Sunday, August 2, 2015

Come and see me this Friday?


Join me and Anoop Johnson, co-founder of Indiblogger, as we happily launch my brand new book 'There's Something About You' and the Harpers-Indiblogger '10 Love Stories' ( the book that I mentored and wrote the foreword for!)

On August 7 (Friday)
Costa Coffee, South Ex, Delhi.
6.30 p.m. onwards.

Come, come, it's books and coffee after all! 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Chapter 1: Trish

‘Lift, please. Hold ... HOLD!’
Trish reached the elevator just as the doors were closing and,
in her desperation, did something she normally never would have done – she thrust one thick denim-clad thigh through the doors, causing them to open again, revealing several faces inside the lift with expressions varying from mild surprise to studied innocence. A few people stepped aside to make way for Trish and she squeezed her heavy frame, still panting, into the already crowded lift.
Trish tried not to meet anyone’s eyes as she stepped on multiple sets of toes. She directed a ‘Sorry, sorry!’ towards the floor. She gave up trying to reach the back of the lift, where she would have felt more comfortable. Inwardly, she was seething at this typical rudeness of the corporate crowd in this building. These people had seen her running towards them. The polite thing would have been for someone to reach out and press the button to keep the lift waiting for her. Instead, they appeared to have reached some unspoken collective decision to pretend they had all suddenly lost their respective visions and therefore couldn’t see Trish, all seventy kilograms of her, with her curly hair and dark-rimmed glasses, hurtling towards them.
She felt breathless and dizzy now. She had known it would happen. She closed her eyes and waited for it to pass. Trish hated being in crowded lifts. Thankfully, the lift opened on the second floor and four people stepped out, squeezing past Trish, who tried to make herself smaller. She took a couple of awkward steps back, stepping on three more sets of toes in the process, and finally settled into a much more comfortable position at the back of the lift. She had thought at one point that she had a fear of enclosed spaces, but then had noticed she felt this way in the lift only when there were other people around. She hadn’t delved further into it; Trish didn’t believe in overthinking her feelings.
It helped her to distract herself by discreetly observing the other folks in the lift, and this was partly why she liked to stand at the back. She usually started with the shoes, to see whether she was dealing with a brightly insecure pink-strapped high-heeled junior management professional or a suave, egoistic boss in his smooth, polished-by-someone-else-of-course, stylish, formal shoes. The next clues were the legs and what covered them. Trish noticed that the shape a woman’s ankles was a good indicator as to whether she had yet tried the latest in fitness, whether it was Pilates, kickboxing, power yoga or a healthy combination of all three. It was easier to figure this out in the skirts and annoyingly named ‘jeggings’ that were so fashionable these days. Formal pants made it tougher. With men, Trish would have to shift her glance upward, past the crotch – quickly past the crotch! – to check for signs of the potbelly. The potbelly was pretty much a ubiquitous phenomenon amongst these relatively upper-class men in the corporate world. The men didn’t seem to really know how to work it off, except the select few who clearly went to the gym with religious fervour. Women who, by virtue of crossing thirty, had entered the state of motherhood recently still carried the signs in the belly region. The bright, insecure twenty-somethings, of course, had the tiniest, flattest tummies possible.
Trish made all these observations without judgement. She herself had given up on seeing her toes ages ago. Her weight problem had bothered her a little when she was younger, but now, at twenty-eight, she didn’t think she needed to meet anyone else’s standards. Her loose, dull, shapeless kurtas hid her shape fairly well, although they added to the bulk.
The lift cleared out further by the time it reached the seventh floor. They were now heading straight for the top floor – the tenth – and there were only two other people in the lift, a man and a woman, both from her own office. All three of them exchanged brief smiles and went on to studiously ignore each other. After a second, Trish glanced up again at their faces. The rise of the smartphone and the zombie-like downward gaze of smartphone owners made it easier for her to study faces these days. She thought her female colleague from the marketing department had partied too hard the previous night, given the tell-tale dark circles under her eyes. She was probably uploading selfies right now. The admin dude on the other hand looked like he might have got lucky last night. Maybe he was texting his wife or girlfriend or whoever right now to tell her – or him – how much he had enjoyed it. That had to be it, she thought. No one could look so happy on a Monday morning, especially not an admin guy. Unfortunately, he looked up at exactly this point to see Trish staring at his face. She blushed. ‘Bloody lift, so slow, making us late. It’s already ten. Ridiculous.’
He looked like he felt compelled to say something. ‘Yes. Very slow lift.’

