Monday, December 31, 2012

In Today's Hindu Metroplus


How do you get a marketing professional with three little kids running around the house, and a husband who’s the antithesis of her, to sit down and write a 264 page book? She simply translates her chaotic world into words and out pops a gleaming new novel!

Read it here 

Thank you all, and to all - a Happy New Year! 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Get your Short Story Published

In a HarperCollins book which we think will be full of high quality, relatable stories.

I'm mentoring this contest, which is a collaboration between Harpers and Indiblogger.

Details here

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Is it really time already?

Earlier this year I went on a sabbatical, because of various reasons. Focussing on the family and doing justice to launching my first book were the main stated objectives.
As with anything new, it was hard to adjust to not going to work - in fact, with alarming regularity I found myself sitting in the office, just because I found the environment comfortable to work in. Slowly, things started to change.
In July, the twins started playschool, and I found that I had a few hours to myself at home - so I began to write then. Within a couple of months, my second book was completed. It's out next year, about August/September. I'm still finalizing the draft I'm to hand over to the Editors at HarperCollins.
There's just so much that's happened in the last few months. It's helped me figure out a lot of things - such as the fact that I don't want to be a full-time writer; or a full-time mom - but I definitely want more time to be doing these things than the usual corporate job allows me. So as of now, I'm considering going back to work on some sort of a project basis. That's a start, right? Knowing what you don't want. Ha ha.
It's been interesting, being able to do some things I never would have had the time to do earlier - park time with the kids; taking Peanut and friends to Mindcafe to have a blast with the games there; organizing activities at this new cafe that's opened up nearby, including getting Zumba started up there ( now I don't have to travel for it, and it's a big hit with the residents!), organizing Christmas Carols to be sung by the little neighbourhood kids on the 25th, and so on.
I also got to spend loads of time with my grandmother, making trips to Noida about 3 days a week to cheer her up. We moved house and the new place is organized so much better, so that's worked out well.
Many relationship issues rose to the surface over the last few months, so a lot of clarity emerged there as well - who's really important, who's really going to be there. I've also done a lot of very useful reading, although I didn't get to even touch upon the Fiction list that I had made.
If I started trying to list all the various things I've done for the first time during my sabbatical, it would easily run into over 40 things. But right now, I'm just at that stage where I'm realizing that while the sabbatical is almost over, there are still more questions than answers about what I'm going to be when I grow up.
Still, I have a feeling I'm beginning to ask myself better questions. And for that alone. Worth it. So worth it.

Happy New Year to all of you!

P.S - my most 'random sabbatical indulgence'. Coins from my (paternal, late) grandma's collection made into earrings. They look quite cool, actually!




Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Now here's something I've never written before.

So, here are some of the memories I have growing up in Delhi. I'm sorry, but I grew up in Delhi and nowhere else, so I can only write about what it was like here.

These memories include ( apologies, Mother  Dear, you may not know about some of these.I didn't know how to tell you.)

* Standing at the British Council Library, browsing blissfully through some books, only to have a middle-aged man repeatedly brush up against me from behind. He followed me and did it twice before I managed to lose him. Went and quietly rejoined my mother, who was browsing elsewhere, unaware of anything wrong. My cheeks were burning.

* Walking home from the bus-stop, lost in thought as usual - only to notice that a large man was following me. I walked ahead, he continued to follow me. I stopped for a bit. He stopped too. I realized there was an alley coming up which had hardly anyone else around on most days. As I reached the entrance of the alley, I turned and ran the long way around. Reached home safe. Scared stiff.

* Carrying my Solar Cooker home from the bus stop one day. A nice Solar Cooker, thermocol, covered with black and silver foil. It was a project - I was in Class 10th at the time. My hands were occupied with the Solar Cooker; a man came up and groped me from behind. I dropped the Solar Cooker and yelled at him, incoherent angry words that I don't recall, but I think included 'Bastard.' He just leered at me and walked ahead. That's all I remember being. Angry.

And so on and so forth. Big deal, right? Everyone's got the same story, and much worse, right? I'm not even going to talk about being in Delhi University - actually, I think those years were better for whatever reason for me.

So anyway, at age 20, I went to Bangalore and subsequently Bombay and frankly - didn't face such issues - also a function of being older, more protected, having less call to walk around alone in these cities - of course. Whatever it was, those years were largely trouble free, and I'm so thankful for them.

I don't know if you've noticed, but I don't actually like talking about these things. They're in the past. Sure, they're real - but who wants to think about the negative, right? That's why I usually stay silent on these things. They're not in line with my stated attempt of making this blog a 'serious attempt to take life less seriously.'
Well, sorry, but here it is today.

 And here I am again. Living again in the same city that I grew up. With little kids of my own, including a heartbreakingly innocent daughter.

Questioning the decision - er...so, why am I here again?




Thursday, December 13, 2012

Book Updates


1. ''Just Married, Please Excuse'' still doing decently, with some nice reviews coming its way. It's a really tough market for new authors, given how many others there are, but I'm hanging in there. In the meantime, your reviews, sharing on FB and general recommendation of the book matters a great deal. So please, if you've read and liked, do try telling other people about it?

A few reviews I don't think I've linked to before:

Buzzintown
Rajendra
Coffee-with-Mi
Seduce-Your-Taste-Buds
RandomRings
Harjeet
Shilpa
Locomente
Pepper
La Femme Nirvana

2. ''The Story of Sid'' - working title, of course. Fiction novel's almost-final draft is now done. May give it a quick read before sending off again to Harpers people. Here's a picture I love. My grandma's almost finished reading it. Also, we're looking for name suggestions. It's about this guy ''Sid'' who's trying to figure his way through life, a bad marriage, while trying to figure himself out. Please don't suggest 'Wake up Sid'. Ok?


3. Still Married, Thank You - sequel to JMPE. As mentioned before, Editors want to give it a year between books. If the Sid story comes out Aug 2013, then Still Married, Thank You will be in mid-2014. Therefore, that's too far away for me to write now and therefore, it's on hold. So as mentioned in 1. above - just please help spread the word about Just Married, Please Excuse to people who you think will enjoy it! That'll keep me motivated enough to keep writing!

Thanks guys. You're a big support. Really. Need all of that, and really appreciate your active help. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

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Conversation with Peanut

Y: How was school today, Peanut?

P: Fine.

Y: What did you learn today?

P: Nothing.

Y: Nothing?

P: I mean, I learnt something but I forgot.

Y: Oh okay.

(Philosophical silence while she munches her lunch)

Y: (Restless) Peanut, what do you think is the purpose of life?

P: What, Mama?

Y: Why are we on this planet?

P: (Thinks for a second) Because there is water here.

Y: (Stunned, and then recovers) Yes, but why were we born?

