Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Forgive me blogger friends ...

... for my lack of posting as of late.

Recently, I have a new job (yay!) but bad news is that I have been unable to sit at my computer and write up blog posts, because I am trying to catch up on all the book-writing that I would have done during the week when I used to work part time.  Even on the weekend, I haven't had the chance to sit at my computer for that long. Over the summer I had wedding after wedding, and functions, and parties.

It doesn't mean I haven't thought about my writing friends. Something would happen and I would think to myself ... Ooh I must blog about that. Sadly I just haven't had a chance to. Or I wonder what you guys are up to.

While it is great that one part of my life is going well, I miss you guys. I miss interacting with all my writer buddies, reading about your writing journeys and feeling the ... empathy between us as we discuss our writing insecurities and problems; no matter how big or small we were all there for each other. I would love to sit through and read through as much of your blogs as I can over the next few weekends - even if that means waking up at 5:30 in the morning on a day that most people would have a lie in.

So, writer friends with full time jobs. How do you keep your two lives going? Any advice for someone trying to juggle writing and working at the same time?

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Summertime: Southbank!

Well Summer time is finally here I think.

That is, until the rain starts pouring down and we all forget what the sunshine looks like.

As any British person will know, when the sun comes out you do everything you can to enjoy it because you never know when the weather will be like that again. So here are some photos from when I spent some time by the Southbank.




View from the Bridge (whoops, I forget which one)



Sitting on the deckchair outside of the Forbes bookstore eating an ice cream and reading my kindle in the sun.

People painting flags on the ground





The London Aquarium, I recommend a visit

Overlooking the Southbank from the Westminster Bridge








We may not get a lot of sun over here in the UK, but when we do have it, it's great. Look at that beautiful blue sky.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Wedding Season is upon us

Hello fair readers,

Wedding season is upon us. We have had three invitations through the post so far, and are aware of four others that are going to take place later on in the year. I said this last year, when I was young I had been to more weddings in one year than some of my friends had been to in their lifetime. Over the bank holiday weekend we had an engagement to go to (although I had a prior commitment to another family member on the other side so some of us went to one thing, while the others went to the engagement ceremony - sometimes you do get double booked).

Weddings make your family think about your life, as well as using the occasion to scout for other prospective brides and grooms for people. There are some people that we know back in India that have asked us to find someone for their family members. When you are next in line, which thankfully I am not, people do ask when your wedding will be. Even though you may not feel that you are ready to be wed yet, Indian families seem to think that everything should happen in some kind of order. If you have ten cousins, and you are the fourth eldest, you have to be the fourth person to get married otherwise there must be something wrong with you. If you are from a family from arranged marriages - which, once again, thankfully I am not - then some people are so silly that they will not attempt to find a partner for the fifth in line unless number four gets married. There is such a pressure to tie the knot these days.

Luckily, and I say this after my arranged marriage post some while ago, I am not from a family that will pressure me to get married until I am absolutely ready. They had a love marriage so I will never be made to go down the arranged part. My parents know that I am not in the right situation in my life, therefore my marriage will have to take a back seat until I am ready, settled, and able to support myself so I do not have to rely on another person.

As I said, wedding season is upon us, so get ready for a series of posts detailing wedding ceremonies.

Good day to you all!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Missing the Sunshine

It's raining, it's pouring, and it's been raining for weeks.
So to bring a smile to your (and my) face, I bring you another picture post from when we actually had nice weather earlier this year. When it was 20+ degrees, I went for a walk around Kensington Gardens and took a lot of pictures

Remember when it was spring?


The Albert Memorial right opposite the Royal Albert Hall

Kensington Palace, before it re-opened

Walking around the park

 Daffodils! The sign that spring is was here!


 The Round Pond, where you can find swans

 The Serpentine Bridge

 The Italian Fountains

Looking out from the fountains








One thing that I love about London is that I will always stumble upon something I have never seen before. I had never seen the Italian fountains, in fact I didn't even know they existed, and while walking around Kensington there they were. I spent about an hour sitting on the benches and watched the world go by.

Notice the blue sky in those pictures? I haven't seen blue skies in weeks.

How about you? Have you stumbled across a part of your town you didn't know existed?

