As the unpredictable 2020 is over and 2021 has arrived with the vaccine, I have decided to focus on the things that I really either want to learn or want to do for the entire year of 2021.
I wasn’t able to blog as much as I planned to in the last couple of years, but 2020 was a better blogging year for me and I plan to continue it through this new year too. So here is a list of things that I plan to do in 2021.
Plans for 2021
Complete 3 levels in my piano class
Complete and give exam for French A1
Finish Sinister Town
Finish the Writing Book
Read 80 books
Start WOW – Word Of The Week, the weekly feature which I discontinued a couple of years ago
Start a monthly flash fiction challenge
Lose weight – as much as I can
Strengthen my bones, especially my left leg
Work on my back – lumbar spine, to strengthen it
Go meat-free most of the week and eventually for an entire month
Start submitting articles to a magazine or newspaper
Participate in one writing competition
Gain 1000 YouTube Subscribers
Gain 5000 Instagram Followers
Stay away from toxic people – already on it!
Concentrate on and be more grateful for all the good things around me
Try and not adopt another cat
Spend more time with my fur-babies
Learn candle making (probably through an online workshop)
Start learning guitar
Develop a habit to meditate for 10 minutes 2 times a day daily
Write every day – a bit of a stretch, but we’ll see.
So there it is! I will be re-visiting this post in 6 months and we’ll see how it goes.
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.
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.
Hello, dear readers. I missed March Monthly Updates post but didn’t want to miss April as well, therefore, I thought that even though I am a bit late I’ll go ahead and do a quick update post.
I participated in Camp NaNo with a target of 30K words, but all I managed to write were 20K words. Though I did manage to revise a couple of thousand words, around 8K so overall I’m still happy with my progress.
I am working on 3 books simultaneously so at times it gets hard to track the progress individually, though I’m making steady progress with 2 of the 3 works and the 3rd one is coming along slowly as it is in its early stages.
Lost Man’s Lane (Miss Butterworth #2, Mr Gryce #by Anna Katherine Green – 5/5
Kill Code by Clive Fleury – 4/5
We Call It Monster by Lachlan Walter – 4/5
Aristophania(The Kingdom of Azur #1) by Xavier Dorison – 3/5
The Magicians: Alice’s Story by Lilah Sturges – 1/5 – DNF
Hotel Dare by Terry Blass – 4/5
A Promise Of Return by Rebecca Crunden – 4/5
A Dance Of Lies by Rebecca Crunden – 4/5
Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tehereh Mafi – 3/5
The Circular Study (Miss Butterworth #3, Mr Gryce #10) – 4/5
Out of these Lost Man’s Lane and The Circular Studies were free audiobooks from Librivox and Shatter Me was a paperback. Rest of them were all ebooks.
I joined the swimming classes. I bunked a lot but still, now I know how to float and release bubbles. I will be taking a break this month from swimming as the chlorine is affecting my sinuses and I am getting one-sided headaches again. But I will be resuming in June.
I joined Multifit right at the end of the month and began functional training. It is exhausting, to say the least, but totally worth it!
In new releases, I watched Avengers: Endgame, The Curse Of The Weeping Woman and Pet Sematary.
In old movies, I re-watched Wall-E (twice in April cause I love, love, love that movie), The Magnificient Seven (the old one), Apollo 13, KGF, and a couple more that I am forgetting now.
On Netflix, I watched Black Mirror S1 & S4 and started watching Hemlock Grove.
And obviously, I watched all the episodes of Game Of Thrones S8 on HotStar. I feel that the makers have totally ruined the characters and the plot that GRRM worked so hard to create. TV series can never do justice tot he books, still, the show was going pretty good till S6, but from S7, essentially the part where the show left the books behind, everything feels rushed and incomplete and… off. GRRM anyway hasn’t given away the original ending so the books are anyway not spoiled. Now I’m eagerly waiting for the TV series to be over and the books to come out soon!!
I created my IGTV Channel! You can follow it through my IG profile: @CrazyCatWriter.
That’s about all I can remember from April (it’s been almost half a month since April ended so it’s hard to remember), but I’m sure I covered all the main things I did. I hope you all had a fabulous April as well. May is getting hotter in India, and hopefully this year the rains will come sooner than usual. Do share about how your Camp Nano went and what you’ve been up to last month.
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…
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.
Finish Sinister Town and get it beta read.
Complete all the stories for the short story collection Alone In The Dark.
Write the first draft of 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.
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.
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 🙂
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.
Continue learning German.
Blog more – both in terms of writing posts as well as visiting 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.
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, 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 regime 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 month 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.
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.
For now, my focus is solely on getting Sinister Town 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.)
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 severe 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.)
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 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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:
Lil’ munchkin after a couple of days we got her
Posing for the cam
She used to love sitting on our laptops when she was young
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:
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.
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!
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.
I’ve wanted to learn Thai cuisine for so long that I don’t even remember since when exactly… and finally, I did it!!
2018 has really started out well for me and I’m really grateful for it. Last year Vishal wanted to learn Italian cuisine as he and I both love Italian food, and he loves cooking, so he was very interested in going to an Italian cooking workshop and giving me a surprise by making pasta at home for me. So he searched a contact who taught Italian, but unfortunately, whenever they had Italian workshop, Vishal was busy. So he waited for some time and then gave up and told me about his plan and asked me to do it instead and then teach him so that he can cook Italian for me. Isn’t that sweet!!
Well, I agreed because I love cooking too, though I have already learned Italian twice, so I wasn’t that keen. Still, I registered for the next Italian workshop, but as fate would have it Eva wasn’t well at the time and I had to miss the class. Since then I’ve been waiting for the Italian workshop but it hasn’t been planned since as it is an extensive 2-day course. Luckily the same studio teaches other things as well including Thai cuisine. And when I received their message saying that they have a Thai cooking class on Wednesday (17th Jan’18) I immediately registered. Thankfully I was free and everything worked out! I met some really great people and learned some amazing Thai recipes.
Here’s what all I learned:
Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad)
Tom Yum Soup
Nam Prik Pow Relish
Tofu and Paneer Satay with Peanut Sauce
Pad Thai Noodles
Thai Green Curry
Thai Red Curry
Jasmine Steamed Rice
Thai Basil Fried Rice
Lemon Grass Coconut Milk Pudding With Tropical Fruits
Pad Thai Noodles
Thai Basil Fried Rice
Paneer & Soy Satay
Thai Green Curry
Thai Red Curry
Jasmine Steamed Rice
Nam Prik Pow
I’ll be trying these dishes next week as I need to get all the proper vegetables (some are really hard to find like Kaffir Lime Leaves and Galangal) and hope it turns out as good as these.
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! 🙂