Trish shifted her weight from one foot to the other and went on: ‘And the stupid new swipe card system. If you miss ten o’clock even by a minute, it marks you late. Wonder which idiot came up with it.’
The marketing girl looked up at them now with some interest, while the admin guy froze, appearing affronted. Too late, Trish realized that it was this fellow, Rajiv or Ravi or whatever his name was, who had been lauded for implementing the new swipe-to-enter technology at the last monthly HR announcements meeting – a mind-numbing function where Trish usually zoned out. Well, this was awkward.
The lift door opened. Trish abandoned all pretense of courtesy. Despite the fact that she was farthest from the door, she was the first one to get out of the lift.

**********

Trish waited at the coffee machine while three girls in front of her discussed, in great detail, the movies they had watched over the weekend, all of which had apparently been ‘total bore, yaar’. Who were all these bubble-headed pretty young things flooding the office these days, anyway?
Trish figured Akshay had something to do with this. The new boss had arrived on the scene several months ago and had proceeded to throw himself into the heart of the business. Apparently, this didn’t include content creation, which was Trish’s function. She was the only one of his direct subordinates whom he hadn’t bothered to spend any time with. No formal induction session, not even a subsequent review. Which, frankly, suited her just fine – she had already slotted him in as an egoistic slime-ball. Plus, he looked really young, perhaps just a couple of years older than her. This stung her slightly. She had risen to the position of content head after slaving away for years, but Akshay was clearly a corporate dynamo, considering he was already a vice-president.
He was the most visibly successful boss she had ever had: sharply dressed, gel-haired, clean-shaven, fair-skinned, gym- fit and eloquent, amongst other various vaguely annoying qualities. Bloody show-off. She frowned as she made her way to her desk, holding the hot paper cup gingerly out in front of her. She sat down, closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Her coffee smelt delicious. A gentle wisp of steam wafted up to tickle her nostrils as she slowly lifted the cup to her lips for the first glorious sip of the day.
‘Trish, can I see you in my office, please?’
Her head snapped up, the coffee halfway to her lips. It had been more a command than a question. Akshay was standing right in front of her desk, one hand resting on the edge of her cubicle. Considering that he barely ever spoke to her, why on earth did he want to see her, of all people, first thing on a busy Monday morning?
‘Um, okay, be right there,’ she managed to get out. As if she had a choice in the matter. He looked suave as always, and having him in such close proximity made her feel grubbier and even dowdier than usual. She found herself wishing she hadn’t worn this old brown kurta again today, comfortable as it was.
‘All right.’ He glanced down towards her desk and added, ‘You might want to...’
She looked down and saw that the coffee was trickling down one side of the cup on to her desk and the papers on it. She hadn’t realized she had been squeezing it so hard. She shifted her grip slightly and managed to get some of the liquid on her fingers. Ouch, it was hot. Where were the tissues? Oh, there. Good. By the time she stemmed the flow and placed numerous tissues around the slightly deformed cup of steaming liquid and looked up, Akshay had disappeared.
With her usual vague sense of skepticism mingled now with an uneasy curiosity as to what this was all about, Trish made her way to her boss’s office.

