Random Lists


So I am bored, a bit free and with a desire to write. This led me to create 4 lists about myself.

1. Five Bad Things about myself

  • I hold grudges. I do not forgive easily. I just plain don’t like some people
  • I only have 1 good friend that I tell everything to
  • I get too nervous about little things
  • I don’t open up as much as I think I do
  • I have the worst acne in the world!

2. Five Good Things about myself

  • Capacity to be genuinely happy
  • Open mindedness
  • Honesty and Integrity
  • Positivity towards life
  • Passion and Enthusiasm

3. Five things I would do even if I am not paid for it – ever

  • Read, Explore and Understand things to expand my knowledge about the world and beyond
  • Try to spread knowledge by writing
  • Dance
  • Create something new, something beautiful, something artistic
  • Do something I believe is for greater good or should have been done and no one else is willing to do it!

4. Five things I would NEVER do even if I were being paid a million bucks for it – ever

  • Become a man
  • Hurt someone physically
  • Hurt myself physically
  • Forgive some people who have hurt me a lot emotionally
  • Turn vegetarian

Entrepreneurs/Ship


I often wonder and am astonished to realize that the word ‘entrepreneur’ in this day and age has come to mean very narrowly, as a person who is starting a new business/corporation primarily in technology or industry. Aren’t scientists, doctors, chemists, artists, explorers are all entrepreneurs. They may/may not be coming up with novel ideas of money but what they are essentially doing is – taking risk and owning up the consequences for creating something better than what exists today, which according to me is the true spirit of entrepreneurship. This thought because I am doing my Doctorate in Management Science and my thesis topic is Entrepreneurship.

Always on Facebook


I am, however, not so sure that I like being on facebook all the time. It has been 9months of deleting my account from Facebook. I joined it in 2009.  Pouring your feelings, mood swings, emotions, anger and joy onto a web space with the known intention of showing off to people who may/may not know you are something I don’t favour. It screeches “I need attention please!!!” It exposes your insecurity, your constant craving, constant need to feel important. It is immature. It also becomes a hub for jealousies, competition and everything! I am not sure how many people are actually “friends“. It troubles me to see people pour their hearts out on the social page. All I wish for them is to speak to someone close, someone who is a real human and who can hug you and help you out. Get a life people.

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist


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Blurb: It all starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. He only needs five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who’s just walked in to his band’s show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City—and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date. This he said/she said romance told by YA stars Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is a sexy, funny roller coaster of a story about one date over one very long night, with two teenagers, both recovering from broken hearts, who are just trying to figure out who they want to be—and where the next great band is playing. Told in alternating chapters, teeming with music references, humor, angst, and endearing side characters, this is a love story you’ll wish were your very own. Working together for the first time, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have combined forces to create a book that is sure to grab readers of all ages and never let them go.

About the author: Rachel grew up in the D.C. area and graduated from Barnard College with a B.A. in Political Science. She has written many YA novels, including three that she cowrote with her friend and colleague David Levithan. She lives and writes (when she’s not reading other people’s books, organizing her music library or looking for the best cappuccino) in New York City.

Review:  I finished reading Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist in a day. The book turned out to be one of the most interesting reads of this year for me. Fast paced and fun read with more textured characters. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to experience anger, fear, regret, to hopeful and love. I also love that it variants between Nick’s and Norah’s point of view to give the reader both sides of the same event. The dialogue is funny and witty and it’s a love story that you can feel the sparks. Over the course of one night, two perfect strangers fall in and out of love with life, music, friends, cars, food, the city, and maybe – just maybe – each other. Nick and Norah tell their story in alternating chapters, with David Levithan writing for bass player Nick and Rachel Cohn writing for complicated Norah. Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist is fuelled by passionate, memorable characters. Don’t let it – or them – pass you by. Get it, get ready, and hold on. You’ll want to put this Playlist on repeat. I love music and when you mix a love story with music, you know that it has to be good. I loved it. Read it. It’ll be worth it.

To Tip or Not To Tip


It is damn confusing every time I go out for a dinner or a lunch. Whether the waiter should be tipped and if yes then how much?  The answer to the first question is yes almost always and second is a debatable topic. I believe that since the waiters are being paid by the hotel, they should not be given tips. Then, the question of how much crops up. It has varying answers. Some people say 10% of the bill, some 15%, some 5% and some say and pay according to their moods, whims and/or depending upon the service. So, this is getting confusing for me every time. I do not support the tipping rule. The morality on the involved is questionable.  After all the people that are working as waiters are not depending on tips and it is not in some sense our duty to tip them. I don’t know…am still confused badly!!

