Author Interview: Kavita Kane

Meet the queen of Indian Mythology.

No other way to celebrate my 5Oth post on WordPress than to have the versatile author and senior Journalist, Kavita Kane talk to us about her love for mythology, what inspires her and a little something about her no one knows!

You can read the review of her latest book Lanka’s Princess here: Review: Lanka’s Princess

Get to know the author: 

A senior journalist with a career of over two decades, which includes working for Magna publication and DNA, she quit her job as Assistant Editor of Times of India to devote herself as a full time author. A self-styled aficionado of cinema and theatre and sufficiently armed with a post-graduate degree in English Literature and Mass Communication from the University of Pune, the only skill she knows, she candidly confesses, is writing.
Karna’s Wife her debut novel, (2013)was a bestseller. Her second novel – Sita’s Sister (2014) also deals with another enigmatic personality – Urmila, probably the most overlooked character in the Ramayan. Menaka’s Choice(2015) ,another best-seller, is about the famous apsara and her infamous liaison with Vishwamitra the man she was sent to destroy. Lanka’s Princess (2016) is her fourth book based on Ravan’s sister, Surpanakha, the Princess of Lanka who was also its destroyer…
Born in Mumbai, a childhood spent largely in Patna and Delhi , Kavita currently lives in Pune with her mariner husband Prakash and two daughters Kimaya and Amiya with Chic the black cocker spaniel and Cotton the white, curious cat.

 

 

Interview:

  • Did your career as a journalist somehow inspire you to become an author? 
As a journalist I had written non fiction for more than two decades! I wanted to test my creative writing skills and gathering enough courage, ventured into writing a novel. That’s how my debut book Karna’s Wife came about. It was more about testing myself.
  • Did you always want to write on Indian Mythology? What has been your experience like as an author of Mythology?
Mythology as a subject greatly fascinated me while I was studying English literature when I came in contact with Greek, Norse and Celtic mythology besides the fact that I grew up on a staple diet of Amar Chitra Kathas! Another favourite subject was history so I guess somewhere down the line I unconsciously leaned towards mythology as a genre when I decided to write my first novel.
Mythology is a huge canvas where you can add colour without damaging the whole picture. It’s not about retelling ancient tales of God or simply about  good vs evil : mythology is a lesson in knowing about Man and his follies and fallacies. Holds true especially now.
I receive so many questions on my books and our mythology from readers aged 18  to 30 and I realise they want to know so much more. It’s a void they want filled by writers of mythology.
  • Tell us a little about your latest book, ‘Lanka’s Princess’.
As the title says it’s about Surpanakha, Ravan’s sister whom we rarely see as Lanka’s princess. She is that ugly woman whose nose got chopped off. Yet she is the one who started the war. She is the turning point in the plot and pushes  forward the second part of the narrative of the epic. Also, besides Ravan,  she is the antagonist of the latter part as was Manthara and Kaikeyi in the earlier section of the Ramayan.  Yet what do we know of her?
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  • Your books are always well-researched. So what’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research online for your book?
While researching,  I often find the way the stories in our epics and mythology are woven within another and this interweaving is truly amazing. It is like a maze and connecting the dots  is a challenge. For instance I just realised Shishupal and the Pandavas were maternal cousins! It keeps coming and I have to make a concerted effort to stop reading and researching and get down to some writing!
  • Of all the characters you have written about, which is your favourite and why?
Urmila! My first book was to be about her but not having enough research material on her, I started on Karna’s Wife instead. But Menaka was one of the more difficult characters to sketch, adding to her shades of grey yet not to make her dark and negative. She was a temptress, a consummate seductress who used her wiles to succeed, she was a mother who abandoned two daughters- certainly not the perfect woman, is she? Yet she fell in love with the man she was meant to destroy. She was the reason for the downfall and rise of the most powerful man. Must have been a remarkable woman and that’s how I portrayed her in my book Menaka’s Choice.
  • Describe your ideal writing space. 
Physically I don’t like to write on a desk. I find it confining. I just need a quiet room with lots of sunlight and greenery. Also I never write in the night. That’s when the ideas rush in!
  • What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?
Each time a reader gives his feedback, I am truly touched. The most humbling moment was when Karna’s Wife was compared favourably to the classic Mritunjay. Or the moment when I received a hand written letter by a 90 year old fan hand delivered by his grand son! It was incredibly heart warming.
  • A book that had a deep impact on you.
Most books do so in some way or the other and  it would be unfair to name one.
  • Million dollar question, are you working on another book?
Yes!
  • Lastly, tell us something about yourself no one knows. 
I hate chocolate!
I feel extremely honoured to have Kavita Kane on the blog and had a great time interviewing her.

Review: Lanka’s Princess

“Words once spoken could not be redeemed, they were like inflicted wounds, the imminent scars lingering long.”

