Monday, December 31, 2012

My best of 2012

The last day of the year.
I thought I would do a post on the best movies, songs and books of 2012.

When I say 'best', it is just my personal choice. It isn't based on sales or any official figures. It is stuff that left an impact on me, stuff that I felt was worth remembering.

First the  movies. I do not watch Television at all but I do watch movies. Three movies that i totally loved were:




This one really made me cry. I could so identify with the protagonist. If you haven't watched, do watch it. It is a story that will touch your heart. Another movie that I loved was:



Surprisingly most men I spoke to didn't like it. They said it was neither a typical James Bond movie, nor was it a 'very good movie'. Me--I totally loved it! Daniel Craig was just wow :-)

 Another movie which blew me away totally was:


Since I have lived in Pondicherry (I love the place) some of the frames were very places I have been to innumerable times! Life of Pi is a 'must watch'.

 The other movie I liked was Zindagi na mile dubara. It was a fun watch. I also liked Talaash especially the sensitive way in which the brothels were portrayed and the irony of the love story between the pimp and the prostitute and the dreams he wove. (this was not the main theme of the film, it was a minor thing but it struck a chord with me). I also enjoyed Vicky Donor.

And the one I totally detested, abhorred, gagged over was the much touted 'Barfi' (so many scenes --a blatant copy of many movies). It gave me such a head-ache. I wanted to run out of the movie hall after enduring twenty minutes of this torture.And to think that this absoulte crap was nominated as India's entry for Oscars. (*runs to the toilet to puke*)

The songs which made an impact on me in 2012:

The best song which totally bowled me over was
Gotye's somebody that I used to know.


 I must have listened to it at least a 100 times  by now.



The video is amazing too.

Another one which i liked (even though it is very teeny-boppish) was:



 I also liked Swedish House mafia's 'Don't you worry child'.  and also Lenka's everything at once.

When I think of Hindi songs,  the only ones which come to mind are 'Ishq wala love'  (from movie student of the year which i refuse to watch--just not my kind) and 'Subah hone na de' (from Desi boys which was fun). I liked both these songs a lot.

Guess I am not that big on Hindi music--I am sure there are many more great songs but I am just ignorant or they didn't make an impact on me.

Now for the books that I absolutely loved  and are a 'Must read'.

(and by the way, click here for the official list of TOP FIVE highest selling books of 2012 and  guess  what--my 'tea for two and a piece of cake' has made it to top five!!)

If I were to pick books, I would pick the following:



 I totally love Mitch Albom's writings and his book 'Tuesdays with Morrie' remains one of my all time favourites. 'The time keeper' is a book which is brilliant and a must read.

Another book I loved was Ruskin Bond's Maharani.


Ruskin Bond's story telling skills are legendary and I love his writing. Maharani was a story which left an impact on me and transported me so effortlessly into his world. (which is what a good writer should do. the reading has to be effortless and the prose has to flow smooth)

Two other books I loved (which i read in 2012--but they were written much earlier) were  Neil Gaiman's Graveyard book and Eva Ibbotson's Platform of Secret 13. Both are not really adult books, but I loved them both. :)

Do you have a list of the best of 2012?

Share it with me (with links please) :) I would love to know.

Wishing you all an amazing 2013, filled with joy, peace and happiness.

Until next year--take care! :)

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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, December 28, 2012

12 lessons I learnt from 2012

                                                   photo credit: Alan Cleaver via photopin cc

12 lessons I learnt from '12

'12 has almost ended and '13 is nearly here. End of the year always feels emotional for most people. A new year brings new hope. It is almost as if a notch has been made in the annals of time.

I am no different.
I take stock at the end of the year, look back, reminisce and make my resolutions for the new year.
If you want to read about 5 powerful tips to follow those resolutions, read the earlier post that I
wrote.


A newspaper called me up the other day to ask what were the highlights  for me in 2012.I have had a good year career-wise.(two published books, both doing really well--touchwood). But more than the career, I think what makes a difference is the lessons that we learn, as we go through life's experiences.

Here are 12 lessons that I learnt from '12.


1. If people really want to keep in touch with you, they will always find a way. 'Too busy', 'swamped with work' etc are just excuses.

2. Focus and discipline pays.

3. People are never what they appear to be. Some are horribly two faced. They do not mean what they say and are manipulative. Accept them but do not let them affect you.

4.For some, you will always be an option, not a priority. Take a call and decide if you are okay with it,

5.It is not selfish to walk away from a situation that makes you unhappy. If you are unhappy, leave.

6.It is not always wise to speak the truth. A white lie is okay if it spares someone's feelings. Honesty isn't always the best policy. There are always shades of grey (not just fifty:) )

7.Invest time in yourself. Take time to sit in silence, and get used to your own company. You will be amazed when you begin to hear your heart's whispers.

