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December 15, 2014

Flash fiction: 'Followed...'

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A cloth purse slung over her delicate shoulder and a iPhone in hand, Trina was walking back home. It was late evening. The street lights were dim and the alley was dark when suddenly she realized someone was following her.
Her pace quickened. She wanted to reach home fast.
Just then, another follower.
She wondered why this was happening today. She was the plain Jane...the girl next door. .any kind of attention surprised her.
Two minutes later, someone else joined the followers. This time she noticed it was her colleague Akash from work.
He hardly looked at her in the office...and now...what was he doing following her? There was a strange mix of anxiety and uneasiness creeping within her.

She thought for a moment and typed furiously on her cell phone.
'I think...' she paused, then continued typing, '...I am going to be the next big celebrity around here. ‪#feelinglucky
*************
Tweet sent!!

She smiled and checked her notifications again. Her boss had just 'favorited' her latest update. She was home. 
It was time to log in from her desktop!

November 30, 2014

Short story: The kiss of love



"It's going to rain. Let's leave from here. It looks like the skies are brewing up a storm," Asif voiced his concern.
"I don't mind facing any tempest as long as you are there with me," whispered Adaa, her soft eyes gazing longingly into his.

They were two young souls madly in love with each other...Asif and Adaa. Every evening, they would visit their favorite spot, sit on the same park bench and discuss their insecure future, the constant threat that loomed over them owing to the one innocent crime they had committed...the crime called 'love'.
The conservative mindset of their own orthodox families had made it even worse. Coming from two different Muslim backgrounds, they were innocent victims of the 'Shia-Sunni' hatred that existed in most of Lucknow those days.

"They won't let us live, Adaa. I have tried to convince them in every possible way," Asif pointed out. He was well aware of the barbaric nature of the punishment that would lie in store for them.
There was a determined look in Adaa's iridescent eyes, a mixture of passion, helplessness and rebellion. She brushed the tear rolling down Asif's cheek, and held his rugged face lovingly in her delicate hands.

"Then there is only one option left for us," she said ruefully, fishing out a small bottle of cyanide from her hand bag.

They were found lifeless the next morning on the same park bench. A mad beggar said that he had seen them kiss after which they held each other's hand and closed their eyes---the same peaceful condition their bodies were discovered in. But the two families paid no heed to his mumbles. They ruthlessly separated the two bodies from each other and used their contacts to close the case.

Even today, residents of the town claim that they see two spirits hover near the park bench every stormy night.
Asif and Adaa  knew that their love would never be accepted. Not wanting to lose each other, they had decided to take this one final step...they had decided to submit to the tempest together.
Finally they are in a better place where societal norms and taboos are not important, where religion, castes and sects do not matter...where love is the only religion!

November 20, 2014

Sample chapter from 'Twists Of Fate'





