Thursday, November 29, 2012

You are in love when....

Late at night
When your thoughts drift
To that one person
Who brings a smile on your face
Each time you think of them,
And when you know in your heart
That you will do anything
Anything really
To have them in your life
Then you know
That it isn't what feels like love
It is love
The real deal
And if you smiled when you read this
Then you know
You're in love
There is no escape.

Now stop grinning before anyone notices
And thinks you are mad.
Love often is
Madness




 © 2012 Preeti Shenoy
 

For more poems click here. Some poems have already appeared in print. Kindly do not reproduce without permission.
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If you like my blog, you might enjoy my books :) Grab them here. (You don't need a credit card. You can pay cash on delivery) or if you are an Amazon Fan, you can grab them here
 And you can interact with me on my FB page. I always reply :)




Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Loose ends. When you want stuff less ordinary.

If you live in Mumbai, chances are, you already know about Loose Ends, a home decor store, located at Bandra, in the lane opposite Shoppers Stop.





The signboard itself is fun, quirky and  'stuff less ordinary' as it proudly proclaims. When I had first walked into the store , I was afflicted by a malady called  'wow-ness' . Almost every product delighted me and I kept going 'wow', 'wow'.
For example, there was this doormat, which I really liked:




And then there was this coffee mug which appealed to me:


There were also  these bookends which I loved:



The store has many more really unique products.
I loved these fridge magnets:






I also loved these coasters. I was grinning ear to ear when I saw them. I imagined gifting it to a workaholic friend of mine and grinned even wider.

Then these cushions for a children's room caught my eye:

 What a lovely way to teach the toddler alphabets and animal sounds! (there are other animal cushions too)



There were many more such  totally unique products.

Like these eye ball shot glasses:




And there was this one called badly shot which again made me grin.



Then I saw this  canvas print. Your most cherished memories can be customised! So if you have a wonderful photo you can turn it into a work of art. I totally was WOW-ed by this concept too.
What an amazing and a unique gift this would make. Happiness of the recipient, guaranteed for many years to come :)



The creative brain behind 'Loose ends' happens to be someone very close to me.

Meet  the  very talented Madhumita Goswami. She has been featured on NDTV young turks and she has been featured in almost all the leading dailies. She quit her career in advertising  to start 'Loose ends', which is close to her heart.

Madhumita Goswami with her daughter Gia

And yeah, her daughter is a doll :) (and happens to be my niece too :P )

Recently, Madhu has started doing interiors. One of her projects was of course her daughter's room and when I saw the pictures that she shared with me yesterday, the malady of wow-ness overtook me  once again and couldn't stop exclaiming in delight. I was completely blown away that I had to share it with you.



A bed fit for a doll- princess! :) Which little girl wouldn't like this?



Gia is a voraciuos readers and her books are so neatly organised with these custom made book shelves.




The clothes and knick-knacks neatly organised.
You can check out more of her work here. (It is really lovely and a visual treat)

Madhu accepts projects in Mumbai. If you happen to live in Mumbai and would like her to work magic in your home, drop her  a mail. You can reach her at looseends(dot)store@gmail(dot)com

 
If you are hungry for more such delightful stuff,  check out  the photos at the Loose ends Facebook page.


If you  don't live in Mumbai and want them shipped to other places that can be arranged too.

Liked this post?
Do use my comment box :)  ( and for any orders or queries please contact Loose ends directly)
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If you like my blog, you might enjoy my books :) Grab them here. (You don't need a credit card. You can pay cash on delivery) or if you are an Amazon Fan, you can grab them here

 And you can interact with me on my FB page. I always reply :)


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fifteen!

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If you like my blog, you might enjoy my books :) Grab them here. (You don't need a credit card. You can pay cash on delivery) or if you are an Amazon Fan, you can grab them here

 And you can interact with me on my FB page. I always reply :)


Friday, November 23, 2012

Cherish Life!

People react to personal tragedies in different ways. Some fight back, some accept, some get defeated and some withdraw into a shell. I know--as I did all of it.

This morning I was searching for something on my laptop and I came across this photo of Satish and me, clicked  in UK, at the Tower of London in October 2007. This  was before my first book was published. It was one of the toughest times in my life. I had short hair back then and I remember how I had told the hair-dresser to crop my hair real short--like in the army. I  was so down and going through such a bad phase, I did not care about how I looked. Even the smile in the photo is so painfully forced and sad.



