Yashodhara Lal is an Author, Coach, Marketer. Mom of Three, Fitness Instructor, Music Lover, Yoga Enthusiast and Transactional-Analysis-Psychotherapist-in-Training. Allsomeness is her venture dedicated to helping people connect with their passions, and to design and live their fullest lives.
Monday, May 30, 2011
'Tis the season to be Taggy...
Apparently, I'm a Versatile Blogger, according to the lovely Sue. Although she seems to have awarded me for my versatility in life rather than on my blog.
It seems I need to list some random facts about myself as a recipient of this award. Okay, just off the top of my head:
* Am supremely happy about having snorkelled over the Great Barrier Reef with my cousin Mini.
* I used to play guitar once upon a time. I have started again four days back and my fingers hurt. The twins don't let me play much though, and Peanut makes me play Mmm-bop for her repeatedly. This is embarassing!
* I have a bit of a temper. Okay, a lot of a temper. But I'm mellowing as the years pass (hahahahahaha!)
* I like Robbie Williams. Don't judge me.
* Apparently, I like to take perfectly innocent tags and use them to confess random things, even though I started out fairly strong with some cool snorkelling story.
Also, I realized I'm not tagging anybody with this post and the last. So sorry, but I feel too out of it and will probably end up tagging someone who's just been tagged. Double sigh!
But thanks Sue...appreciate it :-)
P.S - one more random fact - I abhor smileys but use them liberally myself.
P.P.S - oooh, I've got another. I am 50% Punjabi, 25% Bengali and 25% Nepali. Vijay is 100% Rajasthani. That makes Pickle, Papad and Peanut an interesting mix. I would like to see what their kids turn out!
Sunday, May 29, 2011
What mommyhood taught me...Tag
I feel very ill equipped to write this, but since it's Dipali who's tagged me, how can I not?
The reason I feel ill equipped is because I feel so certain that I am still learning. The funny thing is, a year ago, I thought I was pretty certain about what being a mother means, but then several things happened in quick succession
* I gave birth to identical twin boys
* My little Peanut became a 3 year old teenager
* I underwent two surgeries within a span of two weeks, and the worst possible health condition I've ever been in.
So basically, everything I had learnt thus far went for a toss.
But anyway, 5 things I can safely say I've learnt by being a mommy -
a. I am not the center of the universe. Not even close. The kids, all three of them, matter much more than me. I don't think I've ever been this unselfish.
b. I am the center of the universe. For them. No one else has that kind of effect on them. To be able to comfort them. It's magical. I've never felt more important.
c. My husband takes on a whole new dimension of attractiveness by how he behaves as a father. It is indescribable.
d. Your friends or cousins will never understand what it's like. Until they have their own. And that's okay, because you never understood before it happened, either.
e. Mum was probably actually right when she said she didn't love my brother or sister more than me just because they were older and younger. I know. I have three of my own now. Although technically, there is no middle child in my case, but still, Pickle is a minute older than Papad. Anyway. I guess that's just not how love works. There isn't a limited supply to be divided between people. There's plenty of it to go all around.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Photographs by Marta
Just a few sample pictures that my Spanish neighbour, Marta did up for me. She's created an absolutely gorgeous album, with high quality pictures on some special high quality paper.
She's starting out her career in India as a professional photographer, and the lady has some style. So if you're interested in getting some family pics and you happen to live in Gurgaon/Delhi, go ahead and email her at email@example.com.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
But it's actually at the cost of sleep and sometimes food and often exercise. And then there are days like this one today where I really feel like it's all coming at me from all sides.
So yes, basically what I'm saying is I don't think I would call myself an inspiration for anyone! So neither should you guys.
But I do love you for it.
Edited to add:
I just hugged Peanut and asked her solemnly 'Can I tell you something?'
She said 'Ya'
I said 'Life is full of problems. But you must always smile and know that you are very lucky to be you'.
She said 'Ya'.
I said 'Did you understand?'
She said 'Ya'.
I said 'So what did you understand?'
She said as solemnly as I did ' Sometimes in your whole life, the earth is the moon and it takes your house away. Because we are on the Earth and also in India, and the Earth is under India and so your house goes and then in the English we call the earth the moon and sing 'the house on the earth goes life, life, life'.
I am dumbfounded for a second and then nod slowly. And say 'Exactly'.
Thank God for my many, many children.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Attempting to Write
I don't think I've written very much about the process of writing, so I thought I'd just start capturing it a bit.