My life pleasure(s)


I believe in taking full advantage of the simple pleasures of life. I do not wait for a big party to happen to be happy and have fun. I might be just as happy like that. I wonder what the harm is if you spoil yourself once in a while by petty things like buying a good pen or a chocolate or taking a walk alone. For me these things act as refreshers. I have realized that sometimes things might go your way and many a times they may not but you always live through it. So why not feel good about not having the worse situations rather that fearing about them and living in constant tension. For me, Blogging also is one such small pack of fun!

Easy To Remember…Hard To Forget


This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 49; the forty-ninth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

That night was cold. It had just stopped raining and the streets glimmered with stars reflecting on them. I was standing under a streetlight. I didn’t want to go home. I don’t know why I had stopped there; on that very spot.

I was hated by all for my guts, the way I carried myself in the college. I was so natural on stage, I can be anyone. I had the calibre to transfer my emotions. I was friendly this moment and very mean the very next moment. Definitely not the kind of a girl anyone could like or not pretty, that boys of my college would admire me. I was not celebrity but famous. I loved being that austere and purist. I loved those few friends I had. My teachers expected me to be wise, to be always right, labelling me as scholar. They are always proud of me as the Head Girl. For all, I can handle everything. When I am around, everything will be fine.

But when I used to be alone, I cried. Cried for every tear I held for every pain. Deep in I was easy to please with that cup of coffee or simple gifts. There are times that I wanted to travel to such a place where everyone knows me but not my story. I wanted them to like me for what I have, but not because of what I am. I am a simple human being.

They did not know that behind that strong personality, I am weak. In every smile is the hidden pain. Despite of having friends, I am alone. And they don’t really understand me. I wanted someone to love and protect me. I wanted someone to hold my hands when everything is not fine. Is it too much to ask? Is it too much to have somebody I can depend on? Somebody that’s strong enough to accept the monster side of me and brave enough to face the world with me?

It started to rain again and I opened my umbrella. I walked the opposite direction of home, running away from father again. He was drunk again, and the hurt from the punch across my face began to burn with every rain drop that spilled on it. My jaw ached. He loved adding to the scars. He always had a fascination with making me cry. Then he’d spit on me, and laugh at me. I sat on the bench nearby on the pavement. I buried my head in my hands. I could still feel the pain fresh.

Suicide was always one of my options, one I considered a lot. I remember talking about it once to a close friend who dared me too but I could not. I didn’t really want to die, but I felt I didn’t want to live, either. What do you do when you’re so mentally disturbed that you can’t seem to decide whether or not you should be alive? You have all the opportunities to take your own life, yet you still contemplate whether to act on them or not. I’ve sat in my bed all night long sometimes, thinking about how or when. Who it would affect? Who it wouldn’t.

For all, I was the Perfect Girl but down memory lane remain all my mourning and wretchedness and deep within I was broken.

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Participation Count: 12

Remembering Names


I exactly don’t hate but I would appreciate if people remember the names after the Introduction. I don’t know why most of the people I know don’t remember. It kind of shows that how least you are interested in it. May be you are but at least if you are being introduced you should divert you so special attention for at least a second to hear the name and keep it in your head for a while. I have been on the receiving end of this bad behaviour so many times and I have felt quite bad about it. I remember the names quite well but a few days back I met someone and I completely forgot the name of the person I had just been introduced to. It sucked to ask again. But I did ask her name and made sure that I remember it.

Tête-à-Tête with Anu Singh Choudhary


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This Teacher’s Day when SHEROES announced a contest on twitter, never did I expect it to win and when I did win, I got home ‘Neela Scarf’ written by Anu Singh Chaudhary. I opened the courier cover, and to my surprise I find it to be a book in Hindi. I read a Hindi book after a long time. By the way, it is really rare to find a good collection of Hindi stories in this time of English chick literature. Neela Scarf is a collection of short stories, well written, not lengthy. For me it is one of the finer books to read in Hindi of this year. I really wish to read the Hindi books again which I had left and it’s been quite a time now. And what better way to start with Anu Singh Chaudhary’s Neela Scarf whose writing reminded me of greatest figures of Hindi literature – Munshi Premchand. I just loved reading it.

