Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bhag bhag D.K Bose

" Better complete your homework. Else I will e-mail your teacher that I reminded you and yet you goofed off."
"Maaa! Will you snitch on us?"
"Of course!"
"Okay, then we will call up your publisher and sing 'Bhag bhag D.K Bose'. In chorus."

 I am still  chuckling as I type this  :)
And guess who is not writing that e-mail ... LOL  :D

Edited to add:
And for all those shocked people who are asking if my children have seen the movie--no they have not. And no--they do not know any Hindi swear words either.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

An experience to cherish

Though I had taught Art before, this was the first time I was conducting a portrait workshop which I had announced here and the FAQs were here. Everyone was a complete beginner in the class. I was very strict about taking ONLY five participants as the level of interaction  was huge.

The last two week-ends have been truly a delightful, fulfilling and a totally amazing experience, not only for me, but for all the ones who joined in for the workshop as well.

It was truly an exhilarating experience and a total high to see them completely getting what I taught, to see them absorbing the techinques and then applying them in  producing stunning pictures. It was almost incredible to see the difference in their work, after applying the techniques I taught them.

Let me show you a few pictures which elucidate what I am raving so much about.

Here are two drawings by one of the participants, BEFORE he attended the workshop:
 Now after applying the techniques taught, this is what he made:

Can you believe that it is the same person who has drawn both the pictures?! :) (I am truly beaming with pride here!!)

Here is one more picture which was made BEFORE any techniques were applied:

The same person has made these pictures (although the subject is different)

Kranthi, one of the participants, sent me this mail which made me feel  truly touched :

Thanks a ton Preeti for firstly conducting this workshop & giving us a platform to learn such an wonderful art.
I’m feeling very happy after these 10-12 hrs of learning but yes will feel content only after lots of Practice.

I’ve never ever sketched any faces be it Human or Animals. I tried couple of times but turned out pathetic.
I always wanted to do this, sketch  faces, animals, living beings though I had hands on trees and sceneries.
After a few attempts I always felt skeptical even to try them out, that was the main reason I joined the workshop.

The way you’ve taught us not missing on the minutest details, I’ve the confidence each one of us can make portraits
at least 90% similar to what is there in the pictures.
I’m sure practice will make it much better. We should try our hands on Live portraits too.
After the last class on Sunday each of us were able to make portrait of our choice & when I made my father’s portrait
& showed it to him, he was dumb struck. He kept staring at it & he didn’t know what to say, that was a different emotion.
I was satisfied to a great extent after seeing that.

You inspire us so much Preeti that we feel like sketching more and more.
I feel very privileged meeting you and having you teach us Portraiture. A very down to earth person (your family too) ”

I’m very happy that I joined this workshop, had loads of fun, met 5 wonderful people, learnt from each other, shared some wonderful moments.
The 4 days were just awesome. Thank you Preeti & thank you folks for being there.”

Apoorv, another aprticipant had this to say:

Firstly, Thanks alot Preeti for the wonderful workshop.
I really appreciate the effort, time and energy that you had put for everything to go so smooth.
We learnt & understood the basics behind the portrait sketching. The order & approach with which you taught us the basics helped us to understand & learn them. I really appreciate the effort that you took to make sure we all understood & able to use them. You kept encouraging us to improve. The appreciation on our sketches helped us & pushed to work harder.Break in between with tea & snacks & everything made the whole process easy and comfortable.
I wished that workshop would have continued.
Had amazing time over the workshop Had two wonderful weekends where I learned & enjoyed.
It would be great if we all keep sharing the portraits we make so that we keep learning and also inspiring each others to continue doing which we have started.

Chethana said this:
 Hi Preeti... The Potrait work shop was just amazing.. Loved it.. I proudly showed off today's portrait to everybody and all liked it ... Very happy... Thanks a lot for the guidance and encouragement..!!! Will definitely work on more of these... 
For me, I felt truly on top of the world to see my efforts rewarded. We all connected so well. Here's a picture of our  first Portait group.

To see more lovely pictures of this workshop and some really nice portraits, click here. 

