Thursday, 25 July 2019

Diary of a Daycare Mom




His rattles spread on the mattress, his soft toy Tuffy lying alone in the corner, his little pants and those wet nappies waiting to be picked up and a mountain of his laundry waiting to be washed.

I am already tired of packing and labelling stuff for his daycare adventure and googling to know when his first tooth would appear, browsing e-commerce sites to look for his needs, sterilizing those containers for him and preparing his feeds for the day.

It's been exactly 23 minutes since I dropped my 6 month old to his daycare center, sitting on the couch I already feel like it's already hours since I met him, saw his innocent smile, his cheery giggle and that unexpected cry. They call it separation anxiety and I call it motherhood.

I should be taking a nap now. But my heart thuds at the thought of, what if they call and say that your son is crying, and that he needs you, come over and check on him. What if I fall asleep and miss their call. I have anyway forgotten on how to sleep alone.

I have pit in my stomach and lump in the throat, even though I know that he is just 750 metres away as per google map on taking the shortest route. He was in the lap of the caregiver when I bid him goodbye, staring at me while I was walking out and then smiling at the lady. I was jealous of the caregiver, because I am his Mom and no one else is!

Am I a bad mother for handing my baby to someone else at such young age? Is my career that important? Is it that easy to pack his stuff and drop him to that center? 

For the past 6 months and 13 days I had been longing for some "me-time", read and write and pamper myself and do all that I want, and be myself. But in this span of time, I had forgotten that now I am his Mom first and myself later.

I never knew I would be so habitual of this little person in my life. No matter what the world says, no matter how many societal relations he has with family and extended family, I am the one who carried him inside me and I cannot be replaced. No one owns him as much as I do. Call it obsession or love for him.

Being apprehensive about his well being would last forever. Kids never stay with their parents forever, but a part of them stays in us till the end. And it's just the beginning. The sooner I let him practice being away from me, the better it would be.

Perhaps, the world may blame me for being a harsh mother, a career oriented woman or a parent paying others to bring her child up. My conscience might shake for a while and question me. But I will stand strong and do what it takes to make him a better person.

Because I am not a bad mother, I am doing this to make him independent, disciplined and a good human, and focussing on my career so that I give him a wonderful life.
I am sure my son will be proud of me when he grows up and reads all this.

Friday, 12 July 2019

Happy Half Birthday Divit


We never knew,
Your delicate touch,
Will make us love you so much,


We never knew,
You will make our days shorter and nights longer,
Our clothes shabbier and life happier,


We never knew,
Those intial feelings of scare would turn into overwhelming joy,
And you will be our favorite toy,


We never knew,
The innocence in you will steal our hearts,
And with you we will begin our lives from the start,


We never knew,
How fast the days will go,
And we will enjoy seeing you grow,


We never knew,
Secretly we wish you stay a tiny baby forever,
And amaze us every moment forever!


Happy Half Birthday Divit

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

किसका आधार मेरी पहचान


इस लेख का उद्देश्य रीतियों या व्यक्तियों पर नहीं किन्तु नीतियों पर कटाक्ष करना है।

प्रिय बदलती हुई सरकार/ पुनः लौटती हुई सरकार,

मेरे 4 माह के बेटे की पासपोर्ट अर्ज़ी इसलिए रद्द कर दी गयी क्योंकि मेरे आधार कार्ड में मेरे नाम के साथ अब तक मेरे पिता का नाम जुड़ा हुआ है। मेरा surname शादी के बाद भी मेरे पिता का ही surname है और मैं अब तक सभी सरकारी दस्तावेजों में मैं w/o की जगह d/o से ही जानी जाती हूं। और इसलिए मेरे बेटे के दस्तावेजों को अधूरा करार दिया गया।

मैंने सोचा था "मेरा आधार मेरी पहचान" है, किन्तु वर्तमान में घटित घटना से ज्ञात होता है मैं किसकी बेटी या पत्नी हूँ ये मेरी पहचान है। मुझे ना ही अपने साथ अपने पिता का नाम जोड़ने में शर्म आती है और ना ही अपने पति के नाम से जुड़ने में कोई झिझक। तो यह तो मेरी इच्छा पर होना चाहिए ना कि मैं किसका नाम अपने आधार में जोड़ना चाहती हूँ। हालांकि मैं भी मेरे पिता और पति की तरह एक स्वतंत्र करदाता हूँ, लेकिन मेरी अपनी पहचान रखने का मुझे कोई अधिकार नहीं है।

वैसे भी मेरे पुत्र के आधार में तो मेरा नाम आना नहीं है, तो उसकी अर्ज़ी रद्द करने का कारण मैं कैसे बन सकती हूँ। हालांकि उसके जन्म के पूर्व, जन्म के समय और जन्म के पश्चात एक माँ के तौर पे जो तकलीफ़ें मैंने सही उनके इनाम स्वरूप मुझे हर मदर्स डे पर एक कार्ड मिल ही जायेगा, आधार या पासपोर्ट का कार्ड नहीं, ग्रीटिंग कार्ड। मेरा बेटा फिर भी मेरे नाम से नहीं जाना जाएगा। वो सिर्फ उसके ननिहाल में उसकी माँ के नाम से जाना जाएगा।

