Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wish List wednesday--final one!

So here we are, almost at the end of January and with this the Wish list Wednesdays comes to an end.

I do hope you have enjoyed taking part as much as I have enjoyed hosting these! I have got some beautiful, moving entries! I loved reading them 9though I might not have been able to leave a comment).
 For those of you who do not know about Wish list Wednesdays, it is a writing prompt that I am hosting every Wednesday on my blog till the end of January, in association with Westland Books.

What do you have to do to take part?

Simple--answer the prompt below in your blogs and leave a link! If you do not have a blog and still want to take part, just use my comment box.

Write as much as you want or as little as you want.
Please carry my banner for me :)


The results of the last wishlist Wednesdays as well as this one will be declared in a few days. Here is the writing prompt for today:

 I wish I could be like_____________________ (name of person). This person is special because.............

Leave your links below: Happy writing folks!

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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, January 29, 2013

The making of Ra--the Egyptian Sun God.

I am forming a new club. It is called LMPP.  Last minute project parents. I was initially going to call it the LMPM --last minute project moms. But then realised that in this day and age, dads pitch in just as much. I really think we need our own club. Or at least a group where we can gleefully discuss our last minute project escapades and pat each other's back for a job well done, offer tips, suggestions and generally bond over the bonhomie and camraderie of having school going children who always tell you at the last minute, that the important school project is due tomorrow--and if we do not turn it in, we will lose twenty whole marks from the annual exam.

The cuteness of the plea, the desperate call for help plus of course the twenty percent at stake, which is too large a chunk to ignore, does most parents in and we succumb. If you were a member of the LMPP, at this point you would sympathetically nod, pat my back and share your own LMPP anecdote. And I would sigh in commiseration --an understanding sigh that conveyed what no amount of words can--and a bond would be forged.

I was a victim yesterday.
My 15 year old came to me and announced that he had been chosen as Ra--the Egyptian Sun-God. And he needed a costume urgently.
'How urgent?'
'Tomorrow.'
'What? Tomorrow and you wake up now?'
'I told you two weeks ago?'
'I don't remember you telling me. Did you ?'
'Of course Ma--you were busy with your Bangalore book launches, and you told me to remind you later.'
'And why didn't you remind me later?'
'I did.'
'And?'
'You said you were travelling to Mumbai and Pune'
'Hmm--ok,' I muttered quietly under my breath.

He  had auditioned and had got selected as  as Aladdin  a few weeks back and he was splendid as Aladdin. (I had trailed the whole length of Commercial street with the white stain cloth in tow, explaining to each tailor what exactly I needed and who Aladdin was until one tailor magically agreed to deliver, much like the proverbial genie).

And how here he was, telling me that he was Ra the sun God.


What a marvellous character Ra is. So much splendour and glory.
How could I refuse?  The pants, he already had. What he needed was a mask. Ra wears a magnificent mask.

So I did what a last minute mom stricken by panic would do--I googled for images and I  tweeted for help.
Prats (who blogs at Retrospections--emotional ecology)  , obviously a  veteran member of the yet to be formed LMPP club tweeted back to me some helpful  handy tips.

A few hours of googling later, I had a plan. I would make the most splendid Ra of my son, the best Ra there ever was, the best Ra in whole of India. Who knows, maybe  whole of Egypt too. The one thing you can't fault me on, is ambition.

I made a few frantic calls and sent a few desperate mails to the spouse, to get me the required stuff on his way back from work, the artist in me unleashed in full frenzy. The spouse after a hard day at work, had no choice but to oblige, the yet to be crowned Ra and the ambitious artist- wife, waiting desperately for his arrival.

He arrived in due course armed with the supplies I had so brazenly demanded.

Ivory sheets.
Tick.
Gold paint.
Tick.
Acrylic red.
Tick.
Ivory black
Tick.
Golden yellow
Tick.

I opened my art kit, took out my Derwent knife, my brushes, the whole paraphernalia and set to work.

