Thursday, June 28, 2012

Swapan Seth's Review of 'Just Married, Please Excuse'

Click here to read on Goodreads the review by Swapan Seth of ''Just Married, Please Excuse''.

He's the first person who's read the final book and is not a member of my family :-). 

I am copying the text below in case you're REALLY lazy. Ha ha.

And you can pre-order on Flipkart right HERE.

I have known Yashodhra Lal as a client of mine. A serious, strategist with little sense of humour. Or so I thought. Having said that, I did know that if she had written a book, it would certainly be above average. Such is her nature. She wouldn't put her name to anything that wasn't above par.
I finished JUST MARRIED PLEASE EXCUSE in one go. Which is a feat by itself since I usually stay away from fiction. I make an annual exception: Tony Parsons. And recently I also read Kiran Manral's lovely little book The Reluctant Detective.
JUST MARRIED PLEASE EXCUSE hums with a honesty and humour that is simply endearing. Yashodhra's writing style is speak easy and simple. None of the pretence that often is the handmaiden of first time fiction authors.
Yashodhra invites you into what is an album of her rather fine family, complete, like any family, with its idiosyncracies and charming nuances.
At one level it is a love story of two individuals who are complete opposite yet deeply together. It is a tale of love and how that love transforms as all love does when it enters into marriage.
Yet, Yashodhra does not speak just for herself and hers. The book is a mirror to all our lives and the lively relationships that dot them.
Hilarious mostly, Yashodhra characters are real. With a simplicity and a style that is terribly attractive.
If you are in a relationship, read this book. It will explain the complexities of feelings and bring you even closer to the person you love.
It is raw, it is refined. It is flawed. It is fabulous.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

So, Swapan's liked it :-)

Swapan Seth tweeted today:

Finished Just Married Please Excuse by . An endearing story hilariously told. Poignantly delightful. Order copy

So do go ahead. Take his advice. Order here.

To stay updated, you can basically do any of the following, apart from watching this space, of course- 

Check out the book website:
Follow me on twitter: @yashodharalal
Like the book page on Facebook:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

''Just Married, Please Excuse'' on Flipkart!

Okay. * Deep Breath*.

I checked this morning and it is here. You can pre-order 'Just Married, Please Excuse' now on Flipkart 

We worked pretty hard to price it at ''mass market levels'' - ha ha - but Flipkart of course, adds its own 30% discount for pre-ordering and therefore, it is highly - let us say this nicely - accessible :-)

Therefore, Access Please.

I hope you enjoy it.

This link leads to the page you can place the order!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sabbatical Round up, Week 3