P: Corn, Mama?

Y: BORN.

P: Lorn?

Y: (Catching on) Very funny. You can hear me just fine. I asked, why were we born?

P: (Sagely) I know Daddy was born first.

Y: Yes, but WHY?

P: (Getting irritated now) Because it was his birthday.

Y: (Also getting irritated) You are not providing me with the answers to life. What is LIFE?

P: (At the end of her tether) Life is LOVE, okay?

We both stare at each other for a moment and then she starts laughing. I join her and we are both happy.

Right, she is, every single time. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Welcome (New) Home

Things have been really busy with the house-moving in the last week or so - but it took us all of two days in total to actually move everything down from the third floor to the ground floor of the same building.

It's quite amazing how things turn out - we were initially all bothered about having to move out of the lovely complex where we're staying ( we had just moved from a 2-bedroom home to a 3-bedroom one earlier this year, end January) - but this new place has worked out better for a variety of reasons. One is that staying on the ground floor is that much more convenient when you have three small kids and an aged parent staying with you; we've also had the chance to throw out some stuff and do this place up pretty nicely, getting the walls of each room painted differently ( Kid's room in Candy Pink, our bedroom in Lavender, and Papaji's in a soothing Aqua Mint, Drawing Room in cozy Jamaican Orange - yes this is a combination you'll never see anywhere else). I've also got the most beautiful bookshelf ( well, it's a nice-ish bookshelf with my beautiful books) in the living room. But most importantly:

The kids can drop whatever they want, wear my high heels, create the ruckus that kids are supposed to create - and no one shouts at them anymore for fear of the neighbours being disturbed! Yesss!

So anyway, that's pretty much been the highlight of the last couple of weeks. Am having some trouble finishing the last three chapters of the second book, but hopefully a call with my Editor tonight should help. The twins are unwell again, and I had to take them to the doctor today - but hopefully things will settle down soon. Oh heck, let's admit it, things are never going to really settle down - once the kids are grown and have flown the rest, maybe, but until then, this is how things are going to be!

In the meantime, we're welcoming ourselves to our new home. And just because I haven't ever loved a piece of furniture as much as this, here it is:


Monday, November 19, 2012

And today we did something brave


I have never been a very confident driver.

I have no problem transporting myself short distances, of course - but driving with the kids is another matter altogether.

When our driver said he needed three weeks leave, despite the fact that my initial instinct was to tackle him around the waist pleading 'noooo....don't go....', I figured the more graceful thing to do would be to just give him the leave - after all, in about four years, he's never let us down - so his longish annual holidays are something I never argue against. So he's gone, till December 1.

Last week being Diwali break, it was okay,because the kids didn't need to be sent to to school, and I used the metro to go and visit my grandma in Noida. But this week and the next, it was necessary to figure out something. I figured out something. I got the school car from the playschool to pick them up and drop them yesterday.

And they were miserable.

My scared little toddlers left, screaming and frantically waving in the arms of the school didi in an unfamiliar car, obviously not sure where they were being taken. They were cranky in school, and cranky when coming back. Vijay is out of town this whole week, and I was very reluctant to drive them myself, given the bad traffic at about 9 a.m. But given how they were yesterday, and their fearful reaction about being sent off again today in the same manner, caused me to take in a deep breath and agree to drive them myself.

So far so good. I dropped them a little early, and only one turning had everyone in the car tense - the twins, sitting in the laps of the maids in the back, also seemed to sense that this was a dangerous situation and quieted down, pausing their various questions for that couple of minutes. ( Yeh humka gaadi hai na? Yeh mama ka gaadi hai na?). But eventually we made it safe and sound - in a couple of hours, I have to go back and pick them up again - and then, three more days of doing this. Vijay promises that next week, he'll handle the driving.

It's all rather nerve wracking, but then again, it's just so much nicer to see my twins all happy and tickled about going to school, rather than feeling miserable and scared. So it's worth it. Once again, I thank my lucky stars about Vijay teaching me to drive, several years back.

On that note, here's an extract from the chapter  ''Driving Miss Crazy'' from my book Just Married, Please Excuse - that describes how it happened. Enjoy. While I work up the nerves to pick up my little boys again.


Eventually, I managed to get the car going again and powered by a series of small jerks, we moved towards the main road.

‘I’m driving!’ I said with glee.

Vijay was all business. ‘Look at the road.’

I snapped back to attention.

When we reached the main road, I stopped.

‘What are you doing?’ he asked. ‘The road is all clear.’

‘I’m not going out there,’ I cried. ‘There’s traffic on this road.’

‘Honey, the only way you’ll get comfortable driving is by getting used to traffic. Come on, take a right turn here, let’s go to Indira Nagar.’

Muttering that he would regret this, I did what he said.We somehow managed to make it to the intersection just before Indira Nagar when suddenly the memory of failing to take the turn at the intersection during my driving lessons hit me, just like a flashback from a Hindi movie. I broke into
a cold sweat and prayed fervently that I would not stall the car. Anything but stalling the car.

I stalled the car.

Within five seconds, what felt like all the vehicles in Bangalore were bearing down on us, honking angrily. I was glued to my seat, looking around dumbly, unable to move. Vijay was saying something in an urgent tone to me, but I couldn’t hear him. The icing on my panic attack was the fact that an angry traffi c cop was now approaching. Before he could start shouting at me, Vijay opened his door and stood up with one foot still inside the car, explaining to him that I was just learning. The traffic cop said that I should go and learn somewhere else and Vijay said we were just going.

I regained my senses and started the car and eased it forward smoothly. The little detail that I did not take into account was that my husband was still in conversation with the angry cop,and half of him – head, shoulders and one leg – were still outside the car. He was hanging on to the car door for dear life as he found himself suddenly being dragged along the road in this awkward position. I only braked when I became aware of his panicked screams. I looked at his face as he bent down to glare at me, his expression shocked and disbelieving. I gathered he would live and tried to make up for my little boo-boo by giving him a winning smile. It didn’t work.

‘Move over,’ he barked at me. ‘I’m going to drive.’ He detached himself from the car door. Something seemed to occur to him and he hissed at me, ‘Do not drive over me. Touch nothing.’

Just to be safe, he circled over to my side from the rear of the car. I dully moved over to the passenger side. The cacophony of honks and angry shouts outside had reached near-deafening levels, but I was now only aware of the fact that I had nearly killed my husband. Completely unintentionally.

And so soon after marriage, too.



Femina, Anniversary Issue, Nov 12

An article by me on ''the advantages of a long courtship''. The one I never had. It's titled 'Let's Take it Slow, Tiger', on page 268.
Had a lot of help writing this one from my sister, friends, and the very nice people who participated in my book contest. Thank you all!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Re-aligning - the Sabbatical

Okay, so now I have just a couple of months left before I intend to take on some form of work project. Which means I really need to figure out where my time is going to go for the remaining short while of my very precious sabbatical. And this week has been instrumental in many ways.