******
‘Ah, come in, Trish,’ Akshay called out as Trish opened the door. She found herself feeling a little irritated by this. He had just invited her into his office but was now acting as though she were asking for his permission to enter. Bah. Idiot MBA-type.
She went over and sat down on one of the chairs in front of his desk. She hadn’t been in here in ages. The previous boss, Sunil, had been fuzzy-headed but inclusive, prone to calling in people for random brainstorming sessions about various business problems that he seemed unable to solve himself. Trish had often taken part in those sessions which were painfully unproductive but usually involved a round of freshly ordered doughnuts. Sunil had been the grey-haired, mild, absent- minded variety, more suited to being a professor than a business head, but he had been fundamentally a nice person, and at least had the decency to look way older than his team.
Akshay was now staring with a frown at some random sheets of paper. A glistening white bone-china cup, half filled with what looked like green tea, was on the desk in front of him. Green tea! And bone china cups! What luxury the top brass in this office enjoyed. Oh well. Trish told herself that she still liked her own low-pressure job. She had been the content head for two years already. With each new website that the business added, she got an additional content writer to report to her. So she now had a team of four young people. She had carefully chosen folks who weren’t overly enthusiastic in the interviews. Stability, she decided, was the quality she was looking for. People needed to be steady and not rushing off with ambitious dreams every couple of years. Look at her. A total of seven years in this company now, straight out of college, obediently moving from the print department to the new-fangled Internet department five years ago. Sure, some people would have expected her to have a more senior position after all this time, but Trish was satisfied. Content with content, she quipped to herself with an inward smile.
Akshay looked up at Trish, his face impassive. ‘So.’
Trish cleared her throat, unsure of what the response to that one was supposed to be. Akshay didn’t seem to expect a response though, because he went on.
‘I noticed, Trish, that you’ve come in late several days last month.’
Was that seriously an attendance sheet that he had printed out in his hands? Trish felt the colour rise to her cheeks. She could make out what seemed to be people’s names in the rows, each followed by a series of numbers. Her mind raced. Maybe it was the admin dude who had gleefully brought Akshay the printout. She tried to stay calm. It wouldn’t do to turn into a tomato in front of Mr Perfect. But it was a biological trait she couldn’t control, this colouring of her cheeks when she felt bothered or embarrassed. She was both insulted and caught off guard. She was a senior manager – well, relatively senior, anyway, and had been with the company for so long – how could he—
‘You’re a senior manager – relatively senior, anyway,’ Akshay went on. What, he was reading her mind now? ‘It wouldn’t do to set the wrong example for your team and other young people in the office, right?’ He leaned back and she noticed for the first time how dark and curly the hair on his forearms were, even the ones on his wrists. It gave her a bizarre sense of satisfaction to know that there was something imperfect about him. She swallowed and then found her voice.
‘Akshay.’ She spoke deliberately, refusing to call him Sir like the others. ‘I’ve been here for years. I’ve delivered on every single deadline and project that we’ve got going on, whether it’s involved staying late or working over weekends. And I must tell you, I’ve never been called in for a discussion about coming in late.’ She was watching his face closely and noticed something change in his expression. She went on. ‘Is there something else you mean to tell me?’
‘Well, Trish,’ Akshay hesitated only a moment before adopting the smarmy, soothing tone she had distrusted from the beginning. ‘Your contribution has of course always been valued here. You’ve been with the company for ... seven years now? Commendable!’ His smile looked more like a smirk to her. ‘Not feeling any seven-year itch or anything?’
She sat stiffly at the edge of her seat. What was he on about? The smile dropped off his face. ‘Look. I need to bring you on board with some of the new thinking we’re instilling here. The business is in trouble and even though the last two quarters have shown some recovery’ – the last two quarters since he’d been around of course – ‘we’ve still got a long way to go. I’ve been thinking of rationalizing the structure and we’ve all got to be ready to go with the flow – or find something more suitable.’
Wait, was that a warning? Trish willed herself to stay neutral. ‘Could you be more specific?’
Akshay’s eloquence came from his ability to spin a yarn around the simplest facts, but even he seemed to struggle a little with the next words. ‘It’s like this, Trish. You must be aware that we’re starting a new fashion-and-lifestyle vertical next month?’