I had lost my father all of a sudden in 2006. I have blogged about my father in several posts and here are a few such:





Looking at the picture above, and comparing it to where I am today, I have come such a long way. Back then, I was just a broken person, trying to pick up the pieces of my life. There are days when I have cried and wept the whole day and done nothing else. I was too shattered, too shocked and bristling so much at the unfairness of it all. It was too soon that he was snatched.


I am now an author of three best-sellers (the photo below was clicked on 14th February 2012 at the launch of  'Tea for two and a piece of cake' ). My new book  The Secret Wishlist will be out in December. I still sometimes cannot believe it. I have chronicled the journey in my 500th post.



 Now, I get hundreds of mails  from people who tell me they find me inspiring. Most of them ask me the secret of my success (it's just hard work and a bit of luck--nothing else)  and most ask how I manage to stay so positive always (and that is a deliberate choice).

The fact is, life is indeed very short. I cannot emphasize this enough. One of my closest friends recently told me that a very good friend of hers passed away on his 40th birthday. They were waiting to celebrate it. He just collapsed and died leaving behind a wife and a very young child. My cousin lost his wife all of a sudden last year. She was just 36 and she left behind two small children, aged 7 and 5.

People who have seen sudden death at close quarters and who have been through the experience of losing someone very dear, realise how futile petty grudges are and how very precious time really is. The person you see today may no longer exist tomorrow, except in your memories. It is so darn important to forgive, to not hold silly grudges, to live each moment and to CHERISH life.

Here are a few things that one can do to ensure this. (and I follow these)


1. Call your parents : I used to speak to my dad, almost every single day when he was alive. Now I ensure that I do the same with my mother. If you live away from your parents, call them today! No--call them now. They will love you for it.

2. Make time for friends: Connections these days become limited to Facebook and whatsapp. Go and meet your friend for a cup of coffee. Make the time. A good friend of mine just came over and we have been meaning to meet for ages. We live very close to each other but yet so busy in our lives. Today felt wonderful. Nothing can substitute a face to face meeting and a warm genuine hug.

3.Spend time with your children/loved ones: My children are 14 (to be 15 in four days!) and 11 and yet I spend at least half an hour each night with both. (by turns as they have separate bedrooms now). I still read to them (History and philosophy and poetry) and we talk. Both love it. I think it is important to switch off things like blackberries and i-phones after 7.30 pm, every day. The world will not collapse until the next morning. It's ok! :) (Of course not applicable for those who have overseas calls--but I am guessing these calls will not be on a daily basis)

4.Tell the special people in your life that they matter: Many people are not comfortable expressing their affection. Why is it important to say it? Don't action speak louder than words? I think it is very important to express it. I had written a post some time back about it and I still stick to it. Here is why:


5. Be impulsive!
Go watch that movie! The washing can wait. :) The tidying the cupboard can wait.
Go do whatever it is that you meant to do but kept putting off.
Go! Go! Go! :)


Have a great weekend.
May there be peace in your weekend, a smile on your lips and may happiness envelop your soul and may you spread joy everywhere you go.

These are my wishes for you today :)
____________________________________________________________________

  If you like my blog, you might enjoy my books :) Grab them here. (You don't need a credit card. You can pay cash on delivery) or if you are an Amazon Fan, you can grab them here

 And you can interact with me on my FB page. I always reply :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Five things you can do to stay happy.

Last night, I wasn't able to sleep.( I am a chronic insomniac and not being able to sleep doesn't bother me any more. I use the time well instead.) I read a wonderful article by Erin Pavlina-- "How to be happy when your life really sucks."
I really liked the analogy she used about being in prison and not having any choices. (With everyone and their aunt  talking about Kasab, the prison analogy struck a  slightly deeper chord.)

She is very right in what she says. (Do read the article linked. It is worth your time). We do have choices, no matter how bad the situation.

It is of course not possible to be 100 percent happy ALL the time! (Unless you are on dope and that too comes to an end)  And yes, sometimes life really sucks because whatever it is that is making you unhappy is not in your control. What can you do about it?

Here are five things that you CAN do, no matter how horrible you feel your situation is.

1. Do the best you can and then shift focus

 Ask yourself these questions--Under the current circumstances, what is the best that you can do? Have you done it? Is there anything further you can do to ease the problem? If you have done all that you can, box up the issue. Leave it there. Give it room. Trust me, more often than not, we create more problems for ourselves. If we leave things be, time has a way of resolving many issues.