इन सब के उपरांत यदि मेरे पिता का नाम मेरे आधार में लिखा भी है तो मैं समझती हूँ कि उसे बदलने का क्या औचित्य है, मैं तो हमेशा मेरे पिता की ही बेटी रहूंगी ना। मेरे अनुसार शादी के ख़र्च में 50 रुपये आधार में "सुधार" के लिए भी जोड़ देने चाहिए। या फिर हमारे देश में जैसे 6 माह का मातृत्व अवकाश होता है वैसे ही "पहचान परिवर्तन" अवकाश भी होना चाहिए जिसमें की हर वैवाहिक महिला अपने सभी पहचान पत्रों में पिता के नाम से जुड़ने की त्रुटि को सुधरवा सके।

मेरे पास और लिखने का समय नहीं है। मैं चली अपने आधार, पासपोर्ट, वीसा, ड्राइविंग लाइसेंस, बैंक एकाउंट, पैन कार्ड, क्रेडिट कार्ड, डेबिट कार्ड, आफिस रिकॉर्ड,  PF, वोटर पहचान पत्र इत्यादि में "सुधार" करवाने। गनीमत है सोशल मीडिया एकाउंट्स में परिवर्तन अनिवार्य नहीं है।

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Kriti Agarwal: 10 Of The Best Self-help Books

Author Bio-
My name is Kriti Agarwal. I have always been fond of writing down my thoughts since childhood. It was a matter of time when that hobby became a passion and I decided to take on the professional path in the world of writing. Kriti also writes at  https://wrytin.com/kritia2 

1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Flock

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is one of a few notable works of art on this rundown, however, I for one see it as the most reviving one.

On one side, this self-improvement guide is actually what it seems like: a manual for the propensities for fruitful, viable individuals. On the opposite side, however, there runs an extraordinarily significant suggestion that frames the genuine intensity of the book and the prime takeaway: living with reasonableness and honesty is the way to most extreme proficiency and achievement.

In our current reality where alternate routes, mystery arrangements, and contemptibility are noticeable, Covey's great lectures a message that the world needs like never before — and tells you the best way to apply it as basic, direct propensities.



2. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

On the off chance that you read one book on otherworldliness; you can't generally turn out badly with Tolle's exemplary The Power of Now. It isn't only a manual for otherworldly practice and how it can change your own life, it's manual for changing the world with the intensity of that training too.

The key takeaway here is that you can change the world with extra special care on the off chance that you take a shot at changing yourself from the back to front, and understanding that can work well for you for as long as you can remember.



3. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

On the total opposite side of the range, there's Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad is to money related proficiency what The Power of Now is to profound practice. It presents you with a total arrangement of sound, valuable standards for living better, and all the more successfully with regards to cash and individual funds.

The book utilizes the difference between two characters, "poor father" and "rich father," to show different money related standards. The essential takeaway is that the individuals who aren't acceptable with their cash and have less are that way since they work for cash, though the individuals who are acceptable with their cash store up a greater amount of it since they figure out how to bring in cash work for them. They're all-inclusive statements, however, the exercises showed are no less important.

If you need to improve your capacity to deal with your accounts, Rich Dad, Poor Dad is the ideal bundle of edifying information and significant guidance.

 



4. Instructions to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie composed a few extraordinary self-improvement guides in his time, however How to Win Friends and Influence People is effectively his best. This book is a top dog with regards to figuring out how to function and speak with individuals, so I think of it as required perusing — particularly for a loner such as myself.

Carnegie works admirably of demonstrating that great correspondence truly has nothing to do with regular ability or smooth words, however realizing the correct strategies to use with interfacing with others, something everybody can do.

Correspondence is one of the absolute most significant aptitudes you can take a shot at, given how basic correspondence is to everything that we do. If you need (or trust you have) to improve as a communicator, or need to show signs of improvement at working with individuals, read this now.



5. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich is one of a few old-fashioned works of art on this rundown and its place is all around earned. For a long time, creator Napoleon Hill contemplated the best individuals of his time, including Henry Ford and Alexander Graham Bell, and chronicled those discoveries together into one perfect little bundle.

The principle takeaway? An engaged, deep longing (or the intensity of a made-up mind, what Wayne Dyer called goal), enables us to accomplish or gain what we need most throughout everyday life.

In case you're searching for experiences on the best way to accomplish your fantasy or a particular objective, this is great you can't manage without.

 

6. What to Say When You Talk to Your Self which is written by know Dr. Shad Helmstetter

This book profoundly affected me at a basic point in my life. A great that is not regularly recorded on best self-improvement guide records.

Our inward exchange holds tremendous measures of command over our life, affecting each choice we make every single day. The main issue is, our internal exchange is generally fantastically negative and foolish.

Things being what they are, what happens when you figure out how to ace this inward discourse and change it? Your whole life changes. I credit this book, to a limited extent, for helping me escape a troublesome spot in my life where I was working someplace, I knew didn't line up with my motivation yet didn't have the certainty or conviction to make the following stride.


