Recovery

So I was living my life normally and started doing some functional training in the month of December (hard-core workouts targeting the core muscles that include crazy-ass cardio, step-ups, weigh-training and kettle-bell lifting along with a lot of burpees and hopping and stuff like that.) So even though I was doing it under the guidance and supervision of a personal trainer, it backfired. My back started hurting followed by a weird pain in my knee, thigh and then feet. I consulted with a spine surgeon and when I got the MRI done (which is an entire horror-story in itself), we came to know that I had spinal disc bulge (a kind of degeneration of the spine.) Now it was multi-factorial so the doctor doesn’t particularly blame my rigorous training though we all knew why it happened so suddenly. Anyway, I learnt my first lesson about being patient and not rushing into things without first considering them and thinking them through.

As the pain started migrating to my leg and my entire left leg started paining, it kind of got unbearable as I wasn’t able to either sit not lie down for any longer than 15-20 minutes and bending was entirely out of question. So it’s not far-fetched to say that my entire life turned upside down when I came across the fact that I could be labelled disabled for life.

Upon consulting another 3 doctors, we decided to go through an entire month of physiotherapy. For that, Vishal took me to a very big Spine Clinic (QI Spine Clinic, KP) but sadly, in spite of my super amazing spine-specialist, it gave me very less relief. The pain subsided sometimes only to return with a vengeance. So, having no other option, we had to go for the other option we had – laser-assisted annuloplasty. The problem was, this procedure was so new in India that rarely any of the doctors I had consulted knew about it (not even the best ones!) So I had to trust my doctor, who is one of the best spine surgeons in our city and went ahead with it. All my other doctors were against it, even my spine expert at the spine clinic, but what option did I have? The problem was, Vishal and I had, kind of stupidly, booked tickets for Egypt for late February and if we didn’t do anything, that trip would either have to be cancelled (in which case we’d lose a lot of money as all the bookings had already been paid for) or we’ll have to just go there and sit in the hotel room taking painkillers. So ultimately, we went ahead with the surgery as our doctor assured us that I can travel after 15 days of the surgery. I was operated on 12th February so 27th seemed okay enough for travelling and sitting in a 6 hr flight.

I was very scared, obviously, as this was my first surgery and my first hospitalisation ever! And I am so phobic to the hospital environment and everything related to it that I cried for an hour before the surgery. I have no idea why doctors say once the anaesthesia is given you can’t feel a thing. I felt quite a lot of things when I had got my root canal done last year and then I felt quite a lot of poking and prodding while getting this surgery done. Though there was no incision, there were a lot of big needles involved along with a laser beam and an HD camera. And I felt them all touching my L4 and L5 spine sections through my lower waist, so it wasn’t pleasant and nor was it entirely painless. But maybe that’s how surgeries are, who knows. Anyway, it’s all in the past now, and, for what it’s worth, I did not keep quiet about the pain, I hollered and cursed at the doctor while he was doing the surgery. *Smirking* That’s about all I remember.

Post-surgery in my room at Grant Medical Foundation – Ruby Hall, Wanowrie

Anyway, it’s been 5 days since the surgery and I can feel very little pain in the nerves and muscles surrounding the area where the needles were inserted, but apart from that, there is no pain that I can feel. Though I am still on painkillers and will be visiting the doctor day after tomorrow to consult and for further course of action (he’s asked me to do some more physiotherapy in order to regain full movement of my back and leg.) Though he had already told me that it will be 6 weeks before I could start walking more than 0.5 km or bending so I’m still going to be on restrictions while I’ll be exploring Egypt. Isn’t that just lovely? But at least I’ll be able to walk and roam around seeing all the beautiful places and pieces.

I’ve had a harrowing month and especially since I’ve been working with an amazing psychiatrist on my mental health as well, I’ve learned a lot in the last two months. I just hope that this year, will be the end of all my health problems and that I can get back to losing weight (which is why I started functional training in the first place.)

While I’m at it, I’d like to share this beautiful quote before ending the post:

The time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself.