It’s actually Week 3/Week 4 now, but better late than never, I always say.
Actually, that’s not true. I hate being late. I absolutely abhor it. My husband’s casual attitude towards appointed times drives me nuts.  But that’s one of the themes for this month for me - the discovery that I have a little problem in my inability to RELAX.
I’m supposed to have taken this break to kind of , you know, take a break. Instead, the various other pending things in my life have just expanded to fill up every single available iota of time until as before, there is no time left.
It’s a good thing though – primarily because I’m able to spend more time with the family. I’ve got to see a lot more of my grandmother, who has been rather unwell of late.But at one point, I must slow down.
Meanwhile, in the last 10 days:
·         Action has been high on the book front, with my getting my author copies and various celebrations with Vijay and the rest of the family. Gearing up for launch, and it’s taking more of my time than I thought.
·         I’ve been thinking about and think I finally have a plot for Book 2 – now to just figure out how to get time to actually write it. It's going to take a large re-write.Will do it at some point, though.
·         The Zumba is on in full swing and the body is hurting, but I think it should get better from hereon. It is incredibly strenuous but good fun, for the most part. Zumba Teacher no. 2 proved to be a delight after Zumba Teacher no. 1. Must do a post on that soon.
·         Am evaluating guitar classes in July, but then again, given that that is the month the book is launching, I may end up just taking on more than I can chew. So am trying to resist.
·         I find myself pleasantly surprised that I have actually managed to make decent progress on Peanut’s holiday homework. However, all the Hindi homework was pending and I was nervous about this weekend – but it turns out the school came to its senses and decided to extend the holidays another week. Yay!
·         In the first week of July, the twins turn 2 and I am planning a little birthday bash for them and Peanut (who also has her birthday later in the month). This should be an interesting exercise in stress reduction. Not. As it is, I have been delayed in terms of booking the hall and lost one date (dammit!) to a neighbor. But tomorrow, aha!
·         Yesterday was a very interesting project – Vijay had some shopping to do in Ambience mall, and within a two hour period, we had managed to buy a music system, various kitchen and food items while we deposited the twins and Peanut in a play area, and then fed them a delightfully unhealthy ‘mall-lunch’ of noodles, rice and cold drinks. Obviously, in order to accomplish all this, we had to take along our help and split up between various floors of the mall at appropriate times. It was all accomplished with military precision thanks to my planning ( unlike Vijay who kept getting distracted and saying ‘Honey, look – the perfect study-table for Peanut!’ when I asked him to pick up a kitchen knife). Great fun and utterly exhausting. Am in no hurry to try it again.
·         The grandma is utterly delighted to have her copy of ‘Just Married, Please Excuse’. She posed with it very cutely, must upload those pictures soon. She’s the first person I’ve mentioned in the acknowledgment’s section – primarily it was because she once told me in an uncharacteristically austere manner that ‘To have a talent like writing and waste it is a Sin Against God’. I had mixed feelings when she put it back down and went back to reading Palace of Illusions. But then I couldn’t really blame her – she’s already read the draft of my book, and frankly, let’s face it – it’s Chitra Devakaruni Bannerjee’s masterpiece we’re talking about here. Still. I’m looking forward to her reading JMPE and laughing out loud all over again, now that it’s in it’s final and completely polished and finished state.
·         Vijay also keeps a copy by his bedside proudly and refers to me as ‘Author Madam’ and ‘Author Baby’ depending upon the mood he is in. He started reading it and a few pages down asked me in all innocence - referring to one of his dialogue's in the book -‘ Hey, so what’s wrong with Tamper Tentrums?’ It took him a while to realize what he was saying and then he tried to tell me that I 'have a bad typo' in my book.

Anyway, the launch event is in the third week of July sometime. Epicenter, Gurgaon. I do hope you will come? 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

And Here We Are

The First Copy of ''Just Married, Please Excuse'' Arrives.

July will be a slightly busy month :-)

Keep an eye on

And thanks, Guys. The blog is what led to making this happen. You're awesome.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fashion Plate Y

I decide that now that I'm on a break, I should experiment some more with what I wear.

I dig through my messy cupboard and find a particularly smart spaghetti-strapped black-and-white top. It's a bit of a tight squeeze, but with some help from the husband, I manage to slip it on. It's looking fairly nice with the jeans, although he mutters something about why I buy clothes two sizes too small. I remind him that I have given him two sons at the same time two years ago and that he better watch it.

I gaze in the mirror, pausing to admire the effect, and then think, wait - this is just a little bit bold. Just too slinky somehow for me, by itself. I rummage through the cupboard some more and find a light white shirt, which I sling on over it. I stand back and look at myself. Yes. This is perfection.

I walk out into the drawing room to slip on my shoes. My husband, who is already tying his shoelaces, pauses to look up at me and exclaims with pure delight


I stare at him.

Crushed, I go back to change into normal clothes.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dear Zumba Teacher-Man

I am writing this love-letter to tell you that I love you.

My love is not a cheap thing, although just yesterday I declared in public my love for Chitra Bannerjee Devakaruni, after reading her Palace of Illusions. My love expands and encompasses. Kind of like the way my muscles and bones did today after the workout we had, thanks to you.

I admit I was wrong in my initial judgement of you, as I so often am. I was skeptical about your being a real Zumba teacher - the fact that you chose to display your build in a vest - let us not mince words - a banian. The fact that you looked like a typical Punjabi from the Dahli ( no offense: that's what I am too!); the fact that you weren't exactly the smoothest talker in the world.

But boy, are you fit.
Boy, do you have energy.
And boy, can you move that booty.

But here's the thing see - I'm confused. When I told you that I 'work out regularly', I was lying. I occasionally jog and go for a swim, but that's it. You didn't have to take it at face value and expect me to actually keep up. What you said at the beginning - listen to your body, rest when you have to - was not borne out when you snapped at me for taking a break, for rising up out of that squat too early ( so what if that was only the warm-up?). Some amount of compassion for those of us who are lesser mortals with severe physical limitations, would have been much appreciated. It was not to be.