Chapter  10
Mrunmayee gazes at her reflection in the mirror and cringes on realizing that the pink top would have suited Nandini more. She needs to lose a little weight around the shoulders, and it fits a little too snugly over her ample bosom, making her look like she might spill out any moment. She had tried on a deep purple kurti earlier, which on the other hand, had fit her just fine. But there was something about the pink top that allured her. She had overheard Nandini talk about it with the sales person in charge and had immediately asked him to hand it over to her to try on.
It's funny how our desires often tend to circle around the whims and fancies of others rather than the self. One school of thought has a convincing explanation that this is because we live in a society that makes us want to be pleasing to others more than the self--a rather selfless trait, so to think. But then there is this other theory which eventually concludes that we do all of this to please no one but the self...because praise and compliments are what the devil thrives on, and we are in no significant way any different.
Mrunmayee changes back into her sari and walks out of the changing room with nothing but the pink top in hand surprising the sales person who goes inside the trial room to collect all the discarded choices mentally cursing all womankind for their indecisive nature.
“Is something wrong? You look as pale as a ghost,” she asks a flummoxed Nandini who seems to be now lost in a whirlpool of mixed emotions.
“It's nothing. I actually remembered there is some other place that I need to be.” Nandini pauses and then hastily blurts, “Your husband said he would be here in ten minutes.”
“Are you sure you are okay? You do look a little flushed,” asks Mrunmayee, still a little confused.
“Oh yes. I am perfectly fine. Just need to catch up with a few friends and make up for a busy week. You have a great anniversary.”
“I can understand,” she sighs. “Neil, my husband, is constantly swamped with work too. It's only weekends that we get to spend quality time with friends and each other.”
Then watching Nandini fidget with her purse she bids her farewell, not wanting to delay her anymore.
“It was lovely meeting you. Thanks for all the trouble. I'll keep in touch...”
“Sure.” Nandini smiles feebly. She says goodbye to Mrunmayee and rushes away from the scene.
While on her way out of the mall, she senses an acrid distaste in her throat and an urgent need to throw up.
Nandini rushes to the nearby washroom. A sense of relief floods through her body, to find an unoccupied cubicle. As she flushes out the bitter taste of bile from her system, she wishes she could do the same to the equally bitter hatred that she has been harbouring towards the woman for all these years.
The fascination...the admiration...the marvel...the novel appreciation for this lady disappears, just like the keen interest in befriending her. Mrunmayee's neatness...fashion sense...organized behavior...feminine etiquette, all seem suddenly so fake and manipulative now.
It is ridiculous how biased bias can be. Everyone, at some point in life, encounters it--in the bitterness of defeat, in the envy of success, in the happiness of someone we consider less worthy. It is absurd how envy makes people pick up pointless and baseless faults in those they had once appreciated. What is even weirder is how some choose to cleverly mask it, like a zit concealed with loads of makeup, unaware that with time it is sure to wear off and reveal its ugly self.
Nandini does not wear makeup. Somewhere down the line, she had lost faith in all things made up.
Now confined within the four walls of the bathroom cubicle, amidst salty tears and faded memories, she recollects all those times she has promised herself not to fall weak. But when has life been predictable? It has its own plans, that only time can unfold…
Neil had not recognized her voice, though there was a sudden pause on hearing her speak.
But Nandini, how could she not know it was him??
The smell of phenol and the restless foot tapping of the women waiting outside does not allow her to stay in there for a long time--the limitations of a public restroom.
Dabbing her eyes dry, Nandini scurries out of the phenol and makeup scented atmosphere and steps out into the long corridors which would further lead to the exit of the plaza.
As she crosses CBTL on the way out, flashes of the past come to life before her downcast eyes as if the clean mopped marble flooring is a plasma screen featuring her life in motion picture. She tries hard to push away the scenes. But the pause button fails to please her, and the reel only manages to play faster. No amount of pushing any button in the dark recesses of her mind manages to eject this relentless recording, and she is forced to go back to that day she confronted Neil…their last meeting, as if it just happened yesterday.
 It was exactly a month after Sharvari's wedding.
“Byomkesh Da called yesterday. He and Protima Boudi want to meet us regarding the children. Debojit has grown up into a fine young man, and I am sure he will keep Nandini very happy. It would only be wise to say yes,” Mr Mazumdar discussed with his wife over dinner.
Something about the Joshi wedding had evoked a sudden sense of parental responsibility in them. It was as if the differences between husband and wife had decreased, and their daughter had become the focus of their joint attention. Nandini did not know whether to be happy or sad about it.
“And it's not like Nandu can find a good boy for herself like our Appu did. With her shy and timid nature, we would have to wait for a hundred years before someone comes and professes his love for her,” he grimaced.
Aparna had married Atul after three years of clandestine courtship. At first, her decision had raised a huge hue and cry at the Mazumdar house. However, all had gone well after Atul had convinced them that he and his wife would live separately after marriage, instead of with his parents in their humble home. The loan for the house had already been sanctioned, a fact that Aparna had confirmed before she agreed to marry him. Atul's poor parents had been distraught over their only son's decision, but they had bestowed their blessings on the couple anyway. However, neither Aparna nor Atul had tried to persuade them to attend the marriage, acting totally indifferent to the hurt they caused to their breaking hearts. Mr and Mrs Mazumdar had not even noticed their absence. They were only too pleased at their daughter's organized planning that had roped in a worthy groom who would dance around her little finger.
However, with Nandini next in line now, they were worried. They believed their younger daughter's reserved nature and self righteousness were uncharismatic traits, unworthy of attracting any male attention without their help.
Nandini wanted to scream at them, tell them that they need not worry, that she had already found a very good match for herself, someone much better than their stupid Debojit Chatterjee. Instead, she ran off to her room and cried all night. She could not wait for Neil to take the lead anymore. She would have to confess to him; she was so sure the idiot was too shy to ask her out.
She had caught him stealing glances at her at Sharvari's wedding. Over time, he had grown to be so fond of her. Nandini had grown to be a close friend. If Sharvari and Adarsh could realize they were in love with each other in such a short time, surely Neil too must have recognized his feelings for her, she thought. Weren't the endless conversations between them proof enough that they cared? After all, love is often revealed by the mundane gestures of day to day life. You don't need to scream out your feelings. When it's love, you just know…and Nandini knew!
However, it was only when she spoke to Neil that she realized how little...
“B..ut…but Nandu,” he stammered, startled by her sudden confession, “You n...never told me...”
A tear rolled down her cheek. “I thought you always knew. Neil, I have had feelings for you ever since I realized the meaning of love, and somewhere down the line, I thought you understood…and reciprocated.”
Neil did not know what to say. It was true that he and Nandini had become good friends over the years. It was Nandini's constant phone texts and cheerful calls that helped him through a rough day at his new job. She would be the first one to wish him on birthdays and other occasions, sometimes even before family. He would counsel her, guide her, advice her. She would in turn listen to him rant about his seniors, complain about his team and justify his dilemmas. Nandini was aware of Neil's weakness—his lack of strength when it came to making decisions.  She believed he too harboured a silent love, just like the one she had been hiding in her heart. Neil knew that Nandini had learned to face her own demons in life. It was this truth that always made him feel protective towards her, and the fact that his friendship meant the world to her, meant a great deal to him.
“Friendship? Is that all there is between us??” she asked. She had never believed in an overt display of affection. If Sharvari and Pari could have guessed her feelings for Neil years ago at fifteen, how could Neil be so blind even after all these years?
Looking at his flustered expression, she could not stop the tears from streaming down her face. “Neil, my parents want to get me married to some man I don't even know. I can't imagine a future without you. In my thoughts, I am already Mrs Nandini Neil Joshi since the day I fell in love,” she panicked.
She covered her face with both her hands as if she had mustered all the courage in her shivering body to say all that she wanted. Neil was now staring at her in surprise. He had never heard Nandu speak with such conviction before. Where did she hide all this passion, all these emotions?
“Nandini, I know you are a very sensible girl. I have always respected your maturity. If you think with a clear mind, you will see that I am not the best guy to be in love with.”
“You are perfect for me...” she was still sobbing.
Neil wanted to hold her trembling body. For a moment, he felt a strange attraction for her vulnerability. He wanted to calm her down, hold in his arms and console this graceful creature who was so enamoured by him. He was tempted to fall in love with her.
But would that kind of love be strong enough to break the shackles of rigid orthodox? Would her passion help her surpass the permanent sea of mediocrity he was living in? Could this affluent 'Malabar Hill' girl be happy with a middle class 'Shivaji Park' boy like him? Neil felt like he was at both ends of these questions. He could imagine an uptown girl challenging him in the same tone someday. He could understand how much it would hurt then. But he could not make up his mind…he had felt his emotions scatter especially after the confusion that had set in lately.
Too many doubts were subconsciously creating havoc inside his head. He wanted to ask her how, where, and when it had all happened. However, his heart was posing other questions. Was he guilty of sending out mixed signals? Or had something changed between them? Was he really afraid to confess his feelings? Or was he facing an emotional dilemma between the head and the heart? Had his heart never felt a thing for this girl baring her soul in front of him, or was it having second thoughts of late? He wanted to ask a lot of questions…to Nandini…to himself…to his conscience. But he was too embarrassed to find out the answers.
“No, Nandu, it's not possible. It's never going to work out.”
“B...ut Why not?” She was being adamant now.
Again, he controlled the strong urge to tell her the truth.
“Neil, I love you!”
She had finally said it. She had mustered up all the courage inside her to utter the three golden words she had rehearsed saying in front of the mirror so many times before. She felt a strange weight leave her shoulders--a weight that had been pressing upon her all this while as if the entire world was balanced on its tender support. She felt relieved yet apprehensive, nervous yet excited, tense yet happy, brazen yet bashful; a flurry of young emotions created ripples within her as she caught his gaze and lowered her eyes almost instantaneously.
The air above them had suddenly started feeling heavy, the tension palpable.
“N..Nandu, you don't understand,” Neil stammered, indecisive whether to continue or not.
A pregnant pause later, he let out a defeated sigh and said, “There is someone else...”