7. The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Dr. Peale's exemplary is simply the quintessential assistance book, being one of only a bunch of early books from around the 1950s that formed the whole personal growth space all in all. Consequently, there are numerous subjects in the book that you'll see reverberated all through a considerable lot of different books on this rundown. Be that as it may, the point of view is marginally extraordinary and an invigorating change.

The estimation of positive reasoning is such a fundamental mantra of personal development that it's presently nearly ignored. The Power of Positive Thinking is incredible for anybody hoping to get back essentials and get familiar with a portion of the central exercises that are basic to trusting self-assurance and an idealistic mentality.



8. The Magic of Thinking Big written by known David J. Schwartz

The Magic of Thinking Big is a book that I'll generally recall since perusing it was likely the first occasion when I was acquainted with the genuine intensity of the psyche. Like Peale's Positive Thinking, this is another work of art, so the models and discourse that Schwartz utilizes are frequently engaging in themselves.

Regardless of anything else, The Magic of Thinking Big will show you not to bamboozle yourself. Plan for an impressive future, don't settle and watch as a straightforward move in the manner you think truly changes your outcomes.

 

9. Stir the Giant Within by Tony Robbins

Stir the Giant Within is likely Robbin's most notable self-improvement guide and, when you read it, you'll know why. A significant number of books on this rundown focus on a specific subject, yet this one doesn't. It gives you the entire damn thing, to say the least. Robbins offers his best guidance for improving your connections, certainty, funds, and finding your motivation.

Nonetheless, the principle takeaway and the subject that goes through the whole book is that you have an internal certainty, a monster inside, that you can stir by changing how you think in a basic way. What's more, doing so will permit you to make a genuine change in your life–regardless of the sort of progress you need to make occur. On the off chance that that is what you're searching for, plan to be overwhelmed.



10. Brave Greatly by Brené Brown

A significant number of books on this rundown are based on old-school thoughts of procurement and personal development. In case you're somewhat burnt out on all that (I don't accuse you), this will be a much-needed refresher.

The works of art are works of art for an explanation they work. They incorporate priceless astuteness which for anybody attempting to make an incredible dream or objective reality. Be that as it may, the more established works of art will in general disregard something significant: the difficulties we face all through life.

Of all self-improvement type books, analyst and writer Brené Brown's Daring Greatly strikes at the core of the most significant issue of all: our absence of self-esteem and battles with disgrace.



 

Friday, 12 April 2019

My Little boy



My little boy,
One day you will tower me,
And become smart and clever,

One day these moments may fade,
You will become a man,
And have your own priorities,

One day you will have a life of your own,
A family to call your own,
And I will be gone,

But till then,
I will continue to nurture you,
And to care for you,

Till then,
I will bask in the sleepless nights,
Begging you to sleep and miss you when you might,

For the world you are just 3 months old,
But for me you are already 12 months old,
3 months out and the rest untold,

For the world you are a toy,
And they love you when you give joy,
And back to the mother when you are a crying boy,

When I see you learn every other while,
When your little heart beats against mine,
I feel being on cloud nine,

When I see you grin innocently through my scoldings,
And your little palms enclosing my fingers,
My merriment lingers,

The scars on my body would always remind me,
that every part of you was someday a part of me
And how you arrived and we survived,

The scars on my body may never heal,
But my love for you would never seal,
Because, my little boy, you and I were connected by the umbilical.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Divit's Letter to Mumma Papa


Hello Mumma Papa. Here's my part of story of being on the earth for nearly 10 weeks.

It was all good and dark inside Mumma's womb. It was so warm, and happy place to be. I could sleep and wake up anytime. I had been hearing voices of Mumma and Papa in there. I liked you people, I always wanted to know you more all this while. Though I hated the "office time" with Mumma, I loved the cab rides en route to her office, and also all the movie dates that I had been to with you folks throughout. I saw my fingers and toes build, and felt my hair grow. I could hear Mumma's stomach grumble and all her heartbeats. I had enjoyed swimming in the water in my house while Mom and Dad played music for me. I had gotten my food home delivered, and enjoyed kicking and moving my limbs in the house.

 I often felt Mumma and Papa's hands on the walls of my house. Slowly, my house became smaller for me because I was growing in size. Sorry Mom, I had become so heavy, and you faced all that pain!

Ooohlaaaa, here comes the moment. This place is much bigger than the previous one. There's so much noise here, so many people. Oouuchh! Why are they pulling my head out? This place unlike my home has so much light and is cold too. These people are congratulating each other. I am crying and everyone else is smiling. I hear a familiar voice now, feels like its you Mumma.
From what I can understand, "I am born".

Last 9 weeks had been versatile, so many visitors, all the chit chat, real car rides, noise, music and a lot. These days I am meeting Dadu, Dadi, Nanu, Nani, Mama, bhuas and many people. I sleep and wake up and sleep again and wake up. Mumma and others are talking a lot about my sleep routine, my susu, potty and hunger. I do not understand what is this "8 hour sleep".

Sorry Mumma I cry when I pee or poop. I do not know how to tell you this, so I cry. No one would like to stay in their own poop, would you? Sometimes I cry and Mumma cries with me, we are so similar. Ain't we? Mumma calls me Diaperman! I get hungry every 2 hours. Unlike you people, all I have for food is milk. When I pass gas, why does everyone laugh at me? I don't like bathing, I never did it in my small home.