I truly do not know when I will be able to conduct another workshop as I am working hard on my 3rd book which is again a full length novel.

Until then, I have some truly warm and wonderful memories of my first portrait workshop.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Take responsibility for your happiness today!

This is a mail which I got from a reader after my previous post--It's all okay really and I felt very good reading this.(This is being published with her permission of course! She wanted her name withheld )

Hey Preeti!
Hope you are doing well!
This is V. I am a regular reader of your blog for more than 3 years now.  I also leave my comments sometimes.
I was reading your most recent post 'It's all ok, really' and couldn't stop myself from hitting the Compose mail button on Gmail to write an email to you.
It has happened several times, that whenever I am confused or worried or happy or in any mood, your most recent post always has answers to my questions! One can call it fluke, but I would like to call it telepathy and leave it there because it makes me happy ;) :)
Some such incidents that I remember are:
1) I have a loving boy friend and your post on the importance of saying "I love you" and being vocal about one's feelings changed my life, dramatically.
2) "A letter to my 25 years old self"- I just turned 25 then, and your post had everything I wanted to hear or know.
3) Another post- "Yes, you can, Act now"
I fortunately got to read that when my life was taking another major turn. It's a long story. I work in UK in a big financial services company. I have been working for 3 years now after my graduation from a presitigious institution in India. My parents wanted me to study well, secure a job that pays in lakhs from day 1, move to foreign countries, earn more, gain the 'NRI status' and live happily ever after. (I don't blame them, because this is what parent do and expect because they are very protective about their children)
I was never happy with that life, there was something always missing. I earned more and more with every quarter but it made no difference. The charm started fading away a lot more from last year. I moved to UK to see how I like foreign country and the life that everyone craves for. In a month, I realised that I definitely don't want this either.
I was tired off all the corporate drama and finally quit my job yesterday! For once, I did what I wanted. I was not this happy when I secured this job. It was liberating!! :)
I have always enjoyed and wished to spend as much time as I can around philanthropic activities, but everyone looked at it as a good thing but not a practical career option! I was allowed to keep it as a hobby but was taught that middle class people are not allowed to dream big. They have limits.
But guess what, I've broken all those shackles and crossed all those boundaries!! I'm going to be back in India next week and start working towards my dream! It was tough to convince everyone, especially my parents but with the support of my boyfriend and my sister I am taking my next big step.
I'm finally gonna live MY dream, not anyone else's but mine, Preeti!! :) :) :)
Your today's post- "It's all ok, really" again was up there when I really wanted it. I was getting all scornful looks and nasty comments for thinking that I can change the world from many at work today. It was very painful to go through it and continue to feel confident. Self-doubt is the biggest killer! Your post helped me overcome that fear!
I won't say that I wish to be like you, but I must say that I gain the inspiration from you to define, or should I say- "redefine" myself according to my choices, likes and dislikes. It's not an easy thing to do, but it's highly rewarding and overwhelming!
I don't know what future has in store for me but I'm truly excited and very eager to twist, turn and shape it as per my wish!
Life is what I make it, right?! :)
Keep writing and posting such wonderful posts, Preeti! You must know that your writings make a difference in my life. They inspire me everyday! And I'm sure there are million others like me out there who admire your work :)
All the very best, Preeti!

Here is another comment which was left by a reader on the same post:
Hi Preeti,

I follow your blog regularly, and I love your style of writing too.
I have heard the same things you have said in this blog many times and do think that it is right to an extent.
But on a practical side , do you think it is often possible to live your life as you like it without taking others feelings into consideration?
My husband left his well paid job, because he wanted to chase his dream of starting something of his own. It has been two years since he is after that and till now hasn't earned a single pie.i tried to think about his dream in the same lines you wrote in this blog,but at times i lose my control and compel him to take up a job. But he is quite confident about what he is doing and totally ignore my woes in this matter.He says all the financial crisis that we face now are temporary and we will definitely have a brighter future.
I am totally confused.. Tell me what would you have done, if you were in my position with a two year old kid and an average salaried job??
                                          ----dazed by life