She had heard vague rumours about this a couple of months ago, but had no idea that it was actually planned so soon. She had been waiting for a project brief on this. It had sounded interesting and her assumption had been that, as content head, she would be pulled in naturally for something like this.
‘I, um, yes, but ... next month?’ She stopped and bit her lip as the implication sank in for her. She had been sidelined.
‘We felt...’ Akshay hesitated for a second. Trish wasn’t sure who the ‘we’ was here. ‘We felt that something like this needs a vibrant new team of fresh, young people – that’s why all the design graduates have been hired.’
Ah. That explained the pretty young things floating about in their six-inch heels. Wow. A whole new content department had been set up right under her nose and Trish hadn’t even seen it. How blind of her. Her approach of keeping her head down and just delivering on her existing projects had done her in.
‘As we’re shifting resources to the new avenues of growth, we’re having serious thoughts about the current structure and whether indeed we’re justified in paying out salaries to people who aren’t directly contributing to the topline.’ He went on to use a few more big words, but Trish was barely able to register what he was saying because her mind was racing. She did catch the word ‘rationalization’ being used more than once as he droned on.
Oh, she knew where this was headed. She could finally see the writing on the wall although it was too late now. She hadn’t demanded raises like the others, even though she was underpaid given her seniority. She hadn’t been proactive in asking for new responsibilities, preferring to stay out of people’s way; she had set up systems and trained her team well to function independently – in short, making herself redundant. She was dimly aware that Akshay was offering her the option of a month’s pay for immediate termination or two months’ pay for one more month’s work. Her cheeks felt hot. Staying wasn’t even an option as far as she was concerned. She couldn’t bear to be here a moment longer.
‘Trish? Are we on the same page?’
Twenty-eight years old. She couldn’t remember the last time she had felt like crying. She wasn’t usually much of a crier. She certainly wasn’t about to cry now. Still, it was through strangely bright eyes that she now looked straight into the face of her smarmy, so-successful boss. She raised her hand and pointed at the attendance sheet on the desk, with its neat rows and columns and names and numbers. She tried to keep her voice steady as she said, ‘Are you on that page, Akshay?’
He froze for a second and then glanced at the sheet before looking up at her with a confused frown.
‘Didn’t think so.’ She shook her head from side to side slowly and added, more firmly. ‘No. We’re not on the same page, and we never will be.’
Without another word, she stood up. A part of her badly wanted to tell him that his hairy wrists were terribly unattractive, but she wasn’t sure she had it in her to say anything more at this point. She quickly turned, left the room and walked back to her desk, trying to maintain a steady pace.
Her coffee lay there, looking forlorn. It had gone all cold in the blast of the air-conditioning. Trish took a small sip from it – it was horrible. She tossed it angrily into her dustbin.
And then, slowly and methodically, she began to clear out her desk. 

Buy 'There's Something About You' on Amazon here and Flipkart here

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Happy Crazy Birthday, Peanut


It's 6 a.m. on Saturday and my head is buried under a pillow in the still-dark room. Of course. You'd think you get to sleep in, given the tough week at work.

You'd be wrong.

The door bangs open and a skinny little figure skips in, 'Mama, I know it's only 6, but it's my BURDAY and I can't sleep anymore!'

I crack open one eye a slit and try to croak out something. Can't get mad at her, I remind myself. It's her birthday. I murmur Happy Birthday and I'm not sure she heard me. But the way in which she screams. 'THANKS MOM' in my ear makes me think it must have registered. I'm wondering what on earth to tell her to keep her busy for the next two hours, but she comes up with a brilliant idea herself. 'I'm gonna see if Daddy's awake yet!' And she runs out towards my dad-in-law's room where Vijay camps late nights and early mornings these days.

I groan and pull the pillow back over my head.

*****

Two hours later, I'm feeling relatively human and contemplating the rest of the day over a cup of tea. My goodness. My first-born turns 8. How amazing it is, how fast time flies. And also, am I frickin' NUTS?

The reason that Peanut is so excited is that I have agreed to take her and a few special friends to Hangout. That haven of fun for young children, which leaves parents like me completely bewildered. So many games, so little time! There are bumper car rides, a play area, and arcade games of all sorts, enough to send any regular warm-blooded kid into a tizzy. I recall taking Pickle, Papad and Peanut there in earlier years and immediately losing them in the first 30 seconds as they run about wild-eyed, darting this way and that - what will I play first, what will I play first!

And I've agreed to do that with ten kids today.

*Shudder*

****

Why did I agree to this? Why? There's a whatsapp group created for the purpose, and I'm frantically reminding the parents that they have to drop off their wards by 12 because I've booked the gaming from 1 p.m. onwards but of course this is not going to go according to plan because this is India and nobody is ever on time and even my buffering of 30 minutes may not be enough because I first have to somehow get the kids to eat and cut the cake before heading out there.

