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The second book in the Shiva Trilogy is even more predictable than the first. As soon as the author introduced a new character or event, I knew how it would fit in the plot in the end. It was disappointing for me to read through pages after pages knowing what was going to happen next. I kept reading thinking perhaps my guess would be wrong somewhere but it was correct till the very end! And all the while I wondered how the characters in the story could not see what I could. I mean, any author writes a story through the characters and this one was not believable at all.

It seems there is the need inside the author to assert that every person/character is good, but might be doing something bad because of the situation. That was very implausible. Why is the author scared to label any character having a dark side; why does everyone has to turn out good? And most importantly, why is the Lord not able to see the many hints around him telling him about it. Even though a mortal, Shiva could at least be portrayed as intelligent and having more common sense than the other mortals. I understand when the protagonist is a negative character, but I personally do not like stories where the hero is dumb and can’t even see the obvious.

This book seems like a documentary about the civilizations that existed in that era. I would expect more feelings in such a plot, if the author’s intentions were to convince the readers about his theory. But perhaps, that was not the intent. This book seemed more likely to have been written for commercialization than anything else. I think it lacks the passion that goes into writing. I have read so many not-so-popular authors portraying more obsession in their seemingly unrealistic stories. When I read those, I can see the writer’s point of view and many a times I even agree to that to some extent. With this book, it was more like “OK, that was what I expected but it still doesn’t convince me!” To be honest, I have not read that much about Lord Shiva also. So it would have been easier to persuade me, but that doesn’t happen. Now, I am wondering if I will read the next book in the trilogy. Perhaps I will, to ascertain that the idea I have about the book is correct or not :-). I am almost sure what the story would be about.

My husband confessed to me that he wouldn’t have read any of these books had it not been marketed as Lord Shiva’s story. According to him, the only selling point of the books is their covers and I agree that the covers of both the books are quite impressive. But the credit does not go to the story in that case. But that’s the thing about a series. If you manage to impress readers even a little bit (by right marketing) by the first book in the series, you are sure most of them will read the subsequent books, even if only to satisfy their curiosity as to how it all would end. People like me who cannot leave a story (book or movie) in the middle without completing it, would definitely read the whole trilogy, even if we are disappointed in the end. But then, I am not waiting eagerly for the last book, I might even try to get my hands on a free copy :-). But there would be a section of the readers who will like the whole series. As one of my friends said she liked the book because of her life situations, because she wanted to escape reality. So yes, though all the books in the trilogy might not become national bestsellers, they have definitely been able to establish a market for the author and his future works. Hence, the commercial success part is taken care of anyway. Personally, I feel the authors who promote beforehand that they are writing a series are obviously trying to build a market even before they write! So I am anyways least impressed by such writers but if the work turns out to be good, I have no complaints!

To conclude, the Shiva Trilogy did not impress me at all, it was not able to touch any chord, more so the second book. As my husband summed it up, “The first part at least had a story!”

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Yeah, my adorable daughter, my little princess is 6 years old. And all I remember of these six years is tonnes of wonderful memories…beautiful days…’happy tears’ moments…everything that comes with the joys of motherhood!

I look at Chunchu and I wonder – what good deed I do to expect this joy in my life? They are right when they say “every child comes with a message that God is not disappointed with man”…my children, in fact, are a message from the Almighty that He is looking after me and loves me! It is a privilege to be surrounded by such immense love, every single moment of your life (touch wood)!

Ever since she came into my life, I have never been short of inspiration, strength, positivity and contentment. She is not a part of my life, but a part of me. Together, Chunchu and Shiku complete me.

I pray to the Lord to bless my dear children with lots of happiness and love in their lives.