To the first mail I say a big thank you. I am truly happy that V is chasing her dreams. But most importantly what stands out in the mail is the fact that V has taken responsibility for her own happiness. She has the courage to throw away a corporate job which pays her so well. Not an easy thing to do at all.
Another thing that clearly stands out is that money is not what makes everybody happy. Happiness truly does not depend on how much money you are making. Happiness comes out of fulfilling the deeper needs of the soul.
Yes, we do need money for material comfort--but how much is enough really? One has to determine that first.So many studies of people who have won the lottery clearly show that  after an year the mental state of the winner is same as what it was before winning. After a couple of years of getting used to their situation, lottery winners as well as paraplegics are surprisingly close to being equally happy.

So to the second email writer, who calls herself 'dazed by life', this is what I have to say:

Dazed by life, I need to ask you something--Is your love for your husband conditional? Will you love him more if he takes up a job which makes him miserable but earns a whole lot of money for you and your child? At some level, you seem to believe that giving you (and your child) a comfortable life is his duty and by not earning a single  pie, he is somehow neglecting you.  Your husband is indeed aware of this situation and he is confident about a brighter financial future. I am sure he must have done adequate research before jumping into this venture. Most ventures (startups) do take on an average, about 18 months to just break even.

I need to ask you one more thing--Is it not possible for you to change your job from an 'average salaried job' to a 'well paying job'? What is holding you back? Educational qualifications? Skills? Get them! Lack of opportunities? Create them!!
Why depend on your husband to give you a better life? Why not accept action and responsibility on YOUR part. What are YOU doing to better the situation other than complaining that he is chasing his dreams and not earning enough?

So, either you have to be patient and supportive to him, and BELIEVE in him that he WILL make it BIG tomorrow and all success will be yours (I wish you both the very best from my heart) or you have to act now and make a change to your life.

Satish and I were talking the other day about how our situation was when we first got married. At that time, we could not afford to buy a car and we used to travel everywhere on a motorbike in the freezing north Indian winters. (I loved that but that is a different story ;-) ). We used to look at other couples who would arrive in their fancy cars to office parties (when we shivered and got wet on the bike) and used to wonder if we would ever be able to buy a car. Today, by his sheer hard work, by God's grace as well as by blessings of the Universe (I do believe in it) we can afford many luxuries. We have indeed come a long way.

But one thing is that we were as happy then as we are now! I am as close to him today, as I was back then. He worked hard (really hard--there were days when I used to long to be with him, but he had to be at work) to get where he is today. I stood by him then as I will stand by him tommorow, no matter what.

So I do believe that persistence pays.

Work hard, chase your dreams, laugh with your friends, keep up your promises, exercise, eat a good diet, be thankful for the things that one has (even being healthy is a BIG blessing) and go LIVE your life. It is so short to be spent in regrets! One minute wasted is one minute gone forever!
ps:  If any of you have any advice for 'Dazed by life' do feel free to express it here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's all okay really!

Can you be happy ALL the time? Is it possible to not feel angry, hurt, upset, resentful, annoyed,frustrated, when things do not go the way you planned? Is it possible to always keep smiling and go on 'being positive'? Is it possible to not crib and to be 'accepting' and to 'move on'?

Of course not!  Not unless you happen to be the  smiling clown at Mc.Donalds or the Laughing Buddha, stationed at the entrance to a Chinese restaurant. It is indeed okay and natural to feel down when life throws bricks at you. It is indeed okay to take time to recover from the blow.

Most people I meet tell me that I am one of the most down to earth, friendly and approachable people they have come across. They compliment me about how 'grounded' I am. They say I am an icon to them and they want to be like me. All that is very good and I thank them. (But  deep down, I am always suprised that they want to emulate me!) Then I get the 'You're-my-inspiration-and-you're-someone-i-look-upto' kind of emails. I truly do not mind these either and chances are that if you have written to me, you would have most probably got a  reply.(Unless of course it's been overlooked because of the hundreds of mails that I get. I do read every single mail).