I completed making it,  at around 11.30PM, long past the time the children's bed-time. I was so insanely pleased with my finished project that I had half a mind to shake the sleeping child awake and dance around wearing the Ra mask that I had created, but the spouse tacitly indicated that it might not be a good idea and I controlled myself.

I could barely wait for them to wake up this morning.

And when they did, they couldnt stop exclamining.
My son gave me a tight hug and lifted me in air (he can carry me now and he lifts me high up in the air! Not kidding) and gave a whoop of joy and said " WHOA MOM! YOU'RE THE BEST!'

That was enough for me.

Okay--that was almost enough. :)   I was so pleased with my creation that I had to click a picture of it and share it here , with you.





 Isn't it the  awesomest Ra mask ever? :)
In the whole of India? In the whole of Egypt?
*dances around saying I made this!  I made this! Oh yeah! Oh yeah!*

If you were a member of the LMPP, you would agree. You would even pat my back and give me a big hug and tell me it was wonderful.

Heck, even if you aren't a member, go ahead and tell me how awesome it is, and make my day, will you? :)
__________________________________________________________________________


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, January 28, 2013

The something in his eyes



There is something in his eyes
That speaks to my soul
They sing
And I listen.

There is something in his eyes
A plea for acceptance
They beg
And I yield.

There is something in his eyes
That wrenches my gut
They want understanding
And I try to.

We exchange words
Pleasantries and part
Our paths to never cross again
We inhabit two different worlds.
He is oblivious to me now
I was but an aberration
To his well -structured life
He has a living to make
And cannot afford the luxury of poetry.

And so while he busies himself making a living,
The something in his eyes
Continues to haunt me
Especially at nights
When sleep is elusive.
And I seek frantically
The understanding, the acceptance
But most of all -- the unsung song.

© 2013 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, January 23, 2013

The perfect child.

My eleven year old always has stories to share. I listen. Intently.
I learn a lot from her. Always.
And sometimes her stories make me laugh. And she laughs with me.

We treasure those moments--she and I. She is a lot like me, we have the same sense of humour, and we are so completely in sync, it is hard to stop us once we get started. She reminds me so much of myself when I was eleven, and yet in many ways is so different from me.

Today she had a story to share. It was about this perfect girl in her class. This girl is truly something, my daughter informed me.
'You know what she told me the other day Ma?' she said, almost in disbelief.
'What?'
'She said-- I think I will get and ninety nine and three fourths in math.  If I lose that quarter mark, I `think I will kill myself.'
'Oh my God. Is she that good at studies?'
'Yes and very stuck up too. She always scores 19/20 and 20/20 in all the tests. And she is such a cry baby'
'What do you mean cry-baby?'
'She actually bawls. Can you imagine? If someone tells her even a small thing like 'your plait is coming loose' she bawls and weeps like the world is going to end.'
'Oh! She must be a sensitive child then.'
'No Ma, not sensitive and all. She is just a drama queen. She just wants everything to go her way and she can't accept it if it doesnt. So she cries and bawls to get her way.'
'Oh.'

I didn't know what to say to that. The thought that crossed my mind was what was the point being so good at academics if one didn't have a balanced personality? But of course, like a good Indian mother, I said nothing.  After all, which Indian parent doesn't aspire  a child that scores perfect marks in exams? :) So  I kept my silence.

But the story wasn't over.

'But I made her all right Ma. She is okay now,' my daughter announced.
'Oh. How?' I asked, my curiosity really piqued.
'She has been sitting next to me for about four months now.'
'And?'
'Now she scores only 14/20 and 16/20. And she doesn't cry any more.'



I am still smiling as I type this.
______________________________________________________________________

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 :)






Wish list Wednesday number 6

As promised, here is Wish list Wednesday number 6.

The results for Wish list Wednesday number 5 as well as this one and ones to follow from now on,  will all be declared together at the end of the month. Because of my travel, it is taking me a while to co-ordinate with my publishers Westland, to declare the winner and the special mentions, and so please bear with me.

