Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Bloggers meet at HarperCollins on Nov 5th!

Are you in NCR - and do you love books as well as blogging?

Would love to see some of you there.

Just share your blog links and why you'd like to come for this meet-up : )

You can do it as a comment to this post :)

Friday, October 14, 2016

When Love Finds You

Okay guys - so my fourth book 'When Love Finds You' is out!  It's something I wrote over two years ago, even before 'There's Something About You' - more on that process later. Right now, every single pre-order counts, as is always the case. I do hope you won't wait - get it now

Another rollicking ride from the bestselling author of Just Married, Please Excuse, Sorting out Sid and There’s Something about You. 
Natasha is a badass boss. Just how badass? She can make a grown man cry, she can whip a team into shape, she can meet her targets and she won’t take bullshit from anyone. 
Of course, getting the job done is never enough for a woman in a man’s world. When it’s time for her long-overdue promotion, she’s passed over for Rishabh Sethi – a smarmy rake who apparently has ‘people skills’. He knows just how to push her buttons and it's driving her up the wall. Thankfully, the very desirable Nikhil – he of the quiet self-assurance and distracting dimple – is around to make the office tolerable. With a crotchety old neighbour, an unrelenting friend and a tumultuous family history in the mix, Natasha is suddenly beginning to find that everything she's ignored in the pursuit of success is now coming back to haunt her.

But don’t worry. She’s bringing her A-game. She always does.

Pre-order now

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Delhi Folks, Seen The Inside of a Dating App Office?

As part of my new book launch (Ta-daaaa - and by the way, please pre-order it here!), HarperCollins has done an interesting conversation with TrulyMadly and so, this Saturday, we're doing an Open Mic where I'm in conversation with their CEO Sachin Bhatia. There's going to be poetry, jokes and a lot of general conversation.... as well as wine!

So if you're Delhi and you'd like to meet a cool bunch of people for a nice Saturday afternoon, go ahead and join us here. And do help spread the word ;)

P.S - pre-order? 

P.P.S - hop on over to read a little something I wrote for them this week?

I may not have the latest  statistics when it comes to love in the workplace, but since I married a guy who flirted with me in the office years ago (though he claims I started it) I guess I am a statistic. Living proof that the office is a natural environment for relationships to blossom. Read More on the Truly Madly Blog

Monday, September 12, 2016


I was quite amused to see a picture of myself from Jan 2011, when my Mom sent it on Whatsapp. No, am not sharing it here. The twins and Peanut are sitting with me, all nice and chubby, but there's no one chubbier than me.

Sure, it is to be expected that a woman bloats up during pregnancy - but this was seven months after the twins were born. I always put on too much weight during my pregnancies - 22 kilos the first time and 25 kilos the second time, vis a vis the recommended gain of about 14 kgs ( if I remember correctly, that's true even for twin pregnancies). 

The first time I worked it off completely -it was a normal delivery and I was working full time after several months, and used to climb up eleven floors each day to get to the office. It worked beautifully, I don't remember much else about how I worked out at that time.

After the twins, with the C-section, the following surgery post a complication and the general chaos that happens when you have twins, it was SO much harder. I managed to lose some of it, but it was the Zumba program that actually helped me get back into shape. 

Still, after a couple of years of Zumba-ing (learning for a year and then teaching), I realized that I had hit a plateau yet again. My weekend classes weren't enough to give me the required  toning; even adding Yoga didn't help the belly area (that C-section pouch is an a-hole!). I was contemplating what to do about it when...Strong by Zumba got launched!

This is a high-intensity Tempo training workout; it's different from Zumba in that it is reverse-engineered - a team decided the right High intensity moves that make for a great workout and THEN they designed the music for it. I love the concept - signed up, went for a training on August 7th, was blown away by it and have been practising since. In just a month, I see a big difference in my strength, toning and energy! It's not a cakewalk but it is very, very doable. 

There's a whole bunch of us in Delhi who were trained by the very fit and very professional Prateek Kundial, and only a few of us have launched the program so far. I feel ready to do at least a Demo session of it and am trying to see if I can get enough people ( ideal number - 8) near my locality in Gurgaon ( MG Road) in order to do it tomorrow i.e. Wednesday September 14, 6.30 p.m. 