Today in the author interviews, I present you Anu Singh Chaudhary, the pen and head of Neela Scarf.

About the author : Anu Singh Choudhary is a Communications Consultant, Documentary Filmmaker, Writer, Editor, Translator and Blogger all rolled into one. A compulsive multitasker, Anu writes columns on women and youth empowerment, weaves radio stories for Yaadon Ka Idiot Box with Neelesh Misra and trains students and corporate on video production. She is a trained journalist and has worked with NDTV for five years. In the past 4 years, she has directed four independent documentaries and has co-directed and scripted many others. As the Deputy Creative Head of Content Project Pvt. Ltd, India’s first content company of its kind, Anu also works on content ideas for GEC and Films. She mentors the team of young writers who are a part of Content Project’s nationwide Mandli. Anu is part of the core Leadership Team of Gaon Connection, India’s first professionally run rural newspaper published from Lucknow and distributed in UP, Bihar and Jharkhand.

 1. To start with, which is your favorite story from your own book?

It is like asking, which one is your favourite child! There are some stories which came to me naturally, and there were some which had a very long gestation period. Two such stories where, ‘Bisesar Bo ki Premika’, and ‘Neela Scarf’ – the title story. Because of the process, and because these stories helped me evolve not only as a writer but also as a human being, these two are probably the closest to my heart.

2. Where and when do you like to write?

I wish I had the luxury to choose that! I write as and when I find time. I am a mother of two. I also work as a freelance consulting editor and communications consultant. Therefore, large part of my writing time is actually devoted to professional sort of writing, which is like any mundane desk job. As and when I can squeeze in time between the rigmarole of life and deadlines, I write. The place can be just about anywhere. I may sound pompous, but I actually have written stories in a train, at the airports, in coffee shops, in Purnea (which is where my in-laws live) while kids jumped around and were all over me!

3. What was the hardest part of writing for you?

To get over the fear of failing. To get over the fear of writing badly. Every single day I grapple with that fear. That’s the hardest part. The other thing will definitely be lack of discipline. Not being disciplined about writing is something that bothers me a lot, and sometimes that guilt doesn’t allow me to write freely.

4. If you could give life to any of your own characters, who would it be?

To be honest, I would like to give life to each of my characters. It could be said in another way as well. Each character actually has a life of his or her own. If you look around and notice, all these characters come from around us. They are all very real people.

5. What are you working on at the minute?

A book on motherhood which is tentatively called, ‘Mamma ki Diary’. I am actually reaching out to mothers and am recording their testimonies on raising kids. The book will be in Hindi, and will look at the society and family system through the prism of motherhood, from various angles. Then there is a short film which is still at the scripting stage.

6. How much research do you do?

A lot. Not like internet research, but real research. I drove my mother and mother-in-law crazy, asking them for details I wasn’t sure of – things like ritual, or local names, or folk songs I remembered vaguely. I sat with them for hours, reading out portions to them, and asking for corrections. Otherwise, it is mostly through conversations. I ask a lot of questions. That has worked for me so far.

7. What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

The desire of creating something which would have a shelf life, something I would hand over to my kids a few years down the line. I wanted my parents, my in-laws to read what I had been writing all these years. I wanted my family to feel an integral part of my creative process. That was the only impetus – this thought of them holding the book I had written! Everything else followed by default.

8. How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I am slowing finding the courage to tell stories in various formats. That, by far, is my biggest victory.  And I have discovered the thrill of writing, and telling stories. It can actually get very addictive.

9. For your own reading, do you prefer e-books or traditional paper/hard back books?

Traditional paper/hard books. Always.

10. What are your views on social media for marketing?

As far as it concerns me, social media was the only way to reach out to my readers. Social Media helps authors build their platforms and connect with readers directly. Marketing through Social Media is not only cost effective, but is most effective too.

11. What do you think of “trailers” for books?

I am sure they generate a buzz. I am still to test it though.

12. If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

“Falling off the Map” by Pico Iyer. The book is funny and evocative at the same time, and Pico writes about these strangely isolated and eccentric places from across the world that he has traveled through. I would give my tooth and nail to be at places such as these, and would love to write travelogues one day. I would have, however, originally written it in Hindi.