For those of you who do not know about Wish list Wednesdays, it is a writing prompt that I am hosting every Wednesday on my blog till the end of January, in association with Westland Books.

What do you have to do to take part?
Simple--answer the prompt below in your blogs and leave a link! If you do not have a blog and still want to take part, just use my comment box.

Write as much as you want or as little as you want.
Please carry my banner for me :)

The writing prompt for today is:

I wish I could touch..........

Leave your prompts below:


That's it? Fun, isn't it? :) Dive in and take part! What are you waiting for? _________________________________________________________________

 ps: Live chat with me today (23rd Jan 2013) at 11.00 am IST on Rediff.

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, January 22, 2013

Of launches, friendships and the silence between.

Apologies for missing the Wishlist Wednesday, last week. If you have connected with me on Facebook, you would be aware that I have been running around like a headless chicken, in the western parts of the country (Mumbai and Pune  to be precise, where I visited a LOT of book stores)  doing book launches (click on the names of cities to see photos of the events) and 'meet n greets' .

The rest of the month doesn't look any less busy either. But Wish list Wednesdays will run as scheduled till the end of the month. The results will be announced all together at the end of the month, instead of the following week. (That will give me some breathing space--thank you :) )

I would also be at the Taj Lit fest happening in Agra between 1st and 3rd February 2013. I would be in discussion with the renowned Prahalad Kakkar, on 2nd february at 2.45 pm. We would be having a discussion on 'creativity in daily life'. Come and say a hi if you are around :)

To tell you the truth, writing a book is easier than doing all this.  Honest.
For one, there is this business of clothes.
I have so many events now that wardrobe planning has become a thing-that-takes-considerable-time. Of course I want to look nice at my events :)
So even though I detest shopping, I am forced to.

If I had my way, I would just turn up at these events in my shorts and T-shirt and flip-flops. But a little voice in my head tells me  that it isn't  a good idea  and I think I will listen to that little voice :) For now :).

Then, at all my events there is the press. It is nice of course to be interviewed and asked about my books and to be featured. (Click here for press coverage--I have been getting some awesome ones).
It is hugely stressful to smile and pose for the pictures and answer all questions patiently with a smile on your face even though it is the 100th time you have been asked the same question.

And then there are those people whom you expect to be there at your event, but do not turn up. My book launch is a big event for me, and of course it means a lot for me to have people I consider close, present there. Maybe, much more than I care to admit. And it  is bad when some people are conspicuous by their absence.(It is interesting to note how last minute things crop up all of a sudden whenever my event happens at the city they live in).
So I am doubly grateful for all the ones who take the trouble and effort to attend my launches.

 

I was overjoyed to see Manish Rahul, my classmate, at the launch, and also Vasumathi, my senior. We all studied in the same school, KVIIT-Chennai.

Manish recently completed the Mumbai half-marathon and I was very proud of him. Manish and I used to play basket-ball together and our school  truly encourages sports a great deal. (we both went on to play for KVS nationals later)

 I was meeting Manish after eight years! I was meeting Vasumathi for the first time.

It was wonderful to reminisce about our school days.





I was also meeting a very dear friend after ten years. I was delighted she could make it. We were both very overwhelmed and I had to hold back tears of joy. The photographer captured the moment so well.



There is indeed something magical and marvellous about old friendships that are true friendships (Not all are). Sometimes time stands still and it feels as though nothing has changed, even though so much has happened in the interim. There are  a few friendships in my life that have stood the test of time--and I value them such a lot.  (They always find a way back into my writings--for example the friendship between Tanu and Dikhsa in The secret wishlist).



Apart from my friends, fans and readers, support from my fellow authors  means a lot to me.
I was very happy to have Kiran Manral (author of 'The reluctant detective) launch my book. I was also very happy to have Ravi Subramanian (author of several best sellers including the recent Bankster) at the launch. Thank-you to both of you!
Kiran has blogged about it here.

At Pune, I was in conversation with Dr.Manjiri Prabhu (author and film maker) and that was great as well.

