about writing and other such passionate matters

Archive for the category “Uncategorized”

3 important things your kids (and perhaps even you) didn’t know about Republic Day: My post on Mumbai Mom

As a nation we talk about patriotism and nationalistic fervour but we do not hesitate to club Republic Day, Independence Day and even Election Day with weekdays and enjoy an extended weekend holiday. So, we cannot blame the kids for their ignorance about such matters when their only exposure tends to be badly-taught Civics subject in school and  a detached viewing of the Republic Day Parade on TV.

Children have the delightful habit of asking questions most of which the adults find difficult to answer. Since it is Republic Day tomorrow we, at Mumbai Mom, have collated some interesting facts about the national festival which you can share with your children even if they are engrossed in their iPads (though some aspects can make delightful viewing on the iPad – check out the Original Calligraphed and Illuminated Version of the Constitution).

Here are the three important things about Republic Day:

  1. The difference between Republic Day and Independence Day

    The British had ruled over India for almost a hundred years (200 if you include the activities of the East India Company) before they finally handed over control to India on 15th August, 1947. Since this  is the day we got freedom from the British, 15th August is … (read the rest of the post here on Mumbai Mom).


No Safe Zone: Shining the light on it

When my bank opened a branch closer to where I live I was quite happy. I could multi-task. I could go to the bank later in the evening, walking. This would take care of both my fiscal and physical being.

It went well the few times I went to the bank. The road to the bank included one long lonely stretch.I found it  wonderful for ambling, mind free to travel wherever it wanted to. (I think every writer needs those stretches of time).

No Safe Zone

But one day, I went to the bank a little later than my usual time. By the time I finished, it was dark. As usual I started walking back home. I reached the lonely stretch and I stopped short. This road which had been my “day-dreaming” stretch was now a “No Safe Zone”. It was dark. No street lights. One side of the road was a very high wall in front of which broken-down, rusted cars lay abandoned. On the other side were buildings in various stages of construction. The weak glimmers of light came from a couple of bulbs hung from the rafters of the buildings.

My mental antennae tuned up and I started walking briskly along that stretch. Every person coming from the opposite side was a potential danger. My mind firmly on a leash I completed the stretch without any untoward episode. But it was an unpleasant experience. I realised if the road had been well-lighted there would have been nothing to fear.

Shining The Light

It is the same with life. We encounter many “No Safe Zones” aka obstacles in our life paths, but by shining the light of understanding (through reading and deep thinking) and faith (through meditation and prayers) we can navigate them safely.



Qiara Rana will do anything to save her mentor and their non-government organization from ruin. Even if it means visiting the city she had vowed never to return to. But within a few hours of landing in New Delhi, she is being chased by a gunman and is a potential suspect in the murder of a high-profile businessman. 

The only person she can turn to for help is Kabir Shorey, the man who stood her up ten years ago. Past and present collide in a deadly plot of crime and greed that moves from the cosmopolitan streets of Delhi to the bazaars and villages of Rajasthan. 

Business-journalist turned fiction-writer, Adite Banerjie’s latest book is a romantic-thriller No Safe Zone, published by Harper Collins India. She has penned two books for Mills & Boon (The Indian Tycoon’s Marriage Deal and Trouble Has a New Name) and written several screenplays.

You can grab a copy of No Safe Zone at by clicking HERE.







How To Write A Novel in 30 Days – 3

Like I promised last week, here I am with some light to throw on PHYSICAL CREATIVITIES.

Ask hundred people the definition of creativity, almost eighty would say it is about “thinking out of the box”.

All this while one would have thought that this box referred to must be some hypothetical box, which one had to jump out of if one had a wish to be creative.

But what would happen if you were actually put inside a life-sized box? A sealed box. Bet you’d try all the creativity at your disposal to get out of that box. Besides of course, hammering on the sides with your fists, hoping SOMEBODY would hear you.

Jokes aside, according to research done, those outside the physical box scored more points on creativity, than those inside it.

Here are some ways in which physical actions can jog your creativity into higher gear:

  • Write standing up:
    Ernest Hemingway did it. So did Charles Dickens and Virginia Woolf. Have you tried it?
  • Write with your non-dominant hand:
    The discomfort and unusualness of using the non-dominant hand opens up untraveled pathways in the brain, giving you a piece of writing that might either be utterly worthless or a super-precious gem. At least it allows you to bypass your oft-used clichéd words, phrases and ideas.
  • Lie down under the stars:
    On a dark, starry night, go to a quiet, open space (preferably a garden) and even if you don’t lie down, atleast throw back your head and savour the unending vastness of the black night interspersed with the sparkling stars. You’ll forget all your worries and stress when you realize how microscopial they are in the face of the gorgeous beauty of the Universe. This letting go ( of control/worry/fear) is what will allow your creativity to manifest – not just in writing, but in every aspect of life.