To begin with, let's not get overly excited -the publishing of my first book is still far away - many months in fact, early next year is mostly likely. That's okay with me. I'm in no hurry at all. Just the fact that someone thinks it's good enough to print has got me started writing on a reasonably regular basis in the little spare time that I have.
About the book -it's going to be a book largely based on the funny side of marriage. As you may know, there are plenty of funny stories that I have on this subject. However, it wasn't as easy to write as it may sound. The first attempt I made, despite the good advice of my friend Parul, was very series-of-incidents loosely bound together in chronological order. I kind of fancied it a very Gerald Durrell or James Herriot style of writing, but it didn't really fly with the big publishers. I had to eventually change it around a lot into a story-type format, the more conventional 'commercial fiction' category as I later discovered this is called.
One of the smaller publishing houses, however,had caught hold of it in January because I had written to the CEO, through a contact at my workplace, asking for advice on how to go about getting published. His editor told him good things about the sample chapters I had sent on email and he offered to publish it. I almost said yes, because he was extremely convincing about how I should not 'get lost in the maze of large publishers'.
Even though I eventually did get accepted by a large publisher and may indeed get 'lost in the maze' (although I hope not and it doesn't really look like it given my experience with the very nice editor I interact with) I will be eternally grateful for this gentleman's encouragement - he is someone with decades of experience in the publishing business and he said something to me which I will never forget.
'I know what Indian writing lacks, my dear...and you've got it'. He gave me a very meaningful look, as I sat nervously on his sofa.
'I do?' I was surprised. 'Thanks very much'. After several minutes of more conversation, I asked him quite stupidly 'Excuse me, but could you tell me - what have I got?'.
He looked momentarily flustered but quickly said 'Why, humor of course'.
He also said later in the conversation 'You've got the makings of a real author. Not just a writer. An author'. This was possibly the first moment in my life when I really believed that something I wrote could actually be seen as worth publishing by someone who counted.
At that point of time, as I mentioned, I was almost convinced that I should just go with this godlike gentleman who was saying all these nice things. However, he wasn't talking large numbers at all; and fiction is not the forte of this particular publishing house. And I happen to have a Mami in publishing, who turned out to be my real guardian angel and guided in the whole process, because when I sent her the novel, she read it and then repeatedly told me to hold out for something bigger - to not be impatient. And that it did make a difference who published it.
I followed her advice, said no to the gentleman, and after a painful wait of a couple of months, quite miraculously, HarperCollins came on the scene and yes, they're doing it. The editor, as I've mentioned, happens to be a very very nice lady, and when she called me with the news, she said she had read it in the car on the way home and couldn't stop laughing and that her driver thought she had gone mad (exactly the kind of reaction I wanted) and that she really wanted to publish it.
The reason I'm disclosing this now is that I have recently received the advance cheque and it looks real enough although I haven't yet tried to bank it and think I might not ( plan is to frame it despite Vijay's protests) - but yes, net-net, looks like they weren't joking after all.
So that's it. The final draft of the book is with them. One has to finalize name. The cover design. And so on. Plenty of time for all that, but I think I will bounce some of the options off you guys as and when they get ready.
In the meantime, the other thing was that I was planning to write Book 2 as a sequel to the first one ; but when I discussed a loose fiction idea with the Editor, she liked the sound of the storyline and said I should try to write that as the second book, and maybe write a sequel to Book 1 as the third book.
'That's a more fun way to do it' she declared over a cup of coffee at the Coffee Shop at Vasant Continental.
So that's what I'm trying now. But it's tough on various counts. Firstly because as I said, I now have many more children than before and also a full time job. It's chugging along though with about thirty stolen minutes of effort each day and lots and lots of ideas in my head. The second level of challenge is that it's fiction! And I never thought I could do fiction, and yes, it certainly is different from anything I've ever done before. The good news is that I think I may be able to do it because it's coming along okay as of now - still needs lots of time and polish but may turn out decent. Not as funny as the first one perhaps, but yes, hopefully interesting.
Look at me - talking about Book 2 and Book 3 already. The gall. The insufferable overconfidence. But then again, why not? I'm not saying I'll be a big author. But I think I will keep writing, now that I've started. And as I've mentioned before, I don't think I'll be quitting my day job for it. If I quit my day job, it would be for other reasons than to 'focus on my writing career' ( especially since my writing career doesn't exist as of now!) . But I know this is something I want to do. I'll do it even if it hardly sells, although the darling editor seems to think otherwise ( A different kind of mass novel is what she calls it).
