Monday, January 16

New Year, Old Ambitions

I find it funny and frustrating when people say they are waiting for the "right" time to do/start something that they call a passion or goal. 

We have the proverb " No time like the present" thrown to us from the pages on the web and even before that, from the our grammar books in school, and yet people don't get the message.

I find it ironic and infuriating that I am one of these people. 

This procrastinating tendency has kept my childhood dream of writing a book under cover for years. 

I watch the bursting shelves in bookstores and the endless views online for books published by individuals who don't even qualify to be called a writer. Writing endless supplements during matriculation and college sure isn't a pre-requisite (or precursor) for this talent. But if I'm such a whiz in this area, then why the hell have I not done anything to keep bookworms content with my potential?

No answer.

Just too busy with life to even write on my blog called Life...

A blog that you wonderful people have decided to follow and subscribe, visit and motivate. 

Work happened, marriage and motherhood. Other goals became priority and this item on my wish list was pushed deeper below. Despite my uncle promising to publish my book of poems, and despite my husband encouraging me to commence on my writing journey, I have managed to take a step and a few more, but never reached the destination. The intent is there, the effort missing. 

I am not brave enough to quit my full-time, well-paying, cushy, satisfying job and pursue this hobby. Quick gratification and security is blinding my eyes to the glimmer of fame and freedom. Even before I have worked on the plot of my story, writer's block and laziness are scarring my dedication. What if it doesn't work out? What if it's just another book on the shelf, a tale in the saga? What if the book fails? What if people ridicule and shun it? What if I don't get published? What if my books lie untouched in bookstores? What if I become the laughing stock of the society?

I know none of this will happen. Even if it does, I won't be the first, or the last, or the only one. Yet, I am afraid. 

Venting on this blog to you is one thing, friends. Writing a book and exposing myself to the world is an entirely different ball game. 

Wise men ponder while fools rush through. My dillydallying is leading me nowhere. 

Show me the way, God. 

Show all of us uninitiated ones where we need to be and what we need to do to get there.

I put myself in your hands. 

Coz I'm so clueless and lost...

Riding pillion, with no passion of my own. Just going with the flow, and yet having to battle it out with the waves. Helpless in my aggression and stumped in my frustration. 

I need a time out. 

Anuja, OUT. 

- Princess 

Monday, December 12

Almost the new year... and yet the same old


The year has gone by real fast, as I've undoubtedly mentioned a hundred times before :-) 

And I look back to see how I've fared, managed to accomplish a fair bit as a mother and professional, and tried to be a better friend, wife, daughter, etc. Evaluating my success on these criteria is outside the scope of this post, and my head, so let me look at how I'm feeling at the end of it. 

Working moms like me, how are you doing? 

I often end up feeling like I'm missing on so many things in life choosing to juggle my home and office work. The financial and intellectual independence that my job affords me takes its toll on my social presence and connects. I look at womenfolk in my apartment mingling with each other and talking non stop about issues that I cannot make head or tail of, since their conversation started in the kitty last week and will (hopefully) find a resolution by the kids play date the following week. Try as I might, I can't hold a complete conversation with them, because our lives are so different and so are the priorities and recreation. 

When I ask myself, do I really want to sit with them every afternoon gossiping over a cup of chai? The answer is no, but what sometimes makes me feel a tad disappointed is that I don't have opportunities to have many adult conversations once I'm off work. You either are a working mom with no social life in the evenings, or you're a housewife mom with loads of time with other women of the same clan keeping you company. I'm sure each category has their own cribs and benefits. I'm not passing judgements on anyone, just making my voice heard about how it feels to not have a chance. 

Apparently, they can't shift their get togethers to a more comfortable time for us professionals since they need to be home with their families, and that makes sense. But a little adjustment on both sides, well, that could do the trick and give us all a fair exposure to understand each other better and form firm friendships, at least given the physical proximity.

I keep waiting for weekends to do something different, spend time with the man and catch up with friends. Something I am sure all women (working or homebodies) experience. Of course, there are the independent ones that make things happen for themselves and don't need anyone else to get the ball rolling...