Mumma thank you for hugging me, lifting me up, keeping me warm when I feel home sick or become cranky. Papa I love you too, I often meet you in this new home, and sometimes on that small thing which they call mobile phone.


I will become a good boy soon, and learn this "8 hour sleep" thing, and then we will be a nice happy family.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Author Interview: Shuchi Singh Kalra


Shuchi Singh Kalra is an Amazon best selling author of two romantic comedies - 'Done with Men' and 'I'm big. So what?!'. She is the wife of an Army Officer, the mother of a pint size daughter, and two lazy cats, but she's also been an optometrist, a wine connoisseur, baking enthusiast, a restless traveller and a compulsive nomad. She's a sucker for funny romance and does her best writing surrounded either by mountains or the ocean. The characters in her books are the kinds everyone knows at least some of, in their real lives. She also runs a quaint writing and editing studio and is currently a full time editor managing the official blog of India's largest travel portal. When not doing any of the above, she loves engaging with people on social media and inflicting her opinions on random strangers. She loves creating quirky craft work and is a hoarder of eccentric fashion accessories for no reason at all. 

You can also go over our review of her latest book "A Cage of Desires" by clicking here. It was fun interacting with Shuchi. Have a look at the compilation our interview with her.

Where do you belong to? Our readers want to know about your education and family.

I was born in Lucknow but I spent most of my childhood in Libya. My parents returned to India when I was 11 and I completed the rest of my schooling from Seth MR Jaipuria School in Lucknow. I went on to study Optometry from the Bausch & Lomb School of Optometry in Hyderabad and then did my Masters in English Literature. I belong to a family of academicians, mostly doctors and professors. Both my parents are independent medical practitioners, and my husband is an Aviation engineer in the Army. I am the first in my family to go take up writing as a profession.


Tell us about your book.

It's been a long and arduous journey but my third book  ‘A Cage of Desires’ is finally out there in the stores now. Although it straddles many genres but if I had to label it, I think it would come closest to contemporary romantic erotica. It initially started off as a short story published in New Asian Writings anthology. The story received a lot of praise which encouraged me to develop it into a full-length novel. Like all my other books, this one too is also woman-centric but the central theme is far more intense. It's about a woman's journey towards facing her inner truth and finding freedom. At the same time, it also explores the depths of female sexuality, toxic love and emotional abuse. I'm sure every reader will relate to it at some level. 


Tell us about your other books.

My first Book was ‘Done with Men’. It was all about the romantic (mis)adventures of Kairavi Krishna – serial dater and ditzy girl extraordinaire. She is a travel writer and is urban, young and…single. After an unfortunate rash of loser boyfriends, she is pretty much done with men and ready to focus on her career. But her latest assignment, to cover Sunburn in Goa, packs more surprises than she bargained for. In the middle of partying, falling off her balcony, food allergies and ex-boyfriend encounters, Kairavi develops a hopeless crush on her dreamy doctor, but she isn’t sure if he would possibly be interested in more than her broken clavicle. And then we have Kay’s best friend Baani, Kapil (Baani’s fiancée), Ravi (Kay’s boss), Ricky (Kay’s latest ex) and the The Thought Bubble (Kay’s alter ego) to add to the mayhem. It was a fun romantic comedy.

My second book was ‘I’m Big so What?’. I have always felt that plus-sized girls have been severely underrepresented in Indian mainstream fiction. There are so many books from western authors that have plus-sized heroines but that space is severely lacking in India. I thought it’s high time the plump girl breaks out of the stereotypical role of a friend, sister or comic relief, and takes over as the main lead – with a strong personality of her own and dreams to boot. Through Roli, the protagonist of IBSW, I also wanted to explore and bring forth the social and emotional challenges that a person of that size might typically go through, and how it would impact their confidence and self-worth. 

While my first two books were at their core, breezy romantic comedies, my latest book ‘A Cage of Desires’ is comparatively more serious, dark and brooding. Like my previous books, this one is also women centric but it has more complex characters and emotions which are deeper and more layered than the first two books of mine.

What is your writing journey like, where and when did you start? Are you a writer by choice or by chance?

I have wanted to write for as long as I can remember. My first unsuccessful attempt at writing a book was when I was ten. It was a science fiction written in a school notebook, and it eventually got lost somewhere.

I have always found solace in writing, even as a child. I remember writing little poems and stories although I never tried to get them published. All through my school years, my writing skills were my only saving grace as I had no other talent to speak of. I can’t say I wanted to become a writer because those days (using those words makes me feel very old), it wasn’t really seen as a career option, at least where I came from. But I did maintain a personal journal and won the occasional writing/essay competition.

My journey as a professional writer began in 2005, when I was working as an Optometrist at an eye hospital. I took up some academic writing assignments just to escape the drudgery of 9-5 (which was more like 7-9 at the hospital where I worked) and it was only when I received my first payment that I realized that I could make a full-time career out of this. I quit that job, took the plunge and kept at it. Looking back, I feel so glad that I did. I wouldn’t trade my career and lifestyle for anything else in the world.

