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I did not intend to write a second book of short stories after I published my first, ‘Love, It Is!’ (Buy it here.) But then, one fine day, I promised myself that in the year 2013, I wanted to gift myself another book. I gave myself a deadline, since I did not want to let 2013 go by. I decided to use one of the auspicious dates in my life – 23rd June. And I announced it so that I was under pressure to complete the book by that date.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to write 15 stories like I did for the first one, but I also knew these stories would be bolder and better. I understood that when I hold myself back as a writer and do not write what scares me and aim to write only happy endings, I am not being fair to the writer in me. I have no right to hold back the thoughts and plots. I have to give in to the stories…to the plot and to the reality. And that’s what I did.

I wrote these dark stories that I had heard of or read of or saw a part of, in several years. I had many stories and situations in my mind, but I chose only a few, which had affected me enough to replay the events in my mind several times. I can still write many more such stories, but I did not want the book to be a work in progress for a long time.

Also, it is a very good feeling when you write a story that ends in smiles and tears of joy. You feel good about yourself and you feel glad that you wrote something that has the potential to give hope to someone. And you forget for a while that it is just a story and life could be so different and tougher. In fact, you feel in your heart that someone somewhere would read the happy story about love and will perhaps start believing in love or maybe believe more strongly.

On the other hand, when you write a dark story that ends in a different way than you would want it to or in a way that is unfair to the character you love so much, it is painful. You keep wondering ‘what if I tweak it a bit, just a little so that the X person is happy’ and you have to stop yourself from doing it just because you know that the story loses its essence. You have to force yourself to not meddle with the story or the characters. You have to give in to the weaknesses of those characters, because that’s how they are. Perhaps you created them that way, maybe you based them on someone you knew and that’s how they are in life. But as a writer, you cannot change the character just because you want to. Hence, writing a dark story is very tiring. It keeps playing in your mind and you have to silence the voice in your head which asks you to interfere with the writing and the writer in you.

This kind of stories affect people like me even more. I am one of those people who faint at the sight of blood, who turn away their face when a nurse withdraws blood from my child’s arm, who cannot watch a movie with gross murder scenes, who are affected for weeks when they read about an abuse in the newspaper, who cry for children who are subject to atrocities by their own relatives. I am one of those people who stop reading newspapers or watching news because it’s all so sad and negative.

So, it’s no wonder that I was able to complete only 7 dark love stories for my second book. But since I am that person who loves happy endings, I threw in a story at the last-minute which ends on a happy note, so that the reader can close the book with a sigh of relief. Oh there I go…revealed the plot of the last story 😉

The second book required more effort because of several reasons – the kind of stories, the timeline, the full-time job which (un)surprisingly got busier just before the book’s publishing date, and other miscellaneous factors. Yet, I finished on time, with one story more than the number I had in  my mind. That’s a promise fulfilled – a gift to myself 🙂

‘Love No More’ was published on 23rd June, 2013 (as planned) and can be purchased from Amazon at the following link:

Love No More  (Read and provide feedback)

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Love hurts, we all know this. In fact, the sweet-bitter pain of love keeps some of us going when we are on the verge of losing it. But do you really feel love can physically or emotionally hurt someone in a way that it spoils their life and their faith in this divine feeling? The crimes of passion – are they really driven by love? Love means to give, not to snatch away; love means to wish for happiness of the one you love, not to cause them unending suffering; love means to be good, not to let  the dark places in your heart take over you.
The book 2 in series ‘Love, It Is!’ tells you stories of this love – a dark and satanic form, which I believe is not love actually. Most of these stories are based on true events I have been a witness of, though I add a lot of my imagination to understand the background of those situations. I confess I add details and sometimes, even characters and situations. Yet, I try to keep the story close to its own essence.

Read ‘Love, No More…’ on Amazon and Kindle from 23rd June.

Creativity is a good thing to have. And it is even better if you can use it in your everyday life, especially when you have very curious young children. My son is one of the most inquisitive people I have seen 🙂 His questions never stop coming. Even while I am giving him a bath, he is asking me one question after another. So I need to be thinking on my feet all the time in order to satisfy his inquisitive mind and to put it in simple enough way to make him understand. Also, sometimes, the questions cannot be answered by simple truth, so I have to make all kinds of stories around them so that his young mind can take away a good thing/value from the conversation. In a very strict sense, I am not telling the truth and probably being manipulative but then the truth might not be interesting enough for a child. So I create stories about simple things in life.

