Sometimes short reviews aren’t enough

 

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Bird by bird is a book on writing by Anne Lamott, to say that it’s only a book would be a bit of understatement. It’s a holy grail, and I feel a pinch of pain in my heart because I got to read it so late in my life. The book was recommended to me by my friend Nitin who himself is a writer and blogs @Tidbit. He is also an avid reader, so when I asked him how come he is so regular with his writings, he told me about this very book that is his bible for writing. So, with trembling hands, I picked the Kindle version of the book and started reading it. After reading two pages, I paused to let everything sink in. It felt like as if every single line was sitting there to be discovered and understood by me. Never before, I have highlighted so many passages and lines in a book. I never thought that I would add notes for my future reference in a book, you can, of course, exclude the course books.

I usually don’t re-read my books, what? Yes, now listen to me entirely, first of all, I am a slow reader, I read only a few books in a year, so I try to focus on reading just new books. After all, so many books and so little time to read them all.  Also, I have realized that we tend to like books as per our age, sentiment, and stage of life. So, I found only a few books that are universal in their approach and time.

But this time was different, and I knew all along that I would keep coming back to this book. This book has so much to give to you if you are an amateur writer like me, who thinks of writing a book someday. The writer talks about each aspect of writing bird by bird. You will understand this phrase once you finish this book. There is a dedicated chapter for every topic that concern’s a writer’s psyche. It not only imparts knowledge but adds perspective to your writer self. You will realize over the course of the book that what is vital if you want to become a writer. It gives you an insight of all the hurdles or disappointment that one faces on this path. It makes you think of the time when somewhere within yourself, you thought about doing it for the rest of your life, or you had the notion that this is what makes sense to you, or this is what gives you a purpose. Maybe you are someone who hasn’t figured it out yet, the reason behind your fascination with writing. Then this book will make you think about that too.

I don’t want to disclose any of the things or the topics that are discussed in the book, because I want you to dive into this book with an open state of mind. I want you to feel the gamut of emotions that surged inside my own heart while reading it. I hope you find this book as fascinating and as uplifting as me and my friend see it. I hope this book brings some perspective to your writing life.

I will like to end this post with this quote from the book “To be a good writer, you not only have to write a great deal, but you have to care.”

PS: If you have already read this book, then let’s discuss your feelings about it in below comment section.

 

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Being Prepared

Be Prepared – Because tragedy always catches us when we are unaware.

Sreedom of Expression

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It is the beginning of a new month.And Augusts are always special. Often, there are an umpteen number of holidays and festivals lined up in August – which would naturally mean fun time with family. August Is a very special month for me too. Both my father-in-law and husband have their birthdays in August and our marriage anniversary is in August too. Incidentally my grandparents too were married in August. Hence, the month had always been special for me.My son having completed his board exams this year, my husband and I had planned for a gala wedding anniversary this year. But what we hadn’t planned for was a future without one of us. So, here I am – facing the August rain – alone!

Death, sickness and separation isn’t a pleasant thing to talk about but standing at this juncture I’ve realized that it is wiser to look at the…

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FACES OF PAST

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You may have forgotten that face but what about that memory that keeps lingering in some corner of your mind. Once you were watching a movie and a scene left you in splits of laughter and tears came rolling down your eyes. In that same moment, came the memory of that face from the hidden corner of your mind, leaping at you, guffawed, you couldn’t fathom it out, and now your tears have changed their course, they are no longer tears of joy but of misery and pain.

At some another time, on some another beautiful night, you were enjoying the pretty fairies of dreams. Suddenly you see that face, the face which meant so many things to you at a time, but no longer holds any value. Slowly your dream starts changing, and abruptly you are in another world with a different vision, which keeps going around that particular face. It doesn’t stop, even if you try thousand times to prevent it from going beyond that point, but the reins have left your fingers, and now you are on a wild journey, exhausted you wake up, with the memory of that face and dream. And you no longer know what to do with all of this or what does it all mean.

