Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Kitnay Aadmi Thay?

A friend and colleague, whom I initially got to know through the wonderful world of blogging, launched his second book sometime earlier this month. I went for his launch-lunch or whatever you call it and then promptly got busy with my own book launch and forgot to blog about it till now.

Dipta, one of the most eminently pleasant persons I know, apart from his tendency to make really awful jokes, has written Kitnay Aadmi Thay. I've got his book on my bedside table and am alternating between that, Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert and Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro by Jai Arjun Singh ( the last was recommended by the selfsame Diptakirti at the blogger's lunch).

So anyway, that particular lazy Saturday afternoon, I arrived all excited at Zura, the new restaurant which turned out to be quite a happening joint. Except that nothing much to do with Dipta's event was really happening, given that I had arrived three minutes before time - which meant it was before Dipta's arrival as well as the nice publishing people from Westland. I sat there twiddling my thumbs and cursing Indian Standard Time and then a few people sauntered in, including the Man himself.

I was rather pleased when I saw Dipta - apart from liking him and being glad to see his Buddha-like countenance, I was actually really happy to see that he was simply dressed, wearing crushed jeans and a bright orange kurta, which he clearly thought was dressed up enough for the occasion. I secretly thought this was a good idea - keep it casual ( never mind the fact that I later went and bought two little black dresses and a new pair of shoes for my launch). For the time being, it was just a nice, friendly, warm atmosphere.

Dipta had run a contest of some sort and the winners of his Bollywood quiz also landed up, quite excited to be there, and they had many questions for the author. We tried to make him give a speech but it didn't really happen. I met Gautam Ghosh and Arcopol Chaudhuri ( for some reason, the Bengalis appear to find each other), and overall, there was a lot of kidding around, Bollywood talk, attempts to embarrass the author - the usual launch stuff, really.

The book itself promises to be an interesting read - I've currently read only the first few chapters, but given the pace at which I'm getting through stuff these days, don't hold your breath for a final review. What I can definitely tell you is this - there's a whole bunch of really obscure things in there which, if you're a fan of Bollywood, you will not fail to find interesting. I also like Dipta's style - in real life, he makes really bad jokes that make you groan, but with the written word, he employs a certain, easy-to-read, dry humour that definitely has you smiling. I just checked the book page on Flipkart and it seems to have excellent reviews. So I leave you to go through those and judge for yourself.

As he promises though - it's definitely worth a buy. ''Less than the price of a Rowdy Rathore ticket'' He told me ''And none of the headache that the movie leaves behind''. And if that by itself is not a compelling promise, I don't know what is.

Good for you, Dipta :-)

P.S - the food at Zura was beyond excellent. I'm hoping to also do a similar event for my blogger friends. Anyone interested? Speak up and I shall do the needful later this month. Good time to delurk, really. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Reviews for JMPE

You can read a bunch of reviews on Goodreads here;

And on the book page on Flipkart here.

The giveaway on Goodreads has ended. The winners are: Mekana, Sanchit, Varsha, Shrushti and Swati. You should be getting your copies by end of this week!

Stay tuned, am going to be putting up another contest - in the meantime, please do ask for the book in stores, it is now supposed to be available in all leading stores. If you find a store that doesn't have it, I would really appreciate your letting me know in comments or at yashodhara dot lal at gmail dot com.

And in case you've already read it, would really love to hear from you, too.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Just Married, Please Excuse : Book Launch

So it was at Epicenter, Gurgaon on the 19th of July. Yesterday.

And it was great, great fun :-)

Videos here.

1. Unwrapping the book. Right after I drop the mike, which thankfully was not captured on camera.

2. In Conversation with Swapan Seth and Anuja Chauhan - talking about how blogging is different from writing a book, but helped. Anuja asks me where I wrote the book and comments on it.

3. Swapan reads from the book - his narration had the audience in splits

4. Anuja was every bit his match in her reading.We sure had a lot of laughs and plenty of fun was poked at me by everyone else.

And unbelievably, we forgot to arrange a videographer and these videos from Vijay's iPhone are all we have! But it's something. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

My Day at the Spa

So another one I can chalk up to the Sabbatical, then.

