Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday No.34. True Love :)


My post for Wordless Wednesday
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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Declutter.


De-cluttering is so important. We all tend to become overloaded, overstuffed and over-burdened with a lot of things both tangible and intangible Every now and then we need to stop, pause, take control of what we are really carrying and what we ought to let go.

I work best in clean, de-cluttered, organised spaces. I hate clutter. I do not like 'too much stuff'. (The only exception to this being books--but they too have to be neatly stored and organised).

Today I decided to de-clutter one of the cupboards in my kitchen which had been screaming for attention but which I had been ignoring due to the whirlwind book tours. (For  pictures from the Chennai launch--I was the lady in red that evening :)--click here)

I came across this brilliant article on decluttering the kitchen:
http://organizedhome.com/cut-clutter/save-time-cut-clutter-kitchen-declutter

I followed all that the article said and my de-cluttering project was a super success.

Here is what it looked like before:




I would, all the time, put off de-cluttering it because I truly would not know where to start. But today I decided enough is enough and I got down to it. (The tips in the article helped immensely)

An hour later this was the result:



When I thought about it, I wondered why I did not do it earlier. It would have taken me just the same amount of time.

Then I concluded that what I really needed was the 'trigger' (The article was my trigger)  and  an 'explosion point'. The point where I couldn't take the clutter anymore. The point where I said "Enough. This has to be fixed and fixed now."

I guess this is really important in our relationships too.
We need to recognise how much is worth holding on to?  Are your relationships accumulating a lot of clutter? Are you going  to reach an explosion point?

Think! (This might be your trigger)

And till you reach a conclusion--there is always the kitchen cupboard to de-clutter :)

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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, February 18, 2013

5 effective ways to deal with Criticism and put-downs

And so we all come across them--the drains (people who leave you feeling drained) , the prickers incorporated, the damp squibs who can never be happy for you and the ones possessed by the green-eyed monster who scrutinize you from head to toe and actually find something to say to put you down. (Oh yes--there are many like that!)

How do you deal with such people? What can you do to not let their attitude or what they say affect you?


While you do not have much control over what others will say and do, you definitely can control how you respond.

Here  are five things that you can do:

First: Identify where the criticism is coming from. Why is this person putting you down ? Is there substance in what this person is saying? Is it jealousy? Most of us tend to be harsh on ourselves. Don't be! Give yourself some credit!

Second: Recognise that put-downs can be a good thing too. We all feel happy when there is only praise. However, criticism can also make us pause and think. It can make us re-evaluate whether what we are doing is in alignment with where we want to be. Is there a better way of doing what we have done?

Third: Look at the credentials of the 'critic'. Is it a person you hold in high esteem? If so what do you appreciate about that person? Is that person 'qualified' to give you criticism? Has that person achieved a certain amount of success in the field where the criticism is being offered?

Fourth: Remember--it is just an opinion. Like the famous quote goes (it appeared first in the movie 'dead pool')  "Opinions are like a*%#-holes. Everyone has one". At the end of the day, it is their opinion. It is not set in stone or sacrosanct.

Fifth: Mentally list all the stuff you *are* great at! Think of all the things you did right. All the splendid stuff in your life that you are happy about. SMILE. And do not react at all to criticism. Nothing gets a person more rattled than knowing their words did not affect you at all  (if it is 'false' criticism. You are smart enough to figure out when it is fuelled by jealousy and when it is fulled by having your best interests at heart.) :)
 
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  PS: I will be at Crosswords (alwarpet store, TTK road, Opp IOC pump) Chennai on 19th February at 6.30 pm. Come and say a hi if you are around :)


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 :)





Sunday, February 17, 2013

How it all feels.

When I get back from my events it always takes me about two whole days, at the very least, to recover. And that is just physically. So you can imagine the level of adrenaline that my blood must be carrying right now. In fact, I think if the medical professionals try to draw out blood, there wont be any--they will just get some  Epinephrine.

My events went off very well. I had two in Kochi, Kerala. The first was a book- interaction at DC Books and I was overwhelmed by the turnout, the love and respect showered on me and how very pretty the setting was. They had indeed put in a lot of effort. The second was an event at the Ritu Kumar store which was a joint launch of my new book and Ritu Kumar's new line SS-13. That went off well too. Click here (DC books)  and here(Ritu Kumar store) to see photos from both events.