At the end of three days, I was so exhausted, it was a miracle that I managed to stand up straight.While I enjoyed my events and meeting so many well-wishers, I also heaved a sigh of relief when it ended. I had been missing my work outs.I had been missing my yoga.I had been missing my quiet time. I had been missing writing in my blog. I had been missing my comfy t-shirt and shorts. I had been missing just being myself..I had also been missing the three people closest to me--the three who know me inside out, and who love me no matter what. I had also been missing my 3rd baby (my doberman) and I was overjoyed to be reunited with her.





And so for now, it is back to routine.

Until the next round starts.

I am grateful for all the success.
I am grateful for all the peace and the quiet time too.

It is so important, you know, the silence between.
_________________________________________________________________________


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, January 14, 2013

On being a celebrity




So one of the biggest things that has happened to me of late, is my name being there in the Forbes India long list of the 100 most influential celebrities in India.  I was in my car, on my way home, after shopping for some clothes for my son, when author and friend Ravi Subramanian (of the 'Bankster' and  ‘If God was a banker' fame), messaged me and congratulated  me. I honestly thought he was pulling a prank on me. He then sent me the image of the list and told me to see the fourth last name. I couldn’t enlarge it for some reason on my phone and I told him I would see it when I got home.
As soon as I got home, I rushed to my mac and googled the link. Sure enough, he was right. There was 'Preeti Shenoy', right along with legends like M.S. Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar,Farhan Akhtar, Karan Johar , Salman Rushdie and Vikram Seth. (and for the record, Ravi, unsurprisingly, is in the list too  :-) )
Of course, I rubbed my eyes in disbelief.   I truly couldn’t believe it and it took two days for the impact to sink in. Actually it still is sinking in. A list of 100 people will be compiled from this long list of 250 people, but for me, to be in this long list itself is an honour and an achievement.

Messages of congratulations started pouring in. Satish and the children were so darn proud—I felt moved and blessed to see their love and pride. So were a few of my close friends. I felt and still feel deeply overwhelmed by all the love.

This is what Satish posted on his FB. He was elated.




This achievement seems to have catapulted me into a completely different level. My phone has been ringing non-stop for the past four-five days now. I have now started saying a firm no, to a lot of things, simply because I have to prioritize now. There is only so much that I can do in a day. So I schedule what is most important to me.  The Telegraph newspaper called me up yesterday where they do a column on the turning points in a celebrity’s life—and they wanted to feature me. Till then I had not even looked back and even thought about my life –about what the turning points were. It required some intense introspection.

 I am also a part of the Taj literature festival in Agra where I will be in discussion with  the legendary Prahalad Kakkar.

Roohi Dixit, a film maker   (Of Freaky Chakra fame—a movie I loved) and founders of an all woman production house--zero rules,  is making a movie featuring a few passionate women, who (in her words) live their life, are successful in following their passion—and I am being featured. When she called to co-ordinate the dates for shooting, I had to actually look through my diary and  give her the dates on which I would be available. She laughed and said “Preeti—you are a busy girl now”.


She was right. This was never the case earlier. I had the luxury of time. Each day was one long stretch with plenty of hours waiting to be filled, doing things that gave me joy.
I guard my time fiercely now. It is too precious to be squandered on things that are not so important to you. So now my days are planned and scheduled.

Life has indeed got busier.  But fact remains that I am still the same person that I was when I started this blog as an unknown somebody. Just because I have now been officially declared a celebrity, I haven’t sprouted two horns! :-)


Yet, what I notice is some people I consider(ed) close have started viewing me differently now. They look at me and judge me. That hurts. These are people who have known me for at least twenty years now and people who have been a part of my life for so darn long and who know me really well.  Even the most innocuous stuff that I joke about is screened,  analysed and looked through a ‘Is- that arrogance- speaking—has she changed—is- she- still –the- same- or- has- fame- gone-to- her- head’ filter.