But what really irks me are some of the mails which border on accusations of being insincere. I never pretend to be what I am not and my honesty is something I pride myself on. One of the mails I got said " I am sorry to say, I am forced to rethink about your positivity." Another tried to warn me that my 'market value' will go down if I write books like '34 Bubblegums and Candies' (which has got a lot of praise. My FB page is a testimony) and this person was deeply disappointed because this person expected the book to be like 'Life is what you make it'.

Fact is, it is we  who project our expectations on to people. Then we feel disappointed that 'they did not measure up.' We (and that applies to all of us) mostly want people to behave the way we see them. We tend to forget that they are definitely entitled to their feelings of joy, happiness, resentment, anger or whatever. They are also entitled to express it in any form they wish as long as it is not harmful to YOU.

I truly believe that negativitiy and  unsolicited (but perhaps well meaning) advice is one of the biggest drains on your time and energy. It just gets you down and you truly do not need it. If you are a giver of such advice, I do feel you should introspect as to why giving that advice makes you feel better. If you are a receiver of such advice, just brush it off and move on. Even thinking about it (for 'improving oneself'--please! whom are we kidding here?!) is not worth your time.

Life is precious. Life is truly what you make it.

So do the things that YOU want to do, no matter what others , however close they are to you,say. They can never be YOU. They cannot live YOUR life. It is only YOU who know what makes you happy.

And whatever you think is right is indeed right.(I presume here, you're not a psycho-criminal planning to kill or rape their next victim :-))

It's all okay, really!
ps:  Bookchums had interviewed me. Read it here

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Just let it be

A good friend of mine has a mantra to deal with things which are beyond our control.
"Let it be" he says.

He offers no advice,he does not attempt to give suggestions and he does not even pass judgements about whether one is doing the right thing or whether something else ought to have been done. He does not sympathise and does not say "Life is unfair" or that the other person was wrong or that it is a bummer.
He listens patiently instead and he just says, "Let it be."

And you know what? Surprisingly it works.

The next time, things go wrong, do not send out negativity into the universe.

Just let it be.

Do nothing.

Breathe deeply. Relax. Drink a glass of water (or hot chocolate).Go to a place which fills you with peace and comfort.Call a friend who exudes positivity.

But mostly, Just let it be.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A letter to my twenty five year old self

Dear me at twenty five,
You don't know this yet, but you will lose him. He will not ever come back.You will cry and weep. Everyone will tell you that life goes on. No one will tell you how hard it is and  no one will understand. Worst of all, nobody will tell you that you will never move on and you will still break down when you see his picture and recall the happy memories. But you will learn to channelise the pain. You will learn to write and write.
And nobody will tell you that you will become a published author of two national best-sellers. And if they did, you'd probably think they were high on weed for saying so.

You will indeed have two lovely children. Yes, TWO--a boy and a girl. You will give up your corporate career happily and willingly. Nothing will make you want to entrust your precious  babies to another's care even for even a few hours. You will stay at home and look after your children. Bathing your babies and caring for them and reading to them will be the happiest moments of your life. You will find so much joy and contentment in it.
But if someone tells you this is how it will turn out to be, you will not believe them for even a moment.

You will lose your best friends.Even the ones you thought would never leave. You will grapple for years and search for meaning. You will examine your actions a hundred million times. It will happen again and again.Finally you will realise that you have only behaved with utmost respect and you have only been the most sincere friend. You have done everything you could. You will realise that the ones who walk away truly do not deserve your love. You will realise that time changes every single thing. You will also realise that some amazing people will enter your life, simply because you will eventually let go.

You will finally realise that the only thing that matters in the long run is  spending time with your loved ones and telling them that you love them a lot.  You will also realise that laughing a lot, exercising, eating healthy,being kind to others as well as yourself and cherishing each and every day will indeed  pay off.

So just let go. It will not matter really fifteen years from now.
Lots and lots of love
Your Older self (at 39)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pencil portait and FAQ about workshop

I made this on Friday.I'd be doing some further work on it later on.