I am doing a free promotion of my book ‘Love, It Is!’ on Kindle for 2 days – 26th and 27th September, on the occasion of my daughter’s birthdary…so grab it here for free:

http://www.amazon.com/Love-It-Is-ebook/dp/B00927CLCC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1346497845&sr=1-1&keywords=love+it+is+manisha 

Also available in paperback on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Love-It-Is-Collection-Stories/dp/1479177180/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1348483800&sr=8-2&keywords=love+it+is+manisha

If you are trying to be a writer, along with a home maker, full-time working woman…it is got to be tough! But you have the passion, and you love writing…you are ready to make sacrifices – you can sacrifice sleep, your favorite TV show, your moments of rest, then you probably have enough opportunities to steal the time from the day. All you have to do is just lookout for the short moments of being alone. Then, grab them, and turn them into your moments of ‘writer time’.

Let’s say you start early like me. As soon as you are awake, switch on the ‘writer mode’ and while you finish the household chores, try to do the thinking part of your writing piece. Of course, you have to listen whole heartedly to the children; so when you need to, keep a book mark at the thought in that moment, and switch off the writer mode. I do it all the time. I can always go back to the same thought once again, start imagining the story exactly from where I left. This requires some practice, but as far as I know, if you let your thoughts wander away, you will only gain as a writer 🙂 Let the mind wander, just keep visualizing the work at hand and you will be fine. I have sometimes imagined the most impressive line/dialog or even the ending in this manner.

Then, when you have to commute to the office for longer than 10 minutes and you do not drive yourself, take out your laptop and start writing, whatever you had thought throughout the morning. If you do not have a laptop, pen down the words on a paper. I always try to keep a notepad with me, so that I do not miss an idea. I realized this the hard way! I understand, it will be a task to transfer the writing piece to laptop/PC later, but that would be less time-consuming if you have already composed. Also, while copying the work to PC/laptop, you could actually review it! When you are done, you will have the proof-read draft version and will not need to visit it again with the intent of correcting small mistakes! It is time-saving after all! I remember writing a story on the way to an interview, a poem on the way to visit someone. It is fun! If suppose you do not even have a piece of paper, just take anything writable (back of an ATM slip, tissue paper, even your palm) and note down one or two words that would preserve your idea and you can develop it later. This is one way of ensuring you do not have to bump your head to remember what it was that you wanted to write and losing the idea forever. Many writers will tell you that they have lost some wonderful ideas by not writing them down immediately. And with my experience I know that how much ever you scratch your head later on, sometimes, you cannot remember!

Sometimes, it might happen that however hard you try, you cannot do anything creative on the way. Well, I mostly force myself saying I have to do it since otherwise, I am not serious enough about my writing. Sometimes, nothing works, and then, I use that time to finish some task pending task from work and then, use the scheduled time for the latter  to write. And sometimes, I use the commute time to just relax, observe my surroundings and let my mind wander.

There was a time when I used to think I would either write the whole thing in one go or wouldn’t do it. I would sit down to write only when I had enough time to finish it. That was when I used to write poetry…and I thought a poem couldn’t be composed if you lose the flow. Well, I realized because of this habit, I ended up not writing many things I thought of. Hence, I changed my habit. But old habits die hard. Many a times, when I sit down to write something just before going to sleep and I tell myself I will write only for 40 minutes since I need to wake up early, I hardly stick to the time limit. When I finally switch off my laptop, it is many times over 90 minutes! So, I end up losing my sleep and bear the consequences the next day. But in the end, it is worth it. I feel productive.

There is another way I steal some time from my day. We all have those moments when you are preparing for a meeting and you realize that you are done and still there are 10 more minutes before the meeting begins. Steal those 10 minutes to write even a couple of lines, or use them to read through what you intended to read for the purpose of reviewing. Though it is not much you will achieve within just 10 minutes, but think how those minutes will accumulate into hours over a time period!

Then, there are those times when you are cooking and you are waiting for the curry to cook and you need not do anything in those 15 minutes, well, write! Or when you are watching your favorite show or movie on TV, you can use the breaks, which are mostly unproductive, to write. Perhaps you do not have enough time to write on the laptop, then write on a paper. Again, think of the cumulative effect of those few minutes you steal from your day on a regular basis.

