It Has Been 5 Years.

Five years have passed since I started this blog, since I battled indefinite bouts of laziness. Five years of unimaginable change, not just in myself but in my surroundings. I’ve grown accustomed to this change; to never declaring any possibility as absolutely improbable. For I’ve turned the tables more times than I’d thought myself capable. But amidst all that change, there’s one thing I’ve ascertained – my love for reading and writing is entwined into my being. It gives me such joy! A part of me applauds that I haven’t given up blogging (With two previous failures and a mastery of procrastination, what else could I expect?) But writing has always been a balm, a friend like no other. I could lose myself in analogies and alliterations all day long, immortalize my concerns and curiosities. I can’t get enough of the joy of explaining my writings to those who’ve just skimmed the surface of it. I can’t get enough of putting my berserk ideas on an online platform, even if nobody truly understands it. Maybe the magic of writing is just that. It doesn’t expect anything of you. In fact, it is the one true thing that embraces who you are.

I have been blogging about books and writing poetry for a long long time. There’s more to me than that and I’d like to be consistent with introducing new elements on my blog. But until then, I’m glad I have this… The fifth blog anniversary.

29th July

Cover Reveal of Danielle Steel’s Against All Odds

Danielle Steel is back with another novel and this one explores a family-centric plot, wherein a mother of 4 – Kate Madison – is left perplexed by her children’s life choices. Against All Odds tackles with the very essence of motherhood. Here’s the cover design as published by Pan Macmillan…

Much like the cover of Steel’s Dangerous Games, the title of this one is embossed in gold, attributing all the power to it. The family of five huddled together, against the backdrop of the city’s skyline sends across a strong message. To me, it speaks of unity, blood ties, finding a sense of belonging etc. The fact that they are all gazing in a specific direction (a.k.a observing something) could mirror how a family helps you grow and learn..

I’ll stop with my deconstruction of the cover and save my views on the book for when I’ve reviewed it. Hope you all get a chance to check it out 🙂

Thoughts For The Long Run

Image courtesy - Pexels

Image courtesy – Pexels

14th February brings with it a mixture of sentiments. The singles are about to be bombarded with cutesy pictures and quotes on their social media. The couples are scrambling to concoct the “perfect” gesture for each other. And the in-betweeners are standing around, awkwardly, wondering if their efforts are misplaced. Amidst all the hullabaloo, sometimes, one can forget to catch a breath and remember that love is the biggest gift of all. It is not a competition and it is, definitely, not built on ostentation. However if you are all about the show, then go ahead, create something extravagant. But more often than not, your loved one would appreciate the thought that went into the simple yet meaningful date ideas such as these. In addition to that, some pointers that would strengthen your relationship are:

  • Pay attention to your partner – when they talk and even, when they’re unable to talk about what bothers them. Chances are that, you’ll learn a great deal more about them. Sometimes, you can ease out the knots in their mind by just being there. Even if their passions don’t interest you, listen and learn. They have made you a part of their life. Surely, what brings them joy, you ought to hold in high esteem?
  • Even love requires TRP – Without Trust, Respect and Patience, you are hurtling towards a bitter future. Be spirited enough to not have to keep tabs on your girlfriend or boyfriend. You can’t hold onto something that has to be rushed or forced. What’s more, respect their wishes. They shouldn’t have to fake a smile, because you thought you were cracking a joke.
  • Don’t snuff out their uniqueness – As much as generalizations make life easier, they aren’t handy in social circumstances. Don’t assume that your girlfriend would love a gown over a pair of shorts. If your brain missed the train to the 21st century, maybe you should pour over these tips to dating a modern woman. And girls, don’t be mistaken. Maybe your man wants to watch the latest RomCom, as opposed to the Action Thriller. Who knows? Well, you should.
  • Be their cheerleader – It takes a small affront to discourage someone and a lot of confidence to convince them. Don’t ever try to dissuade your loved one from experimenting or taking up new initiatives. A road less traveled by is already scary enough, without you adding to their fears. Let it be known, that wherever they end up, you will be right by their side.

With that being said, Valentine’s Day is an occasion of love. While all businesses are trying to wring the occasion dry with their bundle offers, don’t forget to call an old friend or visit your grandparents. They deserve to have a shower of love, too!

– Meera

The Misplaced Indian

Image courtesy - Sangha Mitra

Image courtesy – Sangha Mitra

The Indian spirit is like a motherboard. It cannot be whole without its multiple subparts and as a separate entity, drives forward the existence of every Indian soul. This spirit is for us to wield and imbibe as we see fit. Yet, we somehow manage to demarcate the “true” Indian by turning a blind eye to those whose Indianness is diluted by years of westernization and foreign upbringing. This essay looks at the misplaced Indian – one who wholeheartedly wants to be part of the community, but cannot because he/she is far removed from any physical connection to their motherland.