Before I moved to the UK, I desperately wanted to learn portraiture. I tried  in many cities in India, to find a portraiture course or a workshop, but almost every art college I enquired, I was told that portraiture is a small part of a five year course that they have in Fine Arts. Nobody offered to teach just portraiture, that too exclusively pencil portraits which was what I wanted. When I got a chance to do a course in the UK (which would give you an Internationally recognised qualification) I jumped at the chance, I remember how I'd never miss even a single class.I used to walk 45 minutes (up and down)  in sub-zero temperatures, lugging my heavy art paraphernalia. I used to be half frozen as I walked through the snow, but to me, learning it meant more than anything else in the world.

Ever since I relocated to Bangalore, India, many many people have been asking me if I would teach them how to make realistic portraits from photos with pencils. Like I announced a few days back, I'd now be doing a workshop in 'Making realistic portraits from photos' at Bangalore. It would be a ten hour module, spread over four weekends.
The time and date is as follows:
Dates:  16th and 17th July. and 23rd and 24th July, 2011.
Time:   2.00.PM--4.30 PM.

For me, portraiture is a passion. I put in a lot of effort and my aim is that at the end of the workshop, you would be able to draw a fairly good likeness from any reference photo. My workshop is not a 'quick-fix' class. I'd be teaching techniques that I use and a lot of stuff that I learnt through practice.

For this reason, I am limiting the number of people I take in to ONLY five, per batch. Each person who enrolls would be getting a HIGH degree of personal attention.

The five seats are already booked.

Ever since I announced the workshop on my blog, I have been getting a LOT of queries and most of them tend to ask the same things. Hence here is an FAQ.

1. I have never done portraiture before. Can a complete beginner do this workshop?

Yes, a complete beginner can do this.I would be teaching how to make a good portrait using grid method and flag method. So it does not matter if you have no idea about portraiture as I will be starting right from the very basics.

2.What materials would I need?

You need to bring pencils (2H, 4H, 2B, 4B, 6B and if possible 8B). You also need a 5mm clutch pencil. You need a good quality eraser as well as a putty or kneaded eraser, as a lot of this technique involves blending and 'lifting out' by erasing. You need to bring a drawing pad too, A3 size. I would be providing the drawing board as well as a few other stuff which is needed.

3. How many portraits will I make?

My aim is to give you one completed portrait hopefully good enough to frame. If you absorb fast and are able to devote time at home to practise what you have been taught in the first two modules, you might even be able to make two. It all depends on how much time you are able to devote to practice. This isn't a 'quick fix' class, where I make you do four portraits in the workshop, but you still need help with techniques. My aim is to make you self sufficient, so that you would be able to make a portrait from any reference photo. And yes, you can be in touch with me on mail even after the workshop.

4. Will you take Art classes for my child?

Sorry, I have my hands full with writing my 3rd book and  I am also busy with a lot of other stuff! If your child is above 14 and is very keen to learn portraiture, and shows a great interest, then I do not mind considering them. But definitely this is not for people below 14 and I do not have time to 'teach Art' to your child.

5. If I miss a session will you take additional class to make up for it?

Each module of mine is two and a half hours. I take ONLY five people. So if one person misses one module, it would not be possible for me to repeat everything done in that module exclusively for that person for two and  half hours. At best I can tell you what was done and you can practice what was done at home.

6. Where will the workshop be held? I want to know if it's too far from my place.

:) I always smile when I hear this query. If distance is an impediment, despite living in the same city (unless you cannot travel for health reasons) , then truly this workshop isn't for you. If you're keen to learn, one will not mind the travel. However, to give you an idea of 'travel' involved, it would be held at Outer Ring road, 3kms from Marathalli. Will tell you exact location and address when you enroll! 

7. What do I have to do to enroll?

Mail me and I'll give you further details on how to take it forward. 

Hope the above help clarify all the questions about the workshop.
Thanks for the interest folks!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Yes, you can. ACT now.

 Close your eyes for a moment. Think of your deepest desire. (Not your secret sex fantasy, silly! Not that desire!) Think of a goal or wish that you have had and have secretly nurtured. Maybe you want to become a published writer. Maybe you want to have a body that make heads turn when you walk into the room. Maybe you want to be able to sing in front of a crowd of hundred people. Maybe you just want a loving companion. Maybe you want your marriage to improve.