2.Take time out and listen to yourself.

 I am a great believer in listening to your own voice. With the invasion of the great Internet, our lives have become so busy and we become totally entangled in ways to connect with other people through social media. I am a fan of social media--no doubt. For example, yesterday I connected with my cousin who had recently been to Antananarivo (yeah, I learnt it for the first time yesterday too) and saw all the photos. I felt wonderful talking to another cousin based in U.S. who had recently celebrated her birthday. But I do think, we all need to take a breather from the constant bombardment of these external stimuli and listen to our own voices. That can come only when you sit in quiet introspection. I am a huge fan of meditation--and no it is not some mumbo-jumbo which old people do. There are so many depths, so many kinds, so many levels at which one can meditate. If you want to start and do not know how to, I found this article to be a well written one.


3.Watch a great movie or read a great book.

I find movies inspiring. Not all movies of course, but certain ones. The ones I highly recommend as 'must watch' are 'The Shawshank Redemption', 'Pursuit of Happyness' (it is spelled that way) and 'The Bucket list'. The books I highly recommend are 'Tuesdays with Morrie' (Mitch Albom), 'Who will cry when you die.'(Robin Sharma) and 'Creative visualization' ( Shakti Gawain). I also loved Albom's latest book 'The time keeper'.
Books and movies truly make me feel alive when I am down in the dumps. (and yes, I go through tough times too, like all of you :) I am not happy and positive and chirpy all the time :) )

4. Do something small that changes your physical environment.

Sometimes a small thing can make a big difference. Do something that alters your physical environment. Clear your bedroom or workspace of clutter.
Get new curtains, a lovely rug and some throw cushions. Get a potted plant and look after it. If its too much of trouble, get a wine bottle, and grow money plant in it. (my home is full of money plants in wine bottles. See this picture)


 Clear your closet, desk--anything.
Choose some of your happiest memories and make a collage, get it framed and display where you can see it. I have a collage with pictures of me and my closest friends and our happiest memories together, which I have put up in my special sanctuary (where I work. See linked post) and I feel very happy whenever I look at it, knowing I have so many genuine, supportive friends who deeply care for me.



5. Use visualisation technique.

I found the following video explaining this very well:




So, there you have it--five things that you have perfect control of and are not so hard to do. Hope you find these useful.

Leave me a comment if you do. I like to hear what you have to say. Have a great day and stay positive!
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 ps:  You can pre-order my fourth book 'The Secret wish list' by clicking here. And yes, if you pre-order from this link, you will get a copy signed by me :) (Signed copies are not available from other sites as my publishers have tied up with this one.) You get a whopping 30 percent discount and you can even pay cash on delivery. You can follow the FB page of the book too (which has got more than 740 likes at the time of publishing this post. Thanks folks!)

Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/TheSecretWishlist

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A jar of memories

And so I got back home on Sunday morning, having spent the last week in paradise. I had been on a vacation with family (husband and  kids, the dog being sent to a doggie-resort--yes, they have those things in Bangalore, where your dog can go on a holiday, while you go on yours).

My body, not used to the suddenness of change, of being rudely transported from paradise to the hustling, bustling, polluted metropolis, naturally protested and what an insolent way of protesting too. If I didn't need it so much, I swear I would have hand-cuffed it, frog marched it and ordered it to get well soon, which I realised will not help at all, and so I am in bed, pampering it with TLC, through gritted teeth, willing it to get well soon. I am wrapped up in two sweaters, a thick track-pant which belongs to husband, and a blanket which belongs to son, and am reclining on my bed, as I post this. Every movable joint in my body, hurts and I am suddenly aware how it might feel to be eighty four years old.

My mind cannot help but keep going back to the week that was. Oh, the memories, this vacation brought! To say they are treasured, would be saying it very very mildly. It was truly a magnificent holiday.



We had been to Andaman islands,a place which I wanted to visit for a long time, and I finally got a chance to go to. Even though Andamans are a part of India, it feels like a different world altogether. The connectivity is limited, the electricity is erratic and every single thing has to come from the mainland in ships. You can take a flight to Port Blair from either Chennai or Kolkata. Then you have to take a ferry to Havelock island, which is where most of the resorts are. (The Ferry isn't an easy journey. Almost everybody fell sea-sick when we went. We felt slightly superior as all four of us were okay and we handled the rough sea like seasoned sailors, perhaps, because we have indeed travelled a lot). If you want more information on getting there, click here.



