mate, not your best friend, not your parent, not your spouse, not your children..Nobody. Yes, they may understand you up to a large extent, they may say they understand and sometimes you just have to accept that it is good enough.

2.Everybody learns only if they themselves live the lesson. You learn only when you go through it yourself. Your friends may describe what it is like based on what they went through. Your parents may have their own views. But only when one experiences it for oneself does one truly understand. There is no point trying to make someone understand what it really is like, because they have never been there. 

3.Beyond a point you cannot take responsibility for your parents happiness. Your parents are adults. They have made their choices. Yes, they have given birth to you, raised you provided you with everything , but that does not mean you can fix every single thing in their lives and that is truly okay. It is they themselves who are responsible for their happiness or snappiness :P. (you can do what you can and rest one has to let go)

4.Don't expect, instead accept. Most people have their own way of dealing with things and it may be completely different from your own. They may not see things the exact same way YOU do. Two people may see a closed door. One may imagine a beautiful garden which lies beyond and the other might think there is someone imprisoned there. Each of us have our very own closed doors.  Accept it and do not expect people to do what you want them to.

5. Life is truly unpredictable and there is really no telling when it is your last day. (My cousin lost his wife a fortnight back. She was just 35, really hale and hearty and has two kids under the age of 8. She was there in the morning and by evening she was no more. It was a massive shock for all of us) So wear that best dress/ best shirt that you have been conserving for a 'special occasion'. Use that expensive perfume! Make every single day a day to celebrate!

Express what you feel.

Celebrate!
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PS:  You can interact with me on my Facebook page.  I reply to almost all comments and I check it very regularly. I do read all the comments left here too  and manage to reply most of the time even if slightly late :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Heavenly stuff! Apple crumble topped with Vanilla custard sauce

Like I mentioned in my previous post, the children are having their hols and TV is a BIG no-no in our household. (I do not watch TV myself) So naturally the onus of keeping kids creatively occupied, falls on me as I am the stay-at-home parent. There are many things that one can do to make good use of time instead of parking them in front of an X-box or TV.

 Cooking is a great way to keep kids occupied especially if they are allowed to do stuff. Today we made Apple crumble. The Apple crumble turned out really scrumptious! It was heavenly!



Here is a close up of it! (I baked it in a cake tray and made the heart after taking it out while it was still warm)



And this is how it has to be served. You could heat up a little crumble in the microwave and then top it with delicious Vanilla custard sauce. (click on the link to be taken to a very simple easy to make recipe!)You can also serve it with ice cream!




And in case you want to know how we made it--we just followed the  recipe in the link above.

Also you can watch this video 
(and we just used normal red apples.There is no need to use cooking apples as shown in the video)





Try it even if you do not have kids! 
Go ahead, surprise that someone special with Apple crumble over the weekend :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The making of Mr.Moshi:)

The Diwali vacations are on for my children and this morning  my daughter wanted me to do something fun with her. I never say a no for doing anything creative and we made Mr.Moshi (a key chain buddy)  today!

This is how we did it.


You need felt cloth, key ring,yarn and polyfibre stuffing. (Ours came in a kit but you can easily buy all of it in a craft store)



Next we stitched the eye patch and the stomach patch on to  one piece. Then we made a loop from the long rectangular piece and passed the key ring through it. We also kept the ear pieces in before stitching all around and we left a small piece open for stuffing the wadding.




We stuffed the wadding from the side  and we used a pencil to push it all the way into the arms and legs. Then we closed him up by stitching all around.

And Lo Behold! Mr.Moshi came alive before our very eyes! :)

My daughter is delighted with him. So am I :) Now we will never misplace our keys as it's defintitely hard to miss Mr.Moshi :)

Sweet isn't it? (and a brilliant way to keep kids creatively occupied too!)

Try making your own key-chain keeper. (even if you do not have a child!).
Good fun :)
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You can interact with me on my Facebook page.  I reply to almost all comments and I check it very regularly. I do read all the comments left here too  and manage to reply most of the time even if slightly late :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

What it takes to write a book.