So as many writers must have said it before, I am going to repeat. Writing is a hobby and you write because you love writing, but you are not writing for the purpose of not getting read. In fact, every writer writes for getting read. In order to achieve that, you need to finish the task – a blog post, an article, a story, an essay…it needs to be complete before anyone can read it. To complete it in one go is not possible, even with a short post/story. And you might not have enough time daily in your routine to fix a schedule of work for yourself. However, you can steal time – little bit every day and still get the work done. Don’t we finish our office deadlines? Today, I got up 40 minutes later than my usual time and I still managed to send the kids to school at the same time! I am sure we all have had such days, but we still manage to make sure that we stick to our time lines for all the regular tasks, so why not for your writing? Try making a habit and stick to it most of the time. When you are able to accomplish even a single task, you will be motivated to practice this more.

But there is one thing about stealing the time – you should not define any rules for it. You cannot tell yourself that everyday at such and such time, I will write for 10 minutes. It is good if you can stick to the rule, but with stealing, there is always an unpredictability associated with it. Hence, it might frustrate you if you try to make any rules around it. It is better to just find some time any time of the day. That way, the zeal also remains intact; routine can be boring. You need to be flexible enough to understand and identify the days when you are more motivated and utilize them to maximum while the days when you don’t feel like writing, you could use to relax or read or research.

This technique of stealing is not only for writing, you could use it for so many other things in your every day routine. Try it for a week and see how much you gain out of it…

Your thoughts?

This is one of the most recent books I read. And, it has left me feeling confused about it. There are things I liked about the book and there are things I thought were not to my liking (or perhaps expectations).

As soon as I lay my hands on a book, I build my expectations right away by reading its cover text, the reviews contained inside the book and the preface. Yes, I am one of those readers who literally read the book cover to cover, not missing even the acknowledgements. In my opinion, those things are as much part of a book as is the story. So, anyways, I expected this book to be a ‘fresh new’ idea and since it is a national bestseller, I expected it to fulfill my expectations of it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t (on that front). But there are many good things about the book. The idea, as such, might not be unique and new, but the story in itself is good. I liked the style of writing, the way that the author builds up events perhaps knowing that many readers will already be familiar with some aspects of the story. I especially liked the way the author has built upon some slogans (eg. “Har Har Mahadev“) that I have known for many years, yet never really thought about the story behind their coming into existence. I admired the simplicity and ingenuity of some such ideas.

But there are things that were disappointing and simply unbelievable. First, this book might tell a good story but doesn’t manage to convince you to see that side of the story. By the end of the book, you are not nodding and thinking “perhaps, that is how it happened”. Rather, you are thinking, “OK, well told but where is the shock element that I had so expected?” Perhaps the reason behind lack of surprise element in the book is the fact that if you know about Hindu mythology, you are surely aware that the Gods were not born as Gods. They lived as mortals, as avatars,  and came to be regarded as Gods because of their deeds. Perhaps, it could also be the fact that this particular concept has already been discussed (consider the song “mathura nagarpati” from the movie “Raincoat“).

Then, there is this weird predictability around the concept and the story doesn’t stay in your mind for too long. For me, that’s not impressive. If I can’t think over and over about a book for at least a week, that means I was not drawn into it. This one is clearly predictable and has nothing to do with changing your mind about something or even making you see another side of a situation. Though I have not read much about Lord Shiva much, and I know Hindu mythology already propagates the idea of the Gods as being lived as mortals in our world, I still don’t identify with the way that the character of Shiva develops.

The thing I disliked most about this book was –  the winning battle strategies seem to have been taken directly from the movie ‘300’. Oh yes, I could visualize the whole scene in the book by going back to what I have already seen in that movie! Now, the author might have made a minor changes to it, but it was a total spoiler for me. Just when I started thinking that it was still a creative piece of work, I found myself highly disappointed!

