February Ramblings : 13 – Turning up

Hello there, you couldn’t be more wrong if you thought I had given up on the ramblings. I couldn’t have chosen a more ominous date to turn up. (This observation is just for theatrical effect, I don’t quite believe in omens.)

I do believe in signs though. I believe that the happenings around us indicate what course the Universe (rather, our inner self) wants us to pursue.

In the last week, several topics have occurred to me. Alas, I have not even made mental notes of them.

So today, I write extempore.

A very radical shift has taken place in my personality in 2018 – both physically and mentally. I have lost quite a few kilos and look leaner (not meaner 😛 ). I carry a feeling of complete control about me. My heart and mind are at peace.

How can such a short duration affect such a change is not beyond me though. It is the culmination of my efforts in the last 10 years, towards the development of my worldly skills and deepening of my spiritual understanding.

I have joined an online book club started by an old colleague. It has a small circle of readers of varied ages – typically 30-70s. The purpose is to read books with strong messages for self-development. We have read one book – Man’s Search for Meaning. The next one is Adela Cathcart.

The latter is a refreshing read in Classics, because the writer George MacDonald has a quirky way of describing people, places, and events. I’m almost through Volume 1 and feel a strange kinship with Adela and the protagonist of John Smith’s first story. I leave you be without spoilers…

I have also joined a Toastmasters  Club, attended one meeting as a guest, and spoken on a Table Topic – What do you think is the Universal Truth about becoming rich/making money? To sum up my take crisply, I said – you never have enough of it and you always think the grass is always greener on the other side. To further expound, even the richest man/woman on the Earth feels he/she doesn’t have enough money to cover his/her whims. Fancy going to Mars in a SpaceX flight, anyone? Also, money cannot buy everything and it comes at a price. Look at how Steve Jobs lost his health… Most rich people suffer from chronic lifestyle or stress induced illnesses. I rambled on, so to speak, for a minute and 7 seconds and qualified as a speaker. Ta-da!

All in all, this month is going to be exciting as I start actual work on my writing (February Ramblings), reading (Book Club), and speaking (Toastmasters) skills. Here’s to steady progress! Let me know what you have planned for February!

P.S All this while, I’ve been ‘writing’ in a British accent. I don’t know why! Do I hear you exclaim – ‘Dandy!’?

Day 1 : 10 things that make you (me) really happy

This is a real easy prompt.

It takes very little to make me happy.

  1. Cloud patterns
    When I am really sad or just plain saturated, I look at the sky. The cloud patterns at any time of the day remind me of the vastness of life. They are instant mood elevators.
  2. Twilight in solitude
    Continuing from the above, I like to be alone when the first star appears in the evening; the onset of twilight. It makes me all tranquil and happy.
  3. A rose from him
    IMG_20140307_104955 (1)
    In 2007, when Mukesh Ambani bought a jet for his wife, hostel friends were discussing what kind of gifts they would like from their future husbands. I used to say that even a single rose gifted by the special someone will bring a huge smile to my face. That is the only gift I would expect him to give me. And lo behold, the first ever gift (of his own accord) that Abhijeet gave me before our engagement, was a single red rose! Even now, after years, whenever he brings a rose for me, it makes me feel like the happiest girl in the universe.
  4. Cats
    Real or virtual, friendly or distant – cats of all sorts make me happy, as if I am a kid all over again.
  5. Movies that hold special meaning for me
    There are some movies of which I am very possessive. Border, Chupke chupke, Sarfarosh, Hazaaron khwaishen aisi, Dil chahta hai – to name a few. I can see such movies hundreds of times and still enjoy them like the first time I saw them. If I need a happiness booster, and the TV happens to be airing them, it is as pleasant a coincidence as it can be.
  6. Outdoor activities
    I am always game for some gully-cricket, garden badminton or a quick trek. If these activities are with a competitive person(s), it is all the more fun.
  7. Writing
    Although I am a big procrastinator when it comes to actually putting down my thoughts on paper, I am at my happiest best when I am writing. It is akin to a state of complete freedom from all the worldly worries- the Zen state. I wonder if I can call that being happy. 🙂
  8. Shopping
    I seldom spend much. But when I set out shopping, I spend substantially. The whole shopping activity infuses me with a kind of happiness one can only associate with a school kid getting new clothes and textbooks at the end of May. Be it anything – clothes, jewellery, stationery, home decor…etc.
  9. Day dreaming
    I day dream, like any writer would. My day dreams though are more focussed on improving the self. The kind of day dream where I have established a steady daily routine, my desktop and computer hard disk is free of junk files, my closet does not have any unnecessary clothes and I spend my time only on the activities which will help me further my creativity and fitness – is the ultimate ‘happy’ doze for me.
  10. Starting something new
    I have this philosophy that one should never ever settle down ‘ambition-wise’ after having a steady income, a decent home and a loving family with lifelong friends. That is the base of life, the building however has to be built on it with things that you start doing and gradually excel in. So when I start working on something I have always wanted to do, I feel a sudden rush of happiness which is like a kid heading to school on the first day. (Eh yes, I was one of those rare variety of kids who liked school and did not cry on the first day!)