* To start with, I've had a tough time earlier this week with a personal issue; but it's taught me a lot about what - and who- is really important in my life. I'm amazed *again* about how things that seem really harsh end up being the best things that could possibly happen to you. In any case, I've got a lot more clarity on my priorities. And as Ms. Wannabe Superwoman Par Supreme, that's exactly what I needed.

*I met my wonderful Chief Editor yesterday for a long-overdue coffee - and we talked about my second book. Her insight and 'gentle' sharpness always takes me by surprise - and she's one of the primary reasons I love working with HarperCollins.
So she really likes the book - says the writing looks effortless and has gone up a few notches ( although it was more difficult for me to write this, for sure). This one is not the sequel to Just Married, Please Excuse - it's my first shot at real fiction - and that too with a male character as the main protagonist - and she had some really great comments about it. My sister is the only person apart from her who'd read the first draft, so with her inputs, I sent her a much cleaner version - it still needs work, but as she puts it ''the majority of it is in place'' - having said that, the bits that she has pointed out are crucial loopholes in the story. So that pretty much gives me my focus project for the next couple of months.

In short:
* I'm putting work on ''Still Married, Thank You'' on indefinite hold. This was the sequel to JMPE - there's no rush anyway, because my second book is planned for release in 2013 and ''Still Married'' (note - it's a working title, but I think it works) - will come out in 2014  - if I manage to write it next year. And I've decided there's no rush on the writing.
* I've also realized thanks to the last few months that writing is definitely not something I will be devoting my life to - it will be an important activity, but not my full time profession. That clarity is cemented this week.
* I've dropped my guitar classes and Zumba so that makes some more space - so am just spending as much time as possible with my family - especially my grandma and kids over the next few weeks.
* There's of course, the 'Happy School' where I'm teaching spoken english on Saturdays - that's the only outside activity I want to continue. My daughter loves coming with me, and frankly, I can't manage very well without my little teaching assistant who always reminds me which stories and rhymes we did the previous week, and suggests new ones which she has learnt in her own school.

She also seems to be taking the 'teaching' bit to heart and loves tutoring our maid ''helping Didi with her homework'' as she puts it. That's the one thing I am so glad about - I managed to find an angelic lady to give this very bright girl who works in our home lessons in English and Math - something that my maid is totally delighted by and works very hard at. So this is the other thing I've managed to do for my maids, apart from opening another one's bank account. Next project - gas connection for one.

*Also, we're shifting house, and we're moving to the ground floor and I think it's great because it's safer than the third floor for my frisky little boys and plus, now they get to drop all their toys and make a ruckus and no one will get disturbed!
* Finally, I've still got some commitments to do with writing; including mentoring a contest on Indiblogger, and some other things.

So, yes, there's still much to do be done. But I can safely say. It's been more than worth it, this sabbatical thingy.

If for nothing else, then this moment alone.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Letting Go of Some Excess Baggage

So it's strange - I struggled with my weight for the longest time post pregnancy - and while I was doing the Zumba over the last few months, shocked people in the class with the fact that I have three kids - the story the way I liked to tell it was from '85 kgs to 58 kgs'.

Well, I just weighed myself today and found I've lost even more weight - 55.5 kgs. And the funny thing is, I'm not dieting, I've not been dancing for the last few weeks - all I've done is the Surya Namaskar for the last few weeks every morning, and I have to say that it makes you feel fantastic!

Generally speaking, it wasn't a very good weekend due to some personal issues, but I'm feeling so much better today. And suffice it to say that just like with the weight loss - sometimes things just happen after you stop trying so hard. Life is like that, you see.

P.S - one of the nicest things about having kids - even the rare warm embrace with your husband in the supposed privacy of your room tends to quickly turn into a group hug. Go team!

P.P.S - picture of me caught laughing away to glory at My Club Spark Book Reading. And this is how I feel right now.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Review of JMPE by Meenakshi

...She lives in the U.K and got her hands on my book through a friend. Below is the review she's written and emailed me. She's got me thinking about blogging vs book writing, but that's the subject of another post. In the meantime, read this!

Just Married, Please Excuse by Yashodhara Lal: A Review.


The author recounts early days of courtship, subsequent marriage and motherhood.

The Book cover is cleverly designed. It does give an idea of what the book is all about. The happy colour 'yellow' invites you to turn the page. 

Blogger, Yahodhara Lal has published her first book purely for entertainment. Most readers would already know quite a bit about her and the characters in the book. I did expect the book to be a condensed version of her blog but in fact, it is more of an extension of her blog. 
In chronological order we read about the workplace, courtship, marriage and motherhood with all the domestic drama thrown in. As I read on, I could not help grinning in recognition of the some of the incidents. It was easy to draw parallels with my own life. 

Yashodhara has embroidered and embellished the story with wit and humour to keep the characters three dimensional. The relaxed and unpretentious style ensures that the writing does not fall flat. I found that adding words in Hindi was simply charming and effective in adding more authenticity to the dialogues.The best lines are in Hindi....'Kisi billi ne noch noch ke......" and ' Ladne ki kya baat hai...." Thankfully, it isn't one funny scene after another or sunshine all the way. We also read about the angst, standoff and compromise in the relationship. The young couple, Yashodhara and Vijay have terrific chemistry which makes for a funny and heartwarming read.

Vijay, is my favourite character. He has all the desirable attributes of a good partner. He is charming, naive, relaxed and above all compassionate. Florence Nightingale would be so proud of him. His generosity has allowed Yashodhara to modify his character to suit the story. All other characters fit in well with the narration. 

Life is not simple and sometimes a light touch is the order of the day. Many of us are living a version of Yashodhara and Vijay's life but not willing, talented or brave enough to put it on paper.The book stands on it own and can be enjoyed even if you have never read her blog. I simply loved the book. It certainly brightened a wet, cold and gloomy day for me.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween from Sheikh Peanut

This is supposed to be an entry for a Halloween photo contest.



Of course, the fact is that it's a fraud entry, considering it's an old photo of Peanut and we were just clowning around. I'm hoping that the expression on her face wins us some points.
If you're less fraudulent, you may want to submit your entry here, to win some cool prizes.

P.S - Coffee-and-reading with me tomorrow. Gurgaon ladies, do come. Check out the event details here

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wake me up ...when October Ends.