Author: Kavita Kane

Publisher: Rupa Publications

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 298

Format: Paperback

Rating: 3.8/5

Kavita Kane’s novel, Lanka’s Princess, narrated from the POV of Ravan’s infamous sister, Surpanakha is a retelling of one of histories most epic tales, Ramayana. It is a story of war, death, hatred and vengeance. There are several questions that come in one’s mind. Was Surpankha an evil, blood thirsty woman who led to the tragic death of her own brother or lack of acceptance and love transformed a once meek and shy girl into a living monster? The answer lies at your understanding of the novel. I think books such as this one, leave so much to the imagination. I guess that’s what the author meant to do. Show us the state of the misunderstood Suparnakha.

Surpanakha’s childhood has been dealt with extensively, what she was like being born into a family of rishis and asuras, the circumstances that led to her change, and her ongoing battle with her mother that ultimately instilled revenge and hate. When reading the book, I felt various emotions for Surpanakha. It’s not whether her actions justified the bloodshed and loss but what forced her to take such drastic steps. In retrospect, she suffered a lot. Right from being neglected by her parents and brothers in her childhood to always competing for her parents love. Constantly trying to prove her worth but failing each time. People who were close to her left her. Her father left her after Ravan captured Lanka. Her grandmother whom she had immense respect for was killed. She lost her husband. Her son was killed. Her face was maimed by Lakshman. Suparnakha lived a life of pain and loss.

The writing is beautiful. The book is well researched and the descriptions are vivid making the readers travel into the ancient times. Kavita Kane is no doubt a prolific writer weaving intense emotions throughout the book. Although at one point the story reached a dry state but it was soon replaced with fast actions and the story kept moving forward. I haven’t read Indian Mythology much but it was a different experience. The characterisation especially those of the female characters was pretty impressive. The author through her powerful words made suparnakha speak out against the injustices. It was empowering considering the status of women in those times.

“Words once spoken could not be redeemed, they were like inflicted wounds, the imminent scars lingering long. A curse could not be renegaded: not even the mightiest spell could allay the power of the uttered word.”

Most people aren’t what they seem. History has always been a subject to fabrication. You can no longer decide what is wrong or right. Everyone is a victim of circumstances and what they choose to do is a reflection of their surrounding. Indian Mythology has considered Suparnakha to be the untamed, rebellious sister but the reality is very different. Kavita Kane’s novel delves into the psyche of Suparnakha and various other characters.

If you’re looking into reading Indian mythologies, Lanka’s Princess is a good book to start with.

Which is your favourite Mythology?

 

 

I received a copy of Lanka’s Princess from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review”

 

 

Review: Selfienomics

A seriously funny guide to living the good life.

Author: Revant

Publisher: Bloomsbury India

Genre: Self-help

Pages: 191

Format: Paperback

Rating: 4/5

 

What happens when you read a book that is bombarded with memes, hashtags, open dialogues, hard-hitting questions and a desire to perceive the world around you differently? You become enlightened. #Nirvana

One of my reading goals this year was to read self-help books because my life has a tendency to spiral around I decided to rely on people to do that for me. Well, jokes apart, it is a decision that I plan on implementing. I started this road to self-discovery with Selfienomics, a debut novel, by Revant which

a.) Is extremely funny. You know the kind of funny which makes you pause and laugh like a retarded seal?  No? Okay.

b.) Is informative and very well researched. Ofcourse, self-help books are supposed to be researched blah blah. It is well researched in the sense that it is relatable to everyone especially the current scenario of Indians and India.

c.) You get to make a choice. Revant didn’t shove his opinion down our throats instead he paved the way for open-end discussions where you are the sailor and you get to decide the direction. No judgement there.

Selfienomics talks about life in general. Food, Feminism, Politics, Religion and how to read the label off of a food item before buying. Reading the book made me realise that there are a lot of things i’m ignorant about or I consider it extremely trivial for an intellect like me to dwell upon. I was wrong. I think that’s what reading good books are like; you begin to develop the ‘why syndrome’. Why does something happen the way it does? Why are people so stupid? Why am I such an idiot? You get the drill. For a debut novel, Revant has managed to bring burning issues under one umbrella and has successfully tackled them in a delightful manner. I’m going to cite some of my favourite examples since listing all of them is not possible:

Since I have been in the process of job hunting and trying to make a career the idea of Personal Branding stuck to me.

There exists a chicken and egg problem today in relation to jobs and experience. You need a job to get experience, and you need experience to get a job. Don’t let lack of experience deter you from pursuing your interest. No one is born with experience. While experience may often be irrelevant and specific to an industry, your personal brand is relevant across all sectors. When your personal brand is of an individual who is honest and gives his or her best, opportunities are sure to open up. Focus on building your #PersonalBrand and experience will follow.