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'Twists Of Fate' is available at Flipkart and Amazon.in
You can view the video trailer here: video

November 05, 2014

Quote #2 from 'Twists Of Fate'


Hey guys,
Do you remember the childhood games we used to play? Snakes & Ladders, Hide & Seek, Chinese Whispers...we have so much fun playing these as kids.
And then we grow up, and all these games change meaning!
At times we have to befriend a few 'snakes' to climb a few 'ladders'...
Sometimes we hide and wait to see who will come searching...
Chinese whispers, the game we played in school, changes into a more dangerous game in society...
Sharvari, Pari, and Nandini are finally here...to tell their story!

You can now order your copy at Flipkart:
http://www.flipkart.com/twists-fate-english/p/itmefaa9gna7zhzg?pid=9789350881002&otracker=from-search&srno=t_1&query=twists+of+fate%2Bpriyanka+naik&ref=7509b88d-e62f-4aa3-bd57-e640a428ed5b
Also available at Amazon.in and Infibeam.

(You can check the official facebook page for other updates: http://facebook.com/TOFthenovel )

As a part of the blog world for the last so many years, I hope I have the support of all you past, present and future residents of BlogVille. :)
Do spread the word around.

Cheers!

October 21, 2014

Happy wali Diwali to you


Wishing you all a very happy Diwali. May this festival light up your face with a million watt smile that finds a zillion reasons to stay forever! :)

October 06, 2014

'Water Girl'


They called her a child of the sea. Even as a baby, she would love the splashing sound of the waves, the sweeping motion of the water as it washed over her feet. She was happiest when her parents took her to the beach. While most children were busy building sand castles and collecting shells, she would spend hours gazing at the sea, appreciating the setting sun, focusing her sight on distant sailing boats, smiling at the ebb and flow of the tidal current. Her friends would fondly call her 'Water Girl'.

As she grew up, her love for the sea translated into songs. She had a beautiful voice and soon enough her talent, like her beauty, was recognized far and wide. They said she had great potential. That night, her parents held a special beach party.
She wore a gorgeous blue dress, blue like the color of the sea, blue like her innocent eyes which matched it. A tiara of fragrant flowers held back her lovely straight hair. There was food and wine. There was song and dance......and amidst all this, she vanished!

Some call it a suicide. Others say it was a high tide and the strong waves swept her away. But only a few believe in what could have actually been...
She was a child of the sea, and the sea called her home!

October 03, 2014

A special Dusshra wish

Here's wishing all you blessed people a very happy Dusshra!