But for us who await weekends to be with family - A tough task since the home chores and shopping beckons, the man has official offsites over weekends, and friends (who are mostly in other social groups, unmarried or kid-free) have their own plans. Moms like me, do you also feel the pinch? 

I keep telling myself this is only for a short while. 

Aarush will be grown up soon and then I can start with my own social commitments, but wont it be too late then? People will already have moved on, and I will be stuck. 

I tried connecting with a few groups on FB and WhatsApp which was like a mom-connect. Disengaged myself the very next day. I was looking for some meaningful conversation, plan some get togethers with kids and feel more included and enriched. But what do they do there? Share random pictures of themselves and their families, discuss nonsense nonstop so that working moms open their phones and see 474 unread pings which are absolute crap...

No win win solution, is there?

Maybe I'm the odd one out. 

Maybe this is the time I need to only focus on what my job, family and kid wants of me, and then there will be a time when I can live for myself. 


Until then...

Back to routine. The job, a few books and movies, random surprises and plans which actually work out.


Asta La Vista

Monday, November 28

And Some More Reviews

Hey dears.

Been doing a few things, going a few places, reading a few books and watching some movies. Thought I'd share my evaluation with you, since my FB mates have mentioned time and again that they'd like to know my perspective on all that I've recently experienced...

Let's start with books! Always my first :-)

Just finished The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad (LoLP) by Mrs. Funnybones Twinkle Khanna. The woman is marvelous. I did not know she had so much spunk in her. All I knew was that she is (was) a pathetic actress, and fortunately she quit coz she was well aware and vocal about it! I've read some of her columns where she is a guest writer, and I read her first book as well, which was nothing more than her columns put together in a paperback format. Her humor and observations are witty, and her language impressive and hard hitting. Loved the fact that I get to read about her equation with her family, especially her husband (whom she addresses as man of the house). 

She is what I aspire to be - Writing, enjoying life and the myriad tales it brings forth, being a celebrity and an intelligent one at that. Also totally enchanted by her appearance on TV in Koffee with Karan Season 5 along with hubs Akshay Kumar. Such a delightful chemistry and friendship, such openness and tolerance. Man, that guy is a jewel. Lucky she could find him! 

LoLP is a set of short stories, 4 to be precise, primarily on women issues like their treatment and condition in the country, man and his empathetic innovativeness, finding love and belonging, and forced expectations and rituals. The last story stretched too long for my liking, and brought down my better rating to 3.5/5 for the entire book. It's a quick read otherwise, and brings you many emotions in surprisingly simple packages. Not a bad read at all.     

I'm still midway through Vish Dhamija's Nothing Stays Forever, which was laid to rest a few days when I was neck deep in LoLP and bungling around the house with the bub and domestic chores. It's reached a twist at the moment, and I'm quite enjoying reading VD yet again, though this one isn't as alluring as Deja Karma. Hope to see it through by the end of this week.

Since the bub was at his grandmom's for a night, I decided to make the most of it by going pub hopping. There were a list of places I was dying to visit, and Bar Bar and Texas Bar & Grill finally were graced by my Highness. Since my company was amazing, the night was memorable too, and I enjoyed chugging Kingfisher Ultra Max for the first time ever. Bar Bar served some tasty Shrimp starters and I enjoyed the American fare at Texas. The view at the latter is beyond par and the music was fine as well. The service at Bar Bar is better though, and I realised how much I miss my old nights of drinking, fun and conversation with sensible people.   

Must mention this: Was actually hanging out at Phoenix Crossword to meet Jef Arch, my fav author in the world. But when they said I had to buy a book and wait in queue for several hours to meet the already exhausted writer, I decided to take a rain check and headed downstairs for some beers. Have ordered his book though "This was a Man", the ultimate one in the Clifton Chronicles.  