While we’re on the topic of doing something in life, I can’t help but mention the author’s advice on categorising our goals. Career goals, Moral goals, Bucket Lists, Financial Goals etc. Not only does it help us realise what we truly want but also helps in overcoming the identity crisis that is prevalent with the youth of today. By prioritising, we can be more productive and work towards our dreams.

If you aren’t able to fulfil your own dreams, make it your dream to fulfil the dreams of others.

Speaking of serious issues like Feminism, Patriotism, and birth control, the author tries to portray the harsh reality, the pros and cons of our current situation citing examples and showing where we as a nation stand.

It’s commendable how the author was able to merge concepts of economics and the business world with real life situations. All in all, Selfienomics delivers more than it promised and is a smart attempt at creating a world that is educated and accepting of each other’s differences.

Aim for an open discussion–which encourages criticism as well as allows mistakes.

 

Review: My Father is a Hero

My Father is a Hero is a story about a father who goes out of his way for his daughter’s happiness.

Author: Nishant Kaushik

Publisher: Srishti Publishers & Distributors

Format: Paperback

Pages: 198

Rating: 3.8/5

Sometimes you read a book that fills your heart with warmth and a love so strong that its effect lasts a very long time. The simplicity and innocence of a father-daughter bond has been beautifully captured by the author Nishant Kaushik in his novel.

My Father is a Hero is a story about a single father who despite his shortcomings ensures his daughter an easy and fulfilled life. His daughter, Nisha, a 10 year old girl is the apple of his eye and the only source of happiness in Vaibhav’s otherwise dark world. He instils invaluable life lessons in her daughter who excels in all her academic fields and aspires to be a musician someday. They’re happy in their own little world, far away from the harsh realities, finding joy in the littlest of things. But things start to change.  Nisha, who is a cheerful, bubbly 10 year old, suddenly starts getting into a shell. She stops communicating, loses her friends, acts very distant and displays poor academic performance. Not just this, she stops singing, too. So what really happened that transformed her? This behaviour upsets Vaibhav who tries his hardest to get to the root of it. The only concern is to bring back his daughter’s smile which seemed to have been lost. How and what led to the change is described subtly in the book.

The conversations between Vaibhav and Nisha were my favourite part of the story more so because I could relate to them on a deeper level. I think that’s what good books do, they take you along on a journey filled with emotions and leave you wanting for more.

Be it real life or reel life, every parent tries their hardest to give the best to their children. Vaibhav is no different. He goes out of his way to become a superhero in the eyes of his daughter and I must say he fares pretty well. His daughter’s opinion of him matters the most. Aren’t all dads just adorable?

I would have loved to know more about Vaibhav’s past and the circumstances in which he coped. The ending was predictable and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Besides, who doesn’t like a mushy ,happy end to a father-daughter story? All in all, I enjoyed reading My Father is a Hero and would recommend it to anyone who wants to feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside.

 

I received a copy of My Father Is A Hero from Writers Melon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

 

 

 

 

Review: Before I Go To Sleep

Welcome to Christine’s life. She wakes up every morning not knowing where she is or who she is next to.

Author: S.J Watson

Length: 372 pages

Publisher: Penguin India

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

Format: Paperback

Rating: 4/5

 

Synopsis:  

Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even people you love- all forgotten overnight.

And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Welcome to Christine’s life

My Review:

Welcome to Christine’s life. She wakes up every morning not knowing where she is or who she is next to. She believes herself to be a 20 year old but she isn’t. She is a 47 year old woman who has no idea of her past or present. The future at this point does not exist for her.

There has a been a lot of hype surrounding this debut novel by S.J Watson and it did live up to the expectations. The story revolves around a woman who suffers from amnesia due to an accident that took place years ago. She wakes up everyday unaware of her identity or the identity of the person she is living with. No matter how hard she tries, her mind is blank. It’s like her life never happened and she’s been reduced into the body of a stranger. The only person she can trust is her husband, Ben. But is Ben really speaking the truth?  As she begins to put together shattered pieces of her memory, she realises her life has been a lie.

Christine is helped by her psychologist Dr.Nash who advises her to maintain a journal where she can write down everything about her life and everything she does in a day. At this point, Christine cannot differentiate between black and white; her perception is distorted. Memories from the past hit her like a ton of bricks but she is unable to decipher whether it is a figment of her imagination or reality. She knows if she sleeps today, she will wake up tomorrow with no memory of what happened the day before. The journal is her only hope. The author takes you into the psyche of a person who remembers nothing. A person who has to start from scratch every single day.

The novel surely is a page turner although it gets a little dragging in the middle.

The writing style is impressive, simple and holds the readers’ attention. I had a lot of assumptions about the climax and had my own theories on how the novel would end. But the ending was unexpected and I didn’t see it coming.

