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March 03, 2016

Winning the Tulip fields

One more day to go! The Times Women's Drive is waiting behind the next sunrise. So many exciting things have been happening, all at once. We were asked to come up with our winning strategy. That got me wondering, what does this trip mean to me? Why am I doing t his? Do I eye the 4.5 L prize money? Wouldn't be unwelcome but all I sincerely hope is I can reach Goa without much confusion. The tulips appear monstrous, hard to tame, right now. Why such a gentle name for this navigation tool? So basically, we have to figure out the route looking at the tulips and maintain the given speed and hope to reach the Time Control posts at the exact required time! Timing each short run is going to be a task. Especially for me, who can't focus much when tasks run on parallel threads.

This is the first time my five-year-old will be away from me. Today morning he asked me, “ Can fathers cook and wash dishes? ” That is what I want to find out too. My pre- teen is being groomed to fill my shoes. Basically, that means pampering the little one. My husband is showing the symptoms of an impending stressful weekend. But my pre-teen is super excited that he will have me off his back for a couple of days. He knows basic cooking. Has served as my dosa maker, carrot grater, garlic crusher etc. I do have a brooding suspicion that he helps me out in the kitchen to get out of his studies.

Signing up for this has opened up so many doors to different creative experiences. So many ideas, so much planning. Out on the road, I hope to discover new paths, new people, new facts about myself and the world. It is an attempt to come out of all the protective layers I have kept for myself and my family. This is a much-required disruption of normalcy to get us seeing life from a different angle.

Leaving behind all discouragement, doubt and despair, zooming towards beautiful bends and rocky terrain. Winning over the road is only the first step, succeed over secret fears that could be holding me back. Any other additional wins will be the icing on the cake.

February 29, 2016

Precious People

Life changes at the fraction of a second. Sometimes for the better, other times for the worse. We never get enough warning about what is coming. So we need to pause every now and then, and listen to what our heart has to say. Warning lights may twinkle in all sorts of hues. It is important to see everything and look everywhere. Take a break to soothe the aching feet, the tired shoulders. There is nothing more important than time spent with yourself!

Slowing down and leaving a room in a mess, is absolutely perfect! Headaches should not be forgotten after a Crocin. You have to find the root cause and eliminate it. In the same note, every hurt and pain must be pondered thoroughly and not shrugged away. The avalanche of chores could bury your much-awaited sip of tea or coffee. But don't let it. You need to eat, there's no point in waiting for everyone at home to eat. Small things we do for ourselves, take us one step ahead.
I have often heard, add life to your days and not the days, to your life. Isn't both important? We need days and we need the life in them. Trudging along, drooping shoulders pulling a humungous weight isn't exactly a good picture for every day. I think it is supremely important to let go of the little trophies and grab a piece of red velvet cake and cherish it. You don't have to excel, at all times. Excellence is not measured in the awards gathering dust on your mantelpiece. Stop measuring it against the laurels your children bring home and the exotic dishes you serve. Some dishes burn to restore order in this chaos and clamour.

Statistics tell us there is an increase of cancer in India but there is also a decrease in death rate. What are Indians doing, unaware, that takes the disease on the rise? Seemingly inconsequential habits, slowly building up a system about to trip us up. Once a friend of mine was telling me how carefully waste management is done in the part of the world she lives in( a tiny corner of Europe). That is something we need to take serious note of. We just assume we are safe if we dump it far enough. How we pollute, we don't give much thought. It all comes back to the same earth and the same air. We have no escape. We reap, what we sow. An indifferent attitude is what allows unhealthy practices to flourish. Until we are afflicted, we turn a blind eye.

Looking at the statistics, again, 70% cases present in advanced stages. That lowers the survival rate significantly. Why is that happening? Are the symptoms discarded as routine aches and exhaustion? Not only women, men too ignore the warning signals our body sends us. We need to pay attention to every tiny part of our bodies. It is not an unnecessary alarm, as most women are told when we feel those intuitions. Trust your instincts. No harm is asking for help, getting checked. Early detection is the only way to beat cancer. It is a war and better locate the enemy as early as possible. 
We have to be more sensitive to our needs. Physically, emotionally, gastronomically and every other single way that is there to please ourselves. We are a precious people! You have to seek and find what gives you happiness.There is no sin in having fun, so there should be no guilt. Your fun and frolic better be on the agenda!   
We also need to disturb our daily set routines. When life falls into a recurring pattern, it gathers dust. It makes you numb to passion, excitement.You need to just shake it up a bit. You have to find your way into an unknown terrain. You will learn more about you and the world in the process, and inspire others too! All said and done, from a high horse, it still an unfair, unstable world. Be on the alert, gather information and take complete charge of your space in this universe. Seek sunshine and be the sunshine.