Just like Lord Ram won against the wicked king Ravana, may the good in us all triumph over the evil...
Today, let's eliminate at least one bad quality we possess. Be it anger, lust, attachment, greed, excessive pride, jealousy, injustice, cruelty, selfishness or ego...each of these ten vices (represented by the ten heads of the demon king.) need to be recognized and fought against. Let's start with ourselves...

So which head of Ravana (within you) are you going to slay today? :)

October 02, 2014

The notebook called 'Life'


Life is a notebook handed over to us the day we are born. We are allowed to record our moments, to turn the pages as fast or as slow as we want to, to pour out our heart on the empty white sheets. We are allowed to sketch our dreams in all their myriad colors. Sometimes, it also permits us to staple together those pages we do not ever want to read again. But human as we are, we tend to go back. Life allows even that-we can carefully remove the staples to have a quick peep once in a while. This does include the risk of tearing the edges a little, but if we are careful enough, we can prevent the damage. After all that's how we introspect don't we---by removing the staples??!!

Life is a notebook, and what we write in it is for us to decide. But one thing is pre-decided. We are not allowed to write in pencil, because words in pencil fade away. Scribbles in pencil can be rubbed off when wanted. But life--it only allows us to write in dark ink. We can never really wipe off what we have once written nor can we expect it to fade. Yes, we can ignore it if we want to, but it stays  right there. It's almost always a 'you can run but you cant hide' scenario. Ripping off pages is also futile, because eventually that will only end up loosening the binding which will cause all the pages to scatter.

Life is a notebook, and our job is to make notes along the way...notes which will guide us in writing the subsequent pages, words which will bring back memories as we flip the pages open, some chapters we manage to close yet not complete, some scribbles which are too incomprehensible for anyone to read, some poetry which the eye is not able to understand yet the heart is able to recite, some experiences which we wouldn't trade for even a thousand brand new books.
Yes, there would surely be moments of hurt, pain, let down expectations, unfulfilled dreams, pent up hatred as well, which definitely would bring a tear to the eye.
But as we turn the pages we would realize how those experiences made us stronger, how we emerged a winner against them, how we welcomed happiness even after we thought we never could, and most importantly, how we learnt to dream all over again. And after all, what is life without a few challenges, and what is success without a few failures? Of what use is a notebook if we weren't allowed to write in it?? The sheer magic of life is in its unpredictability. It does not allow you to have any clue today, what tomorrow's page would be like---tear stained, joy filled, stapled, enthusiastic or blank!!

Life is a note book, one which is very private and personal..one which only the owner is supposed to read and write into. But as we fill in the pages with details of our mundane life, we sometimes come across that special someone who we can trust enough to hand over the book...someone who we know will treasure it more than we do...someone we can put our whole life at stake for..someone who teaches us the true meaning of love and trust..and that is the time we start writing through someone else's words. We dream through someone else's dreams. We see through someone else's eyes. We begin to live another life in addition to our own...that is when we stop writing and that thing called 'love' takes over, filling in all the details by itself.

Life is a notebook, one which will destroy itself when it comes to the last page. But the pages written by love will still remain, flying free knowing no bounds, speaking of the bond that is immortal thus bringing about a strange sorta satisfaction...a satisfaction that we made it even through the end!!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
P.S: My debut novel 'Twists Of Fate' is up for pre-order. Last few days remaining. You can check it out here

September 24, 2014

In wax and stone lies a story unknown...


"I cannot take it anymore.You are selfish and cold and will never understand my love," cried the wax statue as it melted into a hot pool of droplets.

Its stone counterpart stared in silence as the world around mocked at it being so unyielding to emotions. As it was kicked around with scornful words and hurtful taunts, nobody noticed it was slowly getting chipped---the heartless one was made of stone after all, they thought.

As time went by, the winds of change blew again. The wax statue was remodeled into an exquisite design once again, by the artistic hands of a talented craftsman. Being made of wax, it molded itsself smoothly to the flame of love and passion, and soon enough the world was captivated by its breath taking beauty.

The stone sculpture that once was, however refused to adapt to the breeze of love---for it had already known its brunt.
Being made of stone, it had silently stepped into remorse and self destruction---neither uttering a cry nor offering any explanation, the grief gnawed its way to reach its core. So disintegrated became its personality, that no artist in the world could change it into anything akin to its original self, leave alone something better. The flame of love and passion could only make it hold its self for a while---always until old memories swept in and then it would crumble again to bits, taking down unexpressed hopes and hearts along with it.

The hurtful words of a loved one had slowly chipped it off its strength and splendor.The isolation from someone it considered no different than its own self had eaten away the very essence of its existence, which was once the very reason it stood proud and tall.
The misunderstanding had chiseled out an abyss of pain beneath its tough exterior.

While the wax statue was surrounded by applause and accolades, its stone counterpart had transmogrified into a good-for-nothing pile of grit confined to one end of a dilapidated construction site.
Soon the quarry workers would decide its future.But either way it was doomed.

However, there lay a strange kind of solace.
At least now, no one was complaining!

September 10, 2014

It's an October baby...