Today was quite a day for me.
My husband called me up in the morning to inform me that he has actually taken a printout of my second manuscript for my grandmother to read – this is a fictional story, unlike my first book, so I wasn’t sure she would enjoy it – but she’s been a little depressed lately with her cancer, so I thought it would be a good idea to try and distract her with a little reading material. After all, she devoured the manuscript for my first book, enjoying every bit of it to the fullest extent.
An SMS exchange an hour later with my Chief Editor had me jumping around whooping for joy –thanks to  those words ‘It Works’ as applied to this selfsame manuscript, which she finally read in full this weekend. Of course, she has feedback on it which means it will take me work, but knowing her, it’ll make for a far better book, so it’s worth it. I just don’t know how much work it will be.
I waited for the twins to come home from playschool and then got ready to go to Noida to see my grandma, stopping to have a pleasant lunch with my mother at the Gymkhana, on the way –since she happened to be pottering around Delhi instead of being at her home in Noida. A Bloody Mary and several Kababs later, I found myself on the road yet again - sure enough, Grandma was truly delighted at both the news about the Editor liking the book, and the fact that she was getting to read the manuscript - she practically grabbed it from my hands and held it close, murmuring a little prayer. She started reading almost immediately, chuckling every now and then, and saying 'Bah'. ( Which is Bengali for 'Wah' in case you thought she didn't like my writing.)
I found myself thinking on the 1.5 hour journey home - I am in the process of plotting the sequel to Just Married Please Excuse ( loosely titled ‘Still Married, Thank You’) – I almost took on a project at work from November. I travel to Noida three days a week to see my grandma, which pretty much takes up most of the day. We’re also shifting house at the end of November, moving to the ground floor of the building we’re currently in ( yes, we lucked out!). I’ve got so much going on despite being on sabbatical, and so far I haven’t even mentioned those three little people, kind of important to me - Peanut, Pickle and Papad. I’m so glad that I took this break, but the fact is that time is now running out and I’m going to have to figure out how to balance things from January onwards – what with work projects added to the mix.
The last month was kind of directionless because I had finished Book 2 and sent it off to the Chief Editor and wanted to take a break from writing. But now, I figure, it makes sense to use most of the rest of the sabbatical on just the family commitments and writing; which means giving up some of the stuff like Zumba and the guitar lessons. A bit of a pity because I loved both – but they were just taking up too much time, so from November onwards, I’m going to have to ease up on them. Oh well. I guess I can work on fitness and music at my own pace for a while.
With Vijay out of town, and my maid Rinki’s mother being ill, I had the challenge of putting all three kids to bed tonight. It wasn’t easy because Peanut wanted me to tell her the bedtime story, show me the Diya she made at school, tell me the Diwali song she learnt, and for me to brush her teeth all at the same time that I was trying to make the twins sleep. I first handled Papad while Pickle thrashed around with the hapless K in the other room. Exhausted after making Papad sleep, I then went over to sleepy, wailing Pickle and rocked him for a while. He was so excited at this unusual treat that he woke up all over again and started asking me questions like ‘Aapka naam, Mama?’ and then repeating with satisfaction ‘Yashodhia’. This took a long while, especially with Peanut’s constant interruptions.
I then turned my attention to the extremely frustrated 5 year old and pacified her by listening to her Diwali song, praising her Diya and telling her a story of the ‘Faraway Tree’ – the series I loved as a kid – of course, for her, I’m just making up the stories as I go along because I don’t remember the actual adventures the kids had in the books –mental note to buy those books for her. And me.
At one point, Peanut went in to the bathroom to wash her hands and then came out screaming ‘Mama Mama’ – she was scared by ‘a hissing sound like a snake’- it turned out to be the overactive Geyser. I comforted her and explained to her what was going on, switching off the geyser. She smiled tentatively but looked distinctly happier. I so remember what my childhood was like around the kids – more so with Peanut than the twins. Maybe it’s because she’s a girl, or maybe she’s just a lot more like me. It worries me a little. The challenge of bringing up your kids well necessarily requires you to grow up a great deal, whether you’re ready for it, or not. I am re-reading Thomas Harris’s iconic ‘I’m Ok, You’re Ok’ and the whole Parent, Adult, Child and Transaction Analysis is re-fascinating me all over again.
Three kids are a lot of work, even with a lot of help. They are the most immense joy, too, but you do end up feeling frazzled and unsure about how much time you’re able to give them. It’s great that they have each other, and they do spend a lot of time happily playing – the twins are far more social and cooperative than most kids their age, for example – far more extroverted than Peanut was at the same age. They are very lucky to have each other, all three of them. But I find myself thinking a lot about my own time with them. How much is enough?
I have come to the conclusion at this point of my break that it’s not that a great deal of time is needed with them; I’m there to see them off in the mornings, mostly there to greet them when they come back, and definitely around at nights to put them to bed and round off the day. I think they’re fairly comfortable with the few hours that they get, although it’s hardly ever one-on-one time with me except the above-mentioned bedtimes. But still. It’s not just about the physical time with them – there’s a whole lot of other stuff that comes with the package which requires thinking, planning, coordinating, monitoring and general attentiveness. It’s important to cut out other distractions, basically.
Anyway, all in all – it was quite a day. And I realize now how important it was for me to take this time off from work; my frazzled and frayed nerves were too busy trying not to implode while simply trying to get through each day – all this self-reflection was hardly a possibility a few months ago.
I’m hardly at a point where I can say I have crystal clarity about where things are going. But let’s just say things are getting clearer – especially about what’s most important.
Always a good thing. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Another Video from the Reading.

This whole video thing (from the reading at Bookwise last week) is making me want to cry. Either my face is getting cut off, or I am horizontal. You decide which one is better.

On a happier note, if you're in Gurgaon, and you just happen to be a woman this week, please join us at My Club Spark for a fun coffee-and-reading session around my book! For womens onlys, unfortunatelys but those are the club rules!

Details: Thursday, 1st November, 10.30 a.m. - 12.30 a.m. onwards - at  C-18, Sushant Lok Phase I, Gurgaon, Haryana 122009

Come on, you know you don't want to miss the opportunity to see me reading horizontally like this, right? It's a cool trick. Event details on FB here. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Coffee-and-Reading Session this Thursday


For all those of you in Delhi NCR, I'd like to cordially invite you to a Coffee-and-Reading session being held around my book ''Just Married Please Excuse'', at a beautiful store called Bookwise in Shahpur Jat.

Details:

Timing: 11.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. ( Thursday, Oct 25)
Venue details: 125A, Shahpur Jat (near Asiad Village), New Delhi, India 110049
(You can call for directions on -011- 26499568 / 26499569)

The event invite on Facebook, in case you like that sort of thing is here - Click click karo on this

So - will you come? I'm apparently rather charming, engaging, down to earth and so on. Ha ha ha...

Hope to see you there. And in case it's tough for you to make it, please do let your circle of friends know about this - anyone who's interested is very welcome.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Y's Identity Crisis


I stand at the bathroom door, frowning. Vijay is brushing his teeth and I wait for him to notice my worried expression. He doesn't. So I announce ''I'm worried.''