January 20, 2016

Spotlight on Vengeance Anthology

Designed by Neil D'Silva 

Vengeance -A Sting in Every Tale 
A WRIMO INDIA anthology
Edited by
Sonia Rao 
Disclaimer : Every Cent from this novel goes to Wrimo India to encourage all future aspiring writers. 
Designed by Sujata Patnaik 

A reply to a perceived injustice can take many forms one of which is vengeance. An eye for an eye can only end up making the whole world blind, is what Mahatma Gandhi once said. And it seems to be coming quite true, if latest events world-wide are an indication.

Is there any hope or are we hurtling towards extinction?

Hopefully, the stories will explore some of these questions. But that is on the macro level. It might be easy to look at things objectively, in black and white, when it is other nations involved. Or even other people. We are able to be more forgiving of transgressions when they don’t involve us personally.

But how would one react if they found themselves in the maelstrom of situations that do fall somewhere in the grey area of life? With no definite black and white answers?

How would a jilted lover react in face of infidelity? Or how would a friend avenge the murder of her best friend? Or, is it fair to be punished for a crime that you were not brave enough to prevent?

These and many more questions connected to vengeance have been grappled with in this anthology.

created by Archana Sarat 

Bus number 131 whirred away, pulling its own weight unwillingly. It was one of the many buses to pass through the Relief road, a busy road in the old part of Ahmedabad. Shazia had an option, the crowed 88 or the overcrowded 131. She preferred to be 30 minutes before time to board 131. Her choice was motivated by her love for the palindromic 1-3-1. Her undying infatuation with prime numbers was inexplicable. Nineteen year old Shazia loved numbers, and to be more precise, she adored Mathematics in all its form. She also loved the rules, the principles, the working theorems, the equations which tried to make sense of the majestic menagerie of numbers. She was fascinated even by the mere shape of numbers. She did not remember when or even how her romance with Maths began. But in her earliest memories, she preferred practicing her numbers over the alphabet, she remembered that she recited tables better than her nursery rhymes. She was short and a bit stocky. Also, a couple of shades darker than was acceptable in the marriage market. However, her looks never bothered her, nor did she ever yearn for fairer skin, or thinner body. What she craved was a disheveled mass of hair, for some uncanny resemblance to Einstein, the only pop icon modern science managed to have produced. But her mother plaited her hair, dashing her hopes to ground. She also longed for a pair of spectacles with glasses so thick that it blurred her eyeballs, indicating the wearer’s brilliance. But she, despite getting checked for vision from her mother’s ophthalmologist, was denied the hallowed implement. Thrice. Shazia valued her bus ride a lot. She had to convince Papa to allow her to commute to her college on her own. She had concealed her indignation about needing her father's permission for every little trifle, even after being categorised as an adult by the Government of India. Papa consented only after he was told that Noor too would start using the bus if Shazia were to give her company.

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The editor of the Anthology, Sonia Rao (writer-editor-awardwinningblogger) is the NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison for All-India region. The stories which are part of the anthology are written by Wrimos homed in to Asia::India region. Most of them are also published writers of short fiction and novels.She blogs @ 

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January 19, 2016

Behind the Scenes of "The Sting"

Banner by Neil D'Silva

Writing a story on Vengeance was a very exciting and enlightening process. I strongly believe that most people do nurse secret vengeful desires. Ambitions are often fuelled by some grudge. A desire to give it back to someone who put you down. A harsh teacher, an offensive relative, backstabbing colleagues, an irritating neighbor, the setting options for a revenge story are infinite. However, I chose a home as the background since the wife is always expected to forgive and pretend that nothing is ever wrong. Would a wife be empowered if she were to inflict some physical pain on a cheating husband? Would it liberate her in some way? That is what I have tried to explore in my story the "The Sting."

Getting featured in this glorious anthology along with such brilliant authors does make me swell up in pride. The other stories are so vivid and varied, it really establishes the theory that revenge is indeed lurking in the dark corners of every human mind.

A word on  the other stories in this anthology (I will be updating this section soon)

1. The Beautiful Ratio by Dr.Shewta Garg

A very well written story about two close friends. How deep does friendship go in your lives? Do you feel shattered when someone hurts your friend? For a mathematical genius obsessed with ratios, does statistics of the dead give closure?

2. The murder of a dying man by Archana Sarat

Well-paced thriller with a good twist. Sometimes death of one person means life to another. Do 15 minutes of justice help someone overcome the grief of losing a loved one?

3. That which does not kill you by Neil D'Silva

What drives people to suicide? Is it really an act of vengeance? This well-crafted story tries to explore the emotions that drive lovers to suicide. An amazing twist in the tale does make this an exciting read.