Hello friends,

I bring good news!
But first, a confession. I have been guilty. Guilty of keeping a secret from you guys for way too long. I must confess, I was up to something. While I received emails and pings from readers (that amounted to a decent crowd back then), I was busy tending to a hopeful heart.
Allow me to explain. I know most of you (who are not in my Fb friend list) might have no clue and think that this was a sure case of infidelity towards the pen and the blog, but please hear me out. I am not the cheating kind!

You all are well aware of my love for writing. Blogging for more than twelve years managed to increase it only more. But somewhere, the dream of writing what was asking to be written kept gnawing at me. I just couldn't blog it out of my system. It felt too sacrosanct to be recorded in the temporary memory of cyber space. It had to be more permanent than that. It had to be a bigger platform from where I could be heard. It had to be a book!
And so I got down to do some serious writing....

 If anyone told you that publishing a book was a piece of cake, I would suggest you to go and slap the person on the face. Yes, slap him/her for the blatant lie!
Don't get me wrong. The whole experience of writing a book should never be confused with the journey of publishing. They are a world apart. While the former is a fantastic experience making you feel proud of yourself for pursuing a dream, the latter makes sure it squeezes every bit of that pride and leaves you feeling like you are the scum of the literary world. It's a different story if you belong to the gene pool of published authors, or have a Godfather/Godmother in the publishing world, but for people like me, who always thought writing was all about pouring your heart and soul onto the pages of a book for people to read, it is indeed a journey full of revelations and surprises.

So after going through a lot of depressive phases in between (with each rejection email, the earliest one being exactly fifteen seconds after I emailed it making me wonder if they actually read you if you are a newbie), I finally got lucky.
But it didn't end there. That was just the beginning. The journey that followed was long and tiring. The experience was new and daunting at times. But at the end of the day, I learnt something (mostly patience).

However, now that I am nearing the big day, I brace myself for the long walk to the book store.
And this is where I get hopeful all over again...

I don't know how many of you still read me (the comments seem to have dwindled lately). But if you are reading, please know that this is very important to me. I have dived in hook, line and sinker, and I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that the world will give me a chance to tell a story that longs to be told. 'Twists Of Fate' (Yes, that is the name of my novel) has been occupying every single waking moment these days, and my entire life seems to revolve around it.
I can now understand what a mother would feel when she is about to bring her baby in this world. The nervousness, the anxiety, the last minute panic attacks and not to forget the faith and hope that everything will turn out fine. 'Twists Of Fate' is my October baby!

Here is the book trailer video that offers a sneak peek into the novel. Hope you guys enjoy it!
 

Here is the link to the official facebook page. Please 'like' it to stay updated...
http://facebook.com/TOFthenovel

'Twists Of Fate' is now available for pre-order at an early bird discounted price on Infibeam, Homeshop18 and uRead. Here are the links.

Infibeam:
http://www.infibeam.com/Books/twists-fate-priyanka-naik/9789350881002.html?utm_term=Twists+of+fate+by+priyanka+naik_1_1

Homeshop18:
 http://www.homeshop18.com/twists-fate/author:priyanka-naik/isbn:9789350881002/books/fiction/product:32783669/cid:10916/?pos=1

uRead: 
http://www.uread.com/book/twists-fate-priyanka-naik/9789350881002

The book will be released next month. So watch the (web)space on Facebook and Blogger for more updates in the weeks to come.

I hope you guys are there with me and my October baby all the way to the book store, and even beyond...

Signing off with love,
Yours truly,
Pri :)


P.S: If the book is tempting you to pick it up even before it's out, then maybe, just maybe...you are 'fated' to read it! ;)

September 03, 2014

I 'text' you

With the advent of WhatsApp, FaceBook, Twitter, and so many other social networking sites, we have started paying extra homage to the written word in communication.
Gone is the era when we used to pick up the phone and yap away endlessly with our besties, meet with them over a cup of coffee to discuss the latest gossip, or cry on their shoulders over our latest heart break while they offered us a box of tissues.
Nowadays, we just text message them. Whatsapping is even better. It's cheaper and there is this whole set of emoji's (one for every emotion) so that you don't really miss out on any reaction, be it the angry 'mad-at-you' face, or that cute little 'beating heart' that makes you wonder whether you could really be half as expressive as that.

If your friends are busy, there is always the broadcast option or social networks that you can resort to. These enable your friends to fuss over you as and when they log in, and you can sit back and feel better on counting their 'likes' and comments. So cool, eh?

This post, however, is about texting styles. There are so many different types and yours truly being a big fan of the written word herself, could not help but observe and admire the variety.
I have shortlisted the eight most common ones here.

1) The text-spread-the-love fanatic:
We all know at least one such a friend who keeps adorning her messages with lots of hearts, kisses, and hugs. No text is devoid of 'sweety', 'sweetheart', 'munchkin', 'cupcake' and other such overtly diabetic vocabulary. You might be her ace rival, but she will never miss out on an opportunity to throw in pleasantry.

2) The frozen-text icicle:
This is a person of very few (written) words. Most of the texts include monosyllabic responses. Be happy if you manage to force out a complete sentence from him/her, this species of 'texters' is the happiest when you ask them direct leading questions.
Please note: They tend to use emoji's and reason that they are being neck deep in work, but trust me, these are simply excuses to keep the one-sided conversation going.