As far as writing my first full length novel goes, a friend of mine was telling me about her sister who had gone on a vacation after a breakup and had landed up in the hospital injured – that’s how the seeds of this story were planted in my mind. As for the title, I saw a random tweet by someone who wrote “I’m so done with men” and I realized that so many women (me included) have gone though that post-breakup phase when we say “I’m done with men” only to go falling in love all over again. It is not merely a phrase, but a feeling that most of us have actually experienced at some point. Since it encapsulated the essence of my story so well, I decided to weave it into the narrative and use it as the title too.


As a new author, what is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process? Least favorite?

My most favorite part of the writing process is the moment when I finish a book. It’s an amotionally overwhelming moment. I have never not cried every time I have finished each of my books. My second most favorite part of the writing process is reading the reviews for my book. Friends and family will always tell you that your writing is great but it’s really heartening to read a review from a reader I do not know that says that someone found your fictional characters so relatable and that it reminded them of themselves or some other real person. It’s a great feeling to read that.

My least favorite part of the entire publishing process is the marketing and promotion part. As a newbie author you assume that once your book is accepted for publishing, your job is done. It’s only after my first two books that I have come to realize that the hard part starts after your book has been accepted by the publisher. Even though my books were received well, in hindsight I realize that they could have fetched much better sale figures if I had concentrated more on marketing them well.Marketing and publishing are the hard, sweaty, boring part of the publishing process and I hope I get better at it with my future books.


Are you an avid reader as well? What kind of books do you read? What is your frequency of reading?

 I love reading all kinds of books from rom coms to classic literature to Indian writing and everything in between, I’ve lapped them all up. I believe that my writing style carries the influence of all the authors I have read till date. Unfortunately, between my current full time day job, my kid and managing my home, the worst casualty has been my reading frequency. I hope to make up for it soon.


Which is your favorite book and why?

There are too many, different ones in different genre :)


Who are your favorite authors?

There are just too many authors I love! I have been a voracious reader since childhood and I never missed a chance to bury myself in a book. From the Bronte Sisters to Enid Blyton, and Shakespeare to Sophie Kinsella, I’ve loved a whole lot of them. I am currently reading a lot of Indian authors and I think some of them are extremely good story tellers. 

Do you pursue any other profession apart from writing? How do you manage everything? How do you find family time amidst all this?

I have been writing professionally for over a decade as a freelance writer and editor with my small firm that went by the name of ‘Pixie Dust Writing Studio’. Currently I'm in a full time corporate job working with India’s leading travel platform. This is my first full time office job. I have a school going daughter and manage my home alone since my husband is in the Indian Army and posted in another city. It’s hard to manage everything alone and find time to write but I am trying to get better at stealing more free time to concentrate on my writing.

What does your writing space look like?


Every time I have moved houses, the first thing I have done is set up my study. That cozy space is always my favorite place in my house where most of my writing takes place.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

When it came to my professional assignments while I was running my writing editing firm, I couldn’t afford writer’s block because there were deadlines to be met and clients to answer to. However, when it comes to my books, I give myself more leeway to slack. When I do face the reader’s block while writing my books, I have discovered that reading books from the same genre I am writing is the best way to break out of a block. It helps bring my mind into the same zone and usually I find a trigger for the words to flow sooner or later.

What motivated you to write this book?

It was a discussion with a Pakistani author who writes under a pseudonym that triggered the story. I wrote a short story titled Maya which received a lot of critical acclaim from the readers and I decided to develop the story into a full fledged novel. From there, it flowed on its own.


How long did you take to finish this book? What was the process like?

Out of all my books, ‘A Cage of Desires’ took the longest for two reasons. First, it was unlike my first two books, which were breezy romantic comedies, a genre which naturally comes to me. ‘A Cage of Desires’ is a dark, brooding, contemporary romantic fiction with a sprinkling of erotica. The characters are way more complex than my other books and the emotions are darker and more layered. It was an emotionally exhausting process to write it and took me more than two years to finish the book. 

What are you hoping people to gain from your book?

‘A Cage of Desires’ hopes to connect with the darker side in all of us that lies hidden under layers of our superficial real public self. I hope that people struggling to bridge the gap between their deep real selves and the roles they are forced to play in the real world can identify with the characters in the book and believe that if Renu can break from her cage of desires to discover her true inner self, then so can they. 

What were some of the challenges you faced on the road to publication?

It’s really difficult to accept the fact that when you have poured your blood and soul into writing a book, the publishers might not love it as much because they receive hundreds of manuscripts a week. That rejection is hard to face, especially when you are a newbie author. It’s extremely demotivating and often makes you want to give up writing altogether. But once your manuscript gets accepted by a publisher then this challenge is over. The next hard part comes when you are waiting for the book to finally release in the market. The gestation period between a manuscript being accepted and the book finally seeing the light of the day is extremely long in India, frequently extending to well over a year. It’s pretty frustrating to wait that long. And once the book is out, then the next challenge is to market and promote your book. That part is another long sweaty journey along a dreary boring road. But if you love writing enough, all this pales in comparison to the joy of holding a book in your hand with your name written on top of it :)


What kind of research have you done for the book?

I mostly write from imagination, but I draw from my personal experience and those of people I know. So far, I haven't written anything that requires very intensive reasearch or fact checking but I will delve into that too soon enough. All thanks to the internet, most of the research I have needed so far has been possible with the help of a broadband connection.