Sometime back I had put this as a status update on my Facebook page


It takes two years and months and months of research and hours of writing, re writing and writing and editing to produce a book. And then there are people who read it and TRASH it in a few seconds without even having written one measly article for a newspaper, let alone a book themselves! And they hide under the disguise of 'constructive criticism'. No wonder Christopher Hampton said "Asking a working writer what he feels about critics is like asking a lamp-post what it feels about dogs" :D
This status update of mine got a record number of impressions (3000 +) and likes. 
Often when I meet people, they tell me "I always wanted to write a book." For any one of you who is reading this and who wants to write a book,  this video is a must watch. It tells you exactly like it is.
A writer's job is a very intense job. It is truly not easy to sit alone in a room, just with your computer and your thoughts and keep writing and writing and writing and writing, day in and day out until you have written about 70,000 to 80,000 words that coherently follow a plot and on top of that is interesting, sounds real and it is  written well enough for people to want to read it.

So you can imagine the immense amount of satisfaction I felt last night, as I completed writing my third book. Yes I did! It will still take six months for the book to hit the market. (Yeah, there is that MUCH work involved after writing it!)

Most writers who share their experience on writing say that to be a writer one has to be an introvert as well as an extrovert. You have to be interested enough in people and you have to be really observant. At the same time, you have to be detached enough to translate what you observe into writing. For me, the only way I can do it is by blocking out everything that is not of immediate urgency. When I write, it has to be just me and my characters. I have to step into another world. I have to travel with my protagonist. I have to make that journey to that awful place inside my own head and pull out everything, examine it, analyse it and then pour it into words and temper them with the right amount of emotions.

And at times, it gets very lonely.


Two days back I texted one of my closest friends. I told her that by the time I finish writing my book I think I will not have any friends left.(as I do tend to shut off from everyone when I am concentrating on my book and some people get pissed off big time because I am unavailable and I don't return their calls) She corrected me. She said that by the time I finish I will know who my real friends are. How rightly she said it!




I do think I am really lucky to have as my best friend one of the most understanding guys. He is really really  proud of what I do. He is extremely supportive and he is the first to read anything I write and get back to me with feedback and he tells me what works and what probably does not. Yeah and a good thing is also that I am married to him :)  He deserves a BIG kiss :)

Thank you Satish!










Another person who reads my work as and when I complete the chapters and who offers feedback (and I fought with him  for that and bullied him too and yet he was so patient :p ) and suggestions is  one of my very good friends (whom I have mentioned on my blog earlier) Mayank Mittal.

Thanks a lot  Mayank!








One other person who reads  my work  (and does not fight with me,he is too sweet for that!) and is always the perfect gentleman is

Ramesh really writes well himself and has a superb business blog going.(check out his writing by clicking on his name)

Thanks a lot Ramesh!

There is one more person who played a big role to push me to work really hard this time. I would have never worked so hard and pushed myself this much, but for Durjoy Datta, who is now a good friend too.

Durjoy is a best selling author of FIVE titles and chances are you have already read him.

I have read all his five books and I do really enjoy them, but be warned, if you are slightly on the conservative side you  may not like his totally explicit style and it may shock you :P 

Durjoy is honest, down to earth and very very hardworking and enterprising too. He has now started his own publishing house (Grapevine India) along with a partner, and his sixth title will be out soon.
You can check out his books (and order them)  here.

 Thanks a lot Durjoy!! :)

At the risk of this post sounding too much like an Oscar speech, there is another person whom I just have to mention, who is one of my closest friends who lives in the UK and with whom I exchange emails on a daily basis. And sometimes even when I don't write back for a week (which is like a huge gap if we go by our standards) she is most understanding. Thanks Sis!
 
 Then of course, THE most important person for a writer--YOU, the reader. I get mails, comments, FB messages--all of which I truly value. (I write back too!) So if you have been reading me, a BIG  and a heartfelt THANKS to YOU!

So now you know what it really takes to write a book. :-)It is motivation, dedication, hard work, perseverance.

But mostly it is just sitting at the computer (even when you would rather be chatting on the phone with a friend or checking out a movie at the multiplex or relaxing at a pub with a drink) and typing and typing and typing and thinking and thinking and typing and typing some more!
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You can interact with me on my Facebook page.  I reply to almost all comments and I check it very regularly. I do read all the comments left here too  and manage to reply most of the time even if slightly late :)