Let me share with you, a few photos that tell the story, as pictures speak louder than words.


The first day that we landed, it was gloomy and grey. It was a high tide and this is what greeted us, when we stepped out on to the beach.


Soon it brightened up. The above photo was clicked by me, (notice the slippers in the pic? I felt they added to the composition) at Radhanagar beach at Havelock island . This beach is pristine, unpolluted and breathtakingly beautiful. It has also been named as one of the top beaches in Asia.

We had hired scooters and we drove everywhere around the island. My children were very surprised to know that their mom can actually ride a scooter (and ride it well). :) (I have driven two wheelers since I was 16 and four wheelers since the age of 17, but my children have only seen me in chauffeur driven cars :)). Half the island, came out and stared at me when I drove the scooter. I was told that Indian women do not generally drive the scooters--only the foreigners do. I found that cutely endearing.



The island is very picturesque. Each scene that greets you on the road, looks straight out of a picture postcard.


Look at the photo above? Isn't it gorgeous?

The Tsunami of 2004, had affected the island badly and you see every now and then, the effects of its destruction and how it altered the landscape forever. But I can vouch that it, in no way, has made the island less beautiful. In fact, it looks wild, untamed.



Every now and then, you will see large trees fallen like this, along the beach.


Look at how green the island is? I clicked this picture of my husband and my daughter.


And doesn't the above picture radiate peace and calmness?

We stayed a night in Port Blair, and we visited the Cellular jail and the emotion in evoked in me, can only be described as heart-wrenching. If you do not know about the 'Kaala pani' please click on the link to read. I was moved deeply by the experience.



We also watched the sound and light show and I think every Indian, should really visit this place and see what the freedom fighters went through.



The gallows where they were hung, the methods used for torture, Veer Savarkar's cell where he spent ten years--all of it left me speechless and there was a lump in my throat, when I walked down the corridors of the prison, where a few decades before, the political prisoners had walked. The British were really barbaric. It makes your blood boil, when you visit these historical sites and see what atrocities have been committed on Indians.




 

To quote from the wiki:
The British executed many rebels. Those who survived were exiled for life to the Andamans to prevent them re-offending. 200 rebels were transported to the islands under the custody of the jailer David Barry. The remote islands were considered to be a suitable place to punish the rebels. Not only were they isolated from the mainland, they could also be used in chain gangs to construct prisons, buildings and harbour facilities. Many died in this enterprise. In March 1868, 238 prisoners tried to escape. By April they were all caught. One committed suicide and of the remainder Superintendent Walker ordered 87 to be hanged



I felt a great amount of pride to read these words inscribed on a plaque on the prison walls:




And the words of Bahadur Shah Zaffar :(click on link to read about him)




My non-Hindi speaking friends, kindly excuse. I find the deep impact of these words, is felt only in Hindi. Somehow, translating these great words dilutes them.

We returned back from cellular jail, in reflection, in quiet reverence to the great Indian struggle for Independence and valuing our freedom that much more.

We spent some more time on the beach at Port Blair, which was magnificent too:


I finished reading THREE books, in the five days that I was there. Two were brilliant, one was so-so. (for those who want to know, I read 'The secret of platform 13' by Eva Ibbotson  and 'Remember me? by Sophie Kinsella' The one I did not like much was 'Thanks for the memories' by Cecila Ahern--even though I loved some of her earlier work)

My children and I, also gathered a lot of sea-shells and we intend making a jar of memories.


All in all, a memorable vacation. My mind is still dancing.

Now if only my groaning moaning body would co-operate.
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ps:  You can pre-order my fourth book 'The Secret wish list' by clicking here. And yes, if you pre-order from this link, you will get a copy signed by me :) (Signed copies are not available from other sites as my publishers have tied up with this one.) You get a whopping 30 percent discount and you can even pay cash on delivery. You can follow the FB page of the book too (which has got more than 690 likes at the time of publishing this post. Thanks folks!)

Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/TheSecretWishlist

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Here it is finally! The Secret Wishlist!

So, some of you got it right, after the clue (and the hints in the comments section) given in the part two post yesterday!

Some of you mailed me the answers and some of you told me on Facebook. But the winner had to be picked from the comments section--and the person  who got is right first is Bhavika :) and the quilled card goes to her. (Bhavika please send me your postal address!) .

