Sunday, March 27, 2011

I love you.Really?

 i love you Pictures, Images and Photos

This morning I read something interesting on 'The Speaking tree' which is a Sunday supplement that comes along with Times of India. Every Sunday,I read almost all articles in this section diligently and I always think and contemplate about what is written.

There was an article today by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (who is a humanitarian, spiritual leader and an ambassador of peace) who founded the 'Art of Living movement.'

Among a lot of things he said, what made a deep impact on me were the following words:

 "When someone says 'I love you', you ask 'really?' "
But when someone says ' I hate you', you don't ask 'really?' One accepts it without question.

How true! What a profound observation!

What is it about the words 'I love you' that scares most people? Is it so hard to accept that one is loved? Has cynicism seeped so much in, that it seems almost impossible to believe that someone can love us? Is it that we think 'oh-my-god.what does he/she want now? Why is he/she saying 'I love you'. Does he/she mean it?'

Why do we question ( at least most of us) the veracity of these words and why don't we just accept?

In my teens and in my twenties, I found it very hard to say these words. I suspect it is the same for people from a certain time, brought up in a certain culture. We did not go about saying 'I love you' in my family. (I was certain that as and when I had my own children that was truly not how I would raise them but this post is not about that.)

When said with sincerity and true depth, these three words are powerful indeed. They seal a bond. It is an unconditional acceptance of the other, with all their flaws. The magical thing about saying ' I love you' is that it need not be between lovers, but just between two souls who're deeply connected at some level--a mother and child, sisters, brothers (two men I would presume would find it hardest to actually say them), best friends.

The Speaking Tree also had carried a small piece called 'Do it now' by Dennis E Mannering about an exercise given by a  professor to his class of adults. They had to say the words "I love you" to someone they had never said these words to before--what is more, they had to completely mean it too. Most people in the class were initially annoyed (after all saying "I love you" is an intensely personal experience and nobody can direct another to say it) but decided to do the exercise anyway. What followed was a moving experience.
Some might argue that saying the words is just 'not them'. They might say that they do so many actions to prove their love (for example a spouse lovingly waking up the other with a cup of coffee), then why should they say it, especially if they are uncomfortable with it.

I quote from my earlier post  which spoke about it.

The fact is that three simple words "I love you" when said, when you really mean them, have the power to uplift, to heal, to comfort, to calm and reassure. They are very powerful words indeed. All humans long to hear these words. They show an unconditional acceptance  of the other person and create a powerful shield around their vulnerabilities.

If you hear these words often, you are blessed indeed as there are so many who crave to hear it but have noone who will say these words to them (Think about it). Of course, if these words are casually uttered and if you say it to all the people you meet, then they do cease to have any meaning at all.

But when said with all sincerity and when you truly mean it, a kind of magic happens which is hard to explain.
Don't believe me? Try it!

And I, for one, am fortunate indeed to hear these words often from my closest friends, from my spouse and from my children. I silently thank them and they go into my cup of blessings.

Ps: Book giveaway--Flash fiction contest 30th March is last date!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Radio Indigo Interview and a Flash fiction contest

A few days back, I was on air, on Radio Indigo Bangalore. It was a nice experience and it was the first time I was inside a Radio station. RJ Shweta is really as sweet as she sounds on the Radio. So is Suresh Sanyasi, their National Head. Radio Indigo plays some awesome music (and my children are all the time listening to Radio Indigo as they get to hear all their 'UK songs'). Embedded above is the audio clip  of the Interview with some interesting visuals and facts. (Thanks to my friend Mayank Mittal for his help and inputs with it. Yeah I do have some awesome friends, I know :-))

There is another contest happening on my facebook page. This time it is a flash fiction of 209 words. I have been getting a lot of requests from blog readers, asking why I am not hosting a contest on my blog.So here is your chance for all who asked!
This time it is a flash fiction using the following photo.
Check out this link in case you wish to know what flash fiction is.

Here’s is what you have to do:

1.Write a short story, not exceeding 209 words. Use all the three pictures in the panel in some way, in your story. (It is not necessary to use the words in the pictures. For example, the first is a picture of the book,you can just use the visual of the girl with the umbrella and ignore the words. Same for other two pictures). Look for the picture in the 'photos' section.
2. You can post the story on your blog, but be sure to link back to this post.

Why 209? The book has 209 pages :-)

The first chapter in the book is ‘A new world’ and the second Chapter is ‘Nothings gonna stop us now.’

The entries would be judged on creativity, how you have linked the pictures to the story and deft use of language.