Before I Go To Sleep is fast paced (something most mystery novels lack), it is gripping right from the start and raw. For readers who love psychological thrillers, this one is right up your alley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marketing Internship with Ambuja Neotia Group

What I gained while interning at the biggest Real Estate giants of Bengal.

I was about to complete my post-graduation in Mass Communication and Public Relations from St.Xavier’s college when I heard about The Telegraph You Internship Programme, 2016. By now the anxiety and dread of applying for internships and jobs had caught up with me and I was looking for opportunities that would help me kick start my career. Also, I had previously applied for The Telegraph You Internship Programme, 2015, but as luck would have it, I wasn’t selected. Determined to get through this time, I took extra-steps to ensure my answers stood out while filling the online application form. Although the chances of getting selected were not very high, I didn’t have much to lose. The final list of the selected candidates would be put up on the Telegraph YOU page. During this time, I started interning at another company although my mind kept reverting to the Telegraph Internship Programme.

Fast forward to June, I see my name on the list of selected candidates who were to appear for GD and then PI. I was ecstatic, to be extremely honest. But the anxiety didn’t end there. I still had a long way to go. I received a call informing me of the venue for GD and PI and the relevant documents that I had to carry.

I started early for my big day (If i can call it so), but since the universe likes playing with my emotions, the taxi driver took a detour and I reached late. I didn’t think it would matter much but boy oh boy was I wrong. On reaching Conclave Hotel, I saw everyone already seated , the names of the groups for GD  were announced, the process about to begin. Saying I panicked would be an understatement. “Is this the time to reach?” was the reply I got when I inquired about the group I was placed in.  I deserved it.

Pro tip: Never ever reach late for interviews. Punctuality is the key.

While we were seated, I looked around to find most students frantically searching for topics and reading the latest news to prepare themselves for GD. I panicked, again. I was not prepared for this; looking back it makes me laugh but at that point of time, it felt like a matter of life and death. As predicted, I took out my phone and did the same. Slowly, the groups were called and the process began.

The topic for GD revolved around freedom of speech (the infamous snapchat story of Tanmay Bhatt) which further transitioned into a parliamentary debate. It was interesting to see how we as students were ready to do anything to get our points across. Shouting and screaming was the order of the day. We had to stand out, you see, even if that meant going against the whole notion of “let’s agree to disagree”. The panelists were patient throughout with occasional nods wondering which part of the world we had come from. The group discussion ended with all the parties in complete disregard to the opinion of others. I was satisfied.

Pro tip: During group discussions instead of talking down others try to come up with rebuttals. You’ll earn brownie points. 

Since there were 10 groups consisting of 10 members each, I still had a lot of time to pass before the names of the candidates for PI was to be announced. I took the time to get to know other candidates. It was interesting to note that there were people from multifarious academic backgrounds. Science, Humanities, Commerce, you name it. Learning about their subjects, their ambitions, their interest in the internship broadened my horizon. Telegraph had managed to bring people from different academic interests under one umbrella.

It was finally time . The list of candidates for PI was announced. I got through. The personal interview was intimidating, a lot of questions were asked, the interviewers didn’t seem remotely impressed by my answers. After the interview, I was very sure I would not be selected. My interview lasted for less than 5 minutes.

To cut the story short, after a lot of waiting, the final list of 20 selected candidates was put up on the Telegraph YOU Facebook page. I WAS SELECTED FOR THE INTERNSHIP PROGRAMME. I danced a mini dance and celebrated in the most cliched way. At this point, I still didn’t know where I would be interning since Telegraph YOU had partnered with 5 other companies; The Telegraph, Ambuja Neotia, CESC Limited, 91.9 Friends FM & J.Walter Thompson. I got an email stating that I would be interning at Ambuja Neotia Group but before that I would have to go for another interview round conducted by Ambuja Neotia. I was in a daze. I had my fair share of interviews already and being grilled by the biggest real estate giants of Kolkata wasn’t very appealing. The date for the interview was set and I was nervous. Firstly, I come from an arts background. Secondly, I got selected for a marketing Internship. Thirdly, I didn’t know anything about Real Estate. I still decided to give it a shot. I had come so far and going back wasn’t really an option.

Pro tip: Grab any opportunity where there is scope for knowledge. You’ll learn as you go forward. 

I reached EcoSpace on time (learning from previous disasters, ha!). Other candidates who were to be my co-interns had reached before me. One by one, the interviews began. I was interviewed by the Marketing head of Ambuja Neotia group; A man with high competence, dexterity and passion for his work. The questions he asked were relevant to the present scenario of Bengal, the pros and cons of living in the city, what I thought about job opportunities for the youth of bengal  and the changes I could bring in the city, if given a chance. I answered with utmost sincerity and honesty. He seemed unimpressed and I wasn’t even surprised. Once again, my interview lasted for less than 5 minutes.