All in all, it is a good read in itself i.e. if you ignore the fact that it is based on Lord Shiva’s life and if you can look beyond the battle scenes. As I mentioned before, it is a good story. It might not be convincing and great; but for people like me who simply love to read, it is worth reading. And, it is a national bestseller.

Every single time I sit down to write something, I thank my school for making me a reader. I believe I didn’t have a remote chance at writing if I was not such a passionate reader. And this affair started at school. I was in class 6th and we used to have a Library period. The first novel I read was that of Nancy Drew. Though I was fond of reading before that, actually ever since I can remember but what took the passion to a height was the Library period.

If I start from the beginning, I remember I used to save the money I got for toffees or chocolates to rent comics books from a make-shift shop under a tree near to my house. I used to love reading those books…there was something about those superheroes that touched me and all I wanted to do was just to keep reading. I, my sister and my cousins would all go to the shop and rent out 6-7 such books. It used to cost 50 p for a normal size book and Re. 1 for a digest (the thick one). And I remember we used to spend a lot of money on renting those and I was never content with whatever I read…I always wanted more. But there was a good thing about renting them together. I was the eldest and the fastest reader, so everyone would ask me to read for them. Did I love it? Absolutely! We would sit on the stairs and would devour all those we could rent in a day. Most children forget hunger and thirst while playing, but I did that while reading. Even when everyone would be bored listening, I would continue reading for myself.

The second in preference were text books. We used to get our text books for the academic year 15 days before the school actually began. And, during those 15 days, I would have read all my English and Hindi text-book stories. Then, I would do the same with my sister’s or cousin’s books, even though I knew I had read them in earlier classes. I remember this one time when I was left with no new stories in the language text books, so I read my Social studies book as well! So what if it was not fiction, there were stories about history, great leaders! That was how much I loved reading.

There were rare occasions when someone would gift me a book. That would be the best gift ever. I remember every single book I received as a gift. I also remember, not with proud, that my best friend of that time lost one of my books, actually the very first English novel I owned (‘Kidnapped’). And I didn’t talk to her for days. It was a shame and I knew I hurt her, but I was just too much in love with my books. I feel sorry for my friend though, it was simply mean.

Coming back to Nancy Drew affair – the first novel I ever read cover to cover. It was mandatory to read the library books and the teacher could ask us questions from the book she gave to us. But I did not need a reason to finish the book, I just simply did. But the rule of the library was not to lend more than one book per student. So I used to borrow them from not-so-enthusiastic readers, and read. In exchange, I would give them a brief synopsis of the book, in case the teacher asked! Yeah, it was cheating, but I wanted to read the books and some students wouldn’t lend them easily.

And after one year, my parents realized that I had become careless towards my studies because I was spending too much time reading. For some time, I was banned from reading more than required and I would hide and read them, still. Now I realize how many rules I broke and how many lies I told just to continue the passion of reading. That was a short phase, thankfully. I grew up a bit and learned to manage time. I trained myself to keep the book down, before finishing it. (It is still a big task for me though).

Of course, later I started reading maturer fiction and non-fiction. One of my cousins introduced me to latter. After I started it though, I stopped my affair with fiction for some time. Yet, old habits die hard. So now, my reading list is always a combination of fiction, non-fiction, self-help, biographies…everything good I can lay my hands on. There are many writers I loved, many classics and contemporary books I loved, some I hated, some had good concept but bad style, others had good style but not-so-good plot…I have read them all. And most of the times I have finished a book I started, even though sometimes, it would take me months to do so due to circumstances. But there are just 2-3 books that I could not finish. It is a rare occurence…averaging to about one book in 8 years I guess. Those were really bad ones and I could not carry on, how much ever I tried. I felt uneasy leaving a book unfinished , yet when I picked them again to read, I could not make myself do it, whatever efforts I put into it. So those were really bad ones, I am sure. If a book lover like me cannot finish a book, it must be pretty bad! And then, there are those that I have read more than once, several times! Shakespeare is obviously one of the adored writers, and I can pick any of his work anytime and read it to the finish, irrespective of how many times I have already read it. I have read the classic poets also. I used to love reading poetry as much as I did prose. That’s why before I was a writer, I was a poet. I could always understand the deeper meanings of the poems, even before the teacher would explain to us. I could visualize the poet pouring his/her heart out into what they wrote. I could come close to feeling their emotions when they composed those poems. I loved poetry.