No restriction on number of entries but do not exceed word limit.

The last date for submission is 30th March 2011.

The results will be announced on 3rd April 2011.

One lucky winner gets a signed copy of BOTH books, ‘Life is what you make it’ as well as '34 bubblegums and candies’.One more winner gets a signed copy of 'Life is what you make it'
And yes, do leave me a comment if you are taking part, so I know where to look for your entry.

(and Of course, you can leave me a comment even if you're not taking part :-) I do respond to all comments  as they do matter! :-) )

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Contradictory I know, but it's true.

 Relationship Function Pictures, Images and Photos

I am a mushy gushy person.
Tell me you love me and I will fall for it.
I fall for even the corniest lines. I melt easily.
Shower me with praise and tell me I am great and I would be all yours.
But despite that, I can smell insincerity a mile away and am never easily fooled.
Contradictory, I know, but it is true.

If I love you, I’d probably write you a hand-written note.
Or if I love you a LOT, then I’d probably make a book for you which I’d write out entirely by hand.
I’d hug you tight and kiss you  and say  lots of love to you (and mean it too).
I am expressive that way. I’d probably paint a picture too.
Maybe I’d smother you,  but I’d know when you need your space too.
Contradictory I know, but it’s true.

And if you did not respond back to me, I’d probably feel really hurt,
But you’d be sure to know, the ones I love always do.
I’d  just say it, consequences be damned.
I’d try to reach out again and again.
But if I still came up against a wall, I’d retreat into a shell and it would be difficult to draw me out.
Contradictory, I know, but it’s true.

Life is too short to not express what you truly believe in.
I believe wholeheartedly that if one were to die today, one should have no regrets.
If I truly cared for you, I’d be brutally honest too.
My honesty might singe and burn and sting. But it would sincerely be what I felt.
You do not get pretence with me. Yet I consider myself sensitive.
Contradictory I know, but it’s true.

I know I have a hundred faults.
And if you pointed them out, I’d be more than willing to accept them too.
But I don’t know if I’d be willing to change.
I might not argue with you and I might choose to keep quiet.
I’d hate you for not accepting me the way I am but I’d still love you to death.
Contradictory I know, but it’s true.

The one person,  who would vouch that all of the above is  indeed true is Satish. Today (17th March) is the day we first met sixteen years ago.  It has been SIXTEEN years (I cannot believe it) of knowing him.(and we got  married less than forty days of meeting each other :) We celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary on 27th April)

He has seen me at my worst. He has seen me at my best. It hasn’t been all mush and gush. We have worked hard at our relationship. We have changed along the years, become different people from what we were, when we first met—yet, we have grown WITH each other.(and I cannot imagine life without him. He means the world to me)
What I truly love about him, is that he accepts me with all my faults. I am a very difficult person to deal with. On my blog, you  really see only the best of me, the bits I choose to show-case.

He has seen the worst of me and he still loves me.

And that I believe truly makes all the difference, in any relationship.

For another fun contest which will be announced soon, click here

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A fun movie-books-music tag

 A few days back, I was going through some old blog posts of mine and I discovered that I haven't done a tag for very very long!  The tags I used to do back then were fun! But that was before I became a writer/author.Somewhere down the line, my blog became about my writing and I stopped doing tags.

There also was a time when I used to visit each and every blogger who left a comment on my posts. But sadly I am not able to do that anymore too.(even though I'd very much like to). So today I decided--what the heck--for old times sake, let me do a FUN tag. I looked around for tags but most were so boring :P (Bleh). So I invented my own tag! :) Here is the tag.


1.The tag has three parts..Movies,Music, Books/ Authors.

2.Write a movie, book and author with each alphabet of your first name. The book, movie or song should be one that you really liked. If you say why it  matters to you, it would be great! We will all discover new songs, movies and books this way.

3.Tag as many people as there are letters in your name. (if your name has 4  letters, you have to tag 4 people and so on)

4.Mention that the tag originated here  and link back to this post :-)

5.Copy paste these rules :)

Here goes my tag with the alphabets of my first name PREETI:


 When I first watched this movie, I totally loved it.It is a movie starring Vidya Balan and Saif Ali Khan and Sanjay Dutt. It was adapted from the Bengali novel  by Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay. There are more details here:
Rang De basanti
 One of my all time favourite movies. I fail to understand how some people found it just ok! When I watched it in the theatre, it was a WOW feeling which has stayed with me even after so many years.