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Deja Vu

When I was writing book one, I had to deal with builders in our house building a loft conversion. This time during book two, I have to deal with the next door neighbours' builders knocking, sawing, and sanding away in the part of the house that is right next to my bedroom. Every time I feel ready to write something, noise comes in from next door that breaks my concentration and annoys the heck out of me.

So tell me readers, what do I do to not feel so distracted while I am trying to write?

I am asking for ways not to feel mentally distracted. I do not like to move my laptop away from my current location so going out to a cafe is not an option for me right now. What works for you?



p.s. I plan on spending tomorrow morning commenting on all of your blogs. 

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Arranged Marriages: The Rationalisation Technique

Some of you may remember a post I did last year about the time someone came to the house who was thinking of fixing me up with one of their relatives. Although this technique is a rare one, I labelled it the 'suprise technique'. One that leaves you a little bit blind-sided, especially when you are not even thinking about marriage yourself. Luckily for me, nothing came out of that meeting. Also, no one in my house was aware of the intention of these people when they came to visit us that day.

Since I am of the 'age of consideration', this will probably end up being a series of posts. Not one that will happen on a fixed schedule of course, but if it happens, then I will write about it.

So without further ado, today I bring you a new one: The Rationalisation Technique.

The rationalisation technique happens when you:
a) Don't want an arranged marriage
b) Are not even thinking about marriage yet

In this method of marriage, your parents will try to compromise with you, and it usually involves the word 'but'. Let me give you some examples ...

"I know you said you don't want an arranged marriage but [person] just asked me about you."
"You don't have to get married, but there is no harm in looking."
"I know you said you weren't ready yet but you don't have to get married straight away."
"You said you didn't want an arranged marriage, but there's nothing wrong with just talking to them and then deciding what you think."

And so on and so forth.

It is not uncommon for parents to use the rationalisation technique. This week, I got the first one. Even though I have said I am not thinking about marriage yet, and my family know that I am not ready, when an opportunity to fix you up with someone arises or someone is asking about you they will still do their best to let you know. It's like when a lawyer gets some information and they have to tell their client about it. It is a similar thing here.

By trying to make a compromise you, as the one who will get married, still have the overall power about your marriage but your parents are just trying to give you that gentle nudge. Thankfully with the rationalisation technique, you have the opportunity to persuade your family into your way of thinking and the topic of whoever asked about you will never be raised again.
There is also another fine opportunity to do what your parents want, by talking to whoever or look around, and just say no anyway. Win Win.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Interview and Review

Hi everyone!

Here is me talking around arranged marriages and the culture behind my book at the Daily Dodo

Thanks to Laura for the review of The Bollywood Breakup Agency, and it was great talking to you   :)

Sunday, 11 March 2012

A Very Colourful Festival

This week was the Hindu festival of Holi

It is a fantastic day where people throw colour at each other - friends, family, neighbours, strangers, whoever. It is something that you have to see so, to allow you that, I have picked some Holi related Bollywood Songs for you to watch.

Although I suggest keeping your speakers down for songs 1 and 4, as the recording of some of these old songs can sound rather distorted on a loud volume










Doesn't it look like so much fun?
*throws virtual colours at all of you*

Thursday, 8 March 2012

When the day job takes over ...

When I was writing book one, I worked in the evenings which gave me a lot of free time during the days to write. It was a retail job so I was able to just go in, do what I needed to do and leave with no stresses and worries whatsoever.

At the moment I am working elsewhere on a flexi-basis three full days a week, in a job which clogs up my brain when I am not at the office. Therefore the whole writing thing has been going very slowly. I wake up early and by the time I get home I am so shattered that I fall asleep quite early in the night. I have no energy to write like I used to.

I worry about losing my writing mojo and am worried that the thing that I have to do is taking over the thing that I want to do. I am way behind on the target that I had set for myself and I wanted to be a lot further in my writing than I am now. There used to be a time when I would be on the tube and I would have that amazing urge to write something that I would scribble all over a notebook that I would always keep in my bag.

Readers I need your help in getting that back. I have got two weeks off in April and I plan to write as much as possible. Do any of you have any advice about getting my writing spurt back?

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Indian Soaps Annoy Me

I know what you're thinking.