In keeping with trying to do some of the things I've never done before, I followed the recommendation by a friend to try a brand new Spa out. I was in two minds about the whole thing - have never really been the Spa-treatment type. But last week I finally made my way there. On a Monday morning. Heh heh.

I landed up there at the DLF Cross Point Mall, Galleria 2- which I had never been to in my life, but which appears to be quite the upcoming-happening-type of place with some posh restaurants and a number of the Spa-varieties. On the seventh floor was my destination - Aresa Spa.

I was personally greeted by the proprietors - Richa and Hanuwant. Richa told me the place was just a month old, and she and Hanu could use some treatment themselves, but instead found that they had no time for it, what with setting up the place and all. Richa indicated herself saying 'I'm sure I don't look like the owner of a Spa.' This was true, she looked really nice and down-to-earth and I personally much preferred that - it made me feel more at home.

She asked me what type of Therapy I'd had before. I replied in all honesty that I had no clue. Sure, I'd had the Kerala Ayurvedic Massage and the Thai massages, but nothing more than that. I looked through their menu and my eyes bulged at the variety and comprehensiveness of the offerings and treatment. I then looked back up at them helplessly.

Richa and Hanu decided to help me out and after a brief discussion they recommended the Swedish Massage to me. This sounded really good and I readily agreed, just happy to have the decision taken out of my hands. 'A tired mother of three, eh? Well, you'll enjoy this one.'

I was then introduced to their staff and shown around the place - they showed me each of the seven or eight rooms that they had set up - each room with a different set up and purpose. It all strucked me as very impressively well-organized and the ambience was really relaxing and beautiful. I was then introduced to the lady who would be doing my massage. I think I might have been secretly hoping it would be someone Swedish, but the girl was very nice and a thorough professional. And boy, was she good at her job.

I had the most relaxing massage possible - the best ever. It was for about seventy five minutes and I'm pretty sure I fell asleep. I therefore don't remember anything about the actual technique used, but when I emerged fresh from the Steam sauna (another first for me!) and a refreshing shower, I felt like a million dollars, and bestowed beatific smiles to everyone around me.

I sms'ed a few of my friends that I had just had a Swedish massage - one of them responded, saying 

'That's great...what exactly do they do in a Swedish Massage?'

Of course, I didn't know the answer so I replied with my usual honesty 'I don't know. But dem Swedes be some Lucky Bastards.'

I found out only later that the nice staff at Aresa are from some of the best spas in the north of the country. I asked Richa how she had managed to coax them away from what were obviously some pretty cushy places, and she thought about it only for a moment before throwing up her hands and saying 'We just got lucky!'

Net-net. It was a really amazing experience. If they had their website up and running, I would have linked to it right here. In the interim, however, I can only share their contact numbers - which are 0124-4078383 and 0124-4148383.

Go ahead. Gift yourself a bit of a treat. And they have some pretty killer inaugural discounts going on right about now, you may want to ask for those as well.

P.S - I suggested Vijay go there, and he got all excited and said 'Which massage do you think I should get?'. I was actually hoping that he would go and learn some cool massage techniques to use on me later, but with my usual honesty I replied 'Swedish was pretty darn good. Go for it.'

Hey, the Spam comments are getting better!

And we have a WINNER!

''Excellent weblog right here! Additionally your web site quite a bit 
up fast! What host are you the usage of? Can I get your associate hyperlink for your host?
I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol
Also visit my web-site :: 

Too cool, no? So much better than the ones that make no sense at all! 

Who comes UP with this shit? 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Twins Start School

I don't believe it. Two YEARS.

Two years since I had two surgeries and two children. And sat down and wrote the book that has taken THIS long to release! And now the children start playschool. Amazing.

This morning was busy because Peanut was starting school after the summer holidays and Pickle-Papad were also to be packed off. The household was in a frenzy of excitement and activity from 7 a.m. As a consequence, we got the twins ready too early and they were mighty annoyed with Peanut zipped off in her schoolbus and they found they were expected to wait. Luckily, some birds in the park proved to be enough of a distraction to let Vijay and me escape home for a while to get ready, and by 9.30 a.m, we were all driving to the playschool.

