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!

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!


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.
______________________________________________________ _________________

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.

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 :)


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 :)