8.Do not presume everyone has your best interests at heart. They don't! They may seem to, but remember to take whatever they say with a huge pinch of salt. Jealousy does strange things to people.

9.The best source of advice is your own mind. Nobody else, no matter how close they are to you, will be able to see the situation, in the exact same way that you do. Trust your judgement.

10.Situations change, People change. Sometimes they change together. It seems really horrible and awful when that happens, but it shall pass. Better times are in store.

11. Best way to feel good about something you can do nothing about is to do nothing! Instead do something about the things you care about. Like a hobby.

12. Have at least one friend who is at least 15 years younger than you. (if you are only 15, what are you doing reading my blog?! Go study for your board exams! heh heh) Have another friend who is 15 years older. Both will be good for your soul.

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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, December 27, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday number 3.

Apologies for the one day delay in 'Wish list Wednesdays'. For Wishlist Wednesday number two, the winning entry is:
 http://shachi18.blogspot.in/2012/12/wishlist-wednesday-2.html

 Congrats Shachi! Please send me an address (In India) and your book will reach you.

 A special mention was also made of this entry:
 http://coziamagypsy.blogspot.in/2012/12/my-one-wish-that-came-true-and-gave-me.html




A big thank you to all who took part too!

Here is the writing prompt for Wishlist Wednesday number 3.

 The one thing that I wish everyone would learn is................. 



Write as much as you want or as little as you want! And please link only the specific post, and not the whole blog.
And it will be nice if you carry my banner too :) Leave your links below: Happy writing and I hope you are all enjoying it as much as I am! _________________________________________________________________________________


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, December 26, 2012

Wordless Wednesday no.33. My world.


 My post for Wordless Wednesday
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Wish list wednesdays will be back tomorrow!
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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, December 24, 2012

Five powerful tips to achieve your goals

Many of us make new year resolutions  and by 16th or 17th February (sometimes even earlier), we fail miserably. I used to  do it too--make resolutions and fail to keep them.
However, over the years, I have devised some fool-proof methods to keep myself going.

They work for me like magic and I am sharing them here, hoping they work for you too. They key thing here is that you must really want to achieve them--want them so badly that you are willing to do anything to be able to say 'Yes, I did it.'

Here are my top five tips:


1. Identify your time wasters and plug them:

All of us have our 'time wasters'. My biggest time waster in my early years of a career as a writer used to be the Internet. It was a double edged sword as my writing needed me to be on the Internet for research. However, I would begin reading something interesting, then there would be a nice tweet which popped up, or a blog-post i absolutely  had to read and before I knew it, three hours were gone. Whoosh! Down the drain.
I now am very careful about how I spend my time online. If it is directly relevant to my work, I read it. I don't 'waste time' on Facebook, checking out random people's photos and seeing what they have been upto. I check out pictures only of close friends.

You might have a similar 'time waster'--perhaps TV or phone calls? Identify your biggest time wasters and plug them. You will be left with more time to do the things that you really want to do----achieving your goals.


2.Be specific about what you want

"I will exercise more in the new year" is a vague goal. But I will walk at 4.5 km for 20 minutes on the treadmill on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday., and will do 15 suryanamaskars on friday and saturday" is a specific goal.

I will have a cleaner house in the new year is a vague goal. "I will clear my clothes wardrobe of clutter and will dust all the window panes every week, and I will tidy my desk every single day, and will put away things where they belong as soon as I finish using them," is a specific goal.

See what I mean?




3. Use these support systems:

 Try these two sites:
http://www.stickk.com/

or
http://habitforge.com/

The second site says that 21 days is all it takes to form a habit.
Surely , that is doable?


4.Do it in small chunks:


 Losing 10 kilos may be a huge task. But losing 1.5 kilos in 25 days is a smaller, achievable goal.When I do my work outs and when I am doing my cardio (I run at 8 km per hour alternate with walking at 6.3 km per hour), I set a standard number of songs in my playlist. Then I think "Only 5 more songs to go," or whatever the number os songs left. Basically what I am doing is breaking up my cardio workout  into smaller chunks.



Break up your goal into smaller chunks in order to make them more achievable.


5.Reward yourself:

If I achieve my goals set, I reward myself. I permit myself to call up a friend whom I have been dying to have a conversation with, only if I have written a certain number of words. Similarly I buy myself a nice dress, if I have managed to work out every day for that week/month or whatever target I have set.
The key here is that the reward has to be a motivating enough for you to want to achieve your goals.

Good luck with your goals! Hope you achieve them.
And if you want to share I am listening :)
________________________________________________________________________

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 :)



Saturday, December 22, 2012

Overwhelmed.