The following evening, I received a call by the Brand Manager of Telegraph, stating that my interview went well and I would be interning at Ambuja Neotia from 11th July. I sighed a sigh of relief. I was still apprehensive about the internship.

11th july, 2016: My office is located in EcoSpace which is in New Town and is the smart city of  Bengal. It is a beautiful place with multiple facilities, vast expanse of greenery and several eating joints. EcoSpace has also been built by Ambuja Neotia Group. On stepping foot in ecospace, I knew it would be a lifetime experience.

Since we were complete noobs when it came to Real Estate, our first few days were spent understanding the concepts of Real Estate. The other co-interns were also from different backgrounds. One of them had studied engineering from Heritage Institute of Technology, one was in the third year of college pursuing Economics from Scottish Church and the third was from St.Xaviers studying B.com. The marketing managers at Ambuja were always very helpful and who were our mentors throughout the internship. We were taught about the basics of RE , the market trends, how to compare the prices of different housing projects, our competitors & how to talk to realtors of established companies. Our main job was to research on the upcoming as well existing housing projects in New Town & Rajarhat along with E.M Bypass. Since there were 4 of us, we were divided into two teams. My co-intern and I were to cover the entire Rajarhat & New Town area, talk to the marketing managers of the housing projects, compare the prices and make a presentation. The job required us to visit the housing projects. It was a daunting task since there were around 15-20 projects in Rajarhat alone and we had to cover almost all of them.

Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Doesn’t matter if you did not understand a concept.

Days went by quickly, each of us busy working and preparing presentations. After two weeks had passed and we had learnt a little about RE, the marketing manager then proceeded to teach us how to deal with Developers. We were given the contact information of a number of consultants. Our task was to interview them and collect as much information as possible. I realised, at this point, that all of the interns were working out of their comfort zones and were putting in their best. None of us had any idea about Real Estate but we were ready to learn. We got the chance to visit the construction site of, “Uttalika”, the upcoming luxury housing project by Ambuja Neotia. The experience was surreal as we saw the working of a real estate housing project.

One particular working day, one of the marketing managers spent a considerable amount of time talking to us about his experiences and his journey. The entire evening was spent talking about the struggles of life, about the little things that matter the most and how determination and love for what you do is rewarding. We were grateful for him to take out time from his otherwise busy schedule to teach us valuable life lessons. These lessons are engraved in our minds.

Pro Tip: Stay humble, no matter where you are or what you do. 

We had to redo our presentations more than 7 -8 times because the marketing manager was not happy with the result. The final presentation was to be seen by the boss- The Marketing Head , hence, we were striving for perfection. By the end of the month , our final presentations, were to be reviewed by the entire marketing team. It was nerve-wracking as we had to explain our workings and cite examples of how we reached a particular conclusion in front of corporate professionals, highly competent, in their fields. On the final day, we gave our presentations and to our surprise the mangers were quite impressed. By now, we had picked up on the market trends and were able to address the questions asked by the Marketing head. After all, we spent an entire month brainstorming. We were happy. Our hard work had paid off.

A month flew by in a jiffy. We packed our bags, thanked our mentors, received the internship certificates and were ready to leave. It felt good. The kind of good that is sure to stay with you, something that you’re going to keep referring to, a journey you did not  anticipate but one that has changed you.

 

 

 

 

Timeless

Just something I wrote a few months back for a competition I didn’t get selected for 😀 Give it a read, anyway.

The hospital room looked like most hospital rooms do, terribly sad. The kind of sad that doesn’t believe in sunshine, colours or even rainbows. It’s surprising how one place can bring to you happiness wrapped in glitter paper yet leave you dry and lifeless. It was sultry and the harshness of the summer was here to make the insides of the human body melt. The fan kept moving in circular motions making the room humid, the air smelled of sweat and medicines and of emotions leaving one’s soul. Somewhere near I could hear the ambulance blaring, a few doctors and nurses rushed to the main entrance to attend the patient who had a heart attack. There was a flurry of activities with silence resuming as quickly as the storm arriving. My visits to the hospital are not very routinely but sometimes my headaches get the worst of me. On waking up this morning, my head started to explode like a thousand loudspeakers set off at once. The painkillers failed to give any relief and I almost collapsed. I saw a few newspapers and magazines lying around and to occupy myself I kept flipping through them. The doctor was stuck in traffic which meant I had a lot of time in my hands. After about an hour, when the waiting became monotonous, I decided to stroll and stretch my muscles a little.

While walking down the aisle, I passed a room which was slightly open. I heard someone singing. It sounded like the voice of a man. Deciding to not let curiosity get the best of me, I kept walking.  The voice kept getting louder and before I could open the door to understand what was happening, an old man came out of the room looking tired.  He looked a little taken aback by my infringement on his privacy but I apologized for the misconduct and admitted it was just out of sheer curiosity. He listened and then laughed. Unfamiliar as it may sound, his eyes bore a tint of belongingness and comfort. He turned around and closed the door slowly, making no noise while gesturing for a cup of coffee. Hesitatingly, I obliged.