By the time you called out your instructions ''Change'', I wanted to change my entire body although I knew at the back of my head you were merely referring to change the step.
By the time you barked at me ''Knees OUT'', I indeed felt that my knees were giving out, although I just groaned and pushed them further apart like you deemed fit.
I scoffed in the beginning in my head when you said ''The most important thing is to breathe continuously''. I muttered to myself 'As if we need to be told that'. I wasn't scoffing about 30 minutes later when the only reason I remembered to breathe in and out was because you were specifically instructing us to ''3 counts in, 6 counts out''.
I resented it only slightly when you chirpily bounced around the dazed lot of us who were resting for a minute with our hands on our knees wondering ''what happened here?'' - when you were humming to yourself and singing 'Waka Waka', even though it felt like you were mocking me personally. Kind of like 'Mock-a Mock-a'.

The only question I had at the end of it all, Dear Zumba-boy, was -

Where was the actual DANCING?

Oh, I knew the answer soon enough. It was about your particular style. You're not the REGULAR instructor at this place - the regular instructor will come a couple of days later, you're just filling in. But you also teach Zumba elsewhere? In fact, didn't you mention to me that you had just held a class at 5 p.m. before rushing here and doing this favor to this missing-instructor-friend of ours? So the fact is that there is Zumba and there is Zumba, and I'm frankly not sure what we did today was Zumba. At least, not that one.

But wait - should we not pause for a moment and reflect here? You held this incredibly strenuous session with us today - AFTER having held one a mere hour back? If I were able to move right now, I would dive for your feet, such is my respect for you.

Oh there was one point when you were particularly cruel, but it helped me discover more about you. It was when we were -at the end of the session - being forced, or some might say, gently guided to do our floor exercises.

'Hold both your feet up 30 degrees from the ground. Don't MOVE them till the count of ten' you said. And then proceeded to count excruciatingly slowly ' 1....2....3....'

I grit my teeth along with the others and decided I would DO this. I was reasonably confident till about 6. And then you got your phone call.

I appreciate that it was some 'Sir' of yours. You were all excited to be speaking to him. But how could you forget that there were eight people writhing in the throes of agony, waiting for you to reach that GODDAMN number TEN? Oh, you remembered in between alright, saying 7....8... but they were now spaced painfully far apart, and I thought I was going to die. But this is the point where I heard you tell 'Sir' that 'haan, maine Zumba bhi shuru kar diya'.

Let's face it. You were a gym instructor when someone told you that this Zumba thing was more lucrative, right? If it weren't for the fact that while we were doing some of the Zumba dancing, your moves were surprisingly good, I would have doubted that you even had the ability to dance. Oh you can dance. And how. It's just that you apparently prefer interspersing the dance moves with your PT Instructor-cum-Aerobics style.

The 'regular instructor' has exhorted me to come back a couple of days later. He says his 'style' is very different and that he's a trained Salsa dancer and bases all of his instructions on the dance moves. You yourself said in the end, with that wicked unperturbed grin, that the regular guy does a lot more of the dancing than you do. There's nothing to forgive really, but I forgive you for pretending you're a Zumba instructor. Because you made me realize that at some point I can't really run away from the fact that I have not treated my body well despite all that it has done for me, giving me 3 actual human beings to call my own children.

It's time to get in shape. And yes, I would have come back on Wednesday, EVEN if you were the regular teacher.

Because I can't resist a challenge.
Because I really want to get in shape and it was a DAMN good workout, whatever it was.
Because at some really perverse level, it was kind of fun.
Because what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

And guess what? It didn't kill me. Although I must commend you for trying your darnedest.



P.S -

I told my husband about you - how incredibly fit and energetic you are.
He replied, in his usual skeptical manner 'He's obviously on steroids. Or twenty-two'.
I said, in an uncharacteristically morose way 'I think Both'.
But be that as it may, I do love you.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

'Just Married, Please Excuse' - the website

In case you haven't checked out the sample chapters on  Just Married, Please Excuse yet, kindly do so!

Also, the URL is easy to remember. It's A little long, but what the heck! At least it's the same as the book title, eh?

Will shortly be posting more extracts - probably here for the time being, as the website isn't as interactive as the blog right now.

Sabbatical Week 2: Round up

So here a few things I'd like to remember from my second sabbatical week.