So why? Why? Because we just had Pickle-Papad's fifth birthday party at home a few weeks earlier - all my kids are July born. This can be very convenient when you combine their birthdays into one party but then one of them grows up enough to put her foot down and insist on having her own separate one. Damn. So I just didn't want to go ahead and do the exact same party-at-home thing for Peanut, and when it struck me that she might enjoy going to Hangout and I made the mistake of asking her, that pretty much sealed the plan.

The kids trickle in and miraculously, it appears that by 12.45 p.m., there are ten full kids in the house, including of course, my three. Peanut is now borderline delirious, having greeted each new arrival with something along the lines of 'Hi! You've come. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.'

Vijay, who I've persuaded to wake up from his mid-morning nap, observes her for a while and remarks drily. 'She seems happy.'

Peanut is happy. This is a different sort of birthday party from the ones she's accustomed to. Largely because I've craftily kept her from going to most parties. Ah yes, the bad mother. I politely decline most invitations that come in on email and whatsapp because I simply do not have the bandwidth to start taking all three of them to all their friends' parties, especially given that Pickle and Papad are now in different sections and do not even have a common set of friends. But young Peanut deserves this, I think - bright and helpful, occasionally of course as sullen as a cross teenager, but overall a wonderful, sensible kid.

'Peanut, will you PLEASE stop hula-hooping on the sofa!!' I swallow and try to change my tone mid-sentence. 'Er, it's almost time to go.'

The kids are all milling about, even the ones from school who are unfamiliar with some of the colony kids now having all lost their inhibitions. The excitement is infectious. Each and every one of these kids may have a tenuous understanding of who Mahatma Gandhi was, but they all know every nook and cranny of Hangout.

*****

The cake is cut. It has been especially chosen by Peanut who is increasingly clear about these things.

'It must have white icing, and a picture of a girl playing the piano. And oh, it should say Happy Birthday to our Talented Peanut.' She instructs us at Binge, and we haplessly do the needful to arrange the same.

It's turned out exactly like the image I got off the internet. Those folks at Binge do a great job. I peer a little closer and note the word 'Shutterstock' written across the endearing little image of a girl in a red dress playing the piano. Wonderful. But Peanut and her friends don't notice - they're too busy ooh-ing and aah-ing over the overall design. Peanut beams.

Only Papad curiously points to the 'Shutterstock' and says 'Mama, what is dis written?'

I think on my feet and pretend to read aloud 'It says ''Papad is also a good boy''.'

Papad beams.

*****

We're in the car now. One being driven by our driver, and the other by Vijay. It's taken me a while to get the kids in because there's been a lot of fighting about who gets to go in whose car and the permutations and combinations take a while to sort themselves out. Eventually there are five kids in each car and we're off.

There's a lot of unnerving screaming taking place in the back of both cars, as the children assume that we're in a race. Each time one car overtakes the other on the Gurgaon roads, the kids fall over each other to scramble to the relevant window and give each other the kiddy-version of the Finger. This is very, very annoying for me who realizes I've never been responsible for this many kids  -even though my own house is often full of strange kids, they're usually mostly mine. And now, so many parents have trusted the notable goof-ups that are me and my husband with their own flesh and blood. How foolish of them. How foolish of me. And so much screaming. Luckily, Kamal tactfully chooses to take a different - longer route - and we lose sight of Vijay and the other kids temporarily. I am able to breathe the rest of the way in the car, even though a fight promptly ensues in the seat behind me between the younger boys and the older girls.

*****

The lady at the counter at Hangout greets me with a warm smile, not entirely devoid of sympathy. It's the kind of caring welcome you'd get at a hospital, particularly one for the mentally disturbed. The woman is all in control, and issues ten cards for unlimited gaming to us, and even manages to gather up the troops for an announcement about how it all works. They half listen to her, and the minute the cards are in my hand, they descend upon me, shouting 'Mine, Mine, Aunty, Mama, Mama, Aunty, Mine!' and within a few seconds I am alone and de-carded and dishevelled, clutching only my bag and water-bottle for dear life. They're all gone.

Another moment of panic now sets in. I told the moms that me and Vijay will keep an eye on them. But they've all disappeared into different corners of the huge space. How on earth am I supposed to watch them all if they're going to behave like this? But there they are - oh, there's Pickle, that's fine. And what's Papad doing there, swiping his card - he's doing it upside down and almost breaking the card-reader in the process. And the others? Ah, there's Akriti. No, that's some other random kid. Where are the girls? I spin around and can't see anything except bright flashing lights everywhere. And then my eyes adjust to the setting and I see the girls are congregated in a large Tea-cup ride, except for young Peanut who has gone straight to the basketball game which will give her the most Tickets.

