Friday, September 30, 2011

Delhi boy and Mallu gerl

One thing that I find it hard to explain to people is that I am NOT a Mallu even though both my parents were born and raised in Kerala . My mother tongue is Konkani and I speak it fluently.  (and if you really want to know, I am  a  Konkani GSB). But I also speak Tamil, Malayalam,Hindi, Kannada and can understand Marathi and used to speak Gujju too! (apart from English of course) :)
I grew up in several places all over India and I find it hard to answer the question
"Where are you from?" (I am a TRUE Indian)

So it somewhat amuses me when my good friend Mayank Mittal presumes I cannot speak Hindi. Whenever he texts me in Hindi, he takes care to translate the same into English within brackets. I always reply back in proper  'Shudh Hindi' surprising him. (I proudly boast to my north Indian friends that I scored a 84% in CBSE Hindi course A and I can tell my purushvachak sarvanaam from my anishchayvachak sarvanam and I can also reel off several  dohas and samanarthak shabd and what not!)
  
Satish assumes the same (even after 16 years of marriage!) and teases me about my spoken Hindi. Yet when it comes to teaching the kids Hindi grammar, he backs out and calls me. And I make frantic calls to Mayank asking him to make sentence with  ‘behti ganga mein haath dhona’  :-)  

After all, it is more than twenty years back that I had scored those marks :P :-)

Yeah, I do admit my Hindi is mostly mugged up from text books and movie dialogues :-) (I grew up on a diet of Hindi and English movies) and I am indeed more comfortable conversing in English than in Hindi. And I would rather run a mile than read a book in Hindi. (The CBSE course A ensured that I had enough of Hindi for a lifetime!)

Satish has mostly grown up in the North and his Hindi and is more fluent than his Konkani. He also speaks Bong.

Between Satish and me, he is the  'Hindiwallah' and I am the 'South Indian'. He is the Delhi Boy and I am the mallu gerl (that wasn’t a typo), he is the Bengali Babu and I am the Tamizh ponnu   and that’s how it will always stay I guess.

When we were visiting India from the UK last year, I badly wanted a Salwar Kameez. (as I mostly wear western clothes or sarees) What better place than Amritsar to get one made? I proudly got an authentic  Patiala salwar kameez  stitched. I was so happy with it that I decided to wear it immediately. We were taking the Shatabdi from Amritsar to Delhi and I proudly wore my new ‘Patiala suit’. I had shopped for some lovely bangles and bindis too and happily wore all of that. (which was something I rarely got to do in the UK)

In the train, the attendant was handing out the complimentary newspapers to everyone. He took one look at me and Satish. Then he painstakingly pulls out two bunches of newspapers. He hands over the Punjabi newspapers to me  and he passed on the English newspapers to Satish!!
Satish could not stop laughing.

I politely handed back the newspaper to him and asked for the English one and said “Mein angrezi pad sakti hoon.”

These Hindiwallahs I tell you!! :D
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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. :-)


Monday, September 26, 2011

Life is what you make it- a few facts

 Thanks to a reader Nikhil Muralidharan who clicked this photo and shared this with me on my FB page.
I loved this pic.

'Life is what you make it' was declared a National best-seller in the second month of its release. It has now gone into seventh impression. It has been consistently topping the Hindustan Times top ten best selling fiction list. It has appeared on India today top twenty best-selling list too. It is number one on Flipkart best sellers. It is  on the Landmark best seller list too.

It's listed on Amazon as well now :-) (and yeah even if you live in UK  you can get it on Amazon.co.uk

If you have read it, a big thanks to you for making this happen.

If you haven't read it, what are you doing reading my blog?! What is your excuse?! Go buy!! :-)

You can get it in all the leading bookstores in India. But it is really flying off the shelves, so in case they don't have it, you can get it over the phone.
(If you live in India, you can just order it over phone by calling or texting 0-9650-457-457  and pay cash on delivery. You can do the same on flipkart too, just go here. They have a discount of 35% and at Infibeam they have a whopping 50% off.)


Go get it! :)

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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 (and yeah there are some new photos there as well). :-)



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Are you looking at a closed door?

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we took so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened up for us”                                         
                    - Helen Keller


Hellen Keller sure knows what she was talking about. She was born deaf mute and blind. Hers is a truly inspiring story and if you haven't heard of her, you must read up about her!

Many of us are guilty of looking at closed doors all the time. Sometimes, some things happen because that was just the way it was meant to be.  Think of your life now and think of how it was on this day four years back.