1. First time ever sat and watched two hours of Thornbirds with my 90-year old grandmother. I've said it before and I"ll say it again - for this alone, the sabbatical seemed worth it!
2. Visited Performer's Collective and enquired about classes. They start in July. Which is a good thing because I'm determined to try and take it easy this month.
3. Went nuts with the whole Zumba thing - almost gave up with the Tuesday class getting cancelled. However, being the persistent ( cough, obsessive) variety, I am giving it another shot coming Monday.
4. Took the number of - this is a shocker even for me - someone who takes cooking classes in order to find out more. Yes, I would like to learn how to cook.
5. Took my kids swimming each day of the week - all three of them - except for only one day when I had to go out in the evening. This is an absolute blast.
6. In general, got more time with the kids than ever before and made decent progress on Peanut's holiday homework. Trying to figure out a schedule with them that works all around and doesn't overdo it to the point of making me crazy.
7. Yesterday, took a friend and went to the Shiamak Davar's Summer Funk performance - saw a person from my team perform and was really proud of her. Also blown away by the final performance of the evening by the Delhi Dance Instructors. Those guys were amazing. This will deserve a post, maybe in a day or two.
8. Found a cutting I had made out of the newspaper about Delhi and the various things to explore and determined at some point to use that as a checklist and get to know the city of my birth a whole lot better.
9. Went only once to office to do some ( *ahem* paperwork). Ended up spending a lot longer there than I had intended. Felt a bit like jumping back into the fray, but waited until the feeling passed and I think I'll be fine now.
10. I don't really have a tenth, but I'm a little obsessive about round numbers. Oh yes, spent leisure time this week reading the Palace of Illusions - am thoroughly enjoying it. Almost don't want it to end, and will be posting a write up on it soon, as well as the 'reading list' my friends have suggested on Facebook, for you to add to.

And you? How's your sabbatical going?

Monday, June 11, 2012

My Mechanical Man

Yes, I realize it makes him sound like a bit of a robot, but I am merely referring to the fact that he is a mechanical engineer.

It proves useful about the house - he fixes things quite ingeniously, and takes an active interest in the functioning of various items - the kind of thing that bores me stiff. It's a fairly happy arrangement, therefore - my job is to point out the problem and nag him until he gets around to 'getting out his tools'. (Why does it sound like there's some form of innuendo there? Not intended.). Once he's on the job (Dammit!), he doesn't stop until he's finished (This is sick!).

Anyway, Vijay has been lamenting that he does not have a 'toolbox' to keep his various tools. I caught him eyeing a small suitcase that someone presented my daughter and he suddenly declared 'That's it! I'll use this!'.

'This?' I said, unable to believe that he was serious.

'Of course' he asserted, 'It's just the right size, and Peanut never uses it for anything'.


'It's perfect for me' he finished.

Yes. My Mechanical Engineering Husband.

With the Pink Barbie Tool-box.


Friday, June 8, 2012

List of Firsts: Week 1

We're off to a slow start, but it's really been what I needed. To slow down

Anyway, here's a list of little first-time things I've done in the last 7-odd days:     

1. My first diet ever: Will do a post about that, but has resulted in a 1.5 kg loss. 
2. I took my neighbor out for the first time. For Anti-social me, that's a definite first. 
3. Had a whole week without looking at work emails, because Blackberry conked off. 
4. Went to Blackberry center for the first time ever and was absolutely appalled by the service. 
5. Took the metro to Delhi for the first time - (gasp) - yes, have only travelled within Gurgaon before. Sue me.
6. Randomly wrote to one of my favorite authors Ashok Banker for the first time.
7. Almost had heart attack when he replied saying he really liked my writing on my book website.
8. Launched my first ever book website solely through nephew and friend's hard work.
9. Tried out Tumblr for the first time ever
10. Organized my children's toy cupboard. 
11. Tried and failed to enjoy the Big Bang Theory
12. Watched and thoroughly enjoyed the ridiculous acting in a serial with some Khushi character that my grandmother was watching
13. Ordered and was united with my book soulmate the Palace of Illusions
14. Compiled (ing) the list of books I plan to read. 
15. Found a wonderful editor in my sister who read the next piece I've written and gave me loads of feedback which means I have to change lots of things around it. 
16. Ordered Cosmetics online for the first time ever. 
17. Started collecting all the bills and had another minor heart attack at the amount we spend in a week.
18. Tried to find out about Guitar classes and Dance classes in Gurgaon. Still not finalized anything so far, so suggestions are welcome. 