The next few moments changed my life and how.

The old man was a retired police officer. After having served the country for about 30 years, he decided to live the last few years of his life with his wife in peace and togetherness. On inquiry I found out he had no children and no regrets. In the middle of our conversation, he stood up, went inside the room and returned. He kept doing this after every ten minutes. Before I could say anything, he sensed the uneasiness starting to develop, the air getting denser and that’s when he spoke. “It started when we went on a trip post retirement to the hills. She loves adventures and I don’t. But her enthusiasm always wins over my resistance and we end up visiting different parts of the world. While we were returning, she forgot the names of the places we visited. It was strange but not unusual. On another occasion, she couldn’t remember her favourite TV shows or where the locker keys were or where the laundry clothes were kept. Blaming it on old age, we didn’t pay much heed to her forgetfulness which we believed happened to everyone.”

He paused a little, wiping the tears that came running down. Once again he stood up and went to the room. He returned and continued,” Sometimes I wish, I had known. But there are certain things in life that are beyond your capacity and control. When we were having dinner at a dear friend’s house one day, she forgot the names of the people she was surrounded with. And that’s when it hit us. The reality came crashing down and before we could realise what was happening, it was too late. The months that followed kept getting worse. In between everything that was happening I kept telling myself we’d sail through this, we always did. That no matter how extreme the disease was it won’t tear us apart and for a few weeks it felt like there was hope. But as fate would have it, she didn’t remember me. She woke up one morning with terror in her eyes and a scream so deafening it shattered my whole world. I tried to calm her down but nothing would make her feel better. Maybe I knew this would happen. I wasn’t ready to accept it. Nobody can handle such a blow. My wife and I have been married for 60 years and I have never needed anyone else in my life. Seeing her in a state of such helplessness broke my faith in ways more than one. It is difficult trying to be a new person everyday for her because she doesn’t remember me; it’s like living a life wondering whether I will ever get the old her back. Most days, she refuses to look at me. She is scared of my face, this stranger that I am becoming to her.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.” I mumbled.

He went on, “But you know what kept me going?” I nodded.
He smiled and whispered, “Her love. I could not for the life of me be who I am had it not been for her. That’s when I decided my story wasn’t over. It could not end like this. There were parts of her still left that loved me and appreciated me and I wasn’t going to give up so soon.”

It was time for my appointment with the doctor but I refused to go. The old man was staring at the walls of the cafeteria, looking at nothing but I knew his mind was with his wife. A gentle smile spread across his face. He looked at me and I knew. He was reminiscing all those precious times he spent with his wife when they went on adventures along with their nights spent lying under the star lit sky and when the world was cruel but their love wasn’t.
After sharing a few minutes of silence, he stood up for the last time.
“But why were you singing?” I asked.
“When I sing, her eyes lit up like a million fireflies and even if it’s for a few seconds, it’s worth a lifetime of happiness for me. And if you have a wife who smiles like that, you know you’ve found the one.” And he went inside. I don’t remember how long I sat at the cafeteria. His words echoing through my mind, his unwavering faith and the courage to keep believing opened my heart to a new dimension.
I walked down the aisle once again to go back home but this time things became clearer and calmer.

How do you define love then? I thought. Is it when you build a foundation of faith so strong that even fate trembles? Or when you see the one you love slowly disappear yet you keep holding on to the damaged parts till there’s nothing left?
Maybe we will never find out. Or maybe we might just get lucky.

My Quarter life CRISIS.

When you realize, whatever decision you take right now will have serious repercussions on where you want to go and what you want to become in future, you change.

In about 2-3 weeks, I will have completed my post-graduation and will be steering myself into another chapter of life. It still feels like yesterday when I was accepted into University and although the diploma was only going to continue for a year, it occurred as a routine and something that had meaning. Fast forward to 2016 and here I am questioning what’s next?

No, I am not having any ‘crisis’ and I’m not typing this while drowning in a sea of tears. All is good. But then again, nothing seems like it. I guess this is that stage where you thought you would have achieved a lot but you’re no where closer to it. Remember when your 16 year old self would dream about having a life to look forward to by the time you were, say, 23 or 25? Well, now that I think of it, I’m only going back in reverse.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the fact that we as kids have big goals and ambitions and when it’s time to put our dreams into reality, we kind of get lost. We suddenly question everything about ourselves and while most of us fight all odds, some aren’t able to cope. It’s not really about running from responsibilities but realizing you don’t have enough time. Not enough time to do everything you’ve wanted to.