13. How do you relax?

By sleeping! My brother says, sleep always adds a new perspective to one’s writing and you always work better in between naps

14. Did you do a press release, book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?

I did a book launch and a few book readings in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. They were all informal events, and were mostly attended by friends and family. Yet, the response that the book has generated has been very humbling. I think I am one hell of a blessed woman!

15. How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Not that there is much to discover as yet, but google will do the needful as of now

Website: None
Blog: http://www.mainghumantu.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anu.singh.choudhary
Twitter: @anusinghc
Linkedin: As Anu Singh Choudhary

The Art of Owing & Borrowing


Some people like to borrow things and they get high on it. They enjoy using what has been borrowed. I like collecting things. I like owning stuff. I don’t mind sharing -sometimes I enjoy it, sometimes not so much but I what I really like is having everything – small and big and nice and not so nice so that I never have to borrow anything. I am definitely not a borrower. It somehow steals a bit of comfort of the use with the perpetual sense of a debt hanging at the back of my mind. It may be because my sense of indebtedness is really high and the expectations from others really low! So, on some fine days when my friends take stuff which I own to make my life easier and I have to sort of borrow it from them back – those are the tough days! Today was one – the stuff was few books from my shelf someone has borrowed and owned but which actually I own and am trying to borrow back.

Whisper of the Worms


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Book Title – Whisper of the Worms
Author – Marcardian
Published by – Cactus Publishers
Pages: 310
Price: Rs. 240

Description : A crow eyed peep in to the backyard of a banking organization. An unusual portrayal of the life and times of an ordinary mortal and his subdued fight for survival. A moving story of the commercialized people in an imaginary country called Marcardia, portrayed through their psyche and polity, makes one think, laugh, and get emotionally choked. Listen to the Whisper of the worms to hear the muffed wail of the humans on the run, lured by the carrot, forced by the stick.

Review: Marcardian brightly captures in his novel Whisper of the Worms the confused professional life in a bank and the comparatively serene life of simple Thobias Mathai of Panamkara village. The banking life has taught him a lesson. After a brief stopover in USA, homesick Thobias returns to his roots in Panamkara after contracting a deadly cancerous disease to count his last days living with his mother and friends in the middle of the treasured memories of his late father. The horrifying ghost of the banking life follows him from the moment he lands in his native land. After the last journey overseen by an event manager to the tomb through the most travelled village roads and the funeral rites, the spirit begins to hear the insight of the worm. The soul departs with the last laugh. Marcardian, who has watched at close quarters the risky profession of Thobias Mathai, has a message for all. The memoirs of a man on his last journey are moving but tend to tow after a few pages. I did not like this novel because I don’t like reading slow paced stories though no book has explained carrot and sticks in banking industry better. The humor is latent. The only thing I liked in this book is backdrop of a village in Kerala amidst poverty and Gods, and the ending where the worms reveals the meaning of modern life.

2

 

The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

A talk with Saurbh Katyal


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I love interviewing debut authors on the blog. This is because aspiring writers can look at their path to publication and identify what they did right. Today’s featured author is Saurbh Katyal. He works in the frenzied corporate world and manages to steal time to write while travelling for work. His most prolific writing happens in dingy cabs lit by street lamp-posts, cramped liquor joints inside terminals and long, monotonous flights. He has published short stories and also won an international short-story writing competition some years back. This is his first novel and has already won critical acclaim.

What were you like at school?

Imaginative and naughty. An overactive imagination used to amplify the naughtiness quotient too.

Were you good at English?

Yes, I had a natural flair for the queen’s language.

 What are your ambitions for your writing career?

Write compelling stories that entertain, and if possible, increase the perspective of the readers.

Which writers inspire you?