You start feeling all the pain rushing back into your heart. Your heart doesn’t know if this pain will ever cease to exist, but your mind tells you if you stop thinking, someday it will. But how would you stop thinking, when the heart is still holding the grains of your past’s dust.

Now the only thing you can do is pick up your pen and write with your all might, to clear up all the weeds of your past. So that once again the grass of your present become clean, and you can go back to your life peacefully.

 

Peeking into Gentlemen’s World Part-2

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As we already know that Wimbledon got over last weekend and Novak Djokovic became the Winner for the fourth time, I had something to talk about it. I didn’t watch the final, just saw the snippet of the best shots and the award ceremony.

This post is not about the winner but instead about another great player who didn’t reach the final but won my heart, Rafal Nadal. I watched only the last two sets of the semi-final between Novak and Rafa, on Saturday 14th. Actually, the semi-final began on Friday 13th but got halted due to Wimbledon’s 11 pm curfew time after Djokovic had saved three set points in a gripping third-set tiebreak to move one set ahead. The timings were pretty late for IST zone people. My husband and I were disappointed by missing this opportunity of watching the two best players face each other 52nd time. But all was not lost, as we woke up on Saturday with this news of the game halt. Voila, here we were watching the Saturday game which begins with the following score:

  • Nadal 4,6,6
    Djokovic’s 6,3,7.

The 4th set was terrific, bringing Nadal on equal terms with Djokovic with each of them having two sets each in their baskets. And the highlight of that set was Djokovic’s frustration by angrily smashing his racket into his shoe when Nadal won the fourth set due to his forehand error.

This scene surprised me a lot, as I have never seen Djokovic that way before. While on the other hand, Nadal was comfortable in his situation. Of course, it was a very tough match, and the stakes were a bit higher for Djokovic as he hasn’t won any Grand Slam in the last two years. Moreover, his ATP rankings have slipped from the top three players to No 12. So yes, the situation was pretty bad for him but losing control like that wasn’t a good idea. He was very aggressive throughout this Wimbledon series. In fact, in his quarter-final, he had a scene with the chair umpire.

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I have seen very few matches of Nadal, so I never noticed much of his behavior on-court. But on Saturday when I saw him playing, I noticed that he played every single shot with such precision. Every time he missed his mark and Djokovic got the point, he felt bad, but there was no aggression or anger on his face. It felt like for him playing a great match matters more than anything. For me, he was the true gentleman of the game.

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I know maintaining calmness in such tense situations is not a cup of everyone’s tea. Some people have a high patience level since birth and some work towards it. This one of the most required quality in today’s time. Because you may win a game or two, but you never win people’s heart. Like Boris Becker said in his commentary “Djokovic knows that people love Federer and Nadal, and respect him, he wants to win their love too.”
No one started loving them overnight, and they have earned every bit of that love.

If you want to earn respect be good at what you do, be sincere, people will respect you but if you want someone to love you, show your heart <3.

“Never forget the earth beneath you, even when you’re flying high.”

PS: You can’t forget this little munchkin who absolutely stole the show and hearts of people.

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The Other side of the Fence: Dealing with Death

How someone can help a family dealing with a death of loved one. You might learn something and correct your behavior for future.

Sreedom of Expression

candle‘Death’ was the last word in my dictionary of sunshine and happiness when I was handed a word puzzle. I arranged the letters and it spelt : D E A T H. Disbelief followed a heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching feeling of helplessness. I looked and re-looked at the lifeless, cold body that I once called my husband. People spoke of responsibilities as a mother, some spoke about the soul being around always, but above all what stood in front of me was Death.