The whole thought process behind a quarter life crisis makes sense to me now. Transitioning from being a teenager with serious hormonal issues to being a dysfunctional adult who has absolutely no idea what’s happening is difficult. I think the hardest thing about reaching a certain age is when people start expecting things out of you. Like hell. You start expecting things out of you. You want to have a meaningful life for yourself and you want to give something out to the world. Living in a world where people younger than you are doing unimaginable things, working towards their dreams, it strikes you hard. And THAT is a point of no return.

When I entered my 20s, I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride and I knew while things wouldn’t be easy, they would be achievable. I still hold on to that belief but somewhere down the line, I’ve realized, it’s way more harder than I had anticipated. You’re living your life but is it how you imagined? You wake up one day and suddenly you’re 23

If quarter life crisis wasn’t enough to bring down your energy levels, then being in an identity crisis would make matters even worse. The weirdest thing is figuring out what you’re really meant to do. Whether what you’re studying is the subject for you or the job you’re currently doing the right one for you? The doubts are endless.

When you realize, whatever decision you take right now will have serious repercussions on where you want to go and what you want to become in future, you change. You start to weigh every outcome like you have never before, your horizon on life undergoes a huge transition, you start accepting things the way they are and you become more careful. This is that phase where we really hustle. You know getting our shit together? It’s a different ball game.

I don’t know about you but I have days where I feel if I don’t do this now, I won’t be able to do it ever. And that is the single most frightening thing. To be unable to do things you want to. There is this constant pressure of accomplishing goals no matter how tiny. We keep saying I’ll do this when I grow up or I’ll take a 6 month vacation after college. Well, that time is here and most of it has gone. THIS IS CRUNCH TIME.

Your 20s is the most liberating yet confusing period of your life. Even though this is the phase where you will experience maximum upheavals emotionally, physically and psychologically, it is still worth every second. The uncertainty might get a little intimidating at first but learning to embrace it is winning half the battle.

So to everyone who’s having a hard time,

“Open your heart, mind and soul, and look forward to your future.Celebrate the little things life offers and stay humble with your achievements and successes. Spend more time on knowledge and memories and pay little to no attention on materialism. Be proud of how far you’ve come and know that you’re capable of nothing but the best.”

 

7 things a reader goes through after finishing a book.

Even though the story has ended on a happy note, the reader is left with a sense of loss and sadness that can never be measured in words

Who said endings are always happy? Even though the story has ended on a happy note, the reader is left with a sense of loss and sadness that can never be measured in words. Feeling empty or hung-over after finishing a book is quite obvious to book lovers. It’s almost like losing a friend or a loved one or saying goodbye knowing you’ll never meet again. You are left in the dark, isolated, wanting for more. If you’ve read a book that’s stirred every little part of your body, mind and soul, then these are a few post-reading blues that you’ll be able to relate to:

  • Book-hangover: It’s like you’ve been drunk on that last story and even though you tried sleeping on it, you can’t seem to get over the heartache. There’s a strong need to keep reading the book even though you have completed the entire series. To re-read the series again or to read something quite similar? The struggle is real. No matter how hard you try you’re left with a void that can’t be filled. You’re stuck in the story and you can’t find your way out.

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  • The look:   We’re all familiar with being asked questions by non-readers that only make us cringe even more. It goes something like this: “So you finished reading the book in a day?”  Seriously, I can’t roll my eyes any further. Of course, I did. It is not rocket science.

 

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  • Inability to start afresh: They say you need closure to leave behind what can’t be and focus on what can be. As true as it might sound, it’s not the case with book lovers. You just can’t seem to let go because you’re so emotionally involved in the magical world of the last book.

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  • Empty head syndrome:  You have finished the book and you have no idea what you’re going to do with your life. You feel empty, your stomach churns but there’s nothing you can do except maybe get lost in another book.

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  • Obsessing over fictional characters: Do you ever have those days where you start comparing fictional characters to real life people? You’re so in love with the characters that you can’t help but bring them into life through your imagination. You’ve laughed at their idiosyncrasies, cried your heart out at their death and empathized with them at their endeavours. Curiosity takes the best of you as you want to know what happens to the characters after the book ends; do they live happily? Do they even survive? Do they continue being as fearless and brave till the end? The possibilities are incalculable. Hallucinating about a particular character is part and parcel of being a reader and if you’re lucky you might find your favourite fictional character in real life.

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  • Desire to meet the author in person:

It’s amazing how when you read a book, it makes you question about the world in general and you wished the author was a dear friend of yours so that you could meet him/her in person or call them up to let them know what their book meant to you or hound them into writing another sequel. Sigh, the world isn’t a wish granting factory after all.

 

  • Urging other people to read:

Nothing satisfies the soul better than discussing a book over a cup of coffee. Having someone describe or narrate their experiences of reading the same book as you and getting to know their version of how the book could have or should have ended is like a step towards recovery. You’re introduced to novel concepts, different perspectives and point of views that you might have missed.

ALSO, YOU’RE GOING TO SUFFER AS MUCH AS I DID.