I'm writing this quick post just so that more people become aware of this program. It is NOT dance-based, so for those with two left feet who drop out of Zumba classes because they feel they can't keep up, this is actually a great alternative. The choreos are not left up to us 'creative' instructors because the one-hour class is broken up into four separate Quadrants with varying and carefully designed levels of intensity to really get the max out of the workout. 

The other thing we've discovered is that many non-licensed instructors are either already teaching this program OR dismissing it as 'not for everyone - only for young folks who like gymming' - neither of these are a good thing, so that's the other reason for this post. If anyone talks to you about Strong By Zumba, first ask if they're trained or licensed. 

Okay, that's it!  Watch the videos to know more - the one above that explains the concept in a minute; and the other that showcases a very cool song 'I don't waste my time' by the very cool Ai Lee.

And lastly - none of this will ever take away for the love of us Zumba instructors for the core Zumba program, excellent, fun and effective in its own right! I feel that if I were doing more classes of even Zumba in the week, it would work brilliantly - but now that there's an option for variety - heck, why not?

Find a Zumba or Strong by Zumba class near you! And if you're in Gurgaon, find mine ;)! 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Papad the Little Wise Man

One of the downsides of being a twin has to be the constant comparison you're subject to. This one is smarter, that one is faster, he's more of an athlete, he's better behaved yada yada yada. As Pickle and Papad grow up and their individual personalities now shine through more clearly, I see this happening less. It helps that even though they're genetically identical, they don't look the same - I don't know how that works. But at this age, when they've turned six years old and Peanut is nine, it's interesting to see their differences.

Vijay's always had this thing about Papad not being the brightest bulb on the planet. Earlier, he used to piss me off by suggesting that Pickle was the one who was least like the two of us and had perhaps been switched in the nursery after birth. But of late, he's come to the conclusion that it's Papad who we will need to save for.

'Poot Sapoot Toh Kya Dhan Sanchey?
Poot Kapoot Toh Kya Dhan Sanchey?'

After this dramatic announcement from him, I asked him what the heck he was blabbering about. 'What Kaput, Shaput, Man?'

'It means.' He said in a superior manner. 'If your child is good, what's the need to accumulate wealth for him, he is capable. And if he is bad, why would you want to accumulate wealth for him? He doesn't deserve it.' He then looked over at Papad who was playing innocently with a set of toothpicks trying to make them stand up on the carpet. 'But...what if your child is a buddhu?' He announced fondly. 'We'll leave you some money, Papad.'

Papad smiled at him and I glared. Not funny to label your child like this.

I know Vijay's only kidding about this stuff, but Papad doesn't really help the cause at times.

'What words start with Q,' he wonders out loud while doing his homework. And then. 'I know! CUCUMBER.'

Actually a most natural mistake, if you think about it but I don't miss Vijay's head-shaking and quiet murmur 'Don't worry, we'll leave behind the money.'

Or when we were preparing the kid for Show and Tell last week.

'So, this is a pot that is used for planting...tell the class why it has holes in the bottom? You remember, right? So that the extra water can come out. Right? So....why does it have holes in the bottom?'

'So that the mud can come out.'

'No, we just discussed this...so that?...the...?'

'The air can come out.'

'NO! I mean, no, beta...so that the...?'

'The hole can come out.'

'NO!' I all but clutch my hair.

'What was the queschun?'

I've run out of time and bundle him out of the house to catch the bus with the others. Vijay takes another sedate sip of tea and looks satisfied.

But there are times when the little boy comes up with fairly profound insights. I think all kids do, and he's no different. He is sensitive especially to my feelings; he watches my expressions a lot and responds intelligently many times. We share a special bond, me and that skinny little kid and I think he's going to do just fine. He was cuddling with me last week and then a thought struck him.

'Mom. What is more important. I or my Family?'


'Am I important or is Family important?'

'Well...' I struggled. 'What do you think?'

'I think' He pursed his lip. 'That I is more important. Then is Family.'

'Um-hmmm.' I had to admit. 'I think I also feel that way. But what do you think about how your Dad would feel?'