For me, the most difficult thing about traveling for my events is leaving my family behind. I also now have to co-ordinate my travel plans with Satish's travel plans. My children miss me an awful lot. Just as I was leaving from my hotel for the DC books event in Kochi, Kerala, my son called excitedly. He had just reached back home from school and had scored the highest in History and had got a note or praise from his teacher. I was very happy and I so wished I had been home to give him a hug. It is that precise moment which is so important. It just isn't the same over phone.

My daughter called early next morning, just before leaving for school. "Mama, I miss you, when are you coming back?" she said. So I asked her if I should stop my travel and stay at home. Her answer was very clear " No way mama--I am super proud of you. Just go ahead for your events and anyway you will be back tomorrow!" (I never travel for more than 2-3 days)
 
I had quit my corporate career to be a stay-at-home mom. I have always been there for them while Satish traveled. We had decided that it was important that one of us is always there with the children. Now the Children are 15 and 11 and it is only now, when they are completely independent that I am traveling. Satish manages wonderfully when I travel. He is very supportive. We have never had anyone (Live-in maids, in-laws, parents) living with us, and it has always been the four of us, no matter whichever place we moved to. We're very close knit that way.

And another thing that I feel miserable about traveling is leaving my dog at the kennel. Dog-owners and dog-lovers will totally understand when I say that for me, she is my third baby. For those of you who have never had a dog, do read this post and also this one and if you want to know about Doberman in particular (my dog is a Dobe) then this one here is a MUST read.


The fact is now I am truly leading a celebrity author's life now. (Officially. For those who don't know--Am on the Forbes long-list. Have blogged about it here).  I keep getting calls from Media now and I have to actually schedule my calls. (Click here to see the Media coverage of 'The secret wishlist')

People often ask me how it all feels.

They ask me:

Am I enjoying it?   (Yes. I am.)
Are my children and Satish proud of me?   (A huge resounding YES. The children  come and tell me how proud they feel  when other kids  go 'wow' when they discover that Preeti Shenoy is their mother :-))
 Is it tiring?  (You bet! It is EXHAUSTING.)

At the moment, all I want to do is curl up in bed with my Doberman.

This is how she sleeps. Velvet blanket and pillow :) Yeah, I am so indulgent I know :)

 And that is just what I will do!
As soon as I finish this post :)

But I will be back here soon.
Writing here   and connecting with you all keeps me sane. That is how my journey began and that is how it will stay.

Thank you for reading me.
 It matters such a lot, you know.
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 PS: I will be at Crosswords (alwarpet store, TTK road, Opp IOC pump) Chennai on 19th February at 6.30 pm. Come and say a hi if you are around :)

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, February 08, 2013

Older brothers and inner peace :)

In our family, it is at meal times that a lot of conversations take place. Sometimes they are funny. Sometimes profound and sometimes there is silence. We always express gratitude for the food that we are eating and count out blessings before we eat.


 To have dinner together, every night is a ritual we have followed, as far back as I can remember. On weekends, we have every meal together. It is a rule. Eating in front of television isn't allowed in our home.We sit down at the dining table, and no phones, books or any other distractions are allowed. We have our set places too. Both Satish and I think this is so important to do as a family.

Yesterday night,  at the dining table, my daughter looked glum.

'What happened?' I asked her, knowing her penchant for drama and mentally preparing myself to shrug off whatever she would narrate, being so certain, due to the years of parenting that it would be something inconsequential, in the larger scheme of things.

But she surprised me.

'I desperately need inner peace,' she said solemnly.

 Now that was a first. I was taken aback, but quickly recovered.

'Eat up all your peas. Then they will be inside you and you will have inner peas,' I smiled, feeling very  pleased with my smug reply, which was the best I could do.

That brought a smile to my daughter's face and she did not miss the pun or the joke.

'Mama--you always make me smile,' she said.

'Yeah. But where in the world did you get a concept like inner peace? How can you need inner peace, you are only eleven !' I couldn't help exclaiming, part in admiration, part in  a damned-if-knew-kids-these-days  way.