''Wha happa?''

''I've read stuff that a lot of people I've met recently have written about me - they say I'm charming, engaging,  nice, down to earth, simple...''

''Sho?''

''But I'm supposed to be a snob! I've always been called the one with an attitude problem - only a few people who really know me have liked me - so why do people like me now? Am I putting on some kind of public persona now that I'm an author?''

''Yhaa'' Decisively, spewing a little foam. (Always very attractive)

''WHAT? You mean I'm a FAKE?''

He realizes he better pretend he's too busy finishing brushing to answer this one. Finally he rinses out his mouth and says, with an air of exaggerated patience ''What happened, Honey?''

I stalk over to the bed and sit down while he gets ready for work. I try to explain ''Arrey, yaar, people who've met me recently say I'm very nice! But am I really nice or am I just acting nice with them? If I am, I'm not doing it consciously.''

He thinks about it and says ''Well, now we know - think about it...it's like the difference between the real Amitabh Bachhan and the one the public perceives him as...'' He knows he's hitting me where it hurts with this one, I've speculated enough on why Jaya Bachhan looks so uptight all the time.

I stare at him. ''You're not helping. You're supposed to say - 'yes, sweetie, you really are engaging, charming, down to earth...'

Immediately, he says with the air of a boy reciting a poem at assembly time ''Of course, you're very engaging, charming, down-to-earth...''

I snap 'You're LYING.'

He clasps both hands to his face with an air of horror and says dramatically ''WHAT? You mean I'm a FAKE?''

*****

It really was bothering me this morning, this whole thing. But only for about half an hour, until I realized what was going on -

Basically, the fact is that I've always been hot-tempered and on the vaguely volatile side in my younger days. And in school, and college, and even the early years of work, I projected this image of being the selective stuck-up type. And I think in many ways, I was all of the above - although as I am clearly mellowing with age - and motherhood and near-death-experiences-with-surgery-complications and Buddhism have all helped.

But above all, the fact is that I am so genuinely thrilled with people who are interested in my book, and who love what I've written that I actually feel terribly grateful to them. A friend of mine told me on Facebook,'' why are all your updates ending with Thank you? Since when does the uber-confident Y need to thank people for liking her writing?''. I tried to explain it to him, but I don't think he got it. Because it IS something to be very grateful for - each person who likes the book and talks about it, or writes to me with a question, or comes up to me at an event with a question, or who lands up and has lunch with me at Mamagoto or writes to me with feedback about where my book is and isn't available - what the hell is there to be stuck-up about?

The other thing that has clearly changed is in my ability to just talk to strangers - I read this post by Judy Balan last night, and I could totally identify with it - that is, this is how I was some time back, and maybe sometimes I still feel this way - but for the most part, I enjoy meeting new people. I'm not sure when this happened, and this one is not to do with the book - I've recently agreed to coffee dates with a couple of women who just asked me and happen to live nearby - and it was great meeting them, and we were chattering like old friends; and it was a completely balanced conversation and is gave me a perspective on lives that are rather different from mine. So the time it used to take me to warm up to a person - and the time it took for them to realize I really wasn't all that snooty - has been drastically cut down.

I think obviously it's helped that I've been getting mostly positive vibes about the book - but then, even the few odd negative reviews, I find I'm able to laugh off and naturally interact with even that set of people in a light-hearted manner. I'm so surprised that it doesn't really bother me - was I expecting it all along, that there would obviously be some negative things said about it - or am I just cushioned by the fact that 98% of those who've talked about it have done so more positively? I don't know, but it's basically very nice to be able to say that something doesn't bother me - because till a couple of years back, just about everything used to bother me.

There are disappointments of course, in terms of the way that some people in the writing/publishing industry end up behaving, although for the most part,  people are very helpful. But it's the readers who really rock, and frankly, it's just really really easy to be nice to people who are being nice enough to like your creative work.

Also, there is some evidence to suggest I am also becoming way more tolerant than I ever was before. So much so that when someone recently messaged me on Facebook saying ''The book is almost below average -your writing cud had been better'', I just bit my lip and refrained from agreeing that Indeed It Cud Had. I simply politely thanked her for her feedback and left it at that. After all, she was expressing her point of view, and I had to respect that.

So net-net, I think I'm just going to have to make my peace with the fact that I am actually becoming a *Nicer* person. And that's nothing to worry about, right? The world could always use one more nice-r person.

P.S - Just occurred to me - Oh GOD. What if this causes me to lose my sarcasm? What the hell will I write then? Flowery stories about romance and relationships and world peace?...Oh nooo... Yayy, found something new to worry about....off I go! 

Toodle-oo, peeps!  *and remember - when this unusual combination of phrases becomes a rage - you heard it here first*.

My RadioOne Interview


I asked my wonderful nephew Praagya about how to share this and was directed to Soundcloud. Beautiful user experience! Er, except I didn't realize that my FB profile picture is going to get used for the widgets below. Oh well! Ignore the four repeated snaps of me and Vijay! So here's my first radio interview ever. It was fun. I was there for an hour, although I think our total talk time was about 12 minutes at max! Go ahead and listen, if you're so inclined. Part 1- Part 2- Part 3- Part 4-

Sunday, October 14, 2012

An Eventful Weekend

An 'Event' - The highlight of this weekend of course was the fact that I attended an event that the nice people at Indiblogger were having at Delhi, and we talked about this - the 'Get Published' contest. It's a pretty exciting initiative and we're expecting a lot of action here over the next few months - should be fun! By the way, here's a link to the presentation I made, in case you're interested.

A New Guitar - my sister offered to help me buy a new guitar and we found ourselves wandering up and down a vaguely familiar alley in Lajpat Nagar. We bypassed our erstwhile favorite Bharat Music House and went to Onstage, which had a nice range of guitars. I picked up a model that my guitar teacher Bhaskar had recommended -the Yamaha F310 - and loved the sound. Never one to mull over decisions of this sort, I asked for the price. 
'Rs. 12,000-something-something' the guy mumbled. 
'WHAT?'
My sister was matter-of-fact about the whole thing - after all, her own guitar, a brilliant Ibanez cost about that much when she got it years ago. I was about to philosophically sigh and say 'Oh well' and fork over the money, when something stopped me. I pulled out my phone and called Bhaskar and asked him if this guitar was supposed to cost Rs.12,000-something-something. 
'WHAT?'
He laughed and said no, no, it was like 7,000-something-something at best. I clarified the price with the Onstage guy and he remained firm about the 12,000-something-something, but looked distinctly uncomfortable. Bhaskar advised me to go and check at the Yamaha Showroom down the road. We pottered off there, leaving behind an unhappy looking salesman. 
And ended up with the exact same guitar at Rs. 7,150 plus a free tuner plus a free bag plus three free plectrums. 
Just like that. I don't what the dynamics here are with discounts, offers etc but it strikes me as really odd that a shop is trying to palm off an instrument, when just down the road there's a shop happily selling it for so much less. And also, I nearly bought it! Yeesh. I'm not the type to really bother with comparing prices for most things that I buy. Now that seems pretty stupid, and I plan to be a lot more careful. 