Vijay walked out of Papaji's room. Papaji is a Parkinson's patient and in a condition now where he needs twenty four care and even though we have an attendant, Vijay is up several times a night to help him to the bathroom, and so on.

Papad gazed at him 'I think Daddy thinks Family is THIS important.' He raised his hand above his head. 'And that he is THIS much.' He dropped it down almost to his knees.

'What?' Vijay frowned. I explained the queschun and the answer.

'So Papad.' Vijay said. 'You think family is less important? But if there was no family - there would be no you, right?'

Papad thought about it for a bit. 'Yes, but if there is no ME, then how can I have any family?'

Vijay didn't really have a rejoinder. And I figured I really did agree with the logic that young Papad spouted. You have to take care of yourself first. Your own oxygen mask on before helping someone with theirs. I've often tried to tell Vijay that this is how it has to be - the self-sacrificing can only take you so far in life.

I gaze triumphantly at Vijay. Papad runs off and my husband stares after him for a bit. I figure he must be duly impressed with the child's reasoning and philosophy.

'Hmmm.' He mutters. 'At least he's good at sports. Maybe he'll be okay through Sports Quota.'

Saturday, July 9, 2016

So Much SmartAssNess in First Half '16

I had this feeling that I've got a lot of mini-stories about the kids on my Facebook page here; and the feeling was right. Below is a compilation. I feel much better now that I've got them here for posterity ;). But join the Facebook page for more regular doses of randomness and the occasional brilliant flash of insight (rare).


Papad beats Pickle in a swimming race and gasps proudly 'TodyaCRUSHya!'
I turn to him and say 'What?'
Peanut sighs, treading water near me 'Oh, he just copies my motto. Everyone copies my motto.'
'What's your motto?' I am amused.
'It's kind of a song I made up. It goes -
I told ya, I'd crush ya,
I crushed ya, I win!'
'Peanut! That's ...' I'm impressed, but I try valiantly to be a good parent. 'Not very sporting. Where did you come up with that?'
'I was playing tennis with Anusha and I beat her and then when I was shaking her hand over the net, I whispered it to her - I told ya, I'd crush ya, I crushed ya, I win!'
'Well, you're supposed to be saying 'Good Game' at that point, right?'
'Right!' She gives me a bright grin. 'But it was more fun this way.'
I struggle with it for a while and then give up. 'You mind if I use it on your Dad?'
She shrugs wearily 'Go ahead! Everyone uses my motto anyway. I bet even the President of the United States will want to use it.'
Inside I'm thinking, yeah, maybe not the current one but sounds about right for at least one contender. But I refuse to let that thought spoil it for me.
I Told Ya
I'd Crush Ya
I Crushed Ya.


Pickle and Papad are watching the 'Finding Dory' trailer.
It finishes and then a Spanish version of the trailer starts, with baby Dory speaking to her parents.
Pickle (with a frown of concentration): What they are saying?
Papad (with an air of great wisdom about him): Pickle. It's FISH language.


After watching Football, some match between Italy and Spain, for an hour with my husband, my kids run out of the room shouting
'Guess what? Idli won! Dosa Lost! Yesss!'
How educational.


From Peanut's diary. How interesting.
"My mom is an author and a famous one." I smile at that.
"We are not really that rich like I expect other famous authors to be."
Smile gone.


Me, getting angry because he's not listening to me: Pickle, now I've told you enough times that you're supposed to brush your teeth first thing when you get up and now you're asking me for things to eat without doing that and ...
Pickle, in the most biting and spiteful and mocking manner that the words have ever been said: Baa, baa, black sheep, have YOU any wool?
(Sweeps out of the room with impressive dignity)


And this is how I'm misrepresented at home.
Papad walks up to me and shows me the bandage I tied on his foot 'See I am bare-footed. That means hurt, right?'
I correct him. 'No, bare footed means you're not wearing anything on your feet.'
'But I am wearing the bandage.'
'Yes, but not shoes, right?'
'So what is that word for hurt?'
'Yes' He says with inordinate pride 'Wounded. I have a wounded feet.'
'Foot. Yes, wounded foot.'
'Mom! Will I have to take this off if I go for a swim?'
'Well, I guess it would come off anyway, so yes I suppose so.'
He nods sagely with complete understanding and then trots out of the room on his wounded feet and I hear him tell his twin. 'Pickle! Guess where Mom says we can go? For a SWIM!'


