The First Furry Bud – Eva

I’d been MIA from last year so much that a lot of people have started thinking that I have stopped blogging altogether. That is not true! I love this blog and this is the main one I have so I am never going to stop posting here, no matter what. Now that we have that out of the way, I’d like to share with all you guys, my beloved readers, the reason why I went MIA from last 12 months – our first furry baby, Eva.

Eva’s pic posted for the ad by the foster parents.

We decided to adopt a kitten in late August and exactly within a week, on 3rd September we brought this amazing kitten we found a posting about on the internet. We had planned to have a cat for a very long time, just as we planned to have a dog, and already knew what was going to be her name – Eva. She was such a munchkin that we fell in love with her at first sight!

She is one of the most amazing things to have happened to Vishal and me after our marriage and that’s one of the reasons we love her so much more than we could ever love anyone ever!! Eva is tremendously smart, extremely intelligent and an adorable fur-doll. We love her so much that we even didn’t leave the house while taking care of her for the first 3 months as she was just a little cuddle baby of 47 days when we got her.

She is almost a year old presently (her birthday is on 13th July) and has grown into a feisty and charming little girl that we always knew she would be. My Instagram is full of her pictures but here are some I truly adore:

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The Ticking Clock

The Ticking Clock

Lately, I’ve developed this (somewhat weird) obsession with keeping track of the time all the time… All. The. TIME.

And the weird part (even more so) is that it started out of nowhere!

I’d always been mildly time-conscious and have had an obsession about doing things on time, but never did I obsess over each and every hour of the day like this before. Now, I keep on checking the clock every 5-10 minutes while working on anything, unless I really get into doing something, like writing and reading, and forget to see the time. It’s very tiring and testing, to say the least.

If I get busy doing something and don’t notice the time for an hour or two, I start to feel disoriented, disconcerted and anxious. That may be strange to anyone who doesn’t understand how OCD works, but for someone who’s always had it, I know that this is the beginning of a very serious problem. If left unchecked, it might lead to a point where I’ll start wearing a watch at home trying to keep track of every single minute (if not second.) And that would be very stressful and would give me tons of unnecessary anxiety.

So before it gets out of hand, I’m trying to get rid of it altogether. For this I have started doing the following things:

  1. I am intentionally trying to lose track of time as much as I can by engrossing myself into whatever I’m doing at a particular time, even while putting Eva to sleep or listening to the radio.
  2. Practicing breathing exercises (2-2 minutes only) whenever I start getting anxious for losing the track of time (this is generally needed when I follow the above step.) It works well sometimes, but sometimes I start feeling low… talk about things that can stress out a person!
  3. I’m trying to stay away from clocks as much as I can. I’ve removed the ones on my desk (and I had two of them, right next to each other!) and the one on the wall in my study.

These steps sound simple, but are not, at least not for compulsive-obsessive person. So I’ll just try to be consistent with these practices and hopefully this OCD will surpass like the earlier ones I had.

I’ll post about my progress int he coming months to keep you guys updated.

Thank you for reading!

Ciao ❤

I Love Me – #ILoveMe

I Love Me – #ILoveMe

I love wearing shorts that are just too short and the tees that are a little too big.

I love wearing fuzzy pink slippers cuz they make me feel like the little girl I was.

I love curling up on my bed with a book I want to read for the night.

I love shutting everyone out and listening only to myself’ thinking about the fictional worlds love.

I love staying at home and not leaving the comfort of my own space.

I love hugging my cat and staying up in bed till 10:00 AM… sleeping, snoring, cuddling… lazying away.

I love sleeping when my KittyCat sleeps as it makes me feel peaceful.

I do all these things without any reservations because I am not afraid to be me…

I am in love with myself.

I love leaving my hair loose

I love my hair the way they are; the way they flutter in the air covering my face in lazy tangles.

I love my body; it may be bigger than people like but I love it anyway.

I love the way my lips curl into a smile on their own while listening to long-forgotten tunes on the radio.

I love the way I feel after having the first sip of tea every morning

I’m done being sorry for the way I am and for the way I feel about myself.

I am pure… I am unadulterated by the meanness of the world and I intend to keep things that way…

I won’t let the rude judgements of people affect the way I think about myself anymore.

Because I respect myself too much to let these things come in between me and my self-respect.