The day began with a really tragic news that hit me like a ten tonne truck ramming into my heart. For  a few seconds I couldn't speak. We had been saying  our prayers for a little girl, a friend's daughter, who had been fighting for her life for the last three days. I was certain she would recover. But I was wrong. She succumbed last night. She was only three and had contracted the swine flu. Satish left for Pune to meet her parents.

Life is so darn uncertain. And I say this often--'LIVE each day.' And what better day to 'LIVE' than your birthday?

Then the phone calls and wishes began pouring in. I was flooded with messages of love.And gifts. And more phone calls. And BBM messages and whatsapp pings and many many SMS.

An old friend called from Mumbai. I was so happy to hear from her. A childhood friend whom I had lost touch with and got back in touch recently called. A close friend called from the U.S. Another called from Chennai. Another from Pondicherry. Another from Delhi. And many more phone calls followed..each one filled with genuine warmth and love.

It was a balm to the gloom that had descended earlier around me. It was Magic. Funny how great and sometimes inane conversations can uplift the soul.


A little later the door bell rang. I was floored completely when two people from the Bangalore office of the publishers of my new book, came home and wished me! Talk about publishing houses pampering their authors! I was really moved.

When I logged into my Facebook, I discovered that the  publishers of my 'Tea for two and a piece of cake' did this for me:


They asked people to guess which book of mine these lines are from.  Most guessed the answer as 'Tea for two and a piece of cake', but it is the wrong answer :)

I think you might be able to guess which book it is from--so I wont tell you the right answer.
But I do believe in the above lines deeply.
I did appreciate all the good things in my day today.

 

 Like the gift that came in the mail from one of my closest friends.


 And the two dozen red roses that were gifted to me. (I absolutely loved them!)


 The quiet and pleasant dinner I had outside with my two children.



The many many photos and messages of gratitude that people posted on my FB author page  thanking me for signing the books. Folks, I should be thanking you for reading me and showering me with so much love!









And the new dress I bought myself too :) (after all a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do)  :)










My day was peaceful today. And it was filled with love. For that I am grateful.

I turned 41.
I am grateful for that too. (Many people hate to state their age. But I am darn proud of my age. Heck, all the years, I have earned them! )

 All in all, a birthday to remember, filled with sadness and hope, love and joy, quiet time and  music,
but most of all contemplation and gratitude.

Thank you for the love and thank you for reading me.
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 Click here for the early reviews of my latest book.

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, December 20, 2012

No, it is not okay.



Usually I refrain from commenting on current affairs in this blog. This blog is a ‘happy’ place, a slice of positivity and it has been a conscious effort to keep it so.

But the recent brutal rape of the 23 year old girl has really got to me and I feel compelled to write this post.
What occurred on the night of 16th December   can only be described as dehumanizing, horrific, brutal, non-condonable and that will only be putting it mildly.

What causes rape? How can it be prevented?

The answers to this are multiple, in several layers and would be very varied, depending on who was answering this question. There have been umpteen discussions and hundreds of articles written on this.
From bad parenting, to societal conditioning,  to the knowledge that you can get away with it, to the laws that are not so stringent and the worst of all to the attitude that ‘the woman deserved it, after all she was out late with her boy friend’ are some of views which have been aired, some vociferously  and some silently, on media and social platforms all across.

The men accused of committing this brutal act were all uneducated and from the slums. There was a bus-driver, fruit seller and a gym instructor. They were all between the ages of 25-33.

But what totally shocks me is the attitude that even the most educated men in our society seem to hold. A few years back, I was discussing ‘Why Delhi is unsafe for women’ with a friend who is from one of the ‘branded educational institutions’ that our country boasts of. This friend’s view was that if Indian women were a little more ‘accommodating’ when it came to sex, the rape incidents would come down.  Speechless? Well, so was I. But I did think about it.

Another friend’s husband told her, “See? This is why I tell you not to go out late, alone.” Never mind that this is working woman who  might need to stay out late because of work, who has a high-flying career and has travelled the world over and her husband too is a highly educated professional, who is very intelligent, sharp and ‘upwardly mobile’. The solution to the problem in his mind, was to make her stay at home, so she is ‘safe’.

But I am not for a moment blaming the educated Indian men. On Facebook, I saw a comment made by a woman who was obviously upset about the gang-rape. She said “Why rape women. What are prostitutes there for?”  I read it twice in disbelief. 