3) The text-novelist:
Contrary to the frozen icicle, the novelist (as the name suggests) will go on and on, regardless of whether you reply or not. Ask them a question and they will be happily answering it for the next ten minutes or so, before they realize that you might have fallen asleep.

4) The laughter-text-club member:
We all know that laughter is the best medicine, but these guys just take insanity a notch higher when they begin or end each text with a 'LOL'. What they don't always realize is that the 'hahaha' and 'hihihi' is way more irritating...especially when the guy on the other side doesn't get the joke!
However, when two laughter-club members tend to text each other................well, no! I'm sure they irritate the hell out of each other as well.

5) The emotional-text player:
These are people who propose or break up over texts...enough said!

6) The happy hours text-philosopher:
This is usually someone who would sell his/her pancreas and liver in exchange for some clarity in life. But all of a sudden, he/she starts sending inspirational and philosophical text messages to everyone he/she knows. Ofcourse, if it wasn't for auto correct, we would have a tough time reading these out aloud  when he/she is sober.

7) The text-devdaas:
As quite evident by the nomenclature, this species resorts to an exaggerated version of drunk texting to emotionally blackmail an ex. Most of the times, the text-devdaas is well aware of this shortcoming and keeps his phone switched off during happy hours. However, self control is not usually a virtue of a broken heart and an inebriated mind.

8) The 24/7 active texter:
I don't know how they do it. But these people seem to be active all the time. Text them at 3 am in the morning, and they'd reply. Whatsapp them at any odd time, and whoosh! They appear 'online' immediately. It's nice to have these kind of friends though...they provide you a sort of a security blanket. So what if it's only on texts. You know they are always just a few alphabets away.

Phew! That quite sums up all the major types of texters and their texting habits.

I know what you must be wondering. What category do I fall in, eh?
Well, there is nothing like a little suspense to get this place up and going. So, that, my dear reader, is best kept a secret...for you to figure and me to keep quiet about. *chuckles to herself*

Cheers!!! 

September 02, 2014

The bird who thought he was not...

I have a cousin who (unlike me) is a great lover of animals. Don't get me wrong. I like animals too, but from a safe distance. The moment they are at arms length or closer, I just freeze both physically as well as mentally!
However, what I like doing is listening to their owners speak about them. I would love to know what biscuits you feed your dog or what shampoo you use to bathe him. I would be very much interested in his eccentric quirks and adorable antics, his vet appointments and other stories that you would so excitedly rattle off. But ask me to give him a pat on the head or a rub on his belly, and I'd run for the hills. I guess I'm more theoretical like that.

So when I visited my cousin's place, I had mentally prepared myself to expect a friendly mongrel yapping his tail, trying to chew at my chappals, or a furry feline purring away angrily at me for sitting on its favorite couch. My cousin had recently moved into a new apartment, and being the pet lover that he is, I had braced myself for the terrorizing panic attack I was bound to receive at his place.

But surprise of all surprises, when I entered his house, I was relieved to see no trace of any four legged creature around. I just could not believe it.
Still looking all over (without making it too obvious ofcourse), I confirmed that no one was hiding...no mad scheming cat, no over friendly salivating dog. There was no one. Good sense finally prevailed. My cousin had moved on from his emotional hangover of animal love. God was being kind to me. There was no reason for me to be terrified anymore, I thought.

Just then, I heard a squawk, "Mitthoo". Then another one, this time louder, "Mitthoo Mitthoo,"

My head would have done an almost 360 degree turn (somewhat like the ghost in 'The exorcist') in the direction of the voice, when suddenly I saw my cousin grinning at me, tongue in cheek.

"Meet the recent member of the family," he said, and pointed towards an open drawer.
It took me a while to focus to where he was pointing. He switched on the overhead fluorescent bulb and the corridor lit up revealing a green winged something perched comfortably on an open cabinet drawer.
I screeched, almost twice as loud as the parrot.What if the excited loon flew and perched on my head instead?

It was then that my cousin told me Mitthoo's story. Apparently, there was nothing to worry. Mitthoo was a bird with an identity crisis.
Found almost lifeless under a tree when he was just a baby, my cousin's wife, who was herself a child back then, had given it food and brought him home to shelter it from the predator cobra that had eaten its entire family. Unaware of any kin of its own, poor Mitthoo grew up with humans all his life, not realizing even once that he was any different. Having missed out on the entire stage of fledging, gliding along slopes and walking on two feet was the most natural way of getting from one place to another. He didn't know any better than that.

My cousin's wife told me that Mitthoo would from now on be living with them. I could understand her sentiments. The story, however, had caught my intrigue. Ofcourse I was relieved as well, now there was no need to worry about Mitthoo swooping over my head and scaring the day lights out of me.
But it also got me wondering about him. I felt bad for the poor creature. This silly old bird would not fly away even if his cage door was left wide open...not because he didn't want to...but because he didn't know he could.