Because I am in love with myself and I am not afraid to admit it anymore.

Speak Up #domesticviolenceawareness

Speak Up #domesticviolenceawareness

I have seen domestic violence very closely and though not a victim, I do know how it is, what it feels like and how it affects everyone around, and its longterm consequences. I’ve been a helpless observer of domestic violence since the age of 3 and I, for one, have a very strong stand against it. The only piece of advice I’d like to share is SPEAK UP! Don’t take it and don’t let your loved ones take it. Just speak up!
No one, NO ONE, has the right to abuse anyone (physically, mentally or emotionally.) We are educated Human Beings and it is time that we act like one.
No, you cannot beat your wife. No, you cannot hit your sister. No you cannot use abusive language to any woman (or man for that matter) in your life. Because it is simply not acceptable!
I’m very fortunate that I have a husband who loves and respects women and always speaks up whenever someone needs help.
Let’s pledge to Speak Up everytime someone (and by that I mean ANYONE) needs help.

Downtime

Downtime

I’ve been feeling down from a long time and finally, after a lot of cloudy days and a ton of brooding and despair, I’ve finally started pulling myself out of depression. I’ve been suffering from depression since the age of 10, so it’s always on and off with me, but this time it really hit me hard. And the worst part is, I’m not even sure what caused it; maybe one thing in particular or the other, or maybe it was the sum of all or maybe it was just because of something someone said or did. In any case, I’m not even sure if that matters anymore because I’ve been trying to find the reason for months now only to find myself stumbling in a dark maze of not-so-good thoughts.

In the past few months I tried to get out of this dark spell a number of times, but surprisingly nothing worked at all and the vacations we took, the impromptu shopping sprees, all the expensive food and booze, nothing… absolutely nothing worked. I tried crying too, but that just made things worse and pulled me further down.

The thing that really pains me though is that I hate to do this to the one person who lives with me, the only person who actually loves me and cares for me – Vishal. My depression affects him, a lot more than he shows and I know this, and to be honest, that’s one of the reasons, or maybe it’s the only reason I try to not make things worse by doing stupid things like fighting, arguing, or attempting different ways of self-harming. It’s very frustrating at times; sometimes my suicidal tendencies get the best of me, sometimes anger does and sometimes hurt, but this time it was sadness. And trust me, sadness was the worst of them all.

Vishal’s been so patient with me and it is his patience that makes it possible for me to even come out of my depression. It is his love for me that makes me believe in myself and my capabilities to deal with it all. God only knows how exhausting it might be for him to be in a relationship with me. I am so fucking grateful to have him in my life. It is his and only his presence that keeps me sane and functional… and even alive. And so I’ve decided that I’ve spent enough time in the dark abyss and have pulled him down enough too. It stops here. I feel like I’ve wasted enough time already worrying about things that I shouldn’t have even thought about in the first place, that don’t even matter and that can’t even touch me. So, I’m just going to pull myself together and start my normal daily routine. I need to start practising gratitude again because it is the one thing that makes me feel sane and calm. Why? I have no idea. It just does, just like meditation, so I’m gonna do these two things and try to get back into the swing of things at work and at home.

Eva is such a blessing in our lives and now that I have almost finished the 2 critique projects I’ve been working on, I have all the time in the world to be with her and Vishal. I’m just going to be grateful for the beautiful life I have and for the most amazing husband and the most adorable fur-baby and be happy. And when Vishal gets some time off from work, we’ll hunt for a GSD pup. I’ve bounced back from depression so many times now that I’ve practically lost the count, so I’m just going to do it again. I am just going to take this all slow and steady till I get back to where I was emotionally a few months back to promote Deceived and write Sinister Town.

I am just going to take this all slow and steady till I get back to where I was emotionally before and resume promoting Deceived and writing Sinister Town.

BTW, if you ever feel down or low, listen to Nothing Else Matters by Metallica and everything will start to feel unreal and I bet you’ll start to get high just by listening to this beautiful, beautiful song. And a lot of things will start to make sense.

I am not going to apologise for my emotional rant because this post is really important to me – first, it helped me unload my emotional burden and really made me feel a lot better and second, this post helped me Freewrite. So, peace out! 🙂

Ciao ❤

Happy 71st Independence Day!

Happy 71st Independence Day!