E.T the extra terrestrial
 I remember having watched this movie as a child, in the theatre and I remember sobbing inconsolably when ET went back.

Enter the dragon
I watched this movie too as a child. I was a huge fan of Bruce Lee. I was devastated to know about his death. I learnt to use the Nan Chaku after watching the movie. (Oh yes, I got a Nanchaku and practised hard).It has been so many many years now since I lay my hands on a nan chaku :)

There’s something about Mary
 Oh--how I Loved this movie! It has been remade  ripped off  into  Hindi with the title 'Deewane huye pagal' starring Akshay Kumar and Paresh Rawal and that was funny too :-) But of course, Rimi Sen is no match for the original Mary--Cameron Diaz whose sex appeal is simply beyond HOT :-)

I could never be your woman.
This is a lesser known movie about a romance between a older woman and a younger guy.I thoroughly enjoyed this :-) I could so relate to Michelle Pfeiffer's Character :)


Papa don’t preach
 I was in college when I first saw the video of this song on MTV.I thought Maddona was rather cool! :) (I still admire her for her superb physique even after all these years.She is one of my idols) It was deliciously blasphemous and appealed intensely to the rebel in me :) Now I smile at the memories.That time I loved the song. Funnily it appeals to me even now.
Raindrops keep falling on my head
Is there anyone who does not like this classic or hasn't heard it?! Love this song.

 Everybody hurts
I mostly listen to his song only when I am feeling really down and when I feel hurt. There is something intensely painful in the tune/lyrics or music which touches a chord within me.

Every breath you take
This song was dedicated to me a long time back by someone who was madly in love with me :-) (many years back) I found it silly then. But now I am older and wiser.I have realised that nothing about love is really silly.Especially a dedication of a song--so what if it isn't reciprocated, it is the emotion that counts.

The river of dreams
Billy Joel is one of my favourite musicians. I like almost all his songs, especially 'always a woman' and uptown girl' but since my name does not have an A or a U, i could not include them. So I included 'The river of dreams', which I like too.

Iris by goo-goo dolls is one song which I will never get tired of listening to.I love the lyrics and the emotion expressed in them. Especially the lines "I'd give up forever to touch you, coz I know that you feel me somehow."
Click here to watch the video.


Pauolo Coelho
I have read many of his books. My favourite remain 'The Alchemist', 'Veronika decides to die', 'By the river Piedra, I sat down and wept' and 'Eleven minutes'. I was on bed-rest during both my pregnancies and it was Paulo who helped me pass the time,

Roald Dahl
If there is a 'master' in writing I worship, it has to be him. He is simply brilliant. Strangely,  I knew him as an adult writer first (I have read ALL of his work) before I knew that he was more popular as a children's writer. My two have read all the books he wrote for children too.(we have the whole collection of his adults as well as children's books).

Esther and Jerry Hicks
 Esther and Jerry Hicks was something (or some one to be precise) I discovered while I was in the UK. I have their book 'Ask and you shall receive' and I wholeheartedly can vouch that what they say in it is so darn true. I don't know about scientific proof and all that--all I know is that my life is a testimony to what they say in the book.

Enid Blyton
 I grew up with  her books, wanting to go to a school like Malory towers or St.Clares. I wanted to have adventures like famous five. I wanted to have a friend like Fatty.I wished I could meet the folk of the magic faraway tree. I could have sworn I saw a pixie, an elf or a brownie. I pretended to drink lemonade and pretended to make happiness powder :-) She added magic into my childhood. I simply LOVE Enid Blyton :-)

Time travellers wife
This is one book which completely blew me away. Audery Niffeneger has a way with words that nobody else has. It is a marvellous book which totally is my cup of tea.

I will not die an unlived life
 This is a book by Dawna Markova. The book really spoke to me. It stirred something deep inside me. It made me want to truly LIVE my life. Click here  to go to her site and for a beautiful peom that appears in the start of the book.

Since my name has six alphabets, I have to tag six people. Following are the people I tag.

Prats: I love her view point and recently she wrote a note on FB which I loved.

Satish:  He does not have a blog, so he can do it in my comment box. He reads a lot and is also a movie enthusiast--so I would love to see his choice of movies, books and songs.

Ajay: He started a blog but has never written beyond one entry. He watches a lot of movies and I think he has more than 4000 songs in his collection.Would love to see what he picks.

Suma: It's been more than 6 months since she posted. Hopefully this will kick start it?

