Thursday, March 29, 2012

Of Nice Park Aunties, Phoebe's Boyfriend and Patronus Charms

I was sitting around chatting with my friend Vani at the park today, when a little old lady pottered up and started talking to us.

She was a real delight - she was telling us about the Bhagavad Gita classes that she's been going to in Delhi for the last 20 odd years - every single week!

''I always come know...'' She was searching for the right word.

''Charged?'' I suggested.

''Charged!! That's it!!'' For some reason, she became terribly happy about my having supplied the right word, and held out her little hand for me to shake ''That is the most wonderful contribution to my day...the right word...yes, I come back charged...just like our cellphone batteries need charging? Wonderful...Charged...''

I squirmed a little bit, taken aback by her excitement about the word and was about to change the subject when Vani piped in ''Aunty, she's a writer...she's always got the right words!''

This sent the little old lady into paroxysms. ''I've seen her with her kids every day at the park'' ( This is an exaggeration but I let it pass) ''She is a wonderful mother...and a writer too?''

I mumbled ''No, no, Aunty -I mean, yes...but it's only my first book'' .

Vani was enjoying herself ''No way, Aunty, she churns out books by the dozens''.

I glared at her, but the old lady was paying no attention to either of us anyway. ''Such talent'' She gushed ''I am so proud to know you'' She pumped my hand again, surprisingly vigorously for someone her age and size. ''You must be a wonderful writer''.

''Aunty'' I protested ''My book isn't even out yet...why don't you wait and read it first? How do you even know it's any good? I will get you a copy when it's ready...''

She gave me her address with alacrity, but her enthusiasm was diminished not in the least by all my weak protests. She pottered off, incredibly happy, kind of reminding me of that boyfriend of Phoebe's - played by Alec Baldwin, i think - in FRIENDS who was overly optimistic and terribly, terribly happy all the time.

Now, here's the thing. This is a lady in her eighties. She doesn't know what we all know. That everyone nowadays seems to be writing a book and getting published. That most people you talk to about having written a book immediately talk about how they know so many people who have also done so, and by the way, they're on their way to doing it sometime soon, too. I exaggerate here - most people are mighty impressed, and some genuinely thrilled - but equally, it is a fact that there's a definite overflow in the Indian market of first-time authors - and also there are plenty of people out there who are very critical of this trend of so-called 'mediocre', 'eminently forgettable' and just 'plain bad English' that seems to be 'flooding the market'. In all of this, as an excited first time author who hopes that some people will genuinely enjoy your book when it releases, your bubble can really burst if you let it.

So here I resolve to always remember the lovely little Park Lady who, without knowing me personally and without even reading my book, is already terribly proud of me. And therefore when the Dementors come in after a couple of months and trash it - possibly without even reading it - I know exactly what shape my own personal Patronus will take.

And in the end - there's something nice about being so terribly, terribly happy about everything - even if it means you're like Alec Baldwin's hyper-happy character in FRIENDS.

Therefore, I go to sleep now and start pracising:

Expecto Patronum!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Peanut's Day Out

Of late, Peanut has been kind of bringing herself up - well, it's not as bad as all that but the twins definitely stake their claim on my time, and attempt to beat her and each other up if they sense any competition in their quest for Mommy-time.

So I thought that since Vijay and I were taking a day off to accomplish some long-pending chores, at least a part of the day would be spent taking Peanut to the Kingdom of Dreams. Vijay had to do something else during that time, so I said I would take her myself and was secretly quite pleased to get some alone time with her.

I took her to the Culture Gully and we spent a blissful three hours there, mostly eating - what else can a four-year old do there apart from playing in the sandpit, which she did for a while too.

We started with Jalebis! She had about five by herself, which delighted and alarmed me in equal measure.

One nos. Peanut stuffing herself with five nos. Jalebis

She then started 'counting all the pretty things', which was my idea but after a while I had to request her to stop because it was driving me nuts.

Then we walked around, and she played in the sand while I watched with unusual satisfaction, and then we wrapped it up with a meal of some Chicken Noodles at the Tangra Market restaurant - luckily we were also witness to a very nice dance - I missed the announcement about where it was from but at the risk of sounding almost as culturally ignorant as I actually am, all I can say is that it involved a lot of skilful hopping around between large sticks and struck me as distinctly North-Eastern. Peanut enjoyed it, and that's what counts.

Peanut Posing outside the Culture Gully. She has my fake camera smile!

It was a fun day, and a great break between vaccinations for 3 screaming kids, dental appointments for 3 screaming kids and dealing with getting the wood-working done for a flat one is trying to put on rent, visiting a dear recuperating grandmother, while simultaneously attempting to finish setting up home in a newly-moved-into rented accommodation and about a hundred other little things.

Net -net on the Kingdom of Dreams Culture Gully - The place is nice, but I did kind of expect it to be bigger and have more stuff to do. But it's done up beautifully and I was quite amazed at having been so out of it that this was actually my first visit there!

P.S - I came back and proudly showed Vijay my 'Royal Card' telling him enthusiastically that this would entitle us to Rs.200 off for every subsequent visit. He only shook his head and said ''I can't believe you work in Marketing''. But what does he know, anyway! He's only a husband.