When I call up (or message) a couple of people  (who I considered close to me), meeting whom was never a problem earlier, I am suddenly greeted with stony silences and curt messages of ‘I am not free’ . No—don’t tell me they suddenly got busy. They haven’t. What I notice is the ‘You are busy-I will show you I am busier’ attitude. I just see the futility of it all—but there is nothing I can do about it really! When egos talk, reason makes a quiet exit through the back door.

The Media has been featuring ‘The Secret wish list’ a lot. Click here to see all the clippings.

I am suddenly confronted with the ugly face of jealousy and negativity, two emotions that I have kept at bay and I keep running away from. Now I am being confronted with them, larger than life, all their darkness blown up manifold. The green eyed monster transforms even the nicest of people into unrecognizable  caricatures—a fact I am struggling to cope with.


There was a formal launch of the book at Phoenix mall Bangalore and it was a great event. Click here to see some great  pictures. 










I also had a ‘meet n greet’ session at Sapna book house, Residency road, Bangalore . The interaction was fantastic.  I met so many of my readers, they shared their stories and we left as friends.

Most of the readers who turned up were surprised that I was there much ahead of time. They remarked that usually celebrities make people wait for them---and here I was waiting for my readers to turn up. I replied that as far as I was concerned, I was the host and they were my guests. I did not believe in making my guests wait!
This is what one of my readers said after the meeting:
Thank u so much. You are not like other eminent writers. You are very unique. You don't have ego n you made us so free and frank towards u. I’ ll be praying for your future of both family and writing career.
Another reader has blogged about it here.



Click here to see the pictures of the event at Sapna book house.






I am doubly grateful to the precious few who are still the same towards me. They are proud of all that I have achieved. They share my joy and acknowledge what a journey it has been and they express how happy they are that I have got to where I am.
I hold on to these people.

I hold on to little moments in my life each day.

Like being greeted by my dog in the same enthusiastic way (whether or not I am a Forbes celebrity) :-)
Like, reading to my children each night,
Like joking with Satish about  various things.
Like admiring the flowers in my garden.
Like reading great books.
Like making Art.

Those are the things that matter really and keep me going. I feel blessed.

Thank you for reading me and thank you for all the love.

It matters, you know.
A lot more than you’d think.
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ps:   I will be in Mumbai tomorrow , at Crossword Juhu, at 6.30 pm, in discussion with Kiran Manral. (author of The reluctant detective). Come and join in, if you happened to be around

pps:

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, January 09, 2013

Wish list Wednesday No. 5

Wishlist Wednesday is here again!

For those of you who do not know what it is, it is a writing prompt that I am hosting, every Wednesday, till the end of January. Westland  India, will pick one entry and send them a copy of my latest book, The Secret Wish list which has been getting some great reviews.


A big thank you to all of you who took part in Wishlist Wednesday number 4.

I am sure you will all agree that it is a lot of fun taking part even if one doesn't win the book. It is also fun to read what others have written.

However, the entry which won the book this time is:

http://ruminating-optimist.blogspot.in/2013/01/writing-prompt-i-wish-everyone-loved.html

 Hearty Congrats! Please send me your postal address with phone number on ps(at)preetishenoy(dot)com

 Two entries  which got a special mention  are:

 http://mirrorsshadowsnreflections.blogspot.in/2013/01/a-wishlist-wednesday-post.html

 http://anish-nair.blogspot.in/2013/01/i-wish-everyone-loved.html

The prompt for today is:

I wish I had one more chance to ......................................................

 Write as much as you want or as little as you want!
Please carry my banner for me in your posts, and please link only the relevant posts and not the whole blog.

Here is where you can leave your entries:


And for those of you in Bangalore, who have written to me saying you want to meet me, come and say a hello on 12th. It is a very informal meet and we can chat about wish lists and writing and other things :) I promise it will be fun :) Here is the invitation :)

Please feel free to share the invite with whoever you want.  I will be happy to meet  all who read me :)



happy writing folks!
___________________________________________________________________
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 :)