Nobody deserves to be raped. I am all for legalizing prostitution, in fact. It would at the very least improve the working conditions of sex-workers in India. There are more than 3 million women in India, who work as prostitutes and 1.3 million among them are under-age. (But I am not addressing that here. That will call for another post)

What needs to change is a mind-set.  It is only in India, that words like ‘eve-teasing’ are used. We need to acknowledge that there is no ‘teasing’ here. It is plain harassment. By coining up a silly term like ‘eve-teasing’ one is diluting the graveness of the issue. Groping a woman is NOT okay. Please get that clear. Respect her. She is more than a pair of boobs or a cute ass. She is more than her body.

In India, we still have a bias towards the male child. Kerala which is a matriarchal society boasts of an excellent sex ratio of  1084 women per 1000 men. It is the highest in India.The lowest ratio is in Haryana and Delhi which have a pathetic 877 and 866 women per 1000 men. In Chandigarh it is even lower, where it is 818 women per 1000 men. Delhi also witnesses more rapes than the next five metros put together. These numbers say something about the mind-set , doesn’t it?

In India, we  also have ministers making statements like ‘women should dress modestly’. This is another thing which infuriates me. What about the thousands of women in villages who get raped? They wear sarees and traditional clothes. Rape is never about what the victim wears.
The only thing that can help curb this horrendous menace which is a threat to every Indian woman is a sea-change in attitude. Extreme laws like castration if a guy is caught raping, would also serve to be a great deterrent.  The rapist should be made an example of. He should be shamed and should reget it for the rest of his life.

There really is no excuse for rape.

And meanwhile all I can do is say a prayer for the girl who continues to fight for her life and is in critical condition, at the time of publishing this post.
 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday no. 2

Wishlist Wednesday is here again!

If you are not a regular reader  do not know what it is all about, read this post.
This is a writing prompt I am hosting each Wednesday till the end of Jan, in association with my publishers Westland.

All the entries that were posted last Wednesday were read--they were all really good and it was wonderful to know your wishes. The entry which got picked (one entry will be picked and  Westland will mail them a copy of 'The secret Wishlist) was this one:


 http://tarangsinha.blogspot.in/2012/12/i-wish.html

(please e mail me your postal address  on ps(at)preetishenoy(dot) com and Westland shall do the needful)

There were a two more which got a 'noteworthy' mention .

They are:
 
and 

 But  please do not feel bad if your entry isn't among these I am sure , the joy is in writing, sharing and visiting other links--don't you agree?
In that spirit,
here is the writing prompt for today:
My one wish that came true and gave me immense joy....

Write as many words as you want or as little as you want.

Please carry my banner for me in your post, if you can :)


And you can leave your links in the widget below: 


Happy writing!!

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 ps: There is a lot of such fun-stuff happening on the FB page of the book too. . So please look up the FB page of the book (if you haven't already).
   

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, December 17, 2012

How I signed a three thousand books





And so I have just finished signing a 3000 copies of 'The Secret Wish list'. My hands are still numb. My neck, shoulders , back, eyes, head--everything hurts. I have indentation marks on my fingers. I have never signed these many books before. It took me more than 35 hours. each carton had to be opened, shrink wrap removed,  the book opened to the right page and I had to sign. 
 
 Satish kept pushing me and motivating me and after a while I couldn't tell the difference anymore.  He would open each book and hold it to the right place and as soon as I signed he would put it in the carton and place it away. Not easy lifting each carton (there were fifty of them). I wanted him to be irritated as well, so I would feel better about showing my annoyance, but he was the personification of calm and helpful. That did not even allow me the liberty of a good grumble.

 So I shut up and continued the business of signing.

I told him that many couples bond over going to pubs, discos, movies and eating out but we bond over opening cartons and  signing books. I was only half joking.


 
 I was depressed, grumpy, ecstatic, angry, elated, tired, determined, all at the same time and I did not even know, until now that emotions too can have a rainbow.

Lenka kept me company. You can listen to her  here .


 As did my Doberman and my children. My staff helped me. They were so sweet.  Their excitement on seeing so many books was matched only by their enthusiasm in assisting satish to open the cartons. The signing of the books was indeed an all inclusive affair at the Shenoy household.

Yesterday an idea struck me. Out of the three thousand that I signed, I drew a little picture on 3 books. This was what I did:



 If you have pre-ordered a copy and  happen to get this particular one (with the drawing) then mail me, and I will have a cup of coffee with you, when we happen to be in the same town. :) My little way of saying a thank you.

This  morning all the books were all collected and are being shipped to various destinations.
Yours should reach you soon.

Treat it with the same love that I have for it , will you?
And yes, write in and tell me how you liked it.

From my home to yours, The secret wish list is arriving soon.
Cartons and cartons of the secret wishlist.

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ps: There is a lot of such fun-stuff happening on the FB page of the book too. . So please look up the FB page of the book (if you haven't already).
   

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 :)