How have you come to where you are now? What are the events that have brought you to where you are today? Do the things that you were worrying so much over in 2007, matter today? Have you consciously wronged anyone? Do you have any regrets? Would you have done something differently if you could?
Are you spending too much time looking at a closed door?


I think most people who are happy people are the  ones who stop looking at doors that have closed. If a door has closed, move on! There will surely be a better place in your journey ahead.

Trust me on this. I know.
Probably because I have travelled farther down the path than you have.

If you keep standing there and staring at the closed door, you will not get to where you were meant to be.What has happened might have caused you a great deal of pain. But there were lessons to be learnt. If you have learnt them, you have gained from the experience and made yourself richer.

So go chase your dreams. let the closed doors be! They are not worth your time anymore. You have spent enough on them.

Move on!
Go forward!

And yes, while you're at it, pause and smell the flowers and watch out for the doors which will welcome you in. ;-)


Picture clicked by me in my mother's garden



Monday, September 19, 2011

Just a face in the crowd


Photographs capture that unique moment, frame frozen for eternity. Each photo tells a story, creates a memory. I absolutel y love clicking photos, as you may know if you have been reading my blog for a while.

A few days back, there was a huge celebration for Onam happening in my residential complex. My daughter was a participant in the folk dance which they had organised. I did not want to miss it for anything in the world and I happily reserved my place with many others. It was a large crowd.

My husband was clicking photographs (as I could not click pictures from where I was sitting) and he must have clicked at least a hundred photos of her dance. After her dance, he was desperately trying to catch my eye across the room. Finally he managed to make eye contact with me and then he aimed his camera at me.

I smiled. He captured it.

Of all the pictures he has clicked of me, this one remains my absolute favourite.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

You are loved!

Yesterday I had posted a question on my Twitter to which I got many interesting responses. What I had asked was this:

"Do you believe blessings of people come true? By corollary, do you believe curses can?"

The reason why I asked it was because I get so many mails which express gratitude for what I write. They tell me how much my words have helped them, how much they have motivated them, moved them, healed them, comforted them and they share a bit of their lives with me and send loads of love and blessings my way.

In my life, even though I have received several hard blows, I have been always fortunate to have really fought whatever situation life has thrown at me and to have won. Some might call it luck or destiny, but I do firmly believe that good wishes of people do play a large part.

When someone sends you love  and best wishes sincerely and whole heartedly, it is positive energy they are sending your way. Good vibrations, good thoughts. Mostly you have to earn them by your deeds. (What the ancient Philosophers call 'Karma' ).



I am reproducing here (with permission of the person who wrote it and he was okay with my mentioning his name) a mail  which a reader wrote which moved me:

Hi,

I am among the millions who have read your books and your blogs. While browsing the net i got to know that your book "life as you make it" was among the most purchased one on flipkart, I ordered the same, it came cheap :) . I started reading it at 10pm yesterday and got engrossed, when i finished, the clock clocked 2 am. I had missed my dinner :P. In the morning I text each and every one to whom I have ever been rude, or have laughed at. I apologized for the same. Some of my friends even asked me " kya hua be hangover ho gaya hai kya, kitna pi liya tha." I said "no its a book i read last night" i recommended it to them too and I vowed never to make fun of anyone.....Thank you for such a lovely book and thank you for teaching me the importance of love and friendship. You have made me your votary yesterday. 

Eagerly waiting for your next one.....
Abhiket Gaurav


Over the years, I have discovered by nature,  am sensitive and most importantly I do genuinely care about people,  and about  a lot of things and I guess that comes across in my writings, I do not know. (It is not that I do not have faults--I am also many a time, arrogant, over-demanding from those closest to me and short tempered  too ) 
The way I see it, when a reader takes time and writes to me, how can I not respond? Yes, it does take a little bit of my time and yes it does cut into my writing time. But I do treasure mails of appreciation. Especially on dull, dark days when I am sitting at my laptop and pounding away stories, and travelling to those awful places inside my head, the dark fearful caverns where I do not want to go, then the mails that I get, shine like beacons of light, urging me to keep writing, reminding me that someone out there cares a hell of a lot and is eagerly waiting for my next book. Oh, that feeling of being loved, cherished, adored is something hard to beat.

I am grateful for the love I receive.
I am grateful for my ability to write.
I am also grateful for the countless blessings and good wishes.
Let me tell you a secret--they work!