Dealing with death is the most difficult part of survival. Nothing helps, believe me, NOTHING helps. But yet as I came face to face with death I realised that having a helpful and rational bunch of people around, always helps – not to ease the pain but to reduce the after-effect – the trauma that follows. One big truth that I have come to realise is the effect of…

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Before venturing into the journey of Vipassana

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16th June 2018,
Seven days before the final day

Today, exactly a week before going for vipassana meditation, I am writing this piece to capture my emotions before venturing into something so new and different in my life. I have tried various meditative forms before, some with trained people following a discourse, some by reading multiple books on mediation, and some with the help of youtube videos and music. Though this is my first time going into extreme isolation to try mediation. It is going to be tough to follow a strict regime, but the toughest part would be observing total silence, as you all know I am a very loquacious person. There are days when I feel very anxious about the whole process, but then the eternal optimist inside me comes to fore-front and eases my uneasiness. When I first told my parents that I would be going for this program, my mother’s reaction was why don’t you come home instead of going for the program. And I had to explain to her that I need this program to get closer to my inner self. My husband is pleased that I have finally decided to go because it’s been more than four years that I have been thinking about doing it. I am not sure what I am trying to get through it, but I am hoping that it will bring something to my personality not immediately but in a longer time span. I love the different reactions that people give when I share my plan with them. Most people think I won’t be able to do it because they think I can’t curb my desire to speak. But then they don’t know about my willpower. My brother keeps poking and saying that I will come running back within first three days and I keep reminding him that I am not someone who runs away from situations and that I never leave things in the middle. I think this is making me more determined to try my best for those ten days. I think I will do fine there.

22nd June 2018,
A day before the D-Day.

I am feeling a bit nervous right now because of all the traveling and packing. But I am feeling much calmer inside regarding my stay for the program. I somewhat feel exactly same as I thought 2-3 days before my wedding day. In India, Wedding functions start 2-3 days before the wedding, so the only time you get for your self is before all the hullabaloo begin. I am ready to go with the flow, and I am not assuming or expecting anything out of my stay. I am not thinking or visualizing my visit there. I am a planner by nature and try to imagine my things in my head before I plunge in for anything. But there are instances in my life, or I must say the most significant events of my life are the ones where I didn’t plan anything. I must say I have enjoyed those moments when I haven’t prepared much or when I have gone with the flow. Broadly I am happy to get away from the chaos of life, especially on the work front. I haven’t taken any break from work since December, so this is going to be a change. I am looking forward to whatever the program has to offer me. I and my husband, frequently discuss his experience in 2016 for the same program. He keeps telling me that it might happen that I don’t feel anything at all in the program or I might struggle a lot during the process, the primary thing is not to get frustrated by the circumstances and the struggle. The only note in my head is “Don’t Quit.” And for the rest, time will tell 🙂

23rd June 2018,
D-Day

I am late as per my set standard time for the new journey. I am in total anxiety, and I fret all way long that whether I will be able to reach on time. If you don’t know by now, that let me tell you that I am genetically clocked to be punctual. It’s in my blood. Hence I reach every single place before time, and I dislike being late for an appointment or journey. Looking out of the window, I think of the voyage within that I have taken so far in search of my inner self and then my thoughts wander on to the upcoming Odyssey of next days. Will I able to reach my spiritual home, whether this time I will find what I am looking for through this mediation program. I am sleepy also because at this hour on the weekend I am sprawling on the bed with my books, but here I was traveling miles for the wisdom of words taught by a man 2500 years ago. We get stuck in some traffic, and I realize that maybe this time I am going to arrive late for this new venture. But we get out of it in time, and we are again on the highway, I realize I haven’t spoken a word since we left home, and it hit me, that after all keeping noble silence for ten days won’t be a problem. There will be much more significant challenges than that in this journey. After I a while I hold my husband’s hand and drowse off on his shoulder, realizing that I will be missing this warmness in the upcoming days. And when I woke up, he informs me that we are almost there and in few minutes we enter the premise of Vipassana Center in Markal, Pune. When I got out, I realized, I am finally at peace.

To be Continued ……

PS: I will be sharing some more blogs about my recent Vipassana meditation experience. Keep reading all the blogs I would be sharing in next few days regarding my whole experience. Your comments are appreciated, feel free to leave your feedback.