N: She has such a wonderful blog but sadly she stopped blogging.Oh I soooo miss her posts. Come back N, please come back--you're tagged!! You cannot run away. Please please please!

Ramesh: He always converts tags into business posts. he has such a superb business blog. I would love to see how he handles this one :P (sorry Ramesh, I had to tag you!) :P :)

If I haven't tagged you (I could pick only 6 as per my own rules!) but if you still want to do this tag, I would surely come and have a look (and  yes I will leave a comment too :P :) ) Would love to know your favourite movies, songs and  books are. (maybe i will discover something new? I always like that)

So go on--you're tagged :)

On writing and the power of words

Click on the picture to enlarge.This is a screen shot of the 'Top Authors' at Flip-Kart.

It feels truly amazing to see my name with the likes of  Ruskin Bond, Roald Dahl (totally adore his writing), Meg Cabot and Dan Brown!

Today I also got some truly moving mails about my second book. I wept reading some of the mails I got just now and  am blinking away my tears as I type this.

I feel so humbled that my writing has touched lives, helped people, spoken to them, moved them to tears, made them laugh, filled hope in their hearts, has taken them to a  different world, inspired them, touched them,infused them,shown them the dark side, surrounded them with hope, love and all things wonderful.

I feel so humbled that people look up to me. I truly do not have all the answers--I am simply a fellow traveller, in this journey called life. No-one knows when the final destination will arrive for any of us. For all you know, it could be tomorrow. So, I try to remember that every single day, and do my bit to be able to say "I have lived today".

As I go to bed tonight, I am filled with gratitude for the ability to write and the ability to make a difference in somebody's life.

And I hope to keep writing as long as I live.

ps: A big thanks to all of you who wrote in and to all of you who said it here too.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Oh, you're at home only.

Among the countless problems which I was prepared to face, after relocating to India from UK (after all, phoren country desi dil and all that) the one that I did not anticipate the least, proved to be the one which bothered me the most—the incessant ringing of the doorbell.

In UK, I had my peace, my time, my privacy, my solitude, my art, my writing, my..., my... ,my..---well, you get the picture.  In India, I have my doorbell.

It starts right from the morning and continues incessantly throughout the day, every 15 minutes, I kid you not. We live in a home which has four bedrooms , two of which are downstairs and two are upstairs. I work in my bedroom upstairs which compounds the problem of answering the doorbell each time it rings, as I get more than my fair share of a rigorous work out  by climbing up and down which I never intended in the first place. Please note, I said work.  A writer/artist being viewed as a working person seems to be a concept as alien in India, as Lady Gaga being found doing her next   gig in Bhawanipur, Supaul in Bihar. Not that either is impossible but we have to accept, some things just do not happen.

In my children’s school, the other day, during a Parent-teacher meeting (How I dread those things) a well meaning member of the staff enquired politely whether I am working. With an ever so slight swelling pride in my chest (after all my last book did make it to the best-seller list and my SECOND book has just been released and getting rave reviews), but trying to sound modest, I replied “I am a writer and artist,” the word artist being whispered inaudibly, just in case it would be construed as a boast. “Oh,” the questioner dismissed what I said with a wave of his hand, “You are at home only.

“Yes,” I admitted, “I am at home only”, but I think the sarcasm, the subtlety and implications of my carefully accented stress on the right words had as much impact as a Maa-behen gaali uttered in the streets of Delhi, upon the slightest provocation.

This ‘Home only’  is what I have identified  as  the root cause of the problem of incessantly ringing doorbell.

“Madam, aap ghar mein hi hai na” is a sentence I often hear.(For my English friends, it can be loosely translated as ‘Ma’am, you will be at home, right?”) From my observations in the way it is uttered and by whom it is uttered or muttered as the case may be, it has many connotations.

1.When said by the house-help, it means she will come at whatever time she pleases.
2.When said by the plumber, it means I should NOT grumble if he says he will be here at ten, but rings my door-bell at two. (After all, madam ghar pe hi hai)
3.When said by the ironing guy, it means he is unable to tell me when he will deliver my clothes.
4.When said by the carpenter (who I have had to chase a hundred times, as setting up a new home requires so many things that only a carpenter can take care of) it means the same as when it is said by the plumber.
5.When said by the staff at school, it means “ Home-makers should take care of their children's studies.”
6. When said by the people in my residential complex, it means “Why don’t you come and join us and take active part in the various activities being organised by (a very enthusiastic )residents association?”
7.When said by the newspaper guy, it means I should keep mum even if my newspapers are not delivered on some days! (Madam aap ghar mein hai. Aaj shortage hua .Swalpa adjust maadi)
8.When said by the nice Aquaguard guy who calls home to check how the service is (yeah, they actually checked that!) it means I have to clarify that yes, it is indeed me and not my clone who has answered the doorbell.
9. When said by my children (Mummy will you be home?) it means they will ring the door-bell  fifty times in an interval of two hours when they go to the park to play.
10.And finally when asked  by Satish ( he asks politely ‘Are you at home?) it usually means I have to be around to sign for the courier.