  • Go for a walk, but CARRY a voice recorder:
    No, not that sort of a walk where you burn 300 calories per mile (or whatever the exact figures are). More like an amble. An aimless walk, gentle steps, your mind travelling all over the world, especially into the world of the stories you’ve written or even plan to write. Stopping to stare at a particularly intriguing flower, or a bush that sprouts fragrant flowers only at dusk. All the while, talking into the recorder. Allowing the words to come to you instead of trying to drag them towards you. Talk without judgment. You will soon know which words you must keep and which you can delete.

Which is your favourite creativity-inducing physical activity?

Read How To Write A Novel In 30 Days – 1 and 2

Tornado Giveaway 2 Presents Book 19: SOCIAL POTPOURRI: AN ANTHOLOGY II by Sulekha Rawat & 16 others


Author: Sulekha Rawat & 16 others

Read some reviews:

1. Privy Trifles 

2. Arvind Passey 

3. Kriti Mukherjee

The Story:

Social Potpourri continues to promote new and talented authors by providing them a platform for showcasing their creativity. This is our second anthology of short stories and poems with contributions by some very fine writers in their own right. With Anthology II, we have brought yet another group of unnoticed yet brilliant writers to you. The hopes, aspirations, thoughts and emotions, of the writers of this anthology will move you beyond words. When you open this book and turn the pages, you will see their flights of imagination take wing.

You can also buy @
About The Authors

Ed. by Sulekha Rawat  and Kirti Mukherjee 

Sulekha is a dreamer, healer and writer; loves drinking strong and sweet tea, listening to music, watching movies, spending time with her family and friends, and pouring out her thoughts on the pages of her notebooks. She was born and brought-up in Mumbai and now lives in Delhi/NCR with her husband, Vikram Rawat, and now grown-up children, Shloka and Kartik. Sulekha also has a side-kick named Sparky, her 11 year old Dalmatian who listens to her read out her rough drafts and gives her suggestions for improving them with a shake of her adorable head.

Authors of the book- Social Potpourri – An Anthology II
Stalk her @
Now for the Rafflecopter: Gather as many points as you want to. The more points you get, the more you have a chance to win it all. Show your love for books.. Tweet, Like and Spread the Word… Thank you for being a Reader… You keep the Authors motivated… This is our way of saying a Thank you 🙂 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Turquoise Silence – Poetry by Sanober Khan (A Spotlight)

Turquoise Silence by Sanober Khan

A disclaimer: This book is a part of a blog tour conducted by The Book Club and all the reviews are done in exchange of a copy of the book from the publisher or author. No monetary trasaction takes place.



The Blurb
The book is a collection of free verse poems that encapsulate the poet’s most heartfelt emotions about life. They speak of moments that sweep our breath away, of beauty that bewitches the heart, of people, memories, sights, sounds and smells that awaken a sense of wonder and wistfulness. With rich metaphors and eloquently flowing imagery, the poet’s love for the simple things in life unfolds in different moods and tones, ultimately ending up in words felt, cherished, concieved and written… in turquoise silence
Buy @
Watch it



Meet the Poet
Writing poetry is a very different, mystical experience. There is no plot, no storyline, no characters…just a stage set for you and your own deepest self. When I wrote my first poem six years ago, I never imagined it would someday become such an important aspect of my life.
 I have always loved poetry for the creative freedom it offers, the minimal rules, its ability to elevate even the most ordinary moments. At the end of each poem I write, it feels as though I have not just evolved in my style, but also as a person.  My work first appeared in Cyberwit’s international journal, the Taj Mahal Review, which paved the way for me to getting two books published.
I have long been inspired by poets like Khalil Gibran, Rumi, Rabindranath Tagore ,Rolf Jacobsen, E.E Cummings, and John Keats. A voracious reader myself, I enjoy reading poetry and novels from around the globe.
Stalk her @





At the time I first attempted NaNoWriMo (nanowrimo[dot]org), the general consensus was that writing a novel the NaNoWriMo way was not really the best way. Many published authors even played down the fact that their novel had been written during NaNoWriMo.

Of course, things are so totally different today.

There is almost an industry of sorts that has come out around NaNo today. People are proud to proclaim their published novels to have been written in November. Workshops and tutorials are now specially geared towards revising NaNo novels.

This is a validation which of course, NaNoWriMo is not really in need of because the very validation that it provides to writers is the most precious and important thing that a new writer needs in order to not get intimidated from the overwhelming task of writing a novel.

Serendipitously, it is on the 25th of November onwards that wrimos can upload their novels via the word-count validator and get validated and be declared as winners. The newbies are generally fearful of their manuscripts being judged on being uploaded but this is an unfounded fear because the validation is done by a machine (or a software). If the machine counts 50K words, then you are declared a winner. Nobody is sitting there judging the quality of your writing. Such a kind of validation can be so liberating.

Do you agree?

Writing tip #22

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”(Sylvia Plath).
This post is part of the A-Z Blogging Challenge 2014.