Several new dresses - my good friend Vani decided to give me a whole load of beautiful clothes. She said 'I decided to stop pretending I'm going to lose weight someday' - and handed me these shimmering, slinky, lovely dresses, the kind that I've hitherto seen only hanging on store-room mannequins. I held them gingerly and asked the burning question on my mind - 'Er, what kind of bras do these need?' 
In the past, whenever I've gone and indulged in new dresses, I've invariably found to my dismay that they require special types of bras, which I never got around to buying. Therefore, the most beautiful purple cocktail dress has been buried at the back of my cupboard since before my first pregnancy - yes, six years. 
'Arrey, mostly normal bras only. But these two...no three, require halter bras.'
'What's that?' I asked with interest. 
Vani stared at me as if I was from an another planet. The long and short of it is that we've decided to go bra-shopping together. I'm very excited about it. The last time we did this was seven years ago (!) in Bombay, and I'm not ashamed to tell you we ended up at a shop called 'Sweety's' and bought a whole lot of stuff that I never got to use because I subsequently had many children. Those nice ones don't fit me anymore and now we have to get a whole bunch of new ones and I'm sorry because I never really intended to make this post about bras and I'm going to have to stop typing this part now. 

A New Thought - I'm now toying - just 'toying' with the thought of taking on a work project. It's not like I don't have enough to do, but I just think I'd like to perhaps stay connected with the work that I do, which is mostly around digital marketing. I don't know. Vijay feels maybe I'm taking it on too soon, before my sabbatical is close to over - but I think perhaps it's something I'd like to do. I know I haven't climbed Mt. Everest yet, and my second book will need editing and my third book needs to be written - but somehow, it's just a feeling that I've got - that I should explore this whole 'project' area. Also, I'm watching my bank balance diminishing with alarming speed, and while there's still some time to go before it runs out completely, I'm not sure I should wait till it hits zero. So am I selling out on my sabbatical? Or am I being pragmatic? Or am I just restless? Or do I actually like my work and the fact that it pays? Or am I finally giving up on the 'full-time-author' dream - nah, I think I gave up on that one a while back. Anyway, I don't know what will eventually come of this. Time will tell. 

As of now, there's enough to do. Zumba this evening ( which I've told my instructor I'm cutting down from three days a week to two now), a spankin' new guitar to be played, a certain activity to be written for, a particular first book to be promoted, and of course - so many kids to be welcomed home from school in a few hours. Yeah, I think I'm fine for now. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Reactions of the Family

...when you've written a book.

A confident 5-year old Peanut (announces matter-of-factly): I will also write a book one day. *But of course*

A curious 2-year old Pickle ( looking inside the Bhagavad Gita with keen interest): Ee kitaab Daady ne likha?

A surprised 2-year old Papad (opening some other random book and shocked to a blank inside back cover): Ishme Mama ka photo nahin hai?

P.S - It extends to discussions between the help:

Mala: Didi, Anita ne kahaan ye kitaab pe aapka haath hi photu hai...par ispe toh baal hai...yeh aapka haath nahin lagta

(Didi, Anita said this photo here on your book is of your hand...but it's got hair on it, it doesn't look like yours.)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Reminder: Giveaway till Oct 15 (next Monday!)

Thanks for your feedback so far - please remember to keep it coming. Basically, need your help checking on my book the next time you're in a bookstore. 5 people get copies of my book speedily couriered to them next week - please do help!

Details here

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Thank you, Kamal

We pay our driver a fair bit as salary. In fact, at this point, I can gleefully say that all our help earns more than me.

But the fact is that having a driver - for someone who is so spaced out on most occasions - is totally worth it. Let me correct myself - having a 'good' driver is worth it. Kamal is careful, even-tempered, and has been with the family for a few years now.

He isn't as familiar with us as good ol' Vinod used to be - Vinod practically lived in our drawing room, and used to enter the kitchen to make food when the cook didn't show up, and run all our errands even without our asking - but Kamal does everything that he's asked to, in his professional, if rather robotic manner, and that suits us just fine. What I like best is that he doesn't generally take holidays without notice - and that by itself is something very nice.

The only time Kamal stops behaving like a robot is when Pickle and Papad are around - they are fond of him and try to jump into his arms whenever they see him. It is only when they come into view as he stands at the door waiting for the car keys that I hear a variation from his usual monotone as he goes in a deep, sonorous voice -

'Hello Pickkkalllll' or
'Hello Papadddd.....'

But the fact is - what I like best about Kamal is that his years of being expressionless have trained him well and he doesn't allow himself to laugh at me when he witnesses me doing anything stupid.

For example, on Saturday I was preparing for a surprise party for my aunt - it was also the day I was telling a story to the kids at the nearby school - and a cake had to be ordered, a gift had to be bought and all the kids had to be readied and packed up, and we were also expecting a visitor - in short, I was not my usual cool, unruffled self. I was ruffled, let us say. After my school session and the cake ordering and gift purchase,  when we reached home, I jumped out of the car and gave him a series of breathless instructions about picking up the cake, and buying samosas and gulab jamuns ( half a kilo? or one kilo? what do you think Kamal? okay one kilo - no wait, half a kilo. small round ones, the brown ones, not the black ones, not the long ones) - after blabbering for a bit and ensuring that I hadn't confused him beyond redemption, I picked up my bags and headed off purposefully towards the house.

'Madam....madam....' I heard him calling me - he was saying something and gesticulating vaguely but I couldn't understand what he was saying, from this distance. I was getting very late but I tried to suppress my irritation. After all, he was a very helpful fellow and if I had to clarify once again about the damn small round brown gulab jamuns, by George, I would do it. I steered myself around and went back to see what it was that he wanted.

'Haan, Kamal?'

'Madam. Ghar to wahan hai - aap galat building me jaa rahe the.'

I looked around wildly and noticed he was right - I had indeed been marching purposefully into the wrong building. I flushed a delicate shade of red, but simply nodded tersely and marched off, this time in the actual direction of my own home.