โ€“ Douglas Coupland

2019 Resolutions

I know I’m late for this, but I really like doing a resolutions post and I really didn’t want to miss out this year. I’ll try and keep this post as short as I can because if I’d let myself get carried away then this would be one hell of a lengthy post.

So without wasting any time, here’s my list of resolutions for 2019…

2019 Resolutions

Writing:

  • Write 300 words daily. There was a point where I was writing 1200-1500 words daily for over 4 months, but that time is long past and I need to get into the habit of writing every day. So I’m thinking of starting slow and then eventually writing as much as I can.
  • Finishย Sinister Town and get it beta read.
  • Complete all the stories for the short story collectionย Alone In The Dark.
  • Write the first draft ofย Worlds Apart. This one is a new project that I started last November. I only have the vaguest of ideas about this one but it is a good one and therefore I’m going to work on this one, though very slowly.
  • I have another contemporary story that I have to finish, so that is there too.

Reading:

  • Write interesting and more expressive reviews. Since last two years, I feel I’m holding myself back in reviewing books for some reason. So I’ve decided to be more vocal about my feelings, at least relating to the ones that I really liked or disliked.
  • I’m going to read less this year and try to concentrate more on writing. Last year I read a whopping 120 books and that affected my writing pretty badly as I was in a mad rush to read book after book each and every month. So this year, I’m not going to read more than 5 books a month (this is going to be hard because it’s just 12th Jan today and I’ve already read 4 books. Though, I need to do this in order to not let my writing suffer.)
  • I’m planning to read more of horror and contemporary fiction and some cosy mysteries and classics this year.
  • Read more books on writing.
  • Read all the unread books I have on my shelf.

Miscellaneous:

  • I already maintain a gratitude journal, so I’ll continue having that.
  • I’m going to try and go for morning walks as much as I can – this gets difficult as Vishal and I walk together and when he is busy and out for work, I tend to stay awake in the night so I don’t go for walks in the morning. Still, I’ll try and do it as much as I can.
  • I’m meeting my nutritionist tomorrow after almost a year as I shifted far away from her clinic, so I’ll be sorting out my diets for the next two months. I’m planning to do Keto, so hopefully, I’ll be able to drop some pounds this year.
  • Invest in a property. I have some savings and I am looking for a nice piece of land to invest that money in. It’s going to be small, but it’s going to be mine ๐Ÿ™‚
  • I am finally going to learn to drive (admitting I don’t know how to drive is embarrassing enough.) I learned driving at the age of 19, but then I never actually got around to driving a car by myself, therefore, I forgot everything. Vishal has promised me to buy a fully automated car for me so that I won’t have to remember the gears (our Honda City has gears and I absolutely dread using a gear), but I still want to learn before that so that I know driving both kinds.
  • Finish watching Orange Is The New Black, Grimm, Dexter and The Walking Dead on Netflix.
  • Learn Mexican cuisine and do a couple more classes related to baking and making loaves of different kinds of bread.
  • Learn swimming.
  • Continue learning German.
  • Blog more – both in terms of writing posts as well as visitingย my old friends and making some new ones.
  • I’m also going to try and spend more quality time with Vishal and the girls by trying to be less online which I’ve already started doing since last year. That’s why I’m posting less on Fb and Twitter and even the blogs than I used to.

That’s it for me. I’m going to focus my energy on this list and see what this year has in store for me. Happy New Year to you all.

Ciao โค

Getting Back In The Groove

Finally, after almost 1 and a half years, since Eva’s arrival and the start of my health issues (both unrelated, of course), I am feeling like myself again. After such a long break, I have also started re-working on my 2nd novel,ย Sinister Town, with the kind of energy I always seemed to have before things started to get sour in regards to my health. Lately, I’ve even started with my fitness regimeย again, though that is coming along a bit slowly. But I’m in a kind of a happy place now where I am doing all the things that I love doing and I am not sick nor coughing my lungs out the entire time.

Though my medical tests are still pending, I’m positive whatever it was is long past and now all that remains is for me to conquer the world again (see, that’s how good I’m feeling.) And it’s not that I’m just feeling good now, or this week. This has been the case from last two monthย since I’ve recovered from my last allergy bout. And that is the reason why I’ve been able to blog again to my heart’s content in the last few days – I’m not only blogging on The Reading Bud and this blog, but I’ve also taken up cooking occasionally again and have started posting on The Baking Bud too.