Sabse bada rupaiyya! Is that the whole thing?

This is my usual bout of writing something. Today I want to brood on the importance of being somebody………….I mean how important is it to be a financial success in life? Agreed that if you are after materialistic pleasures,you should definitely have a green pocket. But then should the ultimate goal of your life be that of being a mechanical money minting maniac? Do all,literally all, relationships depend on money as a sole dominant factor?

Now that I shall be entering the ”professional” world, should I aspire of turning into one of those people who have no time to “stop and smell the flowers”? Too many question marks……….aren’t they!(so an exclamation here)

Money is important no doubt. But thinking of hoarding excessive wealth at the cost of day to day life is sheer waste of the magic potion called life. There’s no doubt that a person should be very much self -sufficient financially,especially a girl. In today’s world,with the emergence of upper middle ‘corporate’ class,relationships are weighed on the scale of monetary status rather than the amount of affection. And these relationships can be marital,maternal,paternal,fraternal. Arey even the supposedly unconditional relation of friendship has undergone a radical shift from the standard Krishna-Sudama equation.The Amitabh-Amarsingh alliance speaks volumes about the role money, and hence power,plays in building modern day ‘friendships’.

The reason I stressed upon the need of a girl being financially self-sufficient is that whenever there is even a small tiff between husband-wife, the argument zeroes in on the subject of who earns how much, in time less than it takes for a chain reaction to result into a nuclear explosion.The results though not even remotely comparable, are often disastrous to the extent of divorce.If not to this extent,they create an unhealthy rivalry between both of them for dominating the relationship.If the girl here(thanks to women’s liberation movement) is not earning,she has to endure the mental trauma and put up a smiling face to the world.

I sometimes wonder……………..if money makes such mindless monsters out of men(human beings,if I sound gender biased) with egos higher than Mt.Everest,then why this never ending quest for money;which sets up an illusive & elusive goal of conquering the world?And what exactly is conquering the world?Is it what Hilter seemed to have almost accomplished?Or is it being a ‘business tycoon’ like some very famous personalities; most of whose personal lives are caught in thundering typhoons.What have they gained by making money except material pleasures and a few extra luxuries that you don’t have?

I bet they will,at any moment, agree to trade their life with that of a simple country life; where a family lives happily.A family which wakes up to the energetic chirping of birds n greets each other with a smile,has a morning walk in the meadows,drinks fresh cow-milk. In the evenings,grandparents gather children on the kutta and tell them stories of fantasies and their own experiences.Throughout the day,it is NOT guaranteed that there won’t be any argument.But at least when there is an argument, the person does not point out other’s inadequacy(if any) at being able to support himself/herself if abandoned/divorced.Because money for them is a means to live life and not life itself.They do not rate a family member according to his monetary status.They understand that every family member plays a very important part in keeping the family happy;even the 80 year old grandpa!

Some of you will reason that this kind of life is history.It existed in the times of our great grandparents.Well,not exactly the same lifestyle,but a similar lifestyle still exists in parts of India.In some secluded villages,some hill stations you will find people who have grasped the gist of life and have risen above the ludicrous lures of lucrative liaisons & luxurious lifestyles to live a life of peace and happiness.Now you will omnisciently opine that they are lagging behind the world,they don’t have any idea of where the world is going.And that living such a life is going back into time.

Well if this is going back to history,then I might as well live in a time when people ‘lived’.Not in this pennyworth “professional” time where people spend half of their life hoarding money(for the better future of their children?! ) and don’t even know their first cousins,grandparents………or for that matter, even their spouse properly. The rest half…..they spend agonizing in the empty nest syndrome with all the economical wealth in the world at their disposal.After all we get to live only once and who knows,kal ho naa ho!