On a slightly tangential thought, I could not help compare us humans with Mitthoo.
How many times do we refrain from attempting something only because we are not aware of our capabilities?
How many dreams have we disposed off thinking that it's silly to even hope that big?
Don't we all find it safer to walk in baby steps, even when the truth could perhaps be that we are born to fly?
I looked at the parrot as my cousin carefully picked him up from the perch and placed him in his cage. It was his meal time. The cage was his home, and he felt safe and happy there.

I glanced at the open window and smiled. Mitthoo would never know what he was missing!


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P.S: Hope you all had a very happy Ganesh Chaturthi!! May Ganpati Bappa guide us, protect us and bless us to reach our maximum potential!!

August 01, 2014

Tweet with me!



And why this video?
Because yours truly is now on twitter!!! *drum rolls in the background*

https://twitter.com/Drpriyankanaik

Follow me, everything is alright! ;)

P.s: For all those who are wondering what's keeping me busy these days, I will be updating you with a surprise very soon.

Until then,
Cheers!

July 12, 2014

Book Review: 'Suited Monk Leadership' By Raf Adams & Mike J. Thompson

Title: Suited Monk Leadership

Author: Raf Adams & Mike J. Thompson

Publisher: WOW! Books; 2 edition (February 1, 2013

Price:  $14.36

Now this was a case of perfect timing! In my experience of reading so far, I have come to realize that, there are two types of books. Books that you find, and books that find you. Irrespective of the type, I believe that every small act that you do (this includes reading a book) is decided by some cosmic influence that lead you to the act.

And so I got about reading 'Suited Monk Leadership'. I am not much of a non fiction fan. But the book blurb got me all curious. How does one cope in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world? This felt like the need of the hour, and perhaps a small little dissatisfied (with myself and this VUCA world) voice urged me to read on.

'Suited Monk Leadership' reveals a systematic and simple approach on how to be happy in today's society. The title is aptly explained in the initial few chapters. As we read on, we realize what the author means by saying that happiness can be attained only by aligning our suit with our monk.
With the increasing pressures of today's world, we are pulled away from our inner wisdom. What we stay merely concerned with, is the external 'suit' we donn, a suit that is acceptable to the world around us, and in accordance with our materialistic expectations. We fail to listen to our inner selves, the world within, our 'monk', the voice that demands the life we really want, the realisation of who we really are. Thus, there exists a huge gap between our suit and monk, and it is only when this gap is closed, that we can experience long lasting happiness and inner peace.

The book emphasizes on the importance of self realization, through the art of introspection and mindfulness, that can reduce pressure on your 'suit'. Varied experiences from different people around the globe stand in testimony to the end result of the effort invested in this pursuit of alignment.

"Feelings of failure are part of life's journey. We need to respond to what we may consider failure from our Monk's perspective"
The author has pointed out our flawed education system where we are not taught the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Hence we grow up as confused individuals, often heeding to materialistic expectations, rather than understanding our inner self.
The chapters ahead focus on how we can attempt to close this gap between our Suit and Monk, mainly by optimizing the way we deal with pressures, managing our emotions, measuring our expectations, and last but not the least, embracing our mistakes.
The book is an easy and engaging read. It serves as an eye opener for the wandering soul. It provides a sense of direction to the distressed mind. As you flip through these pages of self discovery, you are enriched by research insights and case stories of leaders, famous as well as unknown, that are easy to relate to. The wonderful visual representations of GAP and the life journey model are easy to understand and enables us to easily identify where we are currently standing on the map of life. 'Suited Monk Leadership' provides brilliant inspiration for people of all ages, especially those who find themselves stuck in the daily grind of a corporate world.

To sum it all, this book is an instruction manual, which if followed, will surely help create a better and a much happier world.
I would recommend it to all those standing at life's crossroads.
Here's hoping we are all able to successfully align our 'Suit' and 'Monk'.

Here is the official book video trailer:


Personal rating: 4 out of 5

June 02, 2014

55 Fiction---'The final goodbye'

The door flung open to his startled face.
He had not expected her to be up this early.

But today, she had decided to put an end to the whole thing.
.
.....
.........
.............
.................
....................
........................
"Kal se doodh nahi chahiye!" she exclaimed coldly at the crestfallen milkman, who knew his diluted milk was no match to her untarnished anger.

May 30, 2014

Parody: 'Date a boy who boozes...'

 A long time ago, I came across this interesting piece written by Rosemarie Urquico, titled 'Date a girl who reads'.  The keen observation about the 'reader' girl got people all over the world smiling and sharing the writeup all over their Facebook walls and MySpace pages. Personally, I was so impressed with the article that I decided to get inspired and invent a small little parody---my evil contribution to the world. Its called "Date a guy who boozes." and should be taken with a bucket load of salt.

Date a guy who drinks...not just socially, but someone who, for lack of a more eloquent word, boozes.
Date a guy who spends his money on alcohol instead of gizmos. He has problems with bar space because he has too many bottles to store-wine, whiskey, rum, cognac, gin-you name it, he has it all stacked neatly in his bar.. Date a guy who has a list of spirits he wants to guzzle, who has had a mean cocktail since he was twelve.

Find a guy who drinks. You’ll know that he does because he will always have that look in his eyes when he spots a lounge or pub. He’s the one lovingly looking over the wine shelves at the shopping mart, the one who quietly cries out when he spots his favorite Bacardi pack of six.