Eva in our backyard

I guess my last sickness bout made me very appreciative of the life I have; my loving, caring and such a devout husband and my crazily adorable and loving cats, Eva and Katie, and also the ever-goofy and always smiling Max. With so much love around me, I guess I’ve not only bounced back to being well but that I’ve been able to come back in a much better frame of mind.

Katie lazing around

For now, my focus is solely on gettingย Sinister Townย ready for my alpha and beta readers and then polishing the dark short story collection I’ve been meaning to work on for some time. I’m also trying to read more and incorporate cooking regularly, more and more, into my daily schedule.

I’ll try and post here more (at least once a week) even if just a life update kind of a post as I hate not being in touch with blogging here. I’ll also try and visit all my favourite blogs more often (haven’t done it in so long that I’ve almost forgotten how great it feels to read everyone’s posts.)

Ciao โค

Max Is Coming Back Home

Okay… so let me start from the beginning…

We got 40 days old Max home on 10th April 2019 and everything was going great until, after exactly 13 days, Vishal rescued Whisky, a 10-15 day old kitten that V found outside a bakery on the side of the road while getting some pastries. Because Whisky was suffering from severeย malnutrition, Vishal and I dedicated most of our time to taking care of Whisky which somehow, unbeknownst to us, led Max to feel neglected.

He started to get needy and when, after a month, Katie – another rescued kitten whom I got home for fostering, arrived at our home (a day after Whisky was adopted) the same thing happened all over again, only more because Katie’s voicebox was ruptured having spent a rough couple of days on the road fighting with bigger cats (as per rescuer’s information.) Katie’s delicate age – 1 month, and her broken voice instantly led me to fall in love with her like a crazy protective cat-mom and I spent even more time with her trying to establish trust and a bond with her to bring her out of her shell (Katie was a tiny little thing who jumped and hid even at the sound of someone laughing.) That led to a disaster and Max, who adored Eva and even Katie started to get very needy and started barking at both the girls a lot. He also developed some anxious ticks such as barking obsessively to gain our (and whoever’s happened to ring doorbells in our neighbourhood) attention, obsessive chewing of rugs and furniture and overall he got overwhelmed because of being tied most of the day (that was because of Eva who was not yet comfortable with Max invading her space.)

 

Look at that adorable face!

On top of all this, the trainer who was training Max turned out to be a bad match for him as he was not able to train Max properly and it backfired very badly. So, overwhelmed, frustrated and helpless, Vishal asked his friend to keep him for a few days so that we all could get some time to recuperate and regroup. Vishal loved Max a lot and he hated to be parted from him, and so did I, but by then we had decided to adopt Katie as I had a feeling that only we could have taken care of such a young kitten with broken voicebox (I still feel that no one else can love Katie more than me and no one could have cared for her better.) So anyway, Vishal left Max with his friend, who also had a German Shepherd named Kaiden, for 15 days.

While at Vishal’s friend’s place, Max got along with Kaiden so well that we all thought that it was best if he was given more time with him. The best part was that V’s friend was a breeder a couple of years ago and knew how to handle and train dogs. He did a lot of work on Max and with Kaiden to teach him good things and ways to behave properly, Max got to learn a lot with them both. And now finally, we’re bringing him back home. This time we’re making sure not to foster any kittens and to give Max our 200% love and attention. We’re also planning to hire another trainer (someone who’ll be the right fit for Max’s crazy amount of energy) and to get him analysed by a pet behaviourist. We both are so happy that finally, we can do for him what we had wanted to do for these couple of months. I guess, sometimes doing the right thing for one being can harm someone else. So we’ll just pause the fostering for now and concentrate on Max for the next couple of months at least.

I’m just happy that Max is coming back and that Vishal and I are getting back our fur-son and Eva and Katie are getting back their sibling ๐Ÿ™‚

Will keep you guys posted on our progress.