For example, consider this. When I knew I was expecting my son, my daughter was just about a year old. And I had read all these articles about older siblings feeling jealous of a new baby that I was scared. I figured the best way to help my daughter accept and love her baby brother was to start before he was born. So I started telling her how Goddess Gauri* was going to grant her a beautiful wish. I let her spend time with her favorite doll and kept telling her she will have a  baby like the doll to play with. I used to point at my tummy and tell her that her gift was growing there and will be out soon. I tried to tell her in the best way I could and I am not sure how well she understood me, but she responded to my son’s birth very well. She never felt jealous of him and though she was only 19 months when he was born, she behaved like a responsible elder sis towards him. I don’t know if my talking to her about his arrival had anything to do with it, yet I continued to tell her the story. The story was this. A little girl was born to a couple who had prayed for her and they loved her very much. Then, she grew up a little and would play with her mom & dad. Though she enjoyed their company and loved her parents very much, yet she wanted to play with a child. So she prayed to Goddess Gauri to give her a little brother. Since Goddess Gauri is very kind and listens to everyone’s prayers, especially children’s, She granted the little girl her wish and said “Dear little girl, your brother will come to your home on May 8, 2008, who will love you and be your friend for life. You have to promise to love him and take care of him.” So, Shiku arrived into our lives on the promised date.

I thought I was quite smart and started using this story every time the children fought with each-other or complained about each-other, reminding them that they were supposed to love each-other. But this generation of kids is even smarter.

One day, while I was telling this story the nth time to Chunchu and Shiku, he really got irritated and said, “But mom, this means didi (big sister in Hindi) wanted me as her brother. But I never prayed for her! So why do I have to put up with her?” I must admit I was stunned for a few moments! His question was right at the mark! For few moments, my mind went blank and I uttered a few ahh’s and umm’s. Then, I turned to him and told him another story.

I said, “Shiku, I am glad you asked. But do you really think this choosing for siblings is a one way process?” And he was like, “So? What happens?” And I replied, “You know where little kids stay before they are born?” He said, remembering my answer to another of his questions, “Yes, I know. The little kids stay with Goddess Gauri. I remember you had told me some time back.” I was encouraged by his belief and continued with my story, “So when Goddess receives a wish/prayer from a child for a younger sibling, she asks all the unborn children to gather in a big room. This room has a big projector. The purpose of this projector is to look into the lives of the children who are already born and praying for a sibling. So Goddess shows the unborn children a few hours from the life of the child who has wished for a brother or sister. Same thing happened when Chunchu wished for a brother. The Goddess gathered Shiku and all children in the room as is the process and she put on the projector. Everyone saw one-year old Chunchu playing around the house. Every few minutes, she would go to her mom and would cuddle her. She was talking in baby language and was so happy. She looked very beautiful and lovable. Then, Goddess Gauri asked every child in the room who wanted the little girl as their elder sister. Shiku liked Chunchu so much that he raised his hand before anyone else and started yelling – I want her to be my didi. Gauri smiled and asked him if he was sure or if he wanted to look at more footage to decide. Shiku replied he was sure. So then, it was decided that Shiku will be born in Chunchu’s home.”

And to this day, I do not know how I thought of this whole situation about Goddess Gauri and unborn children, but I smiled to myself after the narration and said, “Well done, Manisha!” So now, whenever Shiku and Chunchu fight, I tell them the complete story – of how they chose each-other. Also, they love the story.

Perhaps some day, when they grow up, they will know I was just cooking up something. But who knows – perhaps that’s how it really happens 😉

*Goddess Gauri – A Hindu diety, who is believed to very kind hearted and an epitome of mother’s love.

Writing, of course! Right? But…

Why do I write? There is no simple answer to that. I write because I love it; because it gives me a contentment I never imagined; because it is therapeutic for me. If I am happy, my joy multiplies by writing about it; if I am sorrowful, I find solace in writing. When I write, I may not be writing about the sorrow in the current time, but just putting down few meaningful words on a document makes me feel sane and makes me forget the pain.

We have always heard that love makes you lose sleep and appetite; writing does the same for me. If I feel like writing, I can start at 12 in the night, even after a long and tiring day; and I have to force myself to stop and get some sleep since there will be another tiring day to face. When I write, there is no hunger and no sense of time or place. Writing is another world for me, a world where I can control my negative emotions and generate more positivity.

As you day-dream in love, I dream about writing. I dream about a day when I could get up in the morning and just start writing, and continue till I feel like, without bothering about job, home, food, anything. My ideal day would begin writing while sitting under a tree, surrounded by a beautiful garden and a waterfall in the background. I crave for the freedom to pickup the pen and paper (or laptop) anytime a story idea struck me. I fantasize about the ability to go into the fiction world whenever and wherever I wished. I guess I am just in love with writing. And good thing about this love affair is that I am probably never gonna be at the stage of familiarity and boredom…there is so much to learn, to evolve, as a writer. This is just the beginning, for something which will never end since I will never stop learning as a writer.