My daughter revelled in the moment, happy at having got me thinking. But it was brief moment.

'Mum--don't be so impressed with her. She has just been watching too much Kung-fu Panda and that is where she got it from,' said my 15 year old son.

I didn't know what to say.

Older brothers I tell you!

I am still smiling.

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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, February 07, 2013

The Taj lit fest. A great experience.

How do you even begin to describe an experience that still lingers in the mind, it's after-effects enveloping you like a warm hug from an old friend, the larger than life feeling of awe that it stirred in you and most of all how humbled you felt to be a part of it all?

I attended the Taj Lit fest from 1st February to 3rd February at Agra. For me it was an amalgamation of so many things really--a chance to meet  the authors I have always admired, a chance to interact with my readers, but above all to be in the midst of so many brilliant minds.

The setting itself was fantastic and very nicely done. The organisers had taken care of even the smallest details and everything went like clock-work. They handled the glitches well, even though it was the first time they were organizing such a fest. The  people at Goodword Media were so sweet, cheerful and smilingly complied to almost all requests.



My session was with the very renowned Prahalad Kakkar.  Earlier in the day, he had a session with Shobha De.

The high point (I am so elated even now) came when Prahalad told me that he loved my book, 'The secret wish list' ! He said he just started reading and before he realised he was half way through it. He loved the ease with which it was written, he loved the narrative and the simplicity. He said all this on stage and honestly I felt like getting up, jumping and doing a woohoo and a fist pump.


I was completely bowled over by the phenomenon that is Prahald Kakkar.  He is extremely articulate, intelligent, well-read and sharp. But he is also so down-to-earth.  I couldnt help noticing that  at the Lit-fest, he was like a King  holding a durbaar, as the media kept hovering around him.




He invited me to join him for lunch and I did enjoy conversing with him, even though he tried to tease me by asking some outrageous question which made me burst out into laughter. Had I been younger I would have probably been embarrassed and nervous and I was glad I wasn't.
 

I also really liked Anna Vetticad's session. When a very elderly gentleman from the audience stood up and ticked her off for speaking in English and  said that her session has to be in the National language Hindi, Anna answered him brilliantly. She told him in perfect Hindi that she is from kerala and  has been brought up in Delhi and hence she can speak Hindi. But the fact is today English is as much an Indian language as Hindi or any other language is. She said truly does not subscribe to the fact that any one languge  is superior to the other. Then she broke out into perfect Malayalam and said that if she wants she can conduct the entire session in her language, malayalam but not a single soul would have undertsood.  I stood up and applauded. (I speak 6 Indian languages including Malayalam). Kudos to you, Anna Vetticad! Well said!


The other session I liked was Ravi Subramanian's session with  Sathya Saran. Sathya Saran is  writer I have always admired (I loved her book ' From me to you' ) and she conducted the session with all her expertise and grace. Ravi's novels are set against the backdrop of  foreign Banks where he has spent many years of his career. When asked if he would quit his career to become a full time writer, he said that he would never do it, as then it would become his full time job and he might not enjoy it as much. And then he said "And if I quit where will I get the fodder from, man?"  That earned him an applause from me.



 
I was told by everyone that they totally LOVED my session , and after my session, I was mobbed for autographs. It is the first time in my life that I have been mobbed. People were thrusting blank slips of paper and requesting me to sign.  I must have signed at least a 300 autographs that day and posed for as many photos.



Then I had the Media interactions. The reporters were all speaking 'shudh hindi' and they surrounded me, making me feel like some kind of a Bollywood starlet. They asked me all sorts of questions in Hindi and I replied in half in Hindi, and partly in English (when I couldn't get the apt Hindi word). I was quoted in almost all the major newspapers in Agra  and not just quoted but a whole story at that! I was stunned. Click here to see the clippings of Hindi Newspapers which quoted me :)


We had a dinner that night, againt the backdrop of the Taj, with ghazals being sung. We had to trek up a hill in the moon light to reach the venue. Our cars were allowed only upto a certain point , and then there were buses took us to the foot of the hill, from where we had to trek up.



It was a marvellous experience.  I have always read all columns written by Vinita Dawra Nangia and I love her writing. It was fantastic to meet her and interact with her. Her book 'It's your life' has recently been launched and I do wish her the very best for it. (The book is a collction of her very popular columns from Times of India, and so if you like her columns, you are sure to love the book.)