Ciao โค

My Writing Corner

Most of the writers don’t like to write in one place. And I am no different. I write wherever I feel like writing and it heavily depends on my mood as one day I find the living room very appealing and the next day I seem to find inspiration in the study room while at other times I prefer writing on the dining table in the dining area because I can see every corner of my house from there. But still, there is always one place in a writer’s home that is lovingly known as the “writing corner”, and for me, it is my home office – our study room.

My writing corner โค

I have my very own desk which is actually pretty big and has two side extensions – two smaller tables with compartments – one for the desktop and one for the printer, I suppose. I keep my printer on the desktop table because I rarely use my desktop (and that too only as a hard drive for storing stuff that my Mac can’t store as it has got a massive storage capacity.) And I use the smaller table to keep my papers of the current project (god only knows how many papers I have scattered around the entire house!)

Also, I have a very snazzy and super comfortable chair that not only revolves but also reclines! Both, the desk and the chair were a gift from Vishal who himself has the same setup on the other side of the room (only his desk is pretty neat and has less of pens and papers and more of his layouts and designs and venue lists neatly stacked.

On the right-hand side of my desk (left side in the pictures) there a big window that gives me the view of the balcony outside the room and the gigantic Gulmohar tree that sprawls across our front garden. And the best part is that lots of birds, especially parrots, hang out on the lush branches of this amazing tree. We’ve also set up a small bird feeder right in the corner fo the balcony grill so they come there for that as well. And I cannot imagine a better place to sit in and think about and write my stories.

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 haveย 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:

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.ย 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 sometimesย 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 โค

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 Iย 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

As a child of a functioning alcoholic, I have seen domestic violence at very close quarters. Though not a direct victim myself, my father loved me too much, I do know how it is as my mother was always on the receiving end. Having stayed up most of the nights with my mother, standing between her and my drunk father playing the role of a shield, I know very well what it feels like to be subjected to it, how it affects everyone around, and its long-term consequences.

I’d been a helpless observer of domestic violence since the age of 4 (as that is the age I started understanding things better) and I, for one, have a very strong stand against it. My mother was a sweet woman and, just like many other housewives in India, firmly believed that she needed a man to take care of her, another line of thought I strongly stand against and which often created a lot of issues between me and her as I wanted her to leave him. But in the end, we both managed to speak up against it, although it took a long time. But we did and that was the end of it. I was 12 by the time domestic violence completely stopped in our home because of the steps we took. After that my home was only filled with fights and hatred, but that’s another matter altogether. Coming back to the topic, The only suggestion I’d like to share for anyone still sufferingย from domestic violence is toย SPEAK UP! Do not take it and do not let your loved ones take it. Itย will take a lot and might cost you much more than you can think, in order to stop it you’ll inevitably have toย speak up. And in the end, it would be worth it; if not immediately then eventually.

No one has the right to abuse anyone, whether it be physically, mentally or emotionally. We allย are educated human beings and it is time that we act like it. 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, neither in your home nor outside because it is simply not acceptable.

Let us pledge to Speak Up every time someone, anyone, needs help. If it your neighbour, then dial 100 and call the cops if you can’t go to their place and ring their doorbells.ย 

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 andย 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.ย 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,ย 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 Mattersย 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 lotย 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! ๐Ÿ™‚

Ciao โค

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.ย Schools and colleges conduct flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural events. Major government buildings are often adorned with strings of lights.ย In Delhi and some other cities, kite flying adds to the occasion.ย National flags of different sizes are used abundantly to symbolise allegiance to the country.ย 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.ย 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

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 โ€“ 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 โ€“

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,ย 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. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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 โค

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 withoutย 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.

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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 โค

How I Started Writing

In the last six years of my writing career (as of 2019 end) I’ve been asked this questions now and again so I thought that I’ll write up a post on it as I am better at writing than verbally explaining my feelings and thoughts.

It always irks me whenever someone, generally an old friend or acquaintance, pings me or sends me a random DM and begin the conversation by saying “I never knew you liked writing” or something on the same lines. It bothers me because it reminds me of how I let someone else’s expectations get the better of me and forgot, for the major part of my life, what I really wanted to be. It irritates me because I never ever told anyone what I wanted to do, not even my own self. I think I simply didn’t dare to dream about it because it was something unimaginable as no one around me was doing it. So I thought I’d finally answer this question once and for all.