So here is sending a lot of love  and a lot of positive vibes your way. 
Take a deep breath now. Now another and another.  And yet another. Let go of all the negativity. Push it out.
Let there be peace in your heart, a smile on your lips and may you let go of everything that is troubling you.

You are loved and everything is going to be okay!



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

There's someone awesome in your life!

Not everybody will always treat you fair. You might have done everything you possibly could for them. You might have been there for them in their times of need. You might have had some really great moments with them. You might have cherished their friendship,even treasured it and given it a lot more importance than it deserved. Yet, when it came to what matters, when it came to counting on them, when it boiled down to being there for each other, they might have let you down. Real bad.

You hurt and you hurt. The pain is almost physical. And you learn a real good lesson.

And then when you let go of the past, someone even more awesome walks into your life.

Someone who will stay and will not walk away.

You hold on to them, cherish them. You travel a few thousand miles to be with them.
They are there for you. They always were--only you took a while to recognise them.

And let them into your heart. (oh the debris left by the ones who left had to be cleared first!)

If you know what I am talking about, send them some love today!
Brighten their day.
Call them and tell them you love them.
Tell them how much they mean to you and tell them why you're grateful for their presence in your life.
Send them a card.
Hug them.
Let them know.

The ones who left--let them go their own way. You cannot tie down someone. They choose their paths.
Forget them.


And the ones who stayed--oh they are the awesome'st!
Never let them forget that!!



Sunday, September 11, 2011

From a small corner in God's own country .A picture story post

This is my mother's cottage. I must have clicked a countless pictures of this. It enthralls me just the same no matter how many times I see it. I am compelled to click a picture.





 A close up of the flowers that adorn the cottage entrance.

And on the verandah this little old man and old woman welcome you and usher you inside :)



 The path leading to the Tulsi plant. My mother lights a lamp here every evening.


 My mother is very good at making such lovely things out of waste junk that is thrown away. Here you can see how well and how creatively she has used a discarded light frame and discarded plastic carton which once held buscuits..



 There are always butterflies in her garden.



And  a dew drop that glistens like diamond on her plant :)






There are baby goats grazing nearby.



 Her silver lamp which she lights at her altar radiates so much peace and calmness.

 As does her Brass statue of Lord Krishna. My dad had gifted it to her.

 This one has been a part of my life ever since I can remember. My parents had it even before I was born. I have grown up praying to this image. For my English friends, this is Lord Vishnu also known as Venkateshwara or Balaji, one of the most important Hindu dieties.


 There is a Champa tree in her garden and I so love the smell of this flower. This would easily be my favourite flower. She plucks them each morning and lets them float in a silver bowl of water. This is the first thing you see when you enter her cottage, along with a picture of my dad and her.

No wonder I find her cottage a fascinating place.
One I like to return to again and again.

It seems to silently stand there are say "Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me."


Wednesday, September 07, 2011

I did not die.

If you have not read my post of 7th Sept 2010, do read it here, before going further.

Right now, I am typing from a remote little  village in Kerala, lying on the cool granite floor in my mom's cottage. I am surrounded by miles and miles of  lush green rubber forests. There is also silence, darkness, the sounds of crickets and  a myriad other insects chirping and the soothing sound of rain as it dances hesitatingly outside, like a shy maiden teasing you  with a gentle sway before she breaks out into a full-bodied frenzy of tantalising movements to seduce.

I am so glad I was able to make this trip. The last year and the year before last, I was living in  the UK  and it  was not possible to come to India. I had gone to a cathedral in Norwich and walked the cold English country side, all by myself, remembering him alone. But now, it's so much easier to come to Kerala, whenever I please, to be with my mum. My brother too has come here and it's just my mom, my brother and me. Just like the old times. Except dad of course.

It's been five whole years as of today. I still miss him like crazy.  Here it is even more intensely experienced--mostly because of  the memories this place holds.
Today we celebrated his spirit. We did all the things he loved to do. We walked on those very paths that he has walked a countless times. We talked about him lots. We went to the places he and mom used to go.

And we all felt he was with us, all along. He lives on in our hearts--stronger than ever. And the gift he left me was the gift of writing. And the love of thousands of readers like you. (I'd have never started the blog if he hadn't passed away. I had started writing only to get over the unbearable grief).

Say a prayer for him please. He was such an awesome guy, my dad.
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ps: I clicked a lot of pictures today. I wanted to remember this day forever.
I am sharing just one here (the very first pic I clicked this morning) because of very limited Internet connectivity. Watch out for a picture story in my next post :)