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Some losses are irreplaceable and it’s only natural to feel this way. What matters is that you’ll live with the story and characters all your life and you can always go back to re-reading your favourite book and re-living everything you seemed to have lost.

 

Do you ever feel hollow from within after having read a book? Which book has made you feel this way and why?

 

 

How NOT to procrastinate

Procrastination sticks to us like bees on a beehive. However, it is not impossible to over-come procrastination. You just have to persevere and be patient with yourself.

We’ve all been there. The dread , the unapologetic behaviour, the anxiety and mental stress of delaying what’s to be done. Procrastination or putting off of things to be completed later is something we’re all too familiar with. Whether it is studying after an hour which turns into an entire month till you reach the deadline and decide to die instead or living with constant guilt of producing a below average work. It’s okay. It only goes to show you’re human. But don’t you think fighting off procrastination is better than a shitty assignment? Well, thought so.

In this post, I’m going to talk about some tips that have worked with me in eliminating procrastination. These suggestions, however, are very subjective. You might find it useful or they might not work for you. But there’s no harm in trying, right?

  1. Identify your triggers: Maybe the reason you’re procrastinating is directly related to the number of things that distract you. It can be anything and everything that draws your attention to things that are less important or even trivial. Getting rid of social media worked best for me. If you’re hungry or feeling sleepy, grab that snack or go take a nap. Just complete everything that is stopping you from opening your books. Try throwing your phone away. (No, not literally

  2. Create your own environment: Each one of us have a study style. Most are productive when they’re studying alone in a quiet room without any interruptions while some work best while listening to music. Learn when your productivity is the highest and work to create your studying space. This will prevent you from putting off studying. If my study desk is a pile of shit that I don’t require, I proceed towards getting that shit sorted. This helps me think clearly.
  3. Force yourself: Once you have eliminated all the procrastinating pit stops, you can now move ahead to the most important step. In order to brush off the shadow of procrastination, you have to push yourself into completing the task. Remember, beginnings are always the hardest. Once you stay put for 15 minutes, you will have developed a flow and you would find yourself getting the work done.
  4. Handle the monster first: This means delving right into the subject that is the most difficult to do or the thought of which is making you put off studying altogether. When I was in school, I used to dread studying mathematics which used to result in me putting off studying for hours till it was very late. Tackling the subjects you dislike or that which bore you first helps in getting it out-of-the-way. Adopting this strategy helps you in avoiding further procrastination thereby creating more time to work on other subjects as well.
  5. Divide and break down: This means breaking down your work in different sections to avoid getting overwhelmed by the huge chunk of black and white information. Breaking down helps us to concentrate and focus more while dividing assists in compressing the content and making it easier to grasp. If you’ve broken your chapters into little parts and it still isn’t helping, shorten it even more. Keep doing it till studying doesn’t intimidate you (even if you study only a page, it’s a win). Also, always study for 30 minutes and then take a break. This helps in retention.
  6. Treat yourself OR don’t: It is essential to focus on what you will do once you complete the set task. This might be enjoying a bar of chocolate after completing a chapter or going with friends for a movie or even using social media for an hour without any guilt. Bargaining with oneself makes us look forward to the outcome more than the process of doing it. This is called positive reinforcement. Similarly, if you, for instance, manage to complete your essay, you will not do the dishes or make your bed. Negative reinforcements sometimes work very well in completing the task.  If reinforcements don’t work, then try punishment as a method. Take away something you look forward to if you’re unable to complete that essay like not using social media for more than 15 minutes or staying at home for the weekend. Talk to yourself and make deals. See what works best for you.
  7. Set Goals: Having a dream or an ambition often motivates us to get the work done. Goals make us more productive because we’re determined to achieve them. It can be as simple as getting a good grade in your history paper or getting selected for a debate at school/college. Anything that excites you even a tiny bit to get out of bed. Although following up is important. You have to walk the talk. You cannot expect to be a good sports person if you spend all your time being a couch potato.

 

 

There are a few other things you should keep in mind: 

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you’ve procrastinated to a point of no return, don’t fret. Just let it go and make tomorrow more productive.
  • Do not wait for the right time to get the work done. Now is as good a time as any.
  • Try not to be a perfectionist. Most of the time it is essential to finish the job rather than putting your energy on tiny details to make it look, “perfect”.  You can always go back and brush up on the details once you get everything else done. Sometimes, just sometimes, quantity matters more than quality.
  • Get a study  buddy. Nothing is more motivating than a friend who is in as deep a shit as you. This way both of you can cry tears of joy and pain and ultimately push each other to study.
  • Work hard. Nothing in the world comes free and you definitely don’t want procrastination to be your biggest regret.

 

 

I hope the above post was of some help to you. What are the different ways in which you beat procrastination? Comment below so that I can know about them, too!