Monday, December 31, 2012

In Today's Hindu Metroplus

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

Read it here 

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

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Get your Short Story Published

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

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

Details here

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Is it really time already?

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

Happy New Year to all of you!

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

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Questioning the decision -, why am I here again?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Book Updates

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

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

La Femme Nirvana

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

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Conversation with Peanut

Y: How was school today, Peanut?

P: Fine.

Y: What did you learn today?

P: Nothing.

Y: Nothing?

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

Y: Oh okay.

(Philosophical silence while she munches her lunch)

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

P: What, Mama?

Y: Why are we on this planet?

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

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

P: Corn, Mama?


P: Lorn?

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

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

Y: Yes, but WHY?

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

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

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

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

Right, she is, every single time. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Welcome (New) Home

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

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

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

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

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