They were terribly excited, the two of them. I was so glad because my attempt to put them in daycare last November was a total Fail. This time, they were ready though, and primed accordingly. Last week we had bought them little school bags and big tiffins and water bottles and they had a pleasant time dismantling everything. Yesterday we had a 'pretend' school session where I was the teacher, and we sang songs as they sat on the floor and pretty much ignored all of my instructions. In fact, in the middle of what I had thought was a particularly inspired bout of 'Wheels on the Bus', young Papad picked up his bag and told me casually 'Buh-bye' and took off. I called after him that this was not going to be acceptable in school, but he trotted off to sit in his cupboard cubby hole, and was shortly followed by his brother and sister.

I tried to explain to them that their real names are not Pickle and Papad, but much confusion ensued. I thought I had nailed it at one point when they started to answer properly. However, when I asked again, it was:

Me ( to Papad): What's your name?
Papad: PAPAD!
Me: Noooo....it iss.....( prodding with expectant expression)
Papad: ( renewed confidence): PICKLE!

And the reverse was then acted out gleefully by Pickle.

Anyway, so we reached the school this morning and were greeted by warm hugs by the lovely founder - we had pretty much known this is where we would send the twins because Peanut had really flowered here. In fact, they were quite happy to see that there was a photo of two-year-old Peanut studiously playing with some blocks right there on the gate. They were pretty much at home as they stepped and then started to create havoc. Vijay left for work and I stayed around to watch them.

They played in the sandpit, ignoring the teacher's request to refrain from carrying the mud in pails in order to dump them in the splash pool.
They watered the floor with the watering cans instead of the plants.
They got sand onto the swings and all over their shoes.
They happily occupied the rocking horses for so long that other children lost patience and left.
They climbed up the slides - from the wrong side.
They tumbled and fell.
Papad got pushed out of a house by a tiny little belligerent girl.
They got tattoos and a hug at the end and didn't really want to leave.

All in all, it was a great success and I find myself breathing a sigh of relief that they seem to be settling in so well. ( touch wood and all that jazz).

Tomorrow, I accompany them again for the one hour that they are there this week, and day after tomorrow is the big day - when I wait in the car and the teachers see how they manage without me. ( The teachers as well as the kids, I think! )

But all in all, I think they will all do very well and be quite happy in the warm, playful environment that is this particular play school. And yet another milestone is being crossed in this all-too-short journey of childhood.

I find myself really glad that I actually have the time to spend settling them in well. One of the advantages of the sabbatical.

P.S - the principal and founder both were talking about my book - they had read the sample chapters on Facebook and really loved them. I gave them a copy of the book and they were delighted - and started to advertise it to other parents immediately! :-)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Mother Dear reads JMPE

The mother read through her copy of ''Just Married, Please Excuse''.

She had read it before, of course, but this was the edited version and she found it quite different.

After telling me it was 'Very nice', she proceeded to say, almost bursting with glee - ''I found a mistake in it!''.

I was completely aghast and horrified - so much so that I completely ignored the fact that she seemed so happy about her discovery. After examining her find, I murmured in agreement that it was something that could be easily corrected in the next print run - I was satisfied that it was such a tiny detail that it wasn't anything that a normal functioning member of society in his right mind would ever notice.

My mother, who was leafing lazily through last portion of the book then gasped ''You shouldn't have written that about Vijay''.

I looked over the page she was gazing at in surprise ''That's the acknowledgments section - I've only written nice things there!''.

She glared at me ''THIS? Is nice?''

I read the last line of the section ''...Honey, you're a lot of things, but above all you're a riot...What's wrong with that?''

My mother looked mollified but also a bit embarrassed as she muttered ''Oh...I didn't have my glasses...I thought it was 'Honey, you're a lot of things, but above all, you're an idiot'...That's okay, then''.

Thank you, Mother.

Also, just to let you know -my next book, YOU're proofreading. With your glasses on. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

''Just Married, Please Excuse '' Goodreads Giveaway

5 signed copies to be won - you sign up and Goodreads picks 5 people who get a copy of Just Married, Please Excuse.