Happy 71st Independence Day to all my Indian brothers and sisters. Today is the day of pride for our nation and on this beautiful and honourable day, I am happy to share with you all something about India’s Independence Day:

Independence Day is annually observed on 15 August, as a national holiday in India commemorating the nation’s independence from the United Kingdom on 15 August 1947, the UK Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act 1947 transferring legislative sovereignty to the Indian Constituent Assembly. India still retained King George VI as head of state until its transition to full republican constitution. India attained independence following the Independence Movement noted for largely nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience led by the Indian National Congress (INC). Independence coincided with the partition of India, in which the British India was divided along religious lines into the Dominions of India and Pakistan. On 16 August 1947 (not 15th), Jawaharlal Nehru, who had become the first Prime Minister of India the day before, raised the Indian national flag above the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi. On each subsequent Independence Day, the prime minister customarily raises the flag and gives an address to the nation.

The holiday is observed throughout India with flag-hoisting ceremonies, parades and cultural events. There is a national holiday, and schools and government offices distribute sweets and hosts various cultural programmes, but no official work is done.

Independence Day, one of the three National holidays in India (the other two being the Republic Day on 26 January and Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday on 2 October), is observed in all Indian states and union territories. On the eve of Independence Day, the President of India delivers the “Address to the Nation”. On 15 August, the prime minister hoists the Indian flag on the ramparts of the historical site Red Fort in Delhi. Twenty-one gun shots are fired in honour of the solemn occasion. In his speech, the prime minister highlights the past year’s achievements, raises important issues and calls for further development. He pays tribute to the leaders of the Indian independence movement. The Indian national anthem, “Jana Gana Mana”, is sung. The speech is followed by march past of divisions of the Indian Armed Forces and paramilitary forces. Parades and pageants showcase scenes from the independence struggle and India’s diverse cultural traditions. Similar events take place in state capitals where the Chief Ministers of individual states unfurl the national flag, followed by parades and pageants.

Captured by VJ’s Travelling Camera – https://www.facebook.com/travellingcamera

Flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural programmes take place in governmental and non-governmental institutions throughout the country. Schools and colleges conduct flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural events. Major government buildings are often adorned with strings of lights. In Delhi and some other cities, kite flying adds to the occasion. National flags of different sizes are used abundantly to symbolise allegiance to the country. Citizens adorn their clothing, wristbands, cars, household accessories with replicas of the tricolour. Over a period of time, the celebration has changed the emphasis from nationalism to a broader celebration of all things India.

The Indian diaspora celebrates Independence Day around the world with parades and pageants, particularly in regions with higher concentrations of Indian immigrants. In some locations, such as New York and other US cities, 15 August has become “India Day” among the diaspora and the local populace. Pageants celebrate “India Day” either on 15 August or an adjoining weekend day.

Content Source: Wikipedia

Quick Updates – #amwriting

Quick Updates – #amwriting

I had planned for 2 short stories and 1 article on Writing to post in through April and May, but unfortunately, things got in the way (as they usually do) and I completely forgot about the drafts (some half-baked some ready to go up) sitting patiently on my dashboard. I thought I’ll get back to blogging regularly now by scheduling the posts – like I do with my reviews at The Reading Bud, but before that, I wanted to drop by and post updates about what’s been since 8th April, the last time I posted.

Updates –

Books:

  • Deceived has been entered for the Hindu Literary Prize 2017. Hindu is one of the top newspapers in India.
  • Deceived is being translated into Marathi (a regional language of Maharashtra, the State I live in.)
  • The English release of Deceived is set for 24th June and it might be a soft launch by the looks of it because we want to do a big launch cum release with at least 2 languages so most probably, that’ll be sometime in July as the translated Marathi version will be ready by then.
  • Deceived has crossed 66 ratings on Goodreads.
  • Deceived is now listed on Amazon.in (Amazon.com and other Amazons will still take another week or so.)
  • Book reviewers are loving Deceived and I’ve already made a few fans.
  • Sinister Town is going slow and steady and should be ready by the end of this year.

Work:

  • I have 3 Novel Critiques lined up for the coming days and I’m already booked until the 20th of July.
  • I have 1 editing lined up for the month of July so the rest of the July is also packed.
  • I’m working on 2 other projects for Citrus Publishers, mostly marketing and HR related.

