They say, ‘the best thing comes at the end!’

They say, ‘the best thing comes at the end!’

As I was signing off the other day from the office, the main door guard asked me,

“have you written this book?”

“Yes”, I said, not expecting that question.

“It is nice, I have read two pages!”, she said. And I was taken aback.

I wasn’t expecting it from her. I killed the stereotype thoughts that were about to come in my mind.

“If I gift you, will you read it?” I asked.

“Yes”, with a broad smile and twinkle in her eyes, she said.

And I wished her to follow her dreams, thrive with dignity in whatever she does!

#serendipity #Booktalk #7UntoldSecretsofLivingAbroad

How do you handle nervousness?

How do you handle nervousness?

“Were you nervous on the stage?”

A good friend had asked after I came from the book launch.

“A little. Actually more than a little until I was on the stage”, I replied.

“How did you manage?” He got curious.

“Sachin Tendulkar has played 200 Test matches, scored a hundred centuries. Do you recollect his body language every time he was at 88 and till he crossed the 100 mark – a little nervous, trying to focus hard? Being persistent, ” I took a pause.

He was nodding his head in an Indian style.

“And we are talking about ‘The legend’ of a game! I have just started out. Nervousness is part of the human wire. It helps to focus and practise hard. I try to draw inspiration every time I feel anything like that.”

How do you beat the nervousness out of you?

Writer’s block – How did I overcome it?

Writer’s block – How did I overcome it?

Writer’s block is a state where you are not able to create or write something original. In essence, you are stuck at a point and seems to hit a dead end. ‘Block’ sounds too harsh and extreme, I would say it is a temporary state that you would overcome, eventually!

There may be many reasons for getting stuck at a point.

  1. Procrastination: Avoiding doing what is required or postponing it for another day/ time/ weather! “I will do it in my room because that is the place I decided to write at” “Tomorrow morning would be better” “Let me think more, and then I will put it all together in one shot”… could be among the stories you may be telling yourself to postpone.
  2. Perfection: You want to write a perfect story the moment you start typing. You are in a reader’s mode and trying to evaluate your thoughts and looking for an ideal word/ sentence/ scene that will impress the reader. 
  3. Conflicting thoughts: You have many ideas for a single scene, but you are not able to choose the best. ‘The best’ keeps you away from even getting to an ordinary.
  4. Waiting for inspiration to write?
  5. What the readers may love?

There is no one formula. None is perfect either.

Potential ways to deal based on my experience:

  1. Talk to the characters: Well, you really can, if you try: I love this. I did talk to the words. They will respond. Try. It is to experience.
  2. Read a book: Most would advise doing so. It worked the most for me. Reading is the second-best for writing. When you are stuck, thoughts can get untangled while reading. I completed two books reading while I was writing my book. I would suggest reading some light, easy books from another category than what you are writing about, to avoid getting influenced. I read Animal Farm by George Orwell (for the nth time), and This is Marketing by Seth Godin while writing my book!
  3. Don’t try to be perfect: Chances to get ‘that picture-perfect’ short in the first attempt is low, though you should try but not get stuck with that. There is a reason why a book is called a draft, then becomes a manuscript and then a final product. If Bollywood stars inspire you, they also – try, improve, rehearse several times over and over to get close to perfection.
  4. Keep jotting down your ideas: I remember stopping at the middle of the road to jot down some fleeting ideas on my mobile to build upon later. Capture the ideas in whatever means you have handy than trying to recollect what that idea was later!
  5. Don’t push too hard to write and get frustrated for not being able to. Every athlete takes a break after performing. Even the mean machine that runs on the F1 track must make a pit stop to ensure it makes it to the finishing line! Listen to your body and give it a break when needed though not for days together.
  6. Do what you love: I would either play with my son or eat (that shot my weight in kgs and reduced options of what I could wear!)
  7. A fixed routine always works so your brain knows what is expected at that point!

Hope some of it will work for you.


7 Untold Secrets of Living Abroad’ is my first book and is #1 Best Seller on Amazon India.

#BehindtheScene #WritersBlock #7UntoldSecretsofLivingAbroad

How is it to celebrate festivals abroad?

How is it to celebrate festivals abroad?

As a kid, I used to wait for the evening of the Dussehra festival. I would go to the nearby temple with my cousins and friends. On the open ground within the premises of the temple, huge effigies of the mythological character Ravana along with his two brothers would be erected. The effigies would be stuffed with firecrackers. An energetic lad disguised as Hanuman would be seen entertaining the crowd with his mace (gada). Little kids would release fire-tipped arrows from a distance, hitting Ravana’s chest and setting the effigy on fire.

I would clap and shout along with my tribe, watching the effigies collapse head-first, on the ground. The festival is a symbol of victory of good over evil, and I would run back home feeling elated and victorious as if it were I who had personally destroyed evil! I would then visit each house in my colony to exchange Apta leaf (bidi tree leaf) called ‘sona’.

When you move to a foreign country, however, even finding a ‘tithi’ can be challenging. Your mom is missed. Your dad is missed, too. And that regional calendar hanging from your kitchen window, listing all the tithis is also missed.

How is it to celebrate festivals abroad? A sneak peek attached from my book, available on Amazon India and worldwide!

#Festival #7UntoldSecretsofLivingAbroad

First draft: Digital or physical?

First draft: Digital or physical?

During the university exams, if you recollect people taking supplement sheets always made others nervous. “Madam, supplement!” and everyone’s head would turn! It would kick in a competitive spirit to join the league soon.

What did writing exam papers did? You were focused – all the senses where at the tip on the pen. You had a mission to reach the finishing line. The more you wrote, the more you could concentrate. Writing your first draft is similar. The blank page staring at you could be scary. Your bad handwriting could make it sweat. But as you fill the pages, you may find your groove. Physical writing is laborious, involves more of you, in turn brings out the best of you!

Digital writing works best when you intend to write specific and short in length – an email, a status message, a blog. Typing draft on a MacBook requires to keep the itch to log on to check mails, read news away. You will scroll the draft to review. You won’t cover the distance. You haven’t built your pieces. You put it off to another day.

Handwritten draft gives you confidence, sense of achievement. Converting to digital gives the first instance to improve it.

What works for you -writing on a piece of paper or typing?