How I Started Writing

Unlike most writers, I wasย notย a child-writer (children who start writing beautiful – or shitty – stories from an early age.) Though I did love reading, or to be more specific, I loved stories. Cinderella was my ultimate favorite, not because she ends up being a princess but because, unfortunately, I was able to relate to the first half of her life more than I can still relate to anything else. I belong to a dysfunctional family and suffered from dysthymia from a very early age so I knew how being unloved and unwanted felt. I used to think that I was living in Cinderella’s life.

I used to spend almost all my time in pretend worlds. I used 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 with my dolls and barbies cooking food with my kitchen sets and feeding my deal mute friends. I was an introvert and was scared of letting people in my life openly so I have barely any friends. Not to mention, I had no best friend. So, I used to pretend that my 1.5-acre tree-covered property was a long-forgotten island where I lived alone. My father was either busy with his business, or friends or drinking and my mother with her special friends, so you see I had a lot of time to myself as I was barely ever in their company.

I had a very elaborate and distinct imagination and as a result of spending most of my time in my own imaginary worlds and being busy talking to either with myself or my toys, I was rarely sad (which might seem odd if you belong to a normal family but I developed a very complex defence mechanism at a very young age.) I used to share my sorrows with my dolls and neverย realย people. My dad loved me but had barely any idea what I was dealing with and my mum simply didn’t love me (she has gone through some bad stuff in her life because of which she has detachment issues.) And as far as I remember I was okay, if not happy, being that way because it was normal for me to be this way.

So I knew that I loved stories and books (and movies), but I found out that I wanted to be aย writerย 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 ofย starting ofย that school year. ย I was completely mesmerizedย because my school library wasย veryย different than my local library – it was myย schoolย 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 itย when all of a sudden I came across a poem. It was named something likeย The Treeย (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 to 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. That was the first time when I actually contemplated becoming ‘one ofย thoseย people who write all this’ and I rememberย thinking, after all, there have to be a few dedicated people who wrote stuff for these mags and books?ย You see, for whatever reason, I was simply not aware at that age that writing was an actual career option.

After that year I lost my normal library routine because I got caught up in studying toย fulfilย my mum’s dream of becoming an engineer. And thinking that writing was simply not a career option for me, by anyย stretchย 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 mum and step-father’s annoyance.) 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 a few other 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 mum 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 reallyย 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 to see if I could write something original, and here I am 6 years down the road with a published novel of my own and working on another 3 books.

Takeaway:

Don’t be afraid of dreaming because that is the way you let the Universe know what you want in life. Dream, imagine, believe and work towards it with all you’ve got and soon you will have what you had dreamt of.

5th Wedding Anniversary

Introducing Vishal, the most amazing husband to ever walk on the face of the Earth:

Vishal <3
Vishal โค

I guess this is the first time that I’m actually posting Vishal’s photos on my blog and fankly, I don’t even know why I didn’t post them before… From now on I’ll make it a point to post more of our pics here ๐Ÿ™‚

Pre-Anniversary celebrations:

Again, Happy 5th Wedding Anniversary Dadda… Here’s something I wrote for you:

Toย Vishal Pardeshi

These 5 years have been the most amazing and the most romantic 5 years of my life. Living with you has been an absolute joy and truly an honour for someone like me, who never believed in love and marriage. I’m really lucky to have met you in this life because you are the best human being on the face of the Earth (and you know that I mean it literally!)
You not only taught me the real meaning of happiness but also taught me how to love passionately. You made me believe in myself and my capabilities and gave my life a completely new and much better direction. I owe you my life and the very core of my being…
Thank you for always being there whenever I needed you and, most of all, for saving me from myself…
I love you more than I can ever express and more than that you can ever imagine.ย 

Your and only yours โค โค
HRP

This is a "not-so-good" pic of us where V and I, both, are having a bad hair day. But still, I think it's a cute pic <3
3 years ago: This is a “not-so-good” pic of us where V and I, both, are having a bad hair day. But still, I think it’s a cute pic โค

Here’s the same message on Fb:

And here’s the tweet:

I hope you guys are having a great day.