Then, came the internet era…my dad bought me a PC when I was in college. It opened a whole lot of possibilities for me…I could read as much as I wanted…and many a time, I did not have to buy the books. But honestly, I still prefer a paperback. Nothing can beat the satisfaction of sitting in bed with a book open and letting your thoughts flow with the words of the author. I love the smell of pages and if I had a choice I would prefer writing also the traditional way. The electronic medium somehow doesn’t feel the same. Though of course, I have read many books on this medium, yet I would anytime prefer traditional ways…I am old-fashioned I guess.

Three years back, I had written a post titled ‘Being a Mom’ (find it here). I thought I had experienced quite a few years of motherhood to write about it. I had, no doubt, experienced motherhood but I am still having new experiences, learning new things, having those moments of happy tears…and I am sure this will continue throughout my life. I look at my children and the love inside my heart knows no boundaries. I cannot even start describing what their presence makes me feel. I think to put motherhood into words is impossible, is like putting a dam across an ocean. The joys of motherhood are simply too immense to be put into words.

Having said that, I will also confess that sometimes, I wish for some lonely moments with myself, which are difficult to find with two kids around. Many a times, you have to sacrifice sleep to steal away those moments to do something you love. And this is just one of the minor challenges that mothers face. For those having young children, proper and continuos sleep in itself is a luxury. And it is even more challenging if you have a full-time job and a passion that you wouldn’t want to give up. Yes, it might be tough, but is it fulfilling? I personally have no doubt about that!

My children complete me. I still wonder what I used to do before they were born. Sometimes, I wonder, what kept me busy in those days? I feel I have more time in the day now, have more energy now and have more will now. I somehow manage to do it all – get up at 4 in the morning, get the kids ready, pack breakfast for them, prepare breakfast lunch for everyone, get the children ready for school and still reach my own office in time and full of energy to face the day! Of course, my hubby helps me in these tasks. And then, in the evening, when I come back home, it’s like the beginning of another brand new day 🙂 I still manage to serve dinner by 6:45 in the evening so that the kids can get proper sleep; after all they have to wake up at 4:30. And then, sometimes, I read and other times, I write before going to bed myself. The days are busy, yet I look forward to them. That consecutive sleep is still a luxury and not very frequent. The mornings are fast, the days fly by in a jiffy…but it’s all worth it!

Being a mother gives you more reasons to carry on, to love your life, to love yourself, to have courage to face anything and emerge a winner; and to live to the fullest. Being a mom gives you a purpose and a direction. Though there are times when you want to slow down, but when you actually do that, you miss the rush! That’s what life is when you are a mother.

Once a friend remarked that how wonderful it would be when our kids grow up and won’t be dependent on us, and I could not but help wondering – we would miss their dependence on us so much then. I know I will miss the little things – their sudden urge to hug me, calling me all the time at office, asking me to come home early, making small demands like cookies & chocolates, getting upset with me over small things…I will miss the busy days and restless nights! I will miss their constant call for my attention! I will miss this phase of motherhood, like I miss the earlier ones. But I am sure, every phase will bring equivalent joy, similar challenges and lots of learnings for me as a mother. And I hope I always keep busy with my children, till they need me, till I see them off on the journey of their own lives…

My Books

Read the review Love No More (Love, It Is!)

Read the review Love, It Is!

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