Well actually I don't ... however as part of writing the book, I made myself watch a number of Indian soaps. Yes I have made fun of them over the years, but this time I really needed to watch them in order to make my soap in my story as (and I use this word loosely) 'realistic' as possible.

When I was ill earlier this year, I watched them to (loosely using the word again) 'entertain' myself. I have some real bug bears about them. I shall burden you all with my annoyances. I actually wrote this when I was ill and cut off from the outside world (internet included), so some of the storylines are rather dated. So now I present to you.


The Things that Irritate me the most about Indian serials...

Smothering mothers. Mothers who think they always know what’s best – sometimes at the expense of their families. When their offspring (I won't use the word children here, because some of these people are in their twenties and thirties) disagree with their parents they sulk until they get their way. If their children would have thrown a tantrum like that, then these parents probably would have given them a slap and told them to grow up, and that is what these smothering mothers need.
Another example. A woman reluctantly allowed her daughter to go to a friend's birthday party. While the girl was at the party, her mother followed her to the house, and waited outside in the car with her husband's brother (her husband was actually ok with letting the daughter go). She saw the flashing disco lights from outside, and the fact that someone was delivering alcohol. She went into the house, stopped the party and yelled at everyone for not having a wholesome time for this girl's birthday. She yelled at her daughter for dishonouring herself. In fact, the daughter had actually spent most of the time in the corner feeling akward, but so what if she wanted to dance and enjoy herself? It's that kind of parenting that leads to extreme rebellion. In my opinion, that smothering mother should have just trusted in her job as a parent that her daughter would have done the right thing and not drink if she didn't want to (she didn't by the way). But the idea that she had burst into someone's birthday, gave a lecture and dragged her daughter out of the house was just plain wrong.

That leads me on to the blatant sexism. There was a woman who was having a problem with her pregnancy that may have require a caesarean section, which is scary enough. Her mother-in-law refused to allow an operation, and her reason was that the pregnant daughter-in-law will not enjoy being a mother as much if she doesn’t go through the pain. That is bad enough, but as soon as her son, the father of the child, wants to put in his two cents on the matter, he is told by his mother and his aunt that these are ‘women’s matters’ and because of that he is not allowed to have an input in the decision making process. Those lines just made me so mad.  It's his child too, why is he not allowed to have an opinion?
This was just one example. Another time a woman was upset about what was going on with her son, and her husband was trying to comfort her. She told him that he wouldn’t understand loving a child because he is not a mother. It is such an old fashioned portrayal of family life, that a father is just an idiot and wouldn’t understand any emotion because he never carried a child. He is a human being, and therefore has the ability to sympathise and empathise.

Slow episodes. The dialogue is so long and drawn out that it just gets annoying. There was tension in one family and so everyone said quips to each other and then there are periods of staring at each other and suspenseful music. I watch the whole thing and, at the end of the half hour episode realise that the entire episode revolved around the family eating lunch. Zero progress.

Over-dressing. It is not unknown that the people in these shows dress like they are dressed for a wedding just to walk around the house. Maybe the producers are trying to make everything more glamorous, but when the women go to sleep in a sari, all their jewellery and a full face of make-up ... it is just wrong and uncomfortable. I can’t even walk up and down stairs in my Indian clothes without worrying about my outfit coming apart, how do they sleep for eight hours?

Sexual tension. Yes that exists. From watching Western programmes, even the most prude individual can have the attitude of ‘why can’t those characters just find a room and get it over and done with?’ There was a period of time with a guy and a girl who wanted to be with each other but wouldn’t admit it out loud because he was with someone else. Entire episodes revolved around putting them in some situation where they would have to have some kind of physical contact and then they would stare at each other for about 10 minutes. For example, she was hanging something up, slipped on the footstool and fell on top of him. Finally at some point they almost got together: he walked towards her and she was staring at him as she backed up towards the wall. He touched her face and slowly they were moving closer to each other and were about to kiss. Then her phone rang. How clich├ęd! They ended up realising they were being stupid and stopped. Since then, his live-in girlfriend (who lived in a separate floor of the house he shared with his family) has broken up with him after realising he doesn’t love her. This was the woman he proposed to, just to make the other girl jealous. People want them to get together? I just got fed up with their story. The guy is an idiot.