Never mind that a couple of really exciting things are happening in my life, right now—

-- I am working on a COVER Page story for Deccan Herald (I was truly honoured when the Editor called and asked me if I could and I readily agreed)

--I am being interviewed by Radio Indigo  (for those in Bangalore, I will let you know the date of when it will be broadcast--will announce it on this page ) and there will also be a chance to win signed copies of both my books on Air.

-- My second book is getting rave reviews and I am being flooded with mails by those who have read it.

--There is a new addition to the family!! (and I am so totally in love with her). But that needs an entire new post and I promise an update as soon as my doorbell stops ringing.

The door bell ringers (apart from the 9. and 10. mentioned and I truly do not mind the 9. and 10.)  of course have  no clue about the above mentioned exciting things in my life. After all, they are engaged in their own exciting activities which necessitates that my door bell is rung. After all, it is the door bell of someone who is ‘at home’ only.

Disconnecting the door-bell only makes the door-bell ringers turn into woodpeckers on 1000 watt speakers as they unleash their knocking power on my already battered door. KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! (after all madam ghar pe hi hein)

Now excuse me, I have to run-- there goes the bell.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Are you so busy for your friends that you don't even notice?

A few days back I had posted the link to  an excellent article  from New York Times,on my Google Buzz which said "Are you so busy for your friends that you don't even notice?" (It is worth reading the article).

The article did make me think a lot and I concluded  that when it comes to friendships or relationships, I do  make time for people who really matter. No matter how busy I am (and I have such a lot going on in my life these days, it sometimes feels like a circus without a ringmaster) I always make time for my friends. I do believe it is important. Fortunately for me, I also have a couple of  friends who always make time for me, no matter how busy they are.

It also made me think about how the definition of a 'friend' had changed these days, especially with Facebook which seems to have invaded all our lives. I get loads of 'friend requests' on facebook. For a person who takes the word 'friendship' seriously, that can be mildly annoying. 95 % of the time, the people who send the requests do not even have the basic courtesy to introduce themselves. They send a request and presume they're Brad Pitt (or Angelina Jolie as the case maybe) and you ought to know them. I currently have 44 requests pending. (sometime back the figure was 156 and when that started bothering me I declined all of them). It also makes me think as to whether these Facebook exchanges are really 'true friendships'.

When I post something on my FB status update, I do get many comments.But it makes me wonder how many people actually mean it? It is so easy to express sympathy or joy (or whatever emotion is being conveyed online). When someone has posted "Not well. fever and sore throat", I immediately see a whole string of responses, which mostly say  things like "Aww--get well soon" , "Take care" etc. I am presuming here that the person who has posted such a status update feels happy that many 'care' and many have expressed concern. It would probably have taken a few seconds of that 'busy person's' life to express sympathy/concern. But how many of them (if they are in the same town) will come around and offer to make hot soup for you?

One might argue that FB helps us keep in touch, it cuts geographical barriers, you share pictures, jokes, whatever catches your fancy. I would agree and say that is right. Socialising is indeed easier online. With such busy lives we lead, it is so easy to spend 15 minutes of Facebook and instantly catch up on everything your friend has been upto.This morning a 'friend' had a status update which said 'Leaving for office' and there were many people who had commented on that too!

And who knows, maybe all those people who leave comments on your status update do really care.

 But nothing--I repeat nothing-- can replace a real crushing bear hug where you can feel the warmth of your friend's love for you, as their arms go around you and you hug them right back real tight .

Tigger Pooh Hug Pictures, Images and 

Like one of my best friends (Jayu, whom I have mentioned in this post)  who had called to congratulate me about my second book said "Waiting to see you and hug you  and tell you all this in person. Over the phone I cannot express".
How true!

Some things just deserve a hug (even a phone call will not do).

Make time today (ok, this weekend) and go and hug your best friend..Go Go GO--why are you still reading?! :-)
ps: Today is the deadline for the six word story contest which has got an overwhelming response. Check it out here. Results will be announced on Sunday.