Now answer this question--How badly do you want to achieve it? How willing are you to put in the hours and practice required? Most importantly are you prepared to fail? Are you prepared to get up, dust yourself and walk on with a shrug, in case you fall flat on your face? Are you prepared to commit yourself to discipline?

It is indeed hard. It is easy to wish. It is easier to make a fifty excuses. (I don't have time. I have to do this-this and this, I don't have talent)

A lot of people walk upto me and say " Oh--just look at you. I am so jealous of your body/figure. What do you do? " Or they say "How are you so good at so many things? Lucky you are."

A few days back , when I was walking my dog in the morning, I met a middle aged lady (a working woman who is also a mother to two)  who was super-impressed that I am a published author. She is an aspiring writer and has written a few stories. Her desire is to get published. She walked a long way with me and I told her a lot of resources she could use and I shared with her, everything that I possible could. I told her about a magazine which was accepting submissions and even offered to mail her the details and link. I told her to drop me a mail and that I would surely forward to her the call for submission.

It has been more than 14 days now and there is no e-mail from her or any action from her side. I see her most mornings and we exchange short pleasantries and go our way. She hasn't said why she did not mail me nor have I asked. She did appreciate my portraits though and said I was very good at it, and I thanked her politely and told her I had worked hard at it.

This interaction, later made me think. It made me realise that most people want things but are not willing to act to get them. I also realised that many people are limited by self-defeating beliefs. (Maybe i am not good enough. What if I fail? I can't do it at my age)

If you believe that you want to achieve something, you CAN. No matter what your background, no matter what your age. But the main thing is that you must believe that you can.

Then you must ACT. 'Act' includes 'making time'. You can 'make time' if you get up an hour earlier each day.

That is the hard part.
Which takes us back to  what i said at the begining of the post ;-)

Destroy the self limiting beliefs. Yes, you can. Yes you are worthy. Yes, you are loved. Surround yourself with people who encourage you. Do not waste time thinking about people who left you. Do not think about situations which make you unhappy.

March forward. ACT.Yes, you can.
Trust me. I know what I am talking about.

Much love,

ps:  'Life is what you make it' is Number ONE at Flipkart and is now on India Today Top selling fiction list.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Pencil Portrait workshop--Bangalore

Hi all,
Ever since I relocated back to India, many people have been asking me if I would teach Portraiture. (Incidentally, I now hold an Internationally recognised qualification in Portraiture from the UK.)

I would be doing a four day workshop on 'Drawing realistic pencil- portraits from photos', in Bangalore, this month. It would be a ten hour module, two and a half hours at a time.  The workshop would start right at the basics and you need not be scared even if you have never done portraits before! I would be limiting the intake to  just FIVE students per workshop. So, you can be assured of a high degree of personal attention.

In case you are a working professional, the workshop would be spread over two weekends.

If you want to know more details, you can mail me on ps(at)

If you want to see my work please click on the following facebook album:


Batch full.Sorry! Maybe you could wait for the next one.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Ten day challenge. Post 10. One picture of me.

Last day of the ten day YOU challenge that I started here.
Day 10 is 'One picture of me'.
My son clicked this pic 5 days back. It's my most recent one. It had been raining the whole afternoon, and the moment it stopped raining,We went out into the garden. He stood on the garden chair and clicked this snap.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Ten day challenge. Post 9. Two songs

We're almost reaching the end of the ten day challenge that I started here.

Post 9 is Two songs.

Just two songs?!! ONLY two?! How in the world  am I to pick just two?! Fifty would be more like it truly. To pick two is truly a challenge.

But rules are rules (but i think they can be twisted a bit :P )--so here goes. If I had to pick just two, these two would be my choices. (arrived at after a lot of debate!)

The other one I'd pick would be

Another piece which totally does something to my insides is

I play it often when I am painting.

Okay--there are 47 more actually! :) But it would take a long time to share them all :)
If you're doing this challenge I'd love to listen to your choices of two songs too.

ps: Tomorrow--last post. One picture of me :)