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Poker Face: The Inspiration behind the short story by Preeti Shenoy

Hello there,
Time flies. It's been a while since I have written here. My last posts were in May, when I did the blog marathon, where there were 30 new posts, each day.
After a two month hiatus, I am back here! (yay!)  I haven't been idling these two months though. I have been working--- and this time I have a short story for you: Poker Face.
It was published a few days ago and it has been getting some rave reviews.



I am happy because this is a very unusual story. It has a surrealist  element to it. It is the story of a young girl, fresh off a break-up who keeps finding playing cards in her path.


I want to tell you the inspiration behind this story.
Some time back, I had blogged about how I kept finding hearts in my path.
This phenomenon continues to this day. I keep coming across random heart patterns. I  thank the Universe and consider myself blessed.
I am sharing with you a few photos that I clicked:



These are all photos that I clicked whenever these hearts popped up in my …

All good things come to an end

Hello there!

The month comes to an end today, and so does my blog marathon. I can't tell you how HARD it was this time, especially as I have a LOT of stuff going on the personal front. I won't lie--it was a burden on some days. But I don't think I have compromised on the quality of the posts even for a single day.

Haters think that just because I write 31 posts in 31 days, the quality will suffer. I am very objective when it comes to my writing, and I am my own worst critic. I can safely say I passed :) Don't you agree?

It was GREAT pleasure to read all your comments. A special mention to Alka Tiwari, Anoo MK (Thought is Free) , Indu K Raghavan, and Shally who commented on almost all posts of mine. I think Alka and Indu managed to comment on every single post. I am very grateful to  all of you who commented as it was very encouraging to read the comments. Every day I would wait for the comments  eagerly. 

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. We've been communicat…

Kerala beckons you -- lesser known places in Kerala to visit in June

Everybody has a favourite memory associated with their vacations destinations. Sometimes it is a childhood memory and at other times, it is a ‘dream-vacation’ they could finally afford. For me, the most indelible memories remain the time I spent in Kerala, annually, each year ranging from 15 days to two months, as both of my parents grew up in Kerala, and any chance they got, they returned to their roots. I have been to most places in Kerala and I can vouch that whoever came up with the caption ‘God’ own country’ did do justice.
Right from the time your flight hovers over Kochi , Thiruvananthapuram or Calicut (now Kozhikode), airports the stretch of green carpet that spreads out underneath you, is a splendid sight. The best part about travel in Kerala is that any place you choose to visit, it would not take you more than 8 hours, as the distance from Kasargod in Northern Kerala, to Trivandrum in Southern Kerala is just 560 kilometres, easily traversable by road or rail.
There are many r…

Illegal entrants--a poem

Restlessness  Desire  Longing  Are now constant companions  Travelling with me Within me They have made themselves comfortable
They arrived as tourists On a travellers  visa But somehow managed to linger on No force could banish them
My heart , my thoughts Are yours now My soul Subsumed, consumed, blazing Burning 
I live in restless hope I  longingly dream  Of making the journey Across the miles The desire to be with you  And to linger on.
Just like my  travelling companions I hope To stay Till eternity  In your arms.
____________________  ps: This was a poem commissioned by Conde Nast traveller **************© 2019 Preeti ShenoyFor more poems click here. Some poems have already appeared in print. Kindly do not reproduce without permission.© 2014 Preeti Shenoy

For more poems click here. Some poems have already appeared in print. Kindly do not reproduce without permission. - See more at: http://blog.preetishenoy.com/2014/08/do-i-tell-you-poem-blog-marathon-day-7.html#sthash.IopfCRtF.dpuf

Is the Indian woman truly free?

Most of us have been conditioned to NOT say no. We're afraid that we will be disliked. We fear confrontation. We are mostly conditioned to put others before ourselves. This is especially true if you are an Indian woman, and more so if you are an Indian mother.

Countless Hindi and other regional cinema, advertisements and popular media has elevated mother to the status of a 'all bearing, ever-loving, ever-forgiving, sacrificing, selfless soul.' Social conditioning too is such that women feel an urge to shoulder the major responsibility in the house. If socks and underwear  or any such thing are missing or misplaced, it's always 'Ask Mom.' Instinctively we try and 'fix things.'



I have spoken to countless women who travel for work, and most of them 'make arrangements' to have the house running smoothly. They put systems in place. They have people living with them.They instruct their house-helps. They have sorted out  child-care arrangements.

To t…

A one word challenge for aspiring writers.

There's a site called  One Word. It's a lovely practice tool for writers. The instructions are simple. You will be given a word at the top of the screen, and you have one minute to write about it.
You can't think, as the timer starts as soon as you see the word. You have to start writing immediately.

I do this exercise from time to time. If you want your entries saved, you can create a free account. You can also read what other people wrote.


I did this exercise today.
The word I got was PLANTER.

Here's the piece I came up with:




The planter lay shattered.
It took me a few minutes to even figure out what it was. His eyes were blazing. It did not even strike me that he had hurled it at me and I had ducked instinctively.
It would strike me later that what shattered that day was my soul.
 Then I asked my son Atul to do the challenge. Here's what Atul wrote:

Potty the planter was a small, queer looking man. Well that is if you could call him a man. He was more like a sm…

How hard are you willing to crack the whip?