Reading:

  • I suffered a reading slump in late March, hence wasn’t able to read much for the last two months. These are the only books I read since April: Under The Dome by Stephen King, Hannah’s Moon by John A. Heldt, Girl In Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow, Gerald’s Game by Stephen King, A Fatal Twist by Tracy Weber, The Shadow Over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft, Something Needs Bleeding by Thomas Singer and Christopher Long, Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg, The Bronx Kill by Philip Cioffari and The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James
  • I have to read another 6 books by Grand Central Publishing, 2 by MM Publicity and 3 by EG Publicity for review. Other than these I have about 8 NetGalley books that I want to read ASAP and another 10 that I’ve bought. So I’ll be busy finishing these books in the coming weeks and months.

Personal:

  • We had an awesome holiday in mid-April in Goa. Lots of sunbathing and booze.
  • We’re shifting to a bigger house – a row-bungalow on 1st June. And now I can finally get my pets.
  • We’re planning a trip to Thailand in August.
  • Right after the vacation, we’ll start our hunt for the perfect kitten and GSD pup!
  • I developed a bad rash on my arms and later found out that I am allergic to UV rays. The rash was due to extreme sunbathing in Goa last month. So I’m just trying to stay away from the direct sunlight as much as possible. 😦

Right now I’m busy with the shifting, readying the house for the Packers and Movers, so I’ll be seeing you guys next week. Stay tuned to my Twitter as I’ll be sharing the new bungalow’s pics there.

Do let me know how you spent your month. I’d be more than happy to know what you’ve been up to!

Ciao ❤

2017 Resolutions

2017 Resolutions

This is the third year I’m doing a ‘Resolutions’ post, so I feel like it’s kind of becoming a ritual now. And I like it as it helps to be more productive.

Every year I complete a few resolutions and forget some, but this year I’ve decided to go through the list of my previous resolutions that weren’t completed and resolve to complete them this year. So 2017 is going to be special as I’ll be doing all the things I’ve been wanting to do from last 2-3 years.

Here’s my list of resolution for this year:tumblr_nikl8pxddz1tq4of6o1_500

Writing:

  • Complete Sinister Town and hand it over to the editors at Citrus Publishers
  • Get the first half-draft ready for Princess Nymeria series and if possible write the first draft for the first book too
  • Write 10 new short stories (for Blogbattles)
  • Edit the old short stories
  • Carry on the short story series I started (all 3 of them)
  • Write 1000 words 5 days a week
  • Get a short story published in a mag
  • Be regular in emailing my writing accountability partnergiphy-3

Reading:

  • Complete 90 books this year
  • Read at least 12 classics, 25 NetGalley books and finish off all the books I’ve already bought (the ones sitting on my bookshelf) – RMFAO Challenges
  • Read more technical books on writing
  • Read at least 1 biography
  • Finish all the review backlogs200

Blogging:

  • Post more reviews (old and new both)
  • Blog more often (at least twice a month)
  • Make more podcasts
  • Work on YouTube channel
  • Post more fiction stories and flash fiction pieces
  • Start visiting all the blogs and start reading them regularly (like every Sunday or something like that)
  • Create 2 new short ebooks for Newsletter subscriberstumblr_lh3ipufpgo1qavbn4

Miscellaneous:

  • Watch at least a dozen psychological thrillers (both old and new)
  • Finish Sherlock Holmes, Van Helsing, Under The Dome, Shadow Hunters and other series that I’ve started on NetFlix
  • Take guitar classes (this is already started, my teacher is due to come home to teach Vishal and me from next week)
  • Work on my social anxiety
  • Learn public speaking
  • Follow the pescetarian diet for the entire year without slipping (this gets very difficult especially when you’re married to a big time foodie)
  • Meditate more and learn to let go
  • Take spas and relaxing outstation breaks more oftentenor

That’s about it!

I’ll try and read this post again and again throughout the year so that I can get these things done without forgetting about them.

tumblr_no9wagrq8j1thd68eo1_500

What about you? What are your absolutely must-do resolutions for this year?
I hope that you’ll check all the boxes on your to-do list for this year and that you have an absolutely fantastic year ahead!