Most of the time, while I am doing the household tasks, I enter into my fantasy world and start thinking about story ideas and plots. Most of those never make it to the paper. They just keep developing in my mind and stay there. Some are even lost. There are others which reach to the point of getting acknowledged in the form of a Word doc, but just lay there unfinished and unattended. But I write them because I know I will use them sometime in the future; even if I don’t, they help me in finding new ones and they serve as a practice for something I want to write about.

And most of the times, those stories that never make it to end or sharing with others, were actually not meant to be for that purpose. My stories give me a sense of relaxation which people usually find when they share with the closest of friends or with a therapist. I have my own counselor, always with me. I never need to take an appointment, I do not bother about the time limit, and I don’t have to care about the fees 😉 I have a very fulfilling relationship with writing.

Long back, when I wrote very rarely, I found the same fulfillment in reading. Sometimes, when I had nothing to read and I needed some therapy, I would read even my course books! Sometimes, I used to wonder if I was crazy, living in a fantasy world and finding contentment sharing with books, rather than with people. But it turned out well in the end. And I am still a lover of books, though my preference has changed a lot over the years and I no longer read any academic books to feel better 😉 Though I still read my daughter’s coursebooks sometimes, curious about what they teach now and how it is different. Though I prefer reading in English, I do love Hindi books as well, especially stories by Premchand. I am a true lover!

But now, I have two loves…writing joined the race long back, when I was just 10…but it was a close second always. Now, I cannot differentiate. So here I am, the lucky one, who found love, not once but twice. A love affair that never goes stale, partners that never become boring, activities that never become routine…and love that is different and better every day!

There might be thousands of writers out there, yet it is not easy being a writer. It requires efforts equal to any other art form or a serious job. You don’t become a writer by just writing once in a while and never revisiting your work. You become a writer when you absolutely love writing and manage to find enough time to do it; are constantly working hard to improve your skills; read as much as you can about writing so that you can do better; can find something interesting enough to write about, every other day.

Each small step you take makes a difference and takes you closer to your goal. And, the goal in question is always the same – being a writer and loving it for the sake of it! If you don’t love being a writer, you might as well not be!

Know it – that it is going to be tough. You have to sacrifice your sleep, TV time, internet-surfing time and all the unproductive stuff. You have to forget about the real world and get into your writing as if only that world exists. You have to write, no matter what. If you don’t have it in you…better quit and forget about becoming a writer.

First, you have to become a writer, then you can think of publishing, making money, being famous etc. But the work comes first. There is no other way to do it. There might be many easy ways to earn money, if that’s your purpose, being a writer ain’t one of them! Of course, you could make money by writing things that get the attention of mass…but that success will be as short-lived as a reader’s attention. I am assuming that most of the authors do not run after money and success…they just want to be recognized for being an author and for loving what they do.

As a budding writer, you must have heard this advice often – read a lot. And you know what, it’s true. Apart from writing stuff as often as you can (article, story, poem, novel, blog post etc), you must spend a lot of your free time on reading stuff others have written. You can stumble upon good support material for your writing, you will know what are the kind of works already present in your preferred genre, you can guess what kind of material is being read and is popular. And very important, you will be able to connect to other new writers who might be in a similar situation as you and would turn out to be a good help. Sometimes, you can spark a new friendship there! There are so many advantages of reading, especially in the current era, when Google is like a best friend to a writer. This is an era of information…grab anything and everything that is available on this magic land called internet and use it for betterment of your writing!

I have been writing for more than 20 years, but I took it up seriously only a few years back…I love it more day by day! As I get deeper into this realm of writing, I evolve and I learn, and I enjoy it even more. Writing can be learned/improved only by more writing. You have to bring yourself to a level where you are practically living in the world of writing – unless you see every single situation with a writer’s eyes, unless you are looking for a new story every single awake moment of yours, and unless every conversation you are a part of, instigates the author inside you…you still are not ready. You still have a long way to go.

I am not saying you should shun all your other responsibilities and just write, but the desire to do so should be fierce in you. There are situations in everyone’s lives which lead to postponement of your dreams, but if you can keep that dream alive till you are, you have potential to live it some day. That day will soon come. The speed at which it arrives into your life to become a part of you, depends entirely on how strong your wish is to make sacrifices in the present to give yourself that chance in the future.

Yes, being a writer, you will almost never see immediate results. Unfortunately, for some, they never come. But are you willing to take that risk? Are you ready to take a plunge in the dark, just having the weapon of passion with you and with no promise of ever making it big? If your answer is yes, my dear friend, you are absolutely ready. Just go for it!

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

My Books

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

Read the review Love, It Is!

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