While I've been incredibly busy delivering Fierce for my workforce, I've learnt a tremendous lot about facilitating virtual sessions and Adobe. So thankful for the opportunity and experience. Our Annual day is also round the corner, so there are many sport and cultural events and sports events going on right now. I'm organising the Friday events (treasure hunt, online quiz, showcase your house/team, dress theme) and the level of engagement and competition is at an altogether different level! Fully in sync with the jungle theme of the year! 

Unfortunately (or fortunately), this does not leave me much time to catch up on Bigg Boss 10 though I keep catching snippets on the news and Twitter. Some wild cards coming in this week I think, while a few Indiawale are out. I'm fond of Manveer and Gaurav, and I do hope one of them wins. Baba Om and Bani are a pain on all senses, so I hope they get kicked out. I've, however, been very meticulous about watching Koffee with Karan, the latest one with Ranveer and Ranbir was a smashing hit just like the last with Arjun Kapoor and Varun Dhawan. 

Alia and SRK's episode, I enjoyed more than I did their movie - Dear Zindagi. I somehow expected more insights and laughs in the half baked film that stopped short of hitting the spot. The good part is that the movie encourages people to come out of the closet with their problems, emotional or otherwise, and not hesitate in reaching out for therapy. The bad part was that there were multiple deja vu's in the film, like Alia's Highway outburst during the climax and SRK's typical paternal style in the last few films. Kapoor and Sons was infinitely better, and the movie moves at a slow pace, and the song lyrics make sitting even more difficult. Go with low expectations and you won't regret it. For me, I'm considering giving up on Bollywood for a bit; film makers are more motivated to churn out multiple films than make one meaningful and satisfying production. Dangal is coming soon, but with so many women-oriented movies in the last few years, I don't expect to be blown off my feet.

Heard Dr. Strange is better, though. Go take a look, if you keen. 

And back I go to my rush life...

Take care!



Monday, October 24

Book Review : Agniputr by Vadhan

Even before I start reviewing, take a look at this book trailer. 

Wow! When did they launch this? Makes me want to read the book all over again... AND wait with fingers crossed for a movie being made basis this alluring introduction!

Bloomsbury books sent me a copy of this engaging novel a few weeks ago, and it is only in the past week that I could finally get started with reading it. Once I started, it was a challenge to put the book down, and I kept waiting to get back to the pages any free moment I got. My rating for this one: 4.5 on 5. 

So what's the book about? Well, quantum physics for one, that I can make neither head nor tail of, and maybe that snatched the half star away from the rating. But it also describes and connects some engrossing characters that lend their heart to the story and manage to steal the reader's in turn. 

The start is marvellous and midway, the book picks up amazing pace. In the 1940s, something evil called the Sutram is created and it is desired by a tantrik with an even more evil heart to become the master of the universe. There is a conspiracy and betrayal in the Surya family which leads to the death of one loved Surya who before he breathes his last, manages to limit the power of the Sutram. Over the years, the Sutram is contained in a hall, deep under the ground, but it destroys all that comes on its surface. Not surprisingly then, the perilous hall is proclaimed out of bounds for all villagers and others.

Time passes, and the Sutram is gathering more energy. Soon it will reveal itself and destroy the universe. It is ripe to be harnessed. By who? The same tantrik who was biding his time. He uses some political pawns and devotees as his means to the end, but he is not prepared to be thwarted by Raghuram Surya, lawyer and heir of the Surya family and his companion Sheila, a quantum physicist. How Poti, SRK, Pichi Rathaya, Kant, P. Eshwar, SRK and Valaneni play their parts is an interesting read. What is even more thrilling, are the horror scenes, where bodies are strung and suspended in mid air, a precursor of the fate of Gudem.

I, in particular, loved Raghu for his intelligence, humor and confidence. His philandering ways also lend charm to his ultimate affection for Sheila, who has a past and personality of her own. Poti's fierce loyalty and Tirupati Balaji's presence won't fail to impress you and the steady build up of excitement will ooze out of the pages. Once the discussion on atoms and quarks starts, I found myself a little lost and impatient to move on, but it will be entertaining for a sci-fi geek, I presume. Full points to the author for trying something different, but not my cup of tea. This, thankfully, did not mar my experience of the climax which was a tad predictable, yet memorable. I would have preferred the end either to be slightly different and not as benevolent as it is, or maybe more utopian than possible. 