My daughter, the one with the sense of humour. She sees a certificate from Micromax "To a Colleague who was awesome till the last mile..."
Turns to me and asks "Hey mom! What happened to you in the last mile? Why were you only awesome TILL it came?"


Me: Peanut, just help Papad finish his homework please...
Peanut: How? He is just copying the letters...
Me: I don't know! Just... Cheer him on or something.
Peanut (yelling right into her little brother's ears): Papad, Papad, He's our man! If he can't do it, no one can!


'Will you kids please stop shouting?'
'Your Tau is sleeping. He doesn't sleep at all at night, so he's sleeping during the day.'
'Because he's still on America time.'
Peanut shakes her head and chuckles. 'Americans are so weird!'


"Do you know what they're doing?" My husband asks me.
"They are playing music on the laptop and waiting for birds to come..."
"What music?"
"That Mary Poppins song... What is it?"
"Feed the birds, Tuppence a bag?" I guess.
"No, the other one... With that robin..."
"Ah... " I get it. "Spoonful of sugar?"
"Yeah, that one." Vijay is very amused. "And they are wondering why the birds aren't landing up!"
Childhood. Such innocence. Such wonder.
Such little Bhondus they are.


I look with interest at my husband's new profile pic on Whatsapp. That's cute. When was he on a boat? And hey, it looks familiar but-
I message him furiously "what the heck? Did you cut me OUT of your profile pic?"
A few moments of silence and then watch him typing back.
"Of course. If I didn't cut you out, no one would look at me."
Well saved, buddy.
Well saved.


We are sitting and watching Frozen.
Princess Anna and Prince Hans fall in love and sing their duet "Love is an Open Door"
Peanut sings along word-for-word.
Pickle covers his ears and protests "sing in your MIND!"
Papad beams beatifically and then wonders out loud "How do the prince and princess know the same-song-words?... Why you laffing Mom?... Tell me!!"


Peanut stares out the car window and since I am not paying attention either, we almost miss our turn to the music class.
After correcting the driver, I unfairly mutter to my child "Why are you dreaming?"
"Why shouldn't I dream?" she says calmly.
I am chastened. It's true. She is but a child and I expect her to do a lot of things with the maturity of an older person. These are the days she must enjoy and cherish, and if one isn't allowed to dream now, by George- when?
"I'm sorry, Peanut." I whisper.
"It's ok Ma" she beams "you know nowadays if anyone asks me why I am doing something, I just ask them why I shouldn't do it! It works very well."
Now I'm a little pissed. It was just a trick.
"Bit of a smartass, aren't you?" I sneer.
Another peaceful smile with just a hint of smugness
"Why shouldn't I be a smartass?"


Random statements by Random Kids:
Papad: (excited) ...and it's the best in the WHOLE WIDE UNIVERSITY!
Peanut: (wonderingly) Mom, if I am trying to adopt someone when I am 21 and I write 50 instead of 15 by mistake - (now panicking) what will I DO if I end up with a child OLDER than me?



I am doing my yoga this morning before work, in the privacy and sanctity of my bedroom.
BANG. My son shoves the door open and potters in, waving a piece of paper excitedly. 'Mom, mom, I made DIS.'
I resist the urge to ask him to retreat and look at his picture. It has a tiny creature drawn in the centre that looks like a cross between a camel, a baby elephant, and if he insists, a mouse.
I am in Ommmm mode, and thus I remember that a child has to be appreciated for the effort he puts into his work. Criticism is to be avoided at all costs, as is the natural desire to correct his efforts. And at the end of the day, he is clearly doing this for the love of art, and it's good to see that he's interested in something besides breaking his toys and the house.
'It's great, Pickle.' I enthuse. 'Well done! And you even wrote Mouse.' I can't stop myself here.'Well, you wrote Muse, but that's great too!'
He looks up at me with a crooked smile and says in a brisk, businesslike way. 'Wanna buy it? Only fifty lupees.'
I stare at him for a moment. Get out, get out, get out of my loom, I want to scream. Oommmmmm.
(I ended up buying it for fifteen lupees.)