Today’s post is ‘V’. There is a lacuna where the other letters still need their own blogpost. I endeavour to fill this void before the month ends. I request you then, my dear loyal reader to please bear with me and my writing on those days when you might receive 2-3 posts in your inbox. 🙂

Pic courtesy:

The Adorable Vamp – Helen of Bollywood

In the late 60s and all of 70s, no Hindi film was complete until a dance number (called an ‘item number’ now but a ‘cabaret dance’ then) by Helen was included. Helen with her exotic wigs, feathers, paints, beads, sequins and alluring makeup brought a sense of style and sensuousness to her performances which were never lewd or obscene.

The story of Helen began many years ago when a young woman and her three kids escaped from Japanese domination in Burma. Through wilderness and villages they travelled, foodless and penniless, till they reached Assam. There they rested and recouped and then shifted to Calcutta. The young woman, who was a nurse, could barely manage to support her family on her meagre salary. This is when they shifted to Mumbai and her young daughter took up bit roles as a chorus dancer in movies. This young girl named Helen Jairag Richardson, got her big break in 1958 when she performed the song, “Mera Naam Chin Chin Choo” in Howrah Bridge.

From then on for almost thirty years, she ruled the roost as the Vamp with the golden heart all the while performing what was termed as the “Cabaret Dance” in all the movies that came out of Bollywood.

What is the secret of her long-lived success in the film industry?

Besides her looks which were very different from those of the demure, conservative heroines of that time, the lyrics of the songs that she danced to were musical and in good taste. In sharp contrast are the dances and songs of today, where the top heroines of the country gyrate to songs with unambiguously offensive lyrics and body movements that make the viewers go red in the face with embarrassment.

Besides dance numbers, Helen has done many character roles and even won a prestigious film award for her role in Lahu ke Do Rang.

Helen has appeared in over 500 films. She is often cited as the most popular dancer of the item number in her time. She was the inspiration for four films and a book. A book about Helen was published by Jerry Pinto in 2006, titled The Life and Times of an H-Bomb, which went on to win the National Film Award for Best Book on Cinema in 2007. In 1998 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Filmfare.

It has been an interesting life and Helen, now 74, has been quoted as saying that she lives in the present and that is the secret of her serene and peaceful life.

Below are videos of a couple of her popular numbers. Enjoy.

EK THI DOYENNE (Once upon a time there was a doyenne)

(Legendary writer Anita Desai and daughter, Booker Prize winner, Kiran Desai, together in public conversation, for the first time ever)


At noon, on 7th December, 2012, at the Times Literary Carnival, a sense of excitement hung in the air as an eager audience thronged the Aditya Birla Hall of Mehboob Studio. The legendary novelist Anita Desai and her daughter, the Booker Prize winner, Kiran Desai were together on the same stage for the first time ever while Chiki Sarkar of Penguin India, adroitly steered the conversation to throw light on the life of two beautiful minds living together.

So, how much more fabulous can it get when two writers of great caliber, a study in opposites  with their differences in age, looks, style of writing and even their method of working, tell us they are companions in solitude when they are writing.

Anita Desai is soft -spoken and her words flow out in a gentle stream that often miss the microphone but wrap themselves around us in a warm cozy embrace.  On the other hand, Kiran Desai, passionate, whimsy and as unexpected as her writing, often ends her sentences abruptly, the words as awkward as a dancer caught mid-stage in the glare of the spotlight that did not turn off when the dance ended.

It can be strange to experience life with a mother and in her writings recognize those moments and marvel at the way that life has been woven into her stories, which is what Kiran did when she read Anita’s works. Anita, for whom writing has been a natural progression rather than something she planned, said her life made sense only when it was put down on paper. Immigration and re-settling away from one’s roots has been the common undertone in both their lives. While a young 15-year-old Kiran traversed a lonely path in a foreign country (and which is why most of her characters are solitary types), Anita’s journey has been back towards her parent’s era.

Along with the angst has come some benefits too. Having an award-winning writer as your first reader can be a great advantage and Kiran Desai agrees. Anita Desai has, on her part, always given her first draft (revised at least four to five times) to a neutral person such as an editor for feedback and never to a friend or family member.

Ah, yes, dear readers who are also writers, you are not forgotten.  You ask, what message is there for us?

Anita Desai says,“Read a LOT. Commit to writing and make writing a daily habit.”

‘Be lonely and be alone’ are the best conditions for writing. One’s social life might have to be curtailed for the sake of writing but it does not mean you stop living. All material for the writing is out there. “Be sharp in your observations; pick out the significant to use in your writing,” said Anita Desai.

“You need to decide whether you have the right to the solitude you need in order to write.” Thought-provoking statement, indeed, by Anita Desai.

All warm and fuzzy feelings almost gave way to a Koffee with Karan moment when someone from the audience asked if they ever felt jealous of each other?

No-one must have been very surprised when Anita Desai replied,” I don’t think of it as rivalry. The world is richer for so many voices.”

I’m so looking forward to Times Lit Carnival 2013.

(Anita Desai received the first Times of India Lifetime Achievement Award at Times Lit Carn).

Post Navigation