All the others who got it right, but were late--please don't be disappointed! The thrill was in playing the game right? And I will have more such fun stuff going. I will be making more cards. :)

I am super-excited about this book. It is my best book yet. (I am sure you will agree once you read it)
And guess when it will be out?

December 14th is the official release date!! (perhaps earlier). I have been working extra hard at this book (emerging only for freshair and food, I kid you not) and so have my publishers  and their awesome team, to release it as early as possible.

It is a story very close to my heart and it is completely what I believe in. It has love, romance, friendship but it is also about following your heart and living a FULL life and doing what you want to do, as opposed to what your parents and other people want you to.


I can't wait anymore to show you the cover.

Here it is:





And I shall tell you soon, a  bit more in detail, on what it is all about. I shall put up the back-cover and also the pre-order links.

Do you like it? Nice?
Please  do leave me a comment! :) ( Your comments do matter, you know!)

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 If you like my blog, you might enjoy my books :) Grab them here. (You don't need a credit card. You can pay cash on delivery) or if you are an Amazon Fan, you can grab them here

 And you can interact with me on my FB page. I always reply :)

Monday, November 05, 2012

Part 2--here's a clue!

Over the weekend, I have been closely watching the responses. So many of you took part. (Thank you for playing!)  But nobody got it right! (If you do not know what I am talking about, do see my last post).
Many did get the first two words right. (The Secret.................)
And there are so many creative answers! (Full marks to all of you for good thinking!)

I do want to give away the quilled card. :)
And I do want you to guess it right too :)


So, as promised, here is the second clue.

The third word has no E

It has two vowels--both are the same.

It is something which most of us might want to do but never get down to doing and if fulfilled will make us happy!

 THE  / SECRET  / _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


What is it? :)
Guess! Guess!!

The quilled card will be given to the first person who makes a correct guess.

Tomorrow: I shall put up the cover of the book :)

And the date of release too :)

Go on now..I am waiting :)

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 If you like my blog, you might enjoy my books :) Grab them here. (You don't need a credit card. You can pay cash on delivery) or if you are an Amazon Fan, you can grab them here
 And you can interact with me on my FB page. I always reply :)

Friday, November 02, 2012

Lets play a guessing game! :)


You know how it is, when a book goes into the process of being born. I had written about it in my post 'Welcome to a writers world'. and that post became really popular for some reason. (click on link to read)

If you have read that, you know what I am undergoing right now. I have no nails left.
Really. :)

And if you have been following my blog, you know what I do when I am stressed. I turn to art or I quill. (Incidentally I had already announced the winners in my last card  giveaway. Check widget for names of winners)

Today I have been quilling since morning. Four whole hours. That is all I have been doing.
And the card above is the result.
I have used  a new technique I learnt. I am pleased with this card. :) Do you like? Nice? :)

And yes--I am giving it away! (Exclusively for my blog readers.)

What do you have to do to win it?

Guess the name of my new book!

_ _ E  / _ E _ _ E _ / _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

To  make it easier for you, I have given you the number of words (three words) as well as a few letters filled in :) (Just like the hangman we used to play as kids)

The first person who guesses it right will get the card.

And yes--if any of my close friends or family members take part, I will give them a kick , not the card :)

Go on!!
Guess.
Leave me a comment :) and you might just  get a beautiful quilled hand-made card.

If nobody gets it, I will give you another clue on Monday.

Get thinking now! :)
And guess it.
I am waiting :)
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 If you like my blog, you might enjoy my books :) Grab them here. (You don't need a credit card. You can pay cash on delivery) or if you are an Amazon Fan, you can grab them here


 And you can interact with me on my FB page. I always reply :)


Thursday, November 01, 2012

Something to tell you

a few vague ideas
one good one
two hundred and fifty four sleepless nights
two thousand hours of solitude
writing
seven drafts
fourteen revisions
more writing
editing
creating
rewriting
living with characters who feel like your friends
hearing them speak to you
and agonizing when they refuse to
coaxing them till they oblige
more writing
reading it yet once more
rewriting.

Yes, you can say that the past few months have been hard for me.
Very hard.
But I am not complaining

I am happy.
And very very excited

You can guess why :)
Any guesses as to what the title will be?

Details soon!  Watch this space!
And yes--this pic is going to be the author photo:


 _____________________________________________________________________
 If you like my blog, you might enjoy my books :) Grab them here. (You don't need a credit card. You can pay cash on delivery) or if you are an Amazon Fan, you can grab them here

 And you can interact with me on my FB page. I always reply :)