Any story behind deciding the title of this book?

‘A Cage of Desires’ traces the journey of Renu who escapes from her cage of desires to discover her real self. It’s an inner journey of pain and hope. The title just popped in my head one day thinking about how all of us are trapped in a cage of our desires and how much we want to escape from it and discover our true selves without needing anyone else to validate our existence.


Why should we read your book?

There is no end to the issues we as women face everyday! Right from safety, sexism, social pressure, career limitations, family dynamics, gender prejudices, abuse—there are so many issues that need to be talked about. One might say that some of these are relevant to men too, but women’s voices have been stifled for far too long. And as a woman writer, I felt I owed this to my tribe. We women live in the same world, but at the same time our realities are very different. I was brought up by very progressive parents who never discouraged me from voicing my opinions, or expected me to put up with the social norms just for the sake of it. I was a wild, rebellious teen but nobody asked me to tone down my personality and be more ‘ladylike’. My father taught me to hit back at bullies, and not take nonsense from anyone. As for the society, I could somehow never bring myself to care enough about what other people think about what I say or do.

Gender biases existed all around me but they were not a part of my immediate environment. It took me a while to realize that the way I was brought up was not the norm. My relationships with men opened me up to a lot of grim realities.

A large number of women in India continue to struggle with gender biases on so many fronts every day that it is insane. I want to be a voice for all these women and write about big and small issues that affect our everyday lives. Through ‘A Cage of Desires’ I have tried to carve out characters that everyone can identify with, at least in part, and believe that if they can discover their true selves, then so can everyone.

Do you have any blog or website the readers can visit?

I have a website that your readers can connect with me at http://www.shuchikalra.com/ . However, I admit that I am more of a social media person and the best way to connect with me is through my twitter handle @shuchikalra


What advice do you have for budding writers?

I don’t think I am experienced enough to dole out advice. I myself still am on the learning path. But I can definitely say that don’t wait for the perfect moment to write that book cooking in your head. Set a routine, write a few words everyday and FINISH that first draft. Don’t waste time on fancy words and expressions when you are writing – just let the story flow. And some of the harsher things that I wanna tell young writers are

- It’s going to be slow. Very slow. There’s no such thing as instant gratification.
- It’s not enough to be a good writer. You have to learn to market yourself well.
- Don’t count on books for money, at least until you have a few bestsellers out in the market

Becoming an author requires a lot of patience and perseverance. It is an unbelievably slow and painful process, at least for most of us. There will be times when you feel like giving up – just remind yourself why you write and keep going at it.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Author Interview: Kunal Narayan Uniyal



Where do you belong to? Our readers want to know about your education and family.
First of all I would like to thank you for giving me an opportunity to interact with all, through this interview. Well, all I can say about me is that I was always a writer, since I started writing from my childhood days. Be it nature, river, clouds, humans and beauty, all used to inspire me to write something about them, some beautiful words, which can define their presence to all. My very first poems being love, relation ns and death. I did my schooling from St Thomas College, Dehradun one of the most prestigious institutions in India. After that, I got selected for a marine academy in Chennai, where I received my initial training and then joined sea as deck cadet, immediately after passing out of the academy. I was 18 then and with that my journey with sea, life and nature began.12 years down the line I am a ship captain, commanding huge ships over vast oceans traversing through pirates, cyclones. But that poet was always alive in me, wherever, whenever I used to go which ultimately led to composition of poems which formed part of my book.
My family, which includes my mother, father, elder brother, a beautiful wife and a lovely daughter. They have always been supportive about my writing and it is all because of their good wishes that I am able to designate time to my writing.
Tell us about your book.

“Sparrow In The Mirror” is an English poetry book, which deals mostly in spirituality. You will find answers to all your questions be it maya, death, immortality, approach towards yourself all bringing us closer to us. This book will give deeper insight about Indian spirituality and its practices to people everywhere. To summarize the book one of the poem says-
Wings need to be chipped, feathers need to be clipped, this pain need be taken, to steal this body from the mortal reigns
Let the body float in this thin, mystified air of lord, who picks us from this bond of death no rain will wet you, no pain will shiver you, this worldly life will be finally lost
lord just hold me tight, let me be pulled to your land, where no wing is known, no rain to drench me, just you cuddle this bird, with so sweet your touch

Tell us about your other books.
In all I have written five books. First four are poetry and the next one due for publishing is the fiction novel. My first book was Hindi poetry collection "Kuch khwab Sagar Se", Second was English Prose and poetry "Unanswered". The third one was again Hindi poetry collection, "Main Tula Hoon". The fourth one is English poetry "Sparrow in the mirror". The books have been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch. I have received acclamation in India as well as abroad for my books, which deals with spirituality and the positive approach towards life.

As a new author, what is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process? Least favorite?
Well, I wish I were new, ha ha. The best part about writing especially when you are a pot is that you are very observant about situations and people around you. They all find space in your work. Each person can relate with your writing and can find solace from your words. It is the message from the divine, which a poet is passing to the people and in turn is progressing towards the almighty. Ya publishing can be cumbersome and hectic at times but with a good publisher and nice editing, I think your book is in good hands. 