I'll do it simply because it's possibly the biggest personal ambition I've ever had.
Somebody pinch me.
If this is a dream, I'm okay being smack in the middle of it.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Thus far, it's been an interesting weekend
*Party lasted approx 2 hours for me. The kids had all slept off at 6.30 p.m. and I decided to go at 8 p.m. At 10 p.m. I got a harried call from the maids, went back and saw that all three were wide awake and crying for me. Fun times putting them back to bed!
*This morning, Sue came to visit! She is really sweet. Came loaded with gifts and with little Rahul, who is a grown up little boy and not the Mowgli-baby I remember from her blog. She stayed only for about thirty minutes though. Next time longer, Eh, Sue? I didn't even get to catch the other Mommy Blogger gossip. I barely get time to read blogs nowadays and I definitely miss knowing what's going on with the various nice ladies out there. But meandering back to the point, it was great seeing Sue.
*My maid Rinki who looks after the twins went off in the morning as her Dad is not well. Jaimala the cleaning lady is still in her village where she's been for three weeks. Anita the cook twisted her ankle and didn't land up. My driver has also extended his holiday by a week and is thus missing in action. Hahahahahahaha! It was definitely an interesting day today for Vijay and me. Especially given that Peanut developed a sudden ear infection and we had to rush her to the doctor. Vijay drove, with me in the backseat with Pickle and Peanut, while little Papad was left behind with the trusty K, and Vijay's dad as backup. The poor little girl was in a lot of pain, but finally slept off and hopefully will wake up much better. Fingers crossed.
*I realized that I am so going to miss the babyness of my babies. Pickle's soft round cheek and double chin which I love to gnaw at. Papad's cute little wide-toothed, wrinkle nosed grin. Pickle's fat thigh. And so on. I so love the things they do too. Both of them blow raspberries on my tummy and set me giggling. Pickle sucks at my arm. Papad bites my chin, cheeks and everything else he can see. I can't believe after a few months, it's the end of breastfeeding days for me. I fed Peanut for 2.5 years, got pregnant and 7 months later, was feeding again. So it's going to be a strange kind of freedom. Oh well. Change is good I suppose. I suppose. I suppose. Except that I don't mind being beaten, bitten, bruised black and blue by my babies if it means that some of these moments can be frozen in time for me. Sigh.
*Oh yes - and I was getting slightly agitated after this day I've had but then got half an hour to swim and after a refreshing little swim all alone in the pool, life looks so eminently handle-able. Nah. Much more than handle-able.
Friday, May 6, 2011
Slight Little Confessions of a Lady Driver
I have made a few trips back and forth so far, and here is a round up
*Day 1, drive to work (with Vijay) - tried to convince him I would be able to drive myself without a problem. Suddenly he yells 'LOOK OUT' and I find that I have nearly banged my car into a van because I wasn't paying attention. Bad timing.
* Day 2, drive to work (without Vijay, as he started travelling) - drove perfectly well and then just as I was parking, gave the car a little bit of a bump because the basement was too dark. Used Facebook status message to convey the message to my husband. Heh-heh. Full public view, what could he say.
* Day 3, drive home from work - almost skipped a red light, stopped in the middle of the road, causing a bit of a jam. Gave the cop my most charming, helpless smile and apologized profusely so he said okay and let me off.
* Day 4, no major incidents - barring the fact that I stalled the car a couple of times. Also, I was trying to be aggro because everyone always cut in front of me, and so I decided to flash my lights at a jaywalking pedestrian in warning; and simply ended up startling myself by accidentally switching on the windshield wiper instead.
So yes, I think...I think...I'm getting better!
P.S - in a weak moment on Day 1, Vijay panicked and shouted ''Look out...saamne ek AUR LADY DRIVER Hai!'
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Just another Tuesday
Drove myself to work at 8.30 a.m.
Nearly had accident right after telling husband trembling in passenger seat not to worry.
Took Meru cab at 5.15 p.m and now it was my turn to tremble as the Gunda-looking driver spoke on phone to his wife demanding to know whose voice it was in the background .
Reached home safe and went for a swim with Peanut.
Came back and had Papad and Pickle crawling all over me.
Had dinner with husband and a full 5 minute conversation after the kids fell asleep.
Wrote for half hour.
Could life possibly get any better?
Maybe if everything wasn't hurting so much.
But then, let us not be greedy.