Ciao ❤

How I Started Writing

How I Started Writing

I’ve been asked this questions more than half a dozen times in the last month alone by my school friends and a few acquaintances, and last week when I had to write this answer for the FAQs section for my website, it got so long that I thought I might as well make it a post and leave a link back to it rather than taking up all the space with a single answer.

It always irritates me whenever anyone pings me on Facebook and start the conversation by saying “I never knew you liked writing” or something on the same lines. It  irritates me because it reminds me of how I let my mother’s expectations get the better of me. It irritates me because I never ever told anyone what I wanted to do, not even my own self. So I thought I’d finally answer this question once and for all.

How I started writing…

Like most writers, I was not a child-writer (you know children who start writing beautiful – or shitty – stories from an early age.) Though I did love reading, or to be more specific stories. Cinderella was my favorite, and because of  being left unattended due to my parents failing marriage, I used to think that I was living Cinderella’s life. Of course, the difference was that my parents were alive (lucky me!)

I used to spend almost all my time in pretend worlds (which now I know are called fictional worlds.) I use to line up all my dolls and bears and other toys upon returning from school and pretended to teach them whatever I learned in my classes that day or play house-house with my dolls and barbies and used to treat my 1.5-acre tree-covered property as a long forgotten island where I lived alone.

Whenever I was sad (which was oddly rare) I used to share my sorrows with my dolls and never real people. I have a disgusting amount of friends – zero to be exact – and I was happy being that way because I hated any company, except when it came to my toys and fictional friends (any guesses? Well, it was Cinderella.)

So I knew that I loved stories and books (and movies), but I found out that I wanted to be a writer on a very special day. I was in 6th grade and as per my school’s curriculum, we had our 1st ever library period in the very first week of starting of that school year.  I was completely mesmerized because my school library was very different than my local library – it was my school library (you know! SCHOOL LIBRARY!)

Of course, the first thing that I wanted to read was a good book, but our Sister Principal gave strict instructions to our Librarian to let us pick books from a particular shelf only. That shelf had some educational mags and some similar uninteresting things and I hated the idea of being restricted. And by that point, my enthusiasm for being in the school library considerably dropped and I began missing my local library.

So like everyone else in my class I picked up whatever I could get my hands on and began leafing through it when all of a sudden I came across a poem. It was named something like The Tree (I’m not sure now), but I was so impressed by that poem that I wrote it down in my new ‘Library Notes’ notebook. Which was huge for me because until that day I never really cared for poetry.

After that I read it again and again, switching between the mag from which I copied it and my notebook, for the entire period. After that whenever I used to go the library (once every week) I used to copy down the poems or articles I found interesting. The thing was I wanted to write so badly that having no idea how to write something on my own, I started to copy whatever I thought was good.

And so on I kept doing till finally, I had to give up those mags for studying references (yeah, I was a nerd.) That was the first time when I actually contemplated becoming ‘one of those people who write all this’ and I remember thinking, after all, there have to be a few dedicated people who wrote stuff for these mags and books? You see, for whatever reason, I was simply not aware at that age that writing is a career option.

After that year I lost my normal library routine because I got caught up in studying to fulfill my mother’s dream of becoming an engineer. And thinking that writing was simply not a career option for me, by any strech of the imagination, I never ever told anyone about it (mostly because I buried this dream so deep inside of me that I barely thought about it again.) That is until I started reading again (and that was after my parents’ divorce at the age of 16.)

I started reading and my grades started dropping (much to my mom and step-father’s discontent.) Still, I kept on reading because that was the only escape I had. I read most of Sidney Sheldon’s books and then started reading Nicholas Sparks. After that, I read Twilight and other few books. Due to the scarcity of time, I used to read only at nights taking out half an hour or one hour out of my study time which would always end up in 4-5 hours of reading.

After that, I never really left reading, no matter how my grades were affected (and this is something I’m really happy about and proud of.)

Then I got into Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering and finally coming to my senses, I rebelled against my mom and step-father in my 2nd year of engineering and dropped out of it, and married Vishal. And after that, everything changed forever because I finally started thinking about what I wanted to do. Still, it took me some time to finally realize that I can become a writer and start writing whatever I wanted to. So after I did 3D Animation Film Making I got straight down to it. I created The Reading Bud and thought of starting with baby steps by writing reviews of books I read.

And then later I started this blog, and here I am 2 years later with my first book getting published and already half way through my second novel 🙂