But not before murmuring, with genuine feeling, in the general direction of the expressionless man now gearing to drive off -

'Thank you, Kamal. '

Thursday, October 4, 2012

IBN Live Chat With Y: Friday Oct 5

It is a rather busy week, this one is. Live interview on Radio one yesterday; now Live Chat on IBN tomorrow. Yes, in fact, as I look back over the last few days - with cartoon strips, book trailers, author video, radio interviews and now live chat, we can safely say I am the ''extremely multimedia-types'' (in fact, I think that's the technical term for it).

Anyway, if you'd like to throw me some nice interesting questions, you can tune in tomorrow here on this link- we start at 4 p.m. for about an hour. I promise I shall bedazzle you - not perhaps with the quality of my answers, but I type faster than lightning.

(As if lightning can type.)

P.S - this reminds me, the only time I've ever done a live chat online was when I was posing a couple of years ago as a (male) customer service rep for a website to investigate some issues. I cleverly called myself 'Yash' instead of 'Yashodhara.' And yet, I started getting stalked by some guy who kept trying to register on the website and asking the actual customer service reps 'Where's Yash?'. So if you happen to be that guy, don't log on tomorrow. Everyone else is welcome. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Gut-Wrenching Incident

 A day before Gandhiji's birthday, my daughter came home and flopped on the sofa, announcing.

'I sawed a movie in School.'
'Oh, you saw a movie?' I corrected and added 'Which one?'
'About Gandhiji.'
'Oh. And did you like it?'
'Yeahhh.'
'What did you like?'
After a moment of thought.
'That he never hit anybody.'

Fair enough. She got the basic point.

So it was rather ironic, what happened to me just two days later, as I headed in a taxi cab for my first ever radio interview - a live one at that - at the RadioOne studio in Noida.

I was talking to my mother on the phone to remind her to listen in ( as if she needed reminding - she was already busy digging out the seventeen radios in the house), when I noticed something - another Innova seemed to be aggressively trying to pull ours over. My cab driver, having no choice, slowed down to a stop - on the right lane of the highway. He then got out as I distractedly continued to speak to my mother - the other driver was out now as well and some heated words were being exchanged. Then I saw the other driver grabbing my fellow's neck and before we all knew it, they were trying pretty much to kill each other.

I told my mother something along the lines of 'Trouble.' and then started shouting 'Bhaiiya, Bhaiiya' to try and distract them. To my horror, the other driver had now managed to open his car boot. For a moment, I was sure it was a gun and this was the end - I could see the flashing headline. 'Four killed in another road rage Incident.' I was therefore immensely relieved when I saw it was *only* a wrench that the fellow was now brandishing.

The momentary relief vanished when I saw he was serious about using it. He was now trying to drive it into my driver's gut, with a very practised air. My own scrawny driver was apparently the street-wise variety, though. He deftly blocked the guy's attempt at disembowelling him, and they swayed, locked in battle. This was too much for me. Without thinking, I jumped out of the car and raced towards them - I don't remember now what I was saying, but it had a lot of 'Bhaiiya, Please!' in it.

I could make out that the other driver was blaming mine for having banged his car. Now, I may not have been paying as much attention to the road as I should have, but I knew we had not made contact with any other car, and I assured him that he was mistaken. My hassled driver also reiterated that it was some other car that had done it. The wild-eyed fellow looked like he might believe me for a moment, but then he suddenly decided not to, and went back to trying to drive the wrench into the other fellow's body. They lurched this way and that, and I suddenly saw the flash of the wrench very close to my head.

It was eventually only due to the intervention of some very nice passers by - including a Stout Sardarji and a Yellow-T-shirted Elderly Uncle, that the two of them were pulled apart - ordinarily, I'm not sure if people actually intervene in scenes like this - but maybe it was the fact that they saw that the two scrawny men were really at it -and that it was only a scrawny girl in a formal white shirt matched with blue jeans scrambling around trying to stop them. They asked me to stand back and figuratively rolled up their sleeves and got into the fray.

It was then that I noticed him - in the back seat of the other fellow's car, there was a guy who looked Japanese to me. It wasn't just his features that gave him away as belonging to that country - it was also the fact that the fellow was merry filming us on his fancy camera. I couldn't believe it - I was out there risking my neck trying to stop a fight and this guy was playing Steven Spielberg. It was amazing. If I hadn't been so worried, I would have been furious.

Anyway, thanks to the nice men who bothered to stop - while other not-so-nice men yelled at them because their cars were parked in the middle of the road and causing traffic to slow down - the fight eventually broke up. I was very, very grateful to the gentlemen - once the Japanese guy saw the fight was over, he then stepped out of the car and stood there. I went over to him and told him tersely that it was not our driver who was at fault - he avoided my eye - he was examining his camera and all he had to say was 'Yes. Okay. Yes.' I walked off in disgust. The scene was over and we left.

I was reminded about this incident that my mother once narrated. Apparently, her driver Kushal was once being attacked by not one, but three men - this being too much for her, she had instinctively jumped out of the car and tried to stop them - she pulled ineffectually at the shirt of one guy, and it seems, rather fascinatingly, that she tore it off his back. My Masi was also close on her heels and the two of them valiantly supported the long-time loyal, scrawny but fiesty Kushal until that battle was over. I remember being horrified that my mother had engaged in fisticuffs of this nature, no matter what the provocation, but she had shrugged and said 'What could we do?' and then ignored our poking fun at the fact that she actually tore off a guy's shirt.

I finally understood now, though. On the surface, I was very calm as I counselled my driver about the need to stay calm even in the fact of intense provocation in these dark days - only to be told that he too had a wrench and would not have hesitated to use it had we not interfered. So much for my counselling. I pushed away the thought that came to my head - that I would have liked to use my own wrench on the Japanese guy's camera. If I had a wrench. I should get me a wrench.

So anyway, I was very shaken - the only good thing about the whole incident is that I was not in the least nervous about the interview with Chris of RadioOne that took place about 30 minutes later - it really didn't seem like the most earth-shattering event anymore. In fact, she was apparently quite gleeful when she was informed about my incident by the girl in programming saying 'We'll open with THAT conversation.' I liked her. Will post about the radio interview soon.

Anyway, I think we all came out of it safely. I find today that I am able to feel rather amused about the whole thing - the only thing that is not funny is that my mother had called Vijay up in a panic and he was scared, trying to reach me, and eventually he ended up configuring something on my Iphone that allows him to track me whereever I am - a fallout which I was not anticipating and which I don't quite appreciate. Especially since he has decided to test it at regular intervals, causing loud beeps to startle me, followed by messages like 'Why are you on Ring Road? I thought you're coming back from Noida to Gurgaon now?' He thinks it's funny. I don't.

But if we examine the issue a little more deeply - I think the only actual regret I have is this - I didn't tear off anybody's shirt.

You're the Boss, Mum.