It's a possibility that my kids may be watching too much TV.
Papad, spotting my husband coming home, shouts ''Daddy's BACK...!'
And then adds 'On NICKELODEON!'

Pickle brings me his homework sheet after I come home from work, saying 'What we have to do in dis?'
I turn my bleary eyes towards the sheet.
Peanut barks at him 'Bring ME your homework. Let Mom relax.'
I turn my teary eyes towards my 8 year old daughter.
If I'm dreaming, don't nobody DARE pinch me today.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Little Lemonade Bottle

'Well, I was here at 1 p.m. for my appointment! You've kept me waiting for 45 minutes already! It's the doctor who should adjust...'

Vijay and I watched with some bemusement as the hapless doctor's assistant struggled to formulate a response. The typical aggressive Delhi-type scene played out again and again, with many irate patients taking their anger out on the assistant. We waved at him timidly again to remind him that we were still there. 

'Three more patients before you.' He murmured. 

I was feeling hungry and suggested to Vijay that we go and grab a bite at the nearby Haldiram's. We felt a lot better about life once we had some Papadi Chaat and Chole Bhature in our tummies, not to mention the Badam Milk and Rasmalai ( My no-sugar experiment is going really well these days). As we pushed our plates away, my husband said thoughtfully -

'I bet the Doc hasn't eaten.' 

'Yeah, I'll bet he hasn't.' I agreed. it was 2.30 p.m. already and judging by the commotion outside his room, it was unlikely he'd had a bite. 

'Poor fellow. He's probably not eaten since morning.'

'Yes.' I wondered where this was going. 

'Shall we take something for him?'

I stared at him. 'What, like Chole Bhature? No!'

'Why not!' Vijay cried. 'He'll like it.'

'Vijay, please. No! We can't take a smelly parcel into a doctor's clinic. That's just...'

He looked a bit deflated. 'Maybe Lassi? He might like Lassi.'

'I don't think so, Vijay. It's a bit weird. Anyway, let's get going now, shall we? It's time for your appointment.'

I ducked into the loo for a couple of minutes and when I came out, I noticed Vijay was carrying something besides his MRI report. 

'What's that for?'


'That Nimbooz?' I demanded. 'You already had a nimbu-pani with lunch.'

'Oh.' He said carelessly. 'That's for the Doc.'

'Vijay! Seriousy?' 

But the husband's jaw was set. So I gave up. 

We were signalled in by the hassled assistant and the Doctor today looked rather hassled. It was only the second time we were meeting him but it was clearly a bad day for him, even though he greeted us with enthusiasm. 

Vijay put the Nimbooz on the table. 'This is for you, Doc. We thought you might not have had lunch?'

'What? No, no, not for me.' He indicated a packet to his left that lay unopened. 'No time, I have to rush for an operation.' 

Despite two interruptions from his assistants and a call from the Operating Theatre which he answered with a 'Coming, just coming.', he managed to give us the instructions to do with Vijay's knee report. 

'...so make sure you do the physio exercises diligently and I'm sure you won't need a procedure.' He finished. 

'Thanks doc.' We said, feeling sorry for him. We stood up and then he told Vijay, signalling the Nimbooz 'Don't forget this!'

'Oh, no, Doc, it's really for you.' Vijay pressed. 


He paused for just a moment and then shrugged his shoulders. 'Well, actually - I think I might just need it.' With that, he picked up the bottle and stood up. 

We went out of his room and in a couple of minutes, he overtook us, hurrying down the hall towards the OT. 

I watched as he opened up the Nimbooz and glugged from it without breaking his stride. And then he disappeared around the corner. Vijay saw him too but said nothing. 

Later that evening, several hours later, Vijay received a text message from the doctor with 'Thanks for the Nimbooz. I really did need it and it put a smile on my face.' Vijay read it out to me with a smile. 

And I stood corrected. 

It doesn't matter whether something you do is weird or unusual as it long as you mean well. In other words: 

It's never out of place to be nice.