Those are my bug bears for this post. I am sure there are more, but this post is giving me a headache.

Those of you who made it to the end of the post without wanting to punch the computer screen ... congratulations. Have a cookie   =D

Saturday, 11 February 2012

The London Underground from a Shorter Perspective

I have recently had to re-acquaint myself with the morning rush-hour over the past two weeks. I would firstly like to point out that while we do have our problems (do the words we are waiting around on this platform 'to regulate the service' sound familiar?) I love the idea that you could walk around anywhere in London and never get lost because there is always a station somewhere.

However when you stand at a pretty unimpressive 5ft tall, the following can happen when you are on a very crowded train/station ...

  • Never being able to see the board that tells you when the train is coming, and therefore having to ask a tall person nearby what it says
  • Being knocked over by people wearing over-stuffed rucksacks when they get on the train
  • Never being able to reach the overhead bars when you don't have a place to sit - the alternatives are tip-toeing or over-stretching your arms
  • Your face being at exact arm-pit level of taller commuters who are able to hold on to the aforementioned bars (extra bad during summer-time)
  • The top half of your body being pushed further into the carriage so your feet are in a completely different location to the rest of you
All of this is true, and none of this is exaggerated readers   :'(

How about you? If any of you are short, do you encounter any other similar problems?
And for the rest of you ... what are your transportation annoyances?

Thursday, 9 February 2012

A Lovely Surprise

This morning I checked my email, checked my blog and found this wonderful suprise waiting for me...

A Great Review from Meredith at her Blog 'Fairy Tales and Cappuccino'

The lovely Meredith has been spotlighting blogger friends and their books and this week she chose me - yay! And thanks to that review I have a few extra followers of my blog.

So I would like to publicly thank you very much Meredith for your review of my book! I am so glad you enjoyed it.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Interviews and Reviews

Today I provide you with two links...

Here is my interview at Novelkicks, talking about my book and the writing process.

And here is a great review of The Bollywood Breakup Agency at the Bookworm's Lair, which was also posted on amazon.co.uk as a four star rating (yay!). Check out their blog, The Bookworm is a newbie to the blogging world and got into contact with me just to tell me they liked the book, so I am putting up a link so that you all can pay them a visit.

I'm doing my best to catch up on all your blogs now. This may take a while.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Cut off from the World

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ON 10/1/12


What do you get if you cross the flu, a broken phone, and bad Internet?

Cabin fever, that’s what!

I have had the flu since before Christmas so I can’t go out. I have had to use a phone which doesn’t connect to the Internet, and I have a bad network so I can’t even connect to the Internet, and I can’t even blog. I am currently writing this on the 10th of January, on my umpteenth day off work, and without proper Internet for about a week.

So how have I coped in this Internet and technological age you ask? I have read a lot; with the Christmas money that I received I got one of my brothers to go out and buy me a kindle and (God bless unlimited 3G) I downloaded a lot of free books, mostly the classics, so my quest to become a much more well read person is on its way. I am 51% through Dorian Gray at the moment. I found that I have read a lot more quickly than when I take out those tattered old books from the library. This is coming from the person who checks through every copy of the same book in the bookstore and tries to find the one with the least amount of creases and dog ears.

When my eyes stopped burning and my muscles stopped aching, I played a lot of Nintendo Wii. I am no better at it now than when I started. Although I have unlocked a lot more exercises on the wiifit.

I tried to do some writing as well, but unfortunately when you are doped up on flu medication (some of which made me drowsy for up to three days at a time) it makes it very, very difficult to think straight and be creative in any way.

And on a really trivial note – I couldn’t even enjoy the smelly bath stuff that everyone gave me for Christmas because of my bunged up, really red nose.

It’s funny how we writers are so reliant on the Internet. Well I am – it is my only way to communicate with other writers. You have no idea how much I wanted to talk to you, and just read all of your blog posts and see how you were doing and just empathise with you all but I just haven’t been able to. I have missed talking to all of you so much. I have just about sent an email here and there, but all I have wanted to do since being stuck at home for two weeks is blog and talk to you guys. *sigh*



UPDATE 19/1/12: I'M ALL BETTER NOW!!!

So tell me guys, how do you cope when technology goes wrong?