Ciao โค

Happy New Year-2016!!!

Hello, everyone!

A very Happy New Year to each and every one of you. May this new year be filled with loads of happiness and amazing things for you and your loved ones. May all your wishes be granted and may all your wounds be healed…

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Here’s to 2016!

2016 is going to be an amazing year, but the only thing you have to do to make it a reality is to believe… So close your eyes for a sec and imagine a wonderful year ahead of you filled with joys and opportunities and I promise it’ll turn into reality in the blink of an eye.

Be happy, be blessed but more than anything – be grateful, for all the big and small things you have and all the people you have in your lives…

Have a great year ahead guys!

Ciao<3

 

Some Interesting Updates (Reasons for why you saw less of me lately in the blogosphere!)

Hello everyone!

It’s been quite some time since I last visited most of your blogs and you probably didn’t even notice till NOW (psssst!) but well, I’m here to remind you… ๐Ÿ™‚

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Lately I’ve been getting a lot of mails regarding content-writing (which I’ve got myself involved into fromย January 2015) and also for reviewing a lot of books, so finally I decided to have review contributors for my baby-blog The Reading Bud. I had no clue as to how to ask anyone so I just posted a small message that I’m looking for review contributors for my book-blog on Goodreads’ RMFAO (my book club) and on TRB’s Facebook. I’ve already received a few participants and I’ve selected 2 out of them, but I’m willing to have more people as there are a lot of review-requests.

Wait… right now I’m wonderingย “why the heck did I not post it on my blogs?”… duh! No worries, I’ll do it now…

I’m in need of a reviewer/contributor who’ll help me review titles that my blog, The Reading Bud, receives for reviewing.

It doesn’t matter whether you already have a blog or not. The only thing I’m looking for is the will to read and review books honestly.

If you are new to reviewing then don’t worry, I’ll help you with the process and everything.

Contact me at: thereadingbud@gmail.com

That said and done, I have a good news… nope! not that! God! It’s something related to writing… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Felicia of Thoughtful Minds United has promoted me to the position of Editor on her blog. I’ve been a writer at TMU since last 4 months (you can read my articles here) and now I’m one of the editors. For those of you who don’t know,ย Thoughtful Minds United is a blog by Felicia, where a number of writers from around the world come together and create awesome content and lately we’ve started proving services as well.ย If you haven’t already checked itย out then please visit it here.

Editing an English language document

If you are interested in guest-posting on TMU then please Contact Me.

Another update is that I’ve raised my bar a bit high in fitness and have started walk/jogging 7 kms daily… ๐Ÿ™‚

feeling-accomplished

So this is what is keeping me from visiting all your blogs! I’m really missing all your awesome posts! I guess I’ll be free in another week and then will visit all the blogs and check out what you all have been upto these past few days…. be ready to have your notifications getting flooded next week ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have a great week โค

Workout Progress #2

Hi guys, I hope that you all are having a great day!

I’m more than happy to let all of you know that I’ve been sticking to my schedule and diets for the last one month and I’m amazed to see the difference by doing just basic stuff. All of you have been a great source of inspiration and help to me. THANK YOU ALL for all the encouraging comments and new ideas (in Workout Progress #1)

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I’ve finally started drinking green tea once every other day and I’m actually starting to like it a bit ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve also started making infused water and keeping my jug filled all the time! Thanks to all of you again!

After keeping my activities quite light and the diets very strict, I’m planning to alter both for this month. I’ll be increasing the level of my activities a tad and include some foods in my diet (as all the walks leave me hungry like an ogre!) What I’m planning to do this month:

  • 5 kms walk + 1 km jog everyday
  • 2 sets of 20 lunges and squats everyday
  • 15 minutes stretching everyday
  • 20 Surya Namaskar every week: 5 Surya Namaskar 4 days a week (Mon, Wed, Friday, Sunday)
  • 45 minutes of Zumba 3 times a week (Tue, Thur, Sat)
  • Atleast a glass of infused water and 1 glass of fresh juice.
  • 2 cups of green tea everyday
  • Adding 1 piece of chicken/fish twice a week and eggs every alternate day with oats. Also alternating oats with filling (but healthy) breakfast options like Salami sandwich, omelettes, parathas, etc.
  • Drinking a cup of milkย every night.
  • And having dinnerย strictly before 7:30ย every night.

