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.


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...''


''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'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 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. 
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. 
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 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?'
'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'.