Signing off for today……………………Ruchi.

Written in 2007

Man! I feel like an Author!

I was feeling uncomfortable since a few days. You know that weird feeling when a character keeps bugging you to write it? That!

So I wrote.

I felt exactly like Shania Twain in

(okay I notice the Shania connection with my story now, but she had absolutely no say in the character – even I noticed her name now :P)

It started with a fleeting thought that a story should be written where the character transforms herself head to toe for a role, from which she is a far cry in real life. When she gets this chance, she puts her heart and soul into the character she’s playing. Now she had to be this dorky, nerdy writer-director who has never been on stage or in front of the camera. Nobody knows her potential as an actor. Someone like Kiran Rao popped in my head.

This idea lay dormant in lined pages of my notebook till one and a half year. Just a para, where the lead actor is surprised by a sultry actress suddenly walking on stage – that actress being none other than the director herself!

I did not know how to make head or tail of it. I always wanted it to be a short story; but what would be the premise, the conflict, the ending? Niet, my brain refused to cooperate. One Saturday in July, I had the time and inclination to write and no topic in sight.

I remembered the idea and decided to explore it. I took a Word page and typed away till I had finished Part I. And lo behold! The character Leena told me so much about herself! I thought of writers, who say that their characters reveal themselves to them, as crazy. Completely cuckoo! What do I find? I am one of the species!

Great. Written at one go – the shorty story seemed lengthy and boring. So I cleverly made Parts and decided on a 3 post blog series. But then the inner desire for publicity led me to explore publishing options. I searched for short story submission sites and decided against them – ‘cos I noticed many a good story gets lost for the want of good feedback and word of mouth publicity.

I had heard of ePubs and Kindle thing and decided to explore it. To my immense joy, I found that KDP allows me to self-publish for free. How nice of them! Alrighty, then. It was decided. Some more research and I was convinced by some veteran short story writers that this is the genre to write for and publish on Amazon.

Lots of tinkering later, I have the following things for you to visit :

1. My eBook (Short Story) – about 4000 Words – FREE on Amazon till tomorrow (18 July 2014) and $0.99 (RS 59) after that. (Click on picture to download on Amazon.)

Not my type.

You can read it on your Kindle App or on web (for web you need click on BUY and select Kindle Cloud Reader.) If you have any problem downloading, feel free to write to me at wordcoiner[at]gmail.com or tweet to me @thewordcoiner.

Review on Amazon.com is a must!

2. And a very own Author page on Amazon!

Right now, I am on cloud nine and nothing is as perfect as my eBook. So if you do find any typos or formatting errors therein, please bring them to my notice and ground me 😀

It’s a deal!

Yesterday, out of nowhere, I and Pritam Barhate [he writes!] struck an impromptu deal.

The deal :

He is on a strict diet and as long as he sticks to it, I will write a page-a-day. For every page I write, he will write one too!

Seems like an exponential equation eh? So here I am, typing the first page in the series.

We have lost track of how many times he went on a diet, I vowed to write a novel and he declared that he shall finish his book. All these declarations made independently of the other declarations. Now, a dependency has been introduced in the picture – in the form of ‘THE DEAL’. (Quite ironic that it anagrams to EL DEATH).

The deal about deals is, if you make them subconsciously, they never materialize. You have to be serious when you say yes. Which I almost never am 😛 as you might have observed from my twice stalled Project 365.

One of the biggest factors from a deal going off-road is not the willingness to complete it, it is a nasty trait called Procrastination. I have never procrastinated in my professional life, and am the complete opposite when it comes to my interests – read >> writing a novel.

One of the reasons may be that my profession happens to be perfectly aligned with my favorite hobby – interacting with people, exercising my brain cells over a developing app idea and etching out a POA in ‘my writing style’! (I don’t need to indulge in hobbies separately, you see 🙂 )

The above circumstances are something I share with Pritam Barhate (for those who do not know him, he is my mentor from my previous job. We call him the coding guru, a title which he politely refuses to acknowledge.). Time and again, he has given me reason to write a blog post and vice-versa (when he wrote in reply to my Naam naa hota to kya hota).

This deal has high chances of working out, for

1) He is my mentor and one cannot let a mentor down. 2) Similar circumstances make us allies rather than rivals in the deal 😀

So yeah, it’s a deal!