I’m extremely excited to do all these things! I’ve already started doing some of the aforesaidย things and so far I’m feeling quite comfortable. All the exercise makes me very tired and sleepy and as a result, I’ve stopped taking sleeping pills (I’m off all the pills and I feel amazing!)

On a side note, here’s a card for all of you that I just made:

HVD

Now I’m off to find my recipe journal for V’s valentine day surprise… Caramel Custard and Chocolate Brownie ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m gonna be extremelyย busy tomorrow making these treats and keeping V from sneaking into the kitchen ๐Ÿ˜‰ What are your plans this Valentine’s day? Are you making something special or going out or simply taking a day off…???

Ciao โค

Being Unconventional

made by me!
made by me!

Life is too short to worry about each and everything that we do. Sometimes itโ€™s liberating to ditch what people think is the correct way to liveโ€ฆ Being unconventional makes you feel free, well atleast it makes me feel free! Being an Indian one might think that Iโ€™m totally surrounded by orthodox people, but thatโ€™s not the casunconventional-lifee. Luckily Iโ€™ve had parents, specially my fatherโ€™s family, who believe in oneโ€™s freedom and space. My husband V, is my soulmate, he also believes in doing whatever feels right, no matter how bizarre it may be for others. My momโ€™s not typically orthodox but she does worry about what everyoneโ€™s gonna think. The way I see it, this way she gives others the power to decide everything for her. Seeing the difference between her and my father, I very well chose to be like him (genetically also I’m more like my fatherโ€ฆ thanks to the gene-genies!) Unfortunately, many people let problems and work take over their lives. They forget to live in small moments. Not everyone is lucky or brave enough to do things the way they want to. I strongly believe in doing what I like and I also try to encourage everyone close to me to do so. Here are some things that I do and I think that everyone should do some of these at least once:

  1. Have an ice-cream when itโ€™s really cold outside.
  2. Try and have a good laugh at-least once a day.Felix_the_Cat_laughing
  3. Watch your favourite sitcoms or movies or whatever it is that you enjoy.
  4. Read at-least one book in a month or two (if you donโ€™t already!)
  5. Try and be good to your maids, servants, watchmen or whoever helps you everyday.
  6. Listen to a song that you love and sing along ALOUD. You donโ€™t have to be Adelle to sing, just sing for yourself!sponge-bob-sing-sponge-bob-coloring-pictures
  7. Get a stuffed animal, name it and talk to it whenever you feel like (no harm in living your childhood again!)
  8. Go to a cafe to have your favourite coffee in your favourite cute pink and white pyjamas! Even if youโ€™re a guy.large
  9. Understand that sometimes itโ€™s okay to sit quietly and do nothing.
  10. Itโ€™s okay to have a bad hair day, after all youโ€™re not Jennifer Aniston.
  11. When life getโ€™s too rough, just take a day off.3-day-off
  12. It’s totally fine to have a breakdown once in a while.
  13. Someday wake up at 5 am just to have a cup of coffee!coffee-cup-bean
  14. Treat yourself every once in a while to things that you control/ stop yourself fromโ€ฆ like fries or cheese burst pizza!
  15. Have a internet-free day once every monthโ€ฆ no fb, no blog, no mail peeping.2807100863_4878e36d73_z
  16. Get a full body message/spa once a month.
  17. Itโ€™s okay to cry yourself to sleep if you need to or if you feel like it.10062aac28457afc03a42b9e00e2254b
  18. Bathe in the sun every now and then.

Just do whatever you feel like. Remember, it’s YOUR life and you can do things the way you like! 539db8bcaa12f84db68d6b79344d89d8 - CopyWhat is your idea of being unconventional? Please share them so that even I can learn new ways to be unconventional ๐Ÿ™‚

Have a beautiful day!