You see the weird dude sniffing the corks of vintage champagne bottles, in a winery? That’s our potential boozer. They can never resist smelling the corks, especially when they are vintage. Find out more about him.
 He's the guy dozing (from last night's hangover) while you try out dress after dress in the changing room. If you take a peek from inside, you would find him patiently sitting on the couch outside with his head in his hands, afraid to stand up from fear that he may throw up from the effort. Lost in the frenzy of an inebriated world. Sit down. He might give you a glare, as most guys who drink do not like to be questioned or reprimanded. Ask him about last night's party instead. Feign enthusiasm. Offer to buy him a espresso.
Let him know what you really think of irresponsible drinking. Check if he is the kind to drink and drive (If he is, dump him ASAP.) Understand that if he says if he loves you more than Jack Daniels, he’s just saying that to sound romantic.  Ask him if to choose between Hoegaarden and Draft, and sit back and watch the confusion..
It’s easy to date a guy who drinks. Refilling his champagne flute with his favorite bubbly would make up for birthday meal you burnt. Accompany him for his biannual LFT's (Liver Function Tests). Hold his hand during an Ascitic tap. Let him know that you understand that booze is love.
Understand that he knows the difference between intoxication and reality but by god, he’s going to try to make his internal system a little like his favorite brewery. It will never be your fault if he does.
He has to give it a shot somehow.
Lie to him. Nine times out of ten, you can tell him he imagined it all, and he'd be too stoned to contradict you. Behind booze  are other things: Dope, Charas, Smack, Gaanja. What's a little life anyway? It will definitely not be the end of the world.
Fail him. Because a guy who drinks knows that failure, like hepatic failure which his doctor has warned him about, often leads to the climax, the fall of the curtain, the end of the show. Because guys who understand all this, and still continue to drink nevertheless, should not expect people to improve or learn from mistakes. Moreover, they would hardly notice the break in the continuity of their relationships. Because they take pride in a jilted love affair, after all wasn't it  a broken heart and a drinking problem that turned 'Devdas' into a hero, they think. Because life is meant to have a 'Paro' or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Guys who booze understand that people, like characters, are slandered. Except in the Disney Series.
If you find a guy who boozes, keep him at arms length. When you find him up at 2 AM clutching a bottle in his hand and weeping like a baby, know he has a serious problem and call Rehab.  Institutionalizing him may make you lose him for a couple of months, but he will always come back to you, a reformed man. He would talk as if the lectures in the Alcohol Anonymous sessions he has been attending really help, because for a while, they do.
You will propose to a man who has now started drinking in moderation, or so you would like to think. The experiment is a success.
You will smile at your lucky stars---at least he did not end up like the neighborhood Jake, who was found lying in the gutters, bottle in hand---until you will notice that he is grinning right back at you, for no apparent reason. That is when you will notice his stoned expression, the drool at the corners oh his mouth, the alcohol breath, the dark circles around his eyes, the tremors. But its too late. You are already married to the addict. Then you will join him too, first out of frustration, then for company, then for inspiration. Inspiration will soon change to intoxicating passion, and the next thing you know you will have kids with strange tastes and even stranger addictions. He will introduce your children to Ben and Jerry's and Liqour candy the same day. The rum cake will always have a little extra rum poured in. Nobody will know whether it was you or the kids that consumed the last sip of brandy. But those things wont matter much. Even if they end up as drunks, someone will date them someday. Someone will marry the bummers. You married one, yourself, didn't you? Years from then, you and him will walk the winters of your old age together if you two manage to survive that long.

Date a boy who boozes, because its funnnnn! Who wants a nice little happy life with no squabbles and fights, with lovely well mannered children and a secure future? Nawww! BORING!!
A life with hangovers and nausea, and late nights and insomnia, and espressos that kick in and jobs that kick out, and bruises and needles, and blood tests and hospital beds, and insurance fights and drunken brawls, and brutish kids and unpredictable endings....Boy!!! Now that's Adventure, eh? A man who does not booze will never be able to provide you with the kind of insane instability that a boy who boozes can.
 So, if you want the world and the worlds beyond it, a little sooner than expected and not necessarily in a good way, date a boozer.

Or better yet, you start boozing too!


(Issued in public interest) 

May 10, 2014

Dear Fidato

I will never understand how a distant faded memory sneaks its way into your mind on a perfectly busy day and just refuses to let go.
I will never understand how no matter what the current dynamics of the relationship, glimpses of what 'once had been' visit you especially when you least expect it...sometimes in days, sometimes in months and sometimes in years.

Some emails stayed undeleted...
Some letters remained unburnt...
Some conversations got permanently archived...
Some precious imprints got etched in the memory...
and you and me, I guess in some far away recess of my tired mind, we are always there---loving each other, hating each other, at logger heads with each other...or perhaps in perfect harmony with one another.
 I do not know if memories are excuses to break away from the rest of the world. If they are, then perhaps you are helping me.
Some relations will forever remain inscrutable. Some people, forever indispensable.

Maybe, just maybe, in some parallel universe, you and me are still together. laughing at the confusion between us in the here and now.