Go ahead, enter now! Here's the link - http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/28712-just-married-please-excuse

And in case you don't feel like taking a chance, feel free to go ahead and pre-order at Flipkart right here

Monday, July 2, 2012

Mister Zumba-Zumba

So I have now had about six Zumba classes by now, and it's all very back-breakingly enjoyable.

Unlike the first Zumba instructor that I met, ZumbaMan 2 - the regular instructor who joined back after my first class- turned out to be much more to my liking. I've always liked part 2s better - Spiderman II, SuperMan II, Karate Kid II, and now Zumba-Man II. This person is all about the music and dance. He has been throwing terms like Bachata, Salsa, Cumbia at us from Day one. It's all very deliciously Latin.

This fellow's energy, like the previous one's is amazing and enviable. I don't quite understand what these guys are made of. Also, he's a nice enough personality, very friendly and smiley and all that - but once he starts the class, he becomes relentless and unforgiving. Oh, he's smiley even while doing that, of course. He clearly enjoys the dance - is a trained Salsa dancer and clearly loves what he does. But he tends to snap at you for not smiling. It's kind of tough to explain to him while I'm attempting to keep up with about two-thirds of his moves that it is not possible for me to smile while I am in the throes of agony.

The other day he made us do push-ups. Ha ha ha. Girls suck at push-ups anyway, and I'm worse than most women on this particular point. It was quite humiliating. He asked us to do twenty. I did half. I would like you to believe that 'half' means that I managed ten, but what I actually did was half-a-push-up, before collapsing.

Anyway, it's strangely fun, overall, even though there are some classes - like the last one - where he did very little of the dancing and more of the fitness routines. We have to work on those THIGHS, he yelled. Soon everyone's thighs were silently yelling back at him. Gruelling, to say the least.

A lot of people are doing double takes when they see me, saying 'how MUCH weight have you lost?' I've stopped weighing myself because after the GM Diet, I had lost only a kilo and my weighing scales and I don't interact anymore. I just intend to continue with this for a while in an effort to get into some sort of regular fitness routine and up my energy levels.

This person's style is quite eclectic. He sometimes makes me feel like Daniel Laruso in the Karate Kid when he tells me 'Your Strength will come from your Core'. At other times, he will be shouting things like 'I want to see your ass MOVE, Side-to-Side. Tick-and-TOCK'. This is definitely not something the Karate Kid movie contained. However, overall it's working out quite nicely. And so am I.

I may be a little biased because the first time he met me, he said 'Well, you clearly work out, don't you?'. Now, this is the nicest thing you can ever say to a lady who has given birth to three children. Perhaps it is because of this initial bias that I like him. In the last class, he wore fluroscent green harem pants. I am not kidding you. This is the only way to describe what he wore. It was outlandish. It bordered on the unbelievable. And yet, I found myself admiring his ability to carry it off and resolved that one day I too will get myself a pair exactly like that and walk around completely unabashed in them.

One strange thing - in the first class, he was educating us on the various terminologies and kept asking loudly, to bring up the energy levels 'So What's the dance form we are learning?' ...and people would shout Zumba. Then at one point towards the end of the class, he shouted 'So are we GOOD?'. For some reason, a couple of people near the front shouted back 'Zumba' in response. The guys in the row behind also repeated Zumba. And now it so happens that every time he asks 'Are we GOOD?' Everyone else in the class but me shouts Zumba in response. I find it really funny and quite enjoy it. And once I'm able to really get into the spirit of the things, I too will respond to 'Are we GOOD?' with...


Sunday, July 1, 2012

One Month Down and I don't BELIEVE it

A full month has passed - I've been on Sabbatical since Jun 1 and I really can't believe how quickly it's just gone by. I haven't 'rested' at all ; I've been as busy as ever. I can't believe I was holding down a day job even up to 30 days ago! Jesus!

Of course, various things have been keeping me busy this month. The grandmother's health. The Book plans. The Zumba. The Kids. And July is going to be even busier, from the looks of it because all the above continue, including the actual book launch, the kiddies starting schools, their birthdays. The guitar lesson dream must continue to be on hold. However, I do want to get going on the second book now.

I have this feeling that I should slow down. But even my various attempts to slow down become a project by themselves.

It's all very *interesting*.

The only good thing about being like this is that it certainly provides a lot of material.