P.S -I suspect strongly that Gandhiji would not have been pleased by any of this. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Various Kinds of Sabbatical

A few days ago, I saw through Facebook that my batchmate from IIM-B (and very helpful author from HarperCollins) is planning a rather special sort of sabbatical. I was thoroughly, thoroughly impressed. Read about it here on the link that Karan shared.

I was very, very impressed. And then, naturally, proceeded to feel that I was wasting my time on my relatively tame sabbatical.

Thankfully, the feeling didn't last long. I then spoke to a friend and ex-colleague who is also a month into her own sabbatical - and she said gaily 'Oh when people ask me ''what are you doing on your sabbatical'', I tell them, ''I'm on a BREAK...I'm not Supposed to be doing ANYTHING!''.

I was very, very impressed. And then, naturally, proceeded to feel that I was overdoing it on my sabbatical, what with the zumba, guitar, writing of second book, toying of idea of creating outline for sequel to JMPE and so on.

Thankfully, the feeling didn't last long. After all, it is said 'To each his own'. So you can be doing great big things on your sabbatical, the medium-type things like me, or absolutely nothing - or be anywhere on the spectrum in between, actually. As long as you're enjoying yourself. And I know I'm enjoying myself, and that's enough for me.

Plus, I'm now telling stories on Saturdays to Class I kids at a school for the underprivileged here in Gurgaon - a lovely set up called the 'Happy School', run by a wonderful lady called Mrs. Kamal Capoor. I've done two classes now, and while I am not really sure how much difference I'm actually able to make to their spoken English with just one class a week, I certainly felt pretty good when one kid shouted at the end of my  class 'Ma'am agle Saturday phir aana okay?' and then, without pausing for an answer, whizzed out for the lunch of Kadi-chawal that Mrs. Capoor was serving outside.

Yep. That's enough for me.

P.S - I am supposed to be on radio tomorrow. 94.3 Radio One. Delhi crowd, you may tune in if you like about 9 a.m., perhaps as you drive to work. I've never done this kind of thing before, but it should be fun. Vijay is 'helping' with his nuggets of wisdom as always, such as 'Think of what Song you will request' and 'Don't worry too much about what to wear - it's Radio'. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Just Married, Please Excuse: Book Trailer


P.S - how 'multimedia' am I these days, huh?! Multitasking- Multimedia- Mom. That's me. I should shut up now, right? This is me, shutting up. Enjoy trailer!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Email from a Young Lady

Put up here with young Surabhi's permission. It really put a smile on my face. 

(Note: Giveaway reminder - please do check for my book in stores and let me know what you found! 

Hey Yashodhara,

At the very outset of this mail, I want to congratulate you on JMPE. A friend recommended your blog, and I read what you wrote in six years,all in a day. After that, the urge to read some more got the better of me, and I immediately ordered your book online. I was wondering if the book would live up to what your blog is. Whether one particular story would do justice to your style of writing. I was pleasantly surprised. The book was all that and much more. It is simply written yet pretty smart. It makes you roll in laughter in parts and in others makes you pause and ponder about similar situations you have faced. It is not the typical 'fat lonely girl finds her guy and lives happily ever after',but it is every modern woman's happily ever after(with some glitches),in print.It is honest and engages you,making it un-putdownable. Congratulations again!!!

I am a 23 year old working girl, who is journeying through life.I too am a fiercely independent, big city D.U pass-out, who wants to get better every day. I see myself settling down in a few years(hopefully)!! The kind of cliches surrounding a working woman, the challenges and choices we face, the 'timelines' we are supposed to stick to, often scare and disillusion me. I think after reading your blog, what I have realized is that it can probably all be managed. Cliches broken, and some mistakes made, yet be managed fine.Thank you for being sort of an inspiration like that ;)

It is great to read your blog regularly, and I hope you continue writing and many many more books come your way!!!

Best of Luck for that and everything else.

Love,
Surabhi

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Some more JMPE stuff: Interview-Review-Video

1. Reliance Time Out features a Rapid-Fire interview with me here

2. Two interesting new reviews for JMPE out:

A Man's perspective: here
A Woman's perspective:here

3. A video that I shot as an extra for you, while shooting for something else - don't worry, I don't hold this strange expression that Youtube chose for the still, throughout the video. As a matter of fact - I have a whole variety of strange expressions. :-).
Not really - In fact, please be impressed that this was all done in just one take.


Lastly: Reminder - my book giveaway is still ON. Keep the feedback coming about the bookstores you visit, people! You guys are the best :-)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Just Married Please Excuse: Another update

Some more Just Married, Please Excuse Reviews are up! Not sure I'm getting all of them, but here go a few more:

Chandni
Priya
Shilpa
Sweta
Indrani
Princess
Amrita

By my extensive calculations on the subject, 98% of the roughly 50 reviews I've read so far are very positive. This makes me do my happy dance. *Does Happy Dance.*

So I am flummoxed by the logic of the average retailer.

'So you've got only 2 copies of my book in stock?'
'Yes, Ma'am. We had 10, 8 sold out last week.'
'Oh, that's great. So have you ordered more now?'
'Bilkul, Madam...just let these last 2 finish and then we will place the order...will only take a few days after that to get more copies.'

This makes me sink to the floor and weep. *Sinks to floor and weeps.*

(Why, God, WHY? Have you guys never heard of re-order levels or whatever term it was that we studied in  supply-chain or whatever subject that was? HUH? Seriously, people. Help me out here, will you? Participate in my giveaway and let me know where the book is not available at this point of time.)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Need Your Help On This One - Giveaway Round 2

I've been posting on how 'Just Married Please Excuse' is doing well, and how we're going into a reprint very soon. Still - it's a very, very large country and I still find that there are many places where the book is not available in physical stores. This continues to be very, very critical - despite the entire e-revolution, we still browse and discover books in stores. It's a real challenge trying to stay on top of this, and I could really use your help here.

I'd like to open up a book giveaway again for Round 2 - so till October 15, if you could please do the following:

1. The next time you're in a bookstore, do look around for JMPE. If you don't see it, please do ASK for it.
2. If you find that they don't have it in stock, please write to me with the store's name and location ( do include the phone number, too) - at yashodhara dot lal at gmail dot com. This will help my publisher keep track of where it needs to be placed. It will help immensely.

I will randomly pick 5 people and send copies of the book to them, shall announce on Oct 15.These won't be signed copies as I'll be ordering them online for you, but you'll win the book anyway and I promise to sign them for you when we get to meet someday - when I'm in your city next :-)

(Do note that the chain Odyssey is not a part of this because they're apparently not stocking new titles).

Even if you've already read the book ( and hopefully liked it), it will help immensely if you can keep an eye out for this. And ideally, create a bit of a scene with your vociferous demand 'What kind of book-store is THIS?' if they don't stock it (as my brother-in-law has promised to do :-))

I really appreciate the support!