*****

Ah, the Tickets. The real reason that Peanut loves Hangout. Her inherently competitive streak ( I wonder where she gets that from) propels her each time to beat her previous score in the collection of those little prized pieces of paper, which can later be exchanged for treasures such as pencils, fancy erasers, princess crowns or other trinkets that so fascinate kids of that age for short bursts of time. Some games naturally allow you to earn more tickets than others, and young Peanut is all about gaming the system. The games which are actually there only for fun - well, what's the point of THAT, young Peanut seems to think? This is entirely opposite from the thinking of her younger brothers who hang off motorbike games and cars with flashing lights, even when they're not on ( I'm guilty of encouraging them to believe that's how it's meant to be) - but now everyone's got their own cards and they seem to be trying to make the most of it.

There are certain games which take a while to load, or do not work. The staff is particularly helpful, and the lady who greeted us at the reception walks around, handling issues with a seasoned air, helping to calm everyone down, including me. Peanut has now moved to playing a particular sort of game whose name I forget entirely but basically involves violently hitting a puck into the opposing team member's goal across the table. She beats her friend and punches her fist in the air, going 'Hah! I win another point' - she then clicks her heel together and goes 'hahahahahahaahaha' while her ''friend'' watches her reaction with bewilderment and slight dismay. Politeness and the knowledge that Peanut's parents are their ride home prevents the kids from severing all ties with Peanut on her special day.

I am now watching the proceedings with a beatific smile and wishing I had remembered to down a glass of wine. I now recall this is what kept me going through Pickle and Papad's birthday party - a nice big glass of port wine, handed out to all the adults, and a particularly generous helping for me had made the whole thing very pleasant. But here I must be alert and awake to the various dangers that an outside environment represents.

Vijay is loping about the place like a benevolent giraffe, mostly keeping an eye on the little boys. I have lost my water bottle and now go looking for it. The calm nice lady rescues me, by pointing out that Vijay is carrying it. Just then, one of the kids comes running up to me.

'Aunty can you hold my bag?'

Why, of course, I can. I take her bag.

Suddenly, there are three more kids who want me to hold their bags. And one small one comes up to say 'Aunty, keep these toffees for me?'. And then Pickle lands up, holding up two tickets 'Mama, look, I won TIKKITS, you keep for me.' My pockets are getting full, as are my hands and of course my purse. Very quickly, I realize that I've mixed each and every single thing up and this is recipe for a meltdown at the end of this party.

Peanut was composed enough to bring her own purse. She has already stuffed it full of tickets. Oh my goodness. She has about a hundred of those already, her bag is bursting to the seams. Everything is getting very heavy now for me, I feel like I'm bursting at the seams. Surely time is up? But no, we're only halfway down.

*****

It is only with the promise of ice-cream that I manage to get the kids out of there. I do a quick head-count - yes, there's ten of them although I'm not altogether 100% sure whether they're the same ten that we walked in with - I'm trusting Peanut to raise an alarm if we end up with a replacement kid although I vaguely suspect she might not care today, given the glee with which she clutches her prizes. My eyes bulge as I note the time. It's almost 3.30! I had told the parents to come and pick the kids up at 3. They're all piled now into our trusty innova, ten squealing and squalling and excited kids. Luckily for me, the smaller ones all seem to have forgotten about the toffees and the tickets that are stuffed in the recesses of my bag. We reach the Ice-cream wallah - I've actually called up the colony gate and instructed the guard to tell that guy not to take his butt anywhere or I'll track him down and kill him later.

A very confused young boy is manning the Kwality Walls stall. The kids all shout out their preferences - and then immediately change their minds when they hear another kid mention a more delightful sounding flavour. In desperation I get them all to pile out of the car and they descend upon the ice-cream seller who has no idea how many of what flavour have gone, but simply guesses a number as the total, asking for Rs. One Hundred and Twenty which I pityingly hand over to him.