Whiplash --a movie which I watched recently left me thinking. How far is a person willing to go to achieve the pinnacle of success? Where does one draw the line to achieve excellence? What price are you willing to pay, to make it worth it for you?  Does success demand great sacrifice?

If you haven't watched it, do watch the movie. It is a movie that makes you uncomfortable, and makes you think. I will not go into details about the movie, for fear of spoilers.

Personally, I believe that in order to achieve success in any field, one has to continuously be at it. Especially when the going gets tough or seems impossible. You have to have a spirit of 'I will never give up, no matter what.'  It is persisting even when everything seems bleak.

As a writer, I have face innumerable rejections. My book Life Is What You make It was rejected more than 40 times--not only by Indian publishers but also publishers abroad. Today, it has sold close to a million copies and continues to top th…

How to make a portrait (with steps)

For today's post, I thought I would share with you the various stages of making a portrait and explain the steps:

Step 1.
I draw an outline in pencil. The outline has to be accurate. You can use the pencil to measure proportions. Mostly it is  years and years of practice to get it right.



Step 2.
Once I am satisfied with the drawing,  I loosely block in the colours.


I use Sakura Koi watercolors and Pro-arte brush. My sketchbook is moleskine'. I use a lot of water and paint lightly. See--I haven't used any black yet.


Step 3: I deepen the shadows.

This makes the lighter areas stand out. I add  one more layer of colour. I use a hair dryer to completely dry a layer before adding another.

Step 4.

I add in the blacks. The portrait is already beining to look lively.


Step 5. I refine it further.


Hope these steps made the various stages clear.

In the other news my book #WakeUpLifeIsCalling is topping the bestselling charts (at no.3) for the 5th consecutive week.


Life is what you ma…

On whether my stories are TRUE stories and my favourite Indian writers.

A question which I am often asked is 'Are your stories true stories? They seem so real?'
People then ask me who the 'real person is'. They beg me to reveal the names of the real people on whom these stories are based etc.

I understand that to the reader my characters and my stories seem VERY REAL. But honestly I don't even know what to say when people beg me to let them meet the 'real people' behind my stories. They even assure me that they will keep it confidential and never tell anyone!

In order for me to oblige them, I will have to give them an entrance into my head. And that is impossible.

Also, I think if you look at the bestseller  fiction lists in India, the authors declare that it is based on their own lives. I think sadly, the Indian reader is used to that kind of stuff! I also read a LOT. This year, I have already read 26 books. You can see my entire reading list (and what i thought of them) on my Instagram profile under the highlights "boo…

The secret to sucess.

As I type this, my son is sprawled out on my bed, waiting  for me to finish. My dog is pawing me, and whining, wanting me to finish. My husband just walked in and asked if I am done.

I told all three of them, I need some time to write.

One of the hazards of working from home is this! There are so many interruptions to your day and time. This is especially so in India, where anyone from courier guy to dhobi to newspaper guy to house-help to security guard bringing some official notice ring the bell.

People often ask me how I manage to write so much. It is simple--I guard my writing time.

JK Rowling had said

“Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have "essential" and "long overdue" meetings on those days. The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it. Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in pea…

A happy day of SON-shine :)

Hey there!

Mothers and sons always have a special bond. (Just like mothers and daughters do)

I am super super excited just now, as I am leaving for the airport, to receive my son. It's been almost 6 months since I saw him. My daughter will come home probably next month or so. Some of you who have been following this blog might remember that he was scouted by a modelling agency in Singapore, while was walking out from the gym. He didn't even intend to take part!


He was one of the finalists in Singapore's face of the year model hunt. I had attended his first ramp show, and had even live-streamed it from Singapore (so my mom  in Kerala could watch it as it happened!) You can click HERE to see his profile.

My son is totally into fitness and riding. He was the one who taught me how to ride is KTM RC 390 :) (I never thought I would be able to ride a sports bike).  Here is the video  of me riding :)



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Riding into 2019! I wasn’t kidding when I said my son…

To my daughter, on her eighteenth birthday.

My darling daughter,
On this day eighteen years ago, I lay in the hospital, utterly overwhelmed. I had gone into labour unexpectedly. My gynaecologist had not yet reached the hospital as it was 5.30 am in the morning. You were in a tearing hurry to come out into the world. The doctor who was on night duty scurried about in panic and urgency; It was a natural childbirth (but God—I had to have stitches which I won’t freak you out with now). ‘Are you qualified enough to handle my baby?’ I thundered at the doctor, in throes of mylabour pain. ‘Yes m’am,’ she replied. When they told me I had a baby girl, I wept in joy. When you are hoping, wishing and wanting something so badly, it is an incredible and a magical moment, when the wish is granted. But the nurses on duty that night didn’t know this.
‘Don’t worry, you can try for a boy next time,’ the nurses said. ‘I ALREADY HAVE a boy. I soooo badly wanted a GIRL,’ I yelled through my tears.
This, my daughter was your welcome into this world. Where pe…