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Bottles, Battles and 'Baticals

I just love the title of my own post. Allow me to revel for a moment. ~ revels~

Right, I'm done.

So anyway, it's been six whole days of my Sabbatical and only on ONE day (yesterday), I almost got dressed to go to the office, determined to do some work even though they no longer pay me. But I restrained myself, and took my daughter, neighbor and neighbor's daughter to the Kingdom of Dreams and we had a really nice time.

A few days back, I had got into an argument with this selfsame neighbor and it got worse and worse, a non-issue being made into a big issue and I shocked myself by eventually resorting to the use of utterly rude phrases. Vijay, who was with me, and had been telling the lady haplessly '...par suniye toh...lekin aap suniye toh...', suddenly realized what I had said and looked as shocked as we all were. I spend the next hour sitting in her drawing room apologizing to her, and not expecting her to be as gracious as she was about the whole thing. Therefore, I have decided that much more important in this whole sabbatical than various other things is actually ensuring that I become a far calmer person and get my temper under control.

Anyway, I'm glad we got to go out yesterday and get to know each other better - the nice thing about time off is that I can actually finally manage to give time to relationships, and that is huge for me.

The kids have been driving me a little bit nutsoid. They're in the habit now - the twins, that is - of throwing all my possessions. In the last week, therefore, my glasses have been bent; my phone is out of order; the very nice farewell gift 'book' that my team created for me called 'Just Yash, Please Excuse' has had its cover torn; and my favorite red sports bottle destroyed.

I sourced myself a new sports bottle ( of all things!) and guarded it from them very categorically. This morning, both the babies woke up at 6.30 as usual. No more grumbling about that from me, I just put on my jogging shoes and took them out in their twin-stroller for a walk around the colony. Very nice it was - until I stopped to talk to this nice elderly gentleman while letting them run around, and turned my attention away from them for a couple of minutes.

Sure enough, Pickle and Papad chose to have an unusually silent battle about my water bottle which was hanging from the back of the stroller, snatching it away from each other repeatedly, until they finally caught my attention by the simple act of throwing it onto the ground and breaking it.

I looked at my poor bottle lying there and thought about how nice it was that I no longer intend to let the little things in life bother me. But I think there may have been tears welling up in my eyes.

P.S - I received a terrible joke from Diptakirti this morning

Question: What do you call it when your babies tickle you awake in the morning while you're on a break?
Answer: Subah-tickle.

(Tears welling up again.)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Dear Y, You've got Mail.

A to Y, 
CC M and G
Lal, I have a huge doubt - how does one go about getting a sabbatical? is it easier or more difficult than getting say a 2 week vacation? the reason i ask and i think i speak for M also is that except in terms of "meaningless matters of monetary compensation" (where we are benchmarked marginally favourably against homemakers and the unemployed), we are made to believe that the organization will fail if we do not access mails and respond for any period greater than a day and hence concept of leave is unthinkable.
Your advise in this matter will be much appreciated. Thanks
G, i appreciate that you probably have more wisdom on how to get a 'permanent' sabbatical and hence will not tax your brain on this minor issue of 'temporary' sabbatical
Y to A
CC M and G

I would divulge the secret to you - you are one of my closet friends ( oops...I meant closest, but never mind, this also works).

However, I believe there is no point in my doing so because frankly, you guys ( you and M, that is) are such invaluable contributors to your respective organizations that they would never agree to let you go.

Keep at it, and pass a percentage of the salary my way at the end of each month,


M to Y
CC A and G
Dearest Lal

We would love to pass a percentage  . However we are limited by the fact that a % of our combined salaries may result in an amount which is now no longer tradeable  as the indian government has abolished the 10 p and 20 p coins. Handing a higher % may result in 2 families (with kids) having severe financial challenges 

Keep the faith. Until then A and I will stand as two stoic underpaid but eminently required pillars of our organizations
 A to M
CC Y and G

Thank you M for putting things in the right perspective....also 100% of 0 is stil 0....alas, lal is like Marie-Antoinette and her suggestions akin to 'let them eat cake' can potentially start a revolution except for our high levels of inertia...
lal, maybe you shd set aside a rupee or two of each book sale for underpaid friends...
Note: One notices the silence on the part of the G. Only because he has been fast sleep in the America and once he wakes up, we will be subject to his pearls of wisdom too.