The misplaced Indian is either overlooked to some extent in discourses of Indianness or ignored completely in discourses of foreign communities. He/she belongs to a no man’s land, caught in between two communities and not really a part of either. Such an Indian is not detached from his native because of his own voluntary actions but because of ancestors who have moved to a foreign land. And so matter of factly, they begin to learn their Indian mannerisms alongside the resident country’s value systems. Regardless of how much they want to belong, they are not accepted as equal Indians. Hence, they get misplaced in the process of migration and their identity becomes a matter of questioning.

Some Indian Literatures emphasize on the perspectives of such misplaced Indians. Kenyan born Indian, M.G Vassanji says in his book, A Place Within, “It would take many lifetimes; it was said to me during my first visit, to see all of India. The desperation must have shown on my face to absorb and digest all I possibly could. I recall an anxiety as I traveled the length and breadth of the country, senses raw to every new experience, that even in the distraction of a blink I might miss something profoundly significant.” Other notable writers who convey the sentiments of the misplaced Indian are V.S Naipaul, Shyam Selvadurai and G.V Desani. Such Indians face the anxiety of belonging, as discussed by Meenakshi Mukherjee in her essay Anxiety of Indianness. They are generations away from understanding the essence of Indianness and spend a lifetime trying to grasp what they can of the Indian spirit.

– Meera

Author Interview – Revant [Selfienomics]

revant

Image courtesy – Bloomsbury India

Published by Bloomsbury India on 3rd November 2016, Selfienomics is a wonderful guide to imbuing your life with positivity and good health. First time writer, Revant, expertly employs humor and his vast knowledge of media & culture to deliver some life lessons. When  presented with the opportunity to interview him, I gladly agreed.

Hi Revant. Thank you for taking the time out to answer some questions in light of the release of your debut novel, Selfienomics.  Firstly, how did you decide you wanted to write a book pertaining to the self help genre?

I used to hate writing. In college, I always took classes which required the least amount of writing. I’m not a writer, I’m a thinker. It’s the thinker in me which forced me to write. I was frustrated at the way people spent their time and money and I had the self- confidence that I could contribute in changing it.

I wanted to reach out to a large number of people. As a 22 year-old, you have 4 options to reach out to a wide audience—create a high-quality social media page, make a movie, join politics, or write a book. Social media is too over-crowded so people don’t take you seriously. Movie and politics require a lot of experience and a team of people. Writing a book is the most convenient option—it requires no experience and can be done individually. All you need is a laptop (or a pen and paper). So I decided to write a self-help book aimed at improving the thought process of the youth.

During your preparatory stage, what opinions did you find most useful and how were you able to imbibe them?

I didn’t tell any of my friends that I’m writing a book so nothing in particular. But I found the opinions of external people very useful.  I would extensively read the “comments” section of posts of popular social media pages like AIB, Logical Indian, Frustrated Indian. Through that I would understand the mood and opinion of the average urban Indian. I tried my best to refer to the things that Indians were talking about about to make the book relatable to them.

Image courtesy – Goodreads

In the intro to your book, you’ve said that the focus of the book is self-improvement. What books or TV shows or movies have helped you, in the past, to discover and be more in tune with yourself?

Letter- “Why I am an atheist” is a letter by Bhagat singh which sparked my interest to write Selfienomics.  

 Book- When I first decided to write a self-help book, I realized that I had never read a self-help book before. So I googled “best-self help books” and I read the 6-7 books which were common on every list. 7 Habits of Highly effective people helped me with my time-management tremendously.

Movies- Swades, Rang De Basanti, PK, Kal ho Na ho, It’s a wonderful life. I like the way Rajkumar Hirani combines humour with life-lessons. I feel that if Selfienomics was written by a director, it would be Rajkumar Hirani.

I like the fact that you have used humor, sarcasm and colloquial language to drive home the various points that you make throughout the book. In addition to which, your novel is structured uniquely. Were these just tools to cater to a younger audience or were you, merely, taking an unconventional approach?

Young people usually avoid reading self-help books as they find them boring and preachy. They instead read click-bait articles on ScoopWhoop and Buzzfeed (10 reasons why you must dream big…etc.) as their daily dose of inspiration.

I combined humour with philosophy to connect with the modern reader. To be honest though, when I was writing the book, I didn’t think of all this. Using hashtags, humour, sarcasm and internet memes came very naturally to me.  

I am sure that it is no easy task to publish a book. A lot of research, late nights and post-publishing procedures would have been involved. What do you think about the whole process?

I read somewhere, “Publishing a book is like delivering a child. Except that its takes even longer and it hurts more”.

Since no one in my friends circle or family is an author, I had to learn everything myself so it took a lot of initiative from my side. I first applied to publishers in the US who typically replied—“Where is the Yoga? No one in the US is interested to read a self-help book by an Indian unless its about yoga.” 

I rewrote my entire book for an Indian audience, and then I started my publishing journey again. Overall, its been a bit more than 2 years since I first decided to write a book. As a debut author, you have to be passionate, practical and patient to see your book getting published by a traditional publisher (unless you’re Sachin writing his autobiography).

Selfienomics does not disappoint. In fact, I absolutely loved it! Here’s a link to my review of the book. Follow Revant on his Goodreads page here, watch the trailer of Selfienomics here and surely, grab a copy of the book.

– Meera