The words come to life and the characters stay etched on your mind, and that's the true victory of this book. The style, vocabulary and plots are above par, and in my opinion, this book is way more enticing for the audiences than Ashwin Sanghi's creations, on the same lines as Amish and Vish Dhamija. Such a heartening feeling, to see Indian writers making their way up the literary ladder. 

Kudos, Vadhan and Bloomsbury. Thank you for this gift and experience. 

Grab your copy :-) 


Thursday, October 13

Two Month Update... and Apologies

Absolutely abominable. From once a month, I've dipped to a new low of not having written to you fellas in over 2 months. Apologies. Sincere ones. 

It's been a crazy time. I guess God wanted me to feel not-so-listless anymore (!) akin what I said in my last post.  

So, what have I been up to?!! Loads. 

I'm now a certified Fierce facilitator, and there are less than 20 of them in India alone. Fierce Conversations is a book, philosophy and tool by Susan Scott which talks about how can make our lives, careers, relationships more fruitful and enriching by engaging in meaningful conversations with people about topics that need to be spoken about. What's more, I am going to be training all the leads in Hitachi Consulting India on this wonderful program so that they can make the organization more powerful and the culture more rewarding. Targets are huge, and the payoff is going to be phenomenal. 

But what is also exciting, is that I was sent to London for the training and I had a great week working and another lovely one roaming around the magical city. With no set agenda, I went around the streets and experienced the grandeur of the Land of Harry Potter. Be it the Buckingham Palace, or the Big Ben, right from the ArcelorMittal Orbit to Old Spitalfields and Covent Garden. My office is bang opposite the Tower of London, and I whizzed around on the tube from Moorgate to Greenwich to Knightsbridge. I ate duck and pigeon at the Canteen in Royal Festival Hall, and I loved the Victorian Sponge and Jude ice creams in salted caramel and chocolate flavors. I purchased at Primark and M&S when I roamed Trafalgar Square and I enjoyed the bustle at Camden Market where I dug hungrily into Poppies' Fish and Chips. The Thames was a delight rendered prettier by the opening of the Tower Bridge. My lifelong dream came true when I visited Platform 9 and 3/4 at Kings Cross, and I was thrilled to see I was not the only one (or the oldest one) nuts about Pottermania. It was truly a trip to treasure. 

And yet, I missed home. 

I have always been a little envious of my friends and colleagues who went abroad and chose to settle there, now having been there for all of 2 weeks, I think India is home and I am happy to be back. As much as I love traveling, my wanderlust does not permit me to move bag and baggage to another land. My husband is ecstatic about this discovery!

Life otherwise has been super packed, too. Be it reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on the plane, and now moving on to Vadhan's Agniputr. Both of which are stupendous. Or movies that I and the hubby watched full throttle: Dhoni, Pink and Tutak Tutak Tutiya. All of which were not bad. Dhoni was the most paisa vasool, great acting and inspirational story. Pink is overrated, same old plot in a new package with Big B to sell it to you, open letters and all fakeness included. TTT was something that we just bumped into, since we had a free night without the bub. Time pass film with lots of humor and not too much brain. The only disappointment was Chang's, my favorite Chinese restaurant in Viman Nagar, that seems to have hit rock bottom in terms of flavor, service as well as cost. 

Aarush is growing up into an amazing rockstar, what with his nonstop chatter and action. It is rare to see that boy sit or sleep, and his cheerful smile and soothing voice allure the young and old alike. The kid's got vocabulary, affection and intelligence that could shame some adults I know, and it's a pleasure to be his mom, even if I occasionally find myself getting really livid with the tiny monster.

Personally and professionally, life has become quite stable and fulfilling. The calm after so many endless storms. Thank Heavens it's time to sit and relax for a while. I wish I could dedicate some more time to writing, though. I am getting stuck in the mundane even as my heart yearns to publish at least one book in my lifetime.

Let's see when that will happen....

Until then,