I also met Milan Vohra (who is a good friend--she had launched my last book 'Tea for two and a piece of cake'). Milan has come out with a new book 'Tick-Tock we're thirty' and it was launched by Shoba De at the lit-fest. It was also nice meeting a young author Ankur Chawla, whose book 14 hours is about the horrifying incident which happened at the Taj hotel in Mumbai. Ankur was working in Taj on that fateful night and his book is his experience of those horrendous fourteen hours.



I left Agra on 3rd morning and it was one of the most frightening drives I have ever had. This was my view from the car.


 Because of fog, there was zero visibility and there had been a 20 car pile up and many accidents.


I said a prayer and hoped we would make it safe. I was travelling alone in the car, and fortunately my driver was very skilful and drove really well. I heaved a sigh of relief when I reached Delhi airport safe.







My friend and co-author Ravi Subramanian has written a really interesting post about the fury of the fog and the lesson learnt. You can read about it here.








 


I was glad to have got back to Namma Bengalooru.
The cliched phrase 'Home sweet home' took on a deeper meaning that night..

My children and Satish had been really missing me, and I narrated in detail over the next one and a half hours, my experience at Agra.

And now, you know it too. :)

This is of course my personal narrative.
Here is the link to a very well written news report on the Agra lit fest:

http://apnnews.com/2013/02/05/taj-literature-festival-2013/

Thank you for reading me and being a part of my journey.
I am grateful.
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For more photos, go here.
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, February 06, 2013

Wishlist Wednesdays-- Results and special mentions

Hi all!

Here are the results and special mentions of all the Wishlist Wednesdays, as promised.

It was extremely hard to pick just one post as 'winner'! To my mind, all were winners. I did read all the posts (some links were irrelevant links!), and Westland in association with me, have chosen the following.

Wishlist Wednesday No.5 which had the prompt-- I wish I had one more chance to

The post which gets the book is:

http://pallosworld.blogspot.in/2013/01/i-wish-i-had-one-more-chance-to.html


There were many awesome entries and  the following ones get a special mention:

http://www.penultimatethoughts.com/2013/01/i-wish-i-had-one-more-chance-to.html

http://khichdikiosk.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/wishlist-wednesday/

http://myonewishthatcametrue.blogspot.in/2013/01/i-wish-i-had-one-more-chance-to.html

http://neversaydietoblogging.blogspot.in/2013/01/prompted.html

http://myendeavours.blogspot.in/2013/01/wishlist-wednesdays-5.html


Wishlist Wednesday No.6 which had the prompt:  I wish I could touch

The post which gets the book is:


http://myendeavours.blogspot.in/2013/01/wishlist-wednesdays-6.html

The  ones which get a special mentions are:

http://itsnotdonetillitsdone.blogspot.ie/2013/01/the-un-rippling-effect.html

http://thewhitescape.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/wish-list-wednesday-6/


For wishlist Wednesday (the final one) which had the prompt I wish I could be like

The post which gets the book is:

 

http://thinkagain0.blogspot.in/2013/01/i-wish-i-could-be-like.html





The following posts get a special mention:


http://mobsmile.blogspot.in/2013/02/i-wish-i-could-be-like.html


http://myendeavours.blogspot.in/2013/02/wishlist-wednesdays-last-one.html

http://the-web-diary.blogspot.in/2013/02/i-wish-i-could-be-like.html


I do hope all of you enjoyed these writing prompts.
I got many mails asking me to continue these writing prompts even if there is no 'prize' or winners chosen.

I will definitely try to but I cannot promise! Right now my schedule looks packed tighter than the number of people crammed into the general compartment of a Mumbai local train :)

I had an amazing experience at the Taj Literature festival in Agra where I was in conversation with the very renowned  Prahalad Kakkar.  I shall blog about that soon.

Meanwhile--cheerios, toodles and enjoy reading the links posted here!

Have a great day!

Much love!
Preeti.

ps: People who have got the book--please mail me your postal address with phone numbers and Westland will courier your copies to you! Send it on ps(at) preetishenoy(dot)com

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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 :)