And then we're finally home, and the parents of various kids arrive to pick them up, all looking very relaxed and happy. I'm told on the whatsapp group that the blessings of various moms are with me for having done this brave and wonderful thing.

See, I've always maintained there's a fine line between bravery and stupidity. I am fairly certain that me and Vijay were bordering on that fine dividing line.

I hear Peanut recounting her tales to one remnant friend, whose parents are still apparently enjoying their afternoon nap, and she's describing the prizes that she won as well as part-revealing her ticket-winning strategies and she punctuates the story with 'hahahahahahahahahahahahaha'.

Therefore, I decide, it was all worth it.

 I quietly escape to my room for a well-deserved nap. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

News!


It seems that 'There's Something About You' has broken through at launch to (ahem) No. 2 on the AC Neilsen Bookscan...

!!!!
I think I'll believe it when I see it in the paper this weekend.
Thanks a ton to all of you fantastic folks. I really hope you enjoy the book. Will be looking out for your reviews, please do take out that two minutes to give it a review on the following pages -
And guys, seriously - if you haven't bought it yet - now is an excellent time to order it! Come on, it's a great read. A whole bunch of folks think so smile emotico

Buy OR Review it here:

Flipkart here bit.ly/somethingaboutu
Amazon here- bit.ly/amazonsomethingaboutu
Goodreads herehttp://bit.ly/goodreadsyash
...or of course, in good old physical bookstores near you!

Here are some review links too!
Thanks again guys and also, stay tuned for a giveaway I'll be announcing soon! In the meantime, please do order the book now

And if you really need convincing to pick up a book which is priced less than a cup of coffee (ha ha, sorry, had to throw that in), just go ahead and get the sample chapters for free here

Friday, July 10, 2015

Pre-order 'There's Something About You' : Only a few days to go!



Dear Blog readers,

So basically, if you order 'There's Something About You' before 14th July, you might just win yourself a cool Micromax phone - there will be SEVEN of them given away to folks who've ordered, including two of the super-cool and slim Canvas Sliver 5.

You do have to answer a question at Flipkart, but hint, hint: the answer is 'Sorting Out Sid' :)

Go ahead, guys, show a little love and get your copy of the book now. And if you've ever enjoyed anything you've read here, please do me a favour and go ahead and share details of my new book on some social networking site!

And lastly, in case you haven't yet joined my Facebook page for updates, well, now's a great time!

Thanks in advance,

Y

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Guess what? Preview time!

Hello, hello. I'm giving away 3 sample chapters of my new book 'There's Something About You' at this link right here.

And guess what else? My kind publishers at HarperCollins are giving away loads and loads of books to winners each week. I'm told there's over a 100 books to be won for the folks who preview. That is a LOT of books.

So check it out now at this link. And let me know what you think, hey? Write to me at yashodhara dot lal at gmail dot com.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Peanut Vs. Youtube


It was rather entertaining to discover this exchange between my little 8 year old and the world of Google.

Email 1:
Youtube to Peanut -
Welcome! You're now part of the largest community of video lovers on the planet. Our featured videos this week include ...(blah blah ad nauseum)

*****
Email 2:
Peanut's polite response
'Thanks for letting me know.'


*****


Email 3: Mail Delivery Subsystem to Peanut
Technical details of permanent failure:
Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the server for the recipient domain
The error that the other server returned was:
550-5.1.1 The email account that you tried to reach does not exist. Please try
550-5.1.1 double-checking the recipient's email address
(blah blah ad nauseum)


*********
Email 4:
Peanut (still fairly polite although faintly irritated) to Mail Delivery Subsystem
'No thank you very much'


********
Email 5:
Mail Delivery Subsystem to Peanut
Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently
Technical details of permanent failure:
Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the server for the recipient domain
(blah blah Ad Nauseum)


******
Email 6:
Peanut ( now convinced that she must discourage this inappropriate exchange with this stranger who might, after all, be a stalker of little kids)
''Now now now thats going to far for me a 37 year old knows this already now please don't send more mails as i won't be able to reply to them you know as we are selling this one and my old one has gone to be repaired.
Hope you understand''
A master-stroke of genius on her part. Posing to be an old, wise woman of the world. I hadn't laughed so hard in months.


(Crossposted on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/yashodharalal)