Are you an avid reader as well? What kind of books do you read? What is your frequency of reading?
Oh no, not at all, I don’t read much. But yes, as I have told before, I like to observe the nature and people. This is a continuous process and it happens each and every moment of my life. 

Which is your favorite book and why?
I have read once "A real Man" and it has truly inspired me. The book is on a Russian pilot who loses his legs in Second World War but due to his determination and courage return back to flying. I really found the book very inspiring. Apart from that, I am an avid reader of Sri Aurobindo's work.

Who are your favorite authors?
Maxim Gorki, William Wordsworth, Keats, Munshi Premchand and Sri Aurobindo.

Do you pursue any other profession apart from writing? How do you manage everything? How do you find family time amidst all this?
I am a captain of a ship, a professional sailor and  a passionate writer. I make sure that I pen down everything I observe and see. During my professional career also, I used to write. As I have told before, my family specially my wife is very supportive of it and it is all because of them that I am able to write.

What does your writing space look like?
My writing space, ha ha. It is either my workspace, bus, tram, tube, park everywhere. All is my work place. I have barely written a book sitting in a room.

How do you overcome writer’s block?
I never face one. If you know what you are writing about and why you are writing, you will never have one. Keep your concepts clear is the secret.

Tell us about your upcoming novel.
Journey to the next level is about a man who undertakes the task of rescuing the soul of a man in coma which is caught in the unknown levels of life after death. Not knowing how and where to go, he finally finds the guru who shows him the hidden path to the next levels; the path which connects the mortal world to the conscious realities of being. In his journey he passes through various astral, cosmic and mental levels of consciousness where he discovers secrets of existence and how the divine play effects each motion of our life and after. He not only faces barriers in form of lower vital and volte conscious forces in his journey but must fight his own ill traits if he must succeed in his task. However, he need to careful with time, as each passing moment is not only pulling the soul of the man from where it can never return but also will make it impossible for his own soul to return to his mortal body, if he stays longer than the time assigned to him. The novel which will open the secret avenues of various levels of consciousness, the hidden worlds of para cosmic realities and the struggle of petty human soul against the immortals.
How long did you take to finish this book? What was the process like?
It took me three years, yes three years to complete my novel. I actually saw me growing with each chapter of the book, my approach towards life, my behavior, my acceptability of everything going around me changed with the progress of the book. I wrote it when I was on ship, I wrote it when I was travelling round the globe, I kept writing it when I was in London for two years and then finally was able to complete it.

What are you hoping people to gain from your book?
Their way of looking at life and beyond. It is for people belonging to all age groups. Mystic beings, magical creatures, adventurous world and the mesage of spirituality hidden in it. It is based on my true experiences. I am pretty sure it will change the way people look at death.

What were some of the challenges you faced on the road to publication?
Being a published author, I didn’t had to face much hurdles as I was already signed by my existing publisher. Even before I had started with my book, I had my publisher with me. But yes my first book faced almost fifty rejections.

What kind of research have you done for the book?
As I have told before, my research is based on my real experiences. Practicing spirituality has led to the revelation of many new aspects of life which was unknown before.A true writer is one who offers something new to the world rather than following age old dogmatic customs.

Any story behind deciding the title of this book?
We are all travelers in the great caravan of life. The journey continues even after death. 

Why should we read your book?
To understand what actually lies beyond the petty circle of life and death; what is the main purpose of our life; why do we exists and who is playing the divine game with us.

Do you have any blog or website the readers can visit?
What advice do you have for budding writers?
Just write, irrespective of whether someone reads or not just write. Write for the satisfaction of your soul; write to mend your heart, just write.


Author Interview: Sunil Sapra


The author, Sunil Sapra is founder and CEO of Singapore based growth Accelerator for early stage software companies, Risan Asia Business Partners Pte Ltd and has been involved with many startups in his 23 years of work. Since childhood, he participated in plays, dramas and other stage activities. During his college days at BITS Pilani, he acted in, directed and modified few Hindi plays and was very passionate about this art.

Later he lost touch with this creative side, and for many years didn’t do anything in this domain. After moving to Singapore in 2013, he started writing once in a while but it was during the silver jubilee reunion of his batch in 2014 that his poetic side found its “Faqeera” and he wrote some poems and songs for the reunion. Since then he has written over 500 poems in the last 4 years. Most of his poems are inspired by the daily life and what goes on around us. When you read his poems, you will feel as if you have written them yourself and that’s the power of “Faqeera”.

We interviewed him recently. Here are the excerpts.

Where do you belong to? Our readers want to know about your education and family. 

I was born and raised in Gurgaon and lived there for most of my life and for last five years, I have been living in Singapore. My parents worked in Education department and I was born on Teacher’s Day, so it was destined that someday I would write a book. 😊

I studied engineering in BITS, Pilani and actively participated in the Hindi theatre there. That’s where I developed interest in the creative side of life.


Tell us about your book. 
The book Faqeera Chal Chala Chal is a collection of 84 Hindi poems written by me. The poems cover everyday emotions with topics ranging from Self, relationships, God, dreams, wishes, pain etc. People who have read the book tell me that they feel as if they have written it themselves.