P.P.S - Trying to post pics of Peanut on her Day Out, but blogger is out to get me today. Later.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Never good news when...

You see your husband reach for the paper and then get a gleam in his eyes as he scans the front page headlines, and hear him exclaim 'Wah, Kya Baat Hai'...

...and then you curiously check the paper later to find the top story of the day is 'Now, Divorce to Get Easier'


P.S - The book series planned -

Just Married, Please Excuse...
Still Married, Thank you!
Got Divorced, Now What?


I hope... :-(

Friday, March 16, 2012

On a Happier Note

Peanut, Papad and Pickle at the Mall. Taken there by my lovely little sister.

Right, so maybe not.

The last two days have had:

* Meeting with people at HarperCollins - Editors, Art Director, Marketing - truly a nice bunch. And there's still SO much to be done on the book.
* PTA meeting with Peanut's teachers -she has graduated from Nursery. Holy Crap-ioli. I mean, Wow. Already in the big school for a year.
* Work, Work, Work - Appraisals, Annual Plans, and lots of other things.
* Kids, Kids, Kids - There are so many of them!
* A nice impromptu rooftop party at a work-friend's- with the most amazing kababs (even though they were veg), and guitar-ing and singing.
* And today, some more health issues arise at home. So we hope for the best and get into treatment mode.

I feel tired. Goodnight.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Seriously, though...

...I've come to the conclusion that life is about making choices. Taking calls. It's one thing or the other. It can't possibly be everything.

You want to be an author with more than one book to your name? AND an accomplished guitarist? AND a devoted mother of three? AND a pushy Business Head for a website? Not to mention an attentive wife, daughter, granddaughter, daughter in law, friend...?

And on top of all that, you expect to be able to sleep a few hours a day?

Steady on, girl. One thing at a time. Or maybe two. Oh okay, three...

Nah. I'm sorry. It's got to be everything.

...But life is about choices, right?

I choose everything. For now.

Yeah. All the best to me.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Much Excitement

With getting close to finalization of cover...
Discussions around promotion plans about to begin...
...and various other developments the book :-)

Updates as and when they happen. Just another few weeks to go.

The Marketing person, a very nice lady who I'm meeting tomorrow has been ill, and wrote me an email which contained -

''Million apologies but have had a relapse and been bedridden for the last few days - but I think I'm having a speedy recovery because am laughing out loud reading the manuscript"

Yep, fingers crossed that a bunch of other people end up with similar reactions.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Just Another Day

6.30 a.m. - wake up with little Papad, who's all excited about seeing the 'baardies' he can hear chirping outside our window.
8 a.m.- rush like madwoman with laughing Peanut to bus-stop. Curse Vijay privately for travelling so much these days.
9 a.m. - set out for work. Have conversation with seasoned author friend who's kind enough to share tips about what I should be doing in next few months. Cower in fear at thought of book launches.
10 a.m. - start off work-day with a bang, all pissed off about the pace at which things are going.
12 p.m. - Cancel meeting and rush to Peanut's school because they are saying she has been complaining of stomach ache and throwing up.
12.30 p.m. - Arrive at her school's medical room and find her smiling beatifically at me and saying 'I knew you'd come, Mama'.
1 p.m. - deposit her at home after fixing up doc appointment for later in the afternoon, and rush back to work
3.20 p.m. - finish whatever I can at work and rush off again, pick up Peanut from home, hiding from poor little Pickle and Papad and take her to doctor for appointment
4.30 p.m. - deposit sleeping child at home with instructions about what to give her, and head out again to buy children some soft toys to keep them from banging on the floor and driving lady downstairs crazy- fodder for another post. End up almost purchasing a slide which I plan to put in the kid's bedroom. Sense prevails at nth hour and I head back with some foam puzzles instead.
5 p.m. - on the way, decide to buy large flower pots since the twins have been trying to climb up the railings on the balcony. No interest in horticulture whatsoever so stop at first nursery on the way and ask for the heaviest pots they have. Settle for rectangular, huge-ass pots and select some random cactii after explaining to man that I will forget to water them on most days.
5.15 p.m. - come home and decide that flowerpot is good idea but I actually need two of them. Send off Peanut and Pickle to the park and take Papad with me back to Nursery man.
5.30 p.m. - Buy another couple of random plants for another huge-ass pot and lug them back home. Settle them on balcony and feel extremely satisfied for having protected my children.
5.32 p.m. - Terrible panic sets in as I realize that they may not be able to jump off balcony easily but may in a state of resentment use their combined strength to push flowerpot off balcony and kill innocent passersby. Brood on the issue terribly. Kamal, my driver, who has been helping deposit flowerpots on balcony remarks 'Sirf agar bhookump aa gaye ga...' brightens up and adds 'Jaise kal aaya tha na? Phir to gaye kaam se!'
6 p.m. - Peanut and Pickle return from park and there is screaming, joyful and tearful reunion as they realize Mama is home. Much chaos for next few hours.
7 p.m. - Peanut has a relapse and vomits all over the place. Several times. Next few hours spent in tending to her ineptly until she finally collapses from sheer exhaustion.
10.38 p.m. - Collapse from sheer exhaustion after writing blog post.