John Fowles, Graham Greene, James Clavell

So, what have you written? (*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)

I have written short stories: got published in Urban shots anthology, won an international short story writing competition, etc; I have also published articles on marketing and spirituality.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

The story starts when detective Vishal gets a call from his ex-flame Aditi, who had dumped him and married the rich Sunil Kapoor years back. Now, Sunil’s elder brother is found stabbed in a hammock and the first person she calls is Vishal. Past demons haunt Vishal, as he takes refuge in alcohol and clashes with a villain who is truly a mastermind. The protagonist, Vishal Bajaj, will win a lot of hearts with his hardboiled humour and impress a lot of critical minds with his incisive investigation skills. The reader feels like he is standing on the crime scene with the detective, as the detective unravels the murder scene for clues.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

I would probably want a good director and a capable script writer to write the screenplay. With these two facets taken care of, I feel, the actors become incidental.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

Seduced by Murder took nine months to complete. I usually write on weekends. My pace of writing is extremely slow.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: saurbhkatyal.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Seduced-by-Murder/616454285108738

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23009716-seduced-by-murder

 

Seduced by Murder


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Blurb: When detective Vishal Bajaj receives a call from his old flame Aditi, he is seduced into a vortex of family lies and a murder. Vishal sets out to catch the murderer, while dealing with the resurgence of an irresistible desire for Aditi that he had buried years ago. Vishal is a witty, hard drinking, tough private detective who doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty as he races against time to catch a meticulous killer. Seduced by Murder weaves a web of noir and suspense that keeps the reader riveted and guessing till the end.

About the author: Saurbh Katyal works in the frenzied corporate world and manages to steal time to write while travelling for work. His most prolific writing happens in dingy cabs lit by street lamp-posts, cramped liquor joints inside terminals and long, monotonous flights. He has published short stories and also won an international short-story writing competition some years back. This is his first novel and has already won critical acclaim.

Review: I was sent a copy of Seduced by Murder by Saurbh Katyal for an honest review by the author himself. I finished reading it today and pending down the review right away. Now coming to the story, what took me by surprise was the climax. I did not expect the author would weave such a plot. For vary, an Indian writer did not attempt at boring page 3 stories but opted for thriller. The story had humour which was not extraneous but restrained. The book is so handy with less than 300 pages. I liked Saurbh’s writing which was very clear and did not confuse anywhere. I like fast moving stories and this definitely was one of it. All the characters in the story are well written, it remains a secrecy who is the murderer, creating tensions towards the climax. The story has been skilfully written so that the offender is exposed only in the end and not before. I enjoyed reading as mystery genre is my personal choice and the author was successful in making me hooked to the book right from page 1 till the end. If you like mysteries, this book serves your purpose well. I hope Saurbh Katyal comes up with more of Vishal series.

4

The Last Word


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Blurb: Mamoon is an eminent Indian-born writer who has made a career in England – but now, in his early 70s, his reputation is fading, sales have dried up, and his new wife has expensive taste. Harry, a young writer, is commissioned to write a biography to revitalise both Mamoon’s career and his bank balance. Harry greatly admires Mamoon’s work and wants to uncover the truth of the artist’s life. Harry’s publisher seeks a more naked truth, a salacious tale of sex and scandal that will generate headlines. Meanwhile Mamoon himself is mining a different vein of truth altogether. Harry and Mamoon find themselves in a battle of wills, but which of them will have the last word? The ensuing struggle for dominance raises issues of love and desire, loyalty and betrayal, and the frailties of age versus the recklessness of youth. Hanif Kureishi has created a tale brimming with youthful exuberance, as hilarious as it is touching, where words have the power to forge a world.

About the author: Hanif Kureishi is an English playwright, screenwriter and filmmaker and novelist. In 2008, The Times included Kureishi in their list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945. Kureishi was born in Bromley, South London to a Pakistani father, Rafiushan Kureishi, and an English mother, Audrey Buss. His father was from a wealthy Madras family, most of whose members moved to Pakistan after the Partition of British India in 1947.

Review: This is my first Hanif Kureishi book. This is an emotional story of a literary novelist Mamoon Azam an Indian immigrant who moves to England, who commissions a young writer Harry to write his biography. In old age, and with struggling book sales and depleting income, the septuagenarian novelist sees his biography as a good publicity stunt and to come full circle with ‘the last word’. Kureishi’s characters are perfect examples of a Freudian world in which everyone responds to their libido in a not reserved way. The story is entertaining, funny and interesting book. Mamoon was full of life and boldness and he captivated at times with his performance. Sometimes slow-moving here and there but still fascinating. This novel seems to be based upon on Hanif Kuerishi’s years of experience as a writer, a creative fiction professor, an award winning and acclaimed novelist, and just an ordinary human being who is trying to get on with life. Hanif Kureishi’s novel the Last Word is recommended reading, especially for aspiring writers.

3

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