Tell us about your other books. 
Faqeera Chal Chala Chal is my first book. However, I should do at least 2 more, one this year and one next. 

What is your writing journey like, where and when did you start? Are you a writer by choice or by chance?
Certainly, by chance. I started writing only around 2014 and it wasn’t serious. I posted few of them on my Facebook, friends liked them and encouraged me to write more. 
Around the same time, we had our BITS batch reunion and I wrote a fun song “BITS Pilani Jaisi Koi Jagah Kahan” which was loved by BITSians of all ages and batches. I followed it up by the first poem in the book “Kadam Tham gaye”. That’s how the momentum built up which is over 500 poems strong now. 
After my father read some of my poems last year, he insisted that I should get them published and that’s how the book happened.

As a new author, what is your favourite part of the writing/publishing process? Least favourite?
The most favourite part is when you feel your words have done justice to the thought and it gives you immense joy. If everyone else likes the poem and I don’t vs. I like it and no one else does, I will pick the second case always.

When you must decide about how many should go into the book and which ones to drop, that I think is the most difficult part. I won’t use the cliché that I love all my poems equally.  Out of the 500, that I have written, I certainly like about 50% much more than the rest 50% and I do have my Top 25.

Are you an avid reader as well? What kind of books do you read? What is your frequency of reading?
I used to be an avid reader and would finish at least one book a week. It was no surprise for my friends and acquaintances to receive books from me on any occasion. Motivational, biographies, mythology, fiction, poetry, stories, venture capital, technology, almost every genre. Now a days, my reading has dropped quite a bit and I read summaries and blog more than the books.

Which is your favorite book and why?
Krishna – The God who lived as man. The most mesmerising book about the most complete, the most magical Faqeera that the world has ever witnessed. Many of my poems are inspired by this book including my very favourite, “Kahan ho, kahin par”. My book is dedicated to Krishna.  

Who are your favorite authors?
Kaajal Oza-Vaidya, Osho, Gulzar Saab, Subroto Bagchi, Mohan Rakesh, Manto.

Do you pursue any other profession apart from writing? How do you manage everything? How do you find family time amidst all this?
I have been working in IT sales for 23 years and currently run a Singapore based Venture Builder company that helps start-ups in international expansion.

Poetry is a hobby and passion and not profession. Writing doesn’t take away much time because I write only when I am in the “Faqeera zone”. The ones I wrote just for the sake of it or on someone’s request are so visible and clearly out of place. 

As long as my work and writing doesn’t intrude in my family time, they don’t have any problem with it. 😊

What does your writing space look like? 

I don’t have a writing space as such. I have written poems while on a travel, during evening walks, at home, office, restaurant, hospital, cinema hall, anywhere. It’s all about the “Faqeera Zone” engulfing you. However, my balcony overlooking the ocean is my most favourite corner for writing. Have a look at the writing corner and the mesmerizing view from there.



How do you overcome writer’s block?
I don’t force myself to write because the contrived poetry isn’t something that I like. Since I write only as a hobby, I am not answerable to anyone and that’s why I go for days/ months without writing a single poem and sometimes I write 5 poems in half hour. There is no pattern or discipline to it yet.

What motivated you to write this book?
Some friends on my Facebook who regularly read and encourage me, always suggested that I should convert few of my poems to a book but I wasn’t very serious about it. 

When my father insisted that I should publish them and my wife helped me get a publisher and suggested that we should associate the book with a good cause. That energized me and got me going.

How long did you take to finish this book? What was the process like?
Most of my poems were scattered on FB and on my page www.facebook.com/chalfaqeera
Though the poems were ready but the process was still energy consuming one. The challenge was to get them all together in a document, decide the structure and flow of the book, out of 300 poems at that time, how many to include and which ones, do proof reading, how should the cover page look and what it should depict, acknowledgments etc. 

As a first-time writer, you change your thoughts and plans every day and that needs so much rework. It was very difficult to draw a line that after this no more changes and this is final copy.
Overall, it took about 4 months of working on weekends but with gaps in between.

What are you hoping people to gain from your book?
Most of my poems are straight from the heart. They are not necessarily my experiences but sometimes a friend told me something or I read about something or some other inspiration. I hope that the poems will make people think and help them connect with their emotional side.

What were some of the challenges you faced on the road to publication?
Mentioned already. Otherwise, the publisher was quite supportive.

What kind of research have you done for the book? 
There isn’t any research involved actually, because the poems are based on one’s emotions and experiences.

Any story behind deciding the title of this book?
Can’t recall since when and why, but I have always used the word Faqeera for the soul, the inner voice in my conversations and writings. And since life is a journey where nothing stops for you, the time, the earth, the world, nothing. So, one must keep moving too.  That’s why, Faqeera Chal Chala Chal. 😊

Why should we read your book?
Two reasons:

- It might help you find and connect with your own Faqeera. Trust me, that would be an awesome feeling.

- All proceeds from the book are being donated to charitable organizations. The book needs that support.

Do you have any blog or website the readers can visit?

What advice do you have for budding writers?
Write something that inspires you and let it flow. Unless you are writing a professional book, write for self and don’t interrupt the flow of thoughts. Edit later and edit brutally.