Thank You -That’s all I can Say

In today’s time if we expect that we are in the top priority list for another person then we are fooling ourselves. So many problems to deal with, so many battles to fight, so many challenges to meet, so many promises to keep, so many expectation to live up to… each one of us has to deal with all these. Now being a human, we have make choices with options, do compromises with needs, and do let go few relationships. So that we can end up finding ourselves in a space that we are comfortable with. I believe it’s wrong if we try to judge why someone did what he did, or why he did not do what we expect him/her to do. Let’s accept it that it’s his/her life; and it’s his rights to live his life the way we want.

But then keeping aside all these philosophy that works in real world that sucks us most of the time; we need to pause for a moment to appreciate what someone else is doing; not to criticize what he is not doing.  Sometimes these little kind gestures works wonder for the other. I had no idea until this happened with me.

I remember few months earlier, I got a mail from a reader. He too lives in the same state to which I belong. A smile generated the moment I read his words. I quote him, “It makes me happy that both of us were born and brought up in same state. I feel proud that, you are doing something that may make us all proud in a larger platform someday. My best wishes are with you!! Now my friends and I read your blog and we all want you to excel in life as a creative person.”

His message was simple. Still it touched me in my ways. If someone whom I do not know keeps me in his good wishes and blessings; I could not have asked for more. Since I started blogging, during last couple of years, there are many such instances those help me remains inspired and motivated. But then somehow there comes a sense of responsibility too. Now, I believe I have to live up to expectation of these few people who could see something in me, which no one else could notice before.

When I published my book, “I wish and hope” in November 2012; most people whom I know in real world asked me only one question, “How much money have you earned as royalty.” Honestly speaking, that book did not make me richer. My bank accounts did not float with money. But then it was not my intention to earn lots of money with that book. I wanted to gain that confidence in me that I too belong to that space, and I wanted to learn the whole process of publishing by my own. Starting from designing my books cover to formatting both its print and kindle version I did everything by my own. So I believe for me that venture was successful to a great extent. It’s only because of that I could dare to complete my novel.

I remember, Amira one of my blogging friends from Maldives, bought my book and posted the picture in her blog. Although I

The picture of my book she posted in her blog

The picture of my book she posted in her blog

warned her that shipping cost will be on higher side, and my book does not worth that much of money. Still when I saw her buying the book; I learnt the lesson that next time when my book will come, I have to make sure that, my book worth the money someone spends on it.

There is another blogging friend Elyse whom I consider as one the most honest people I know in blogosphere. She not only bought my book, but being gracious enough mailed me what she liked in my book and where I need to work on. Her feedback was constructive for me. Just as she wanted, this time I made sure someone who is a native English-speaking person was going to do the copy editing before I send my manuscript to a publisher.

I am also thankful to remaining five people who left their presence on my book’s page on Amazon’s site. The brightest smile appeared on my face, when I read a comment left by Lisa there. There are so many such memories to share, so many people to thank.

There was another instance that I still remember. I worked on the second half of my novel with my sister’s laptop as mine suddenly stopped working. Then just before the copy editing started, I transferred all the working folders to my laptop. Somehow in a rush, I left copies o few saved chapters there. I had no idea now it’s there for my sister to read. Few weeks later, one evening she called me and said she liked my novel.  To my curiosity, I asked how she could know about my novel. Later I came to know, the whole story. I felt good that she had faith on the product which I came up with; but the most encouraging factor was that the manuscript passed the test by the first reader of my targeted group of readers.

The bad thing for everyone around me is that I am moving terribly slowly in my life; but the good thing for me is that, now that I am moving slow I am capable of noticing every minute thing that is happening in this journey. 

The person, who has to suffer the most while I was working on my first novel, was the one who copy—edited it.  I ruined her afternoons evening and even nights with my questions and doubts. I left her wondering when actually I sleep; as we both live in two different time zones. Few of you must know her via her blog. But I am not going to reveal her name now. I believe we need to bow our heads and thank few people once we have success with us to share with them.

Now when I am almost done with my first novel I thank all of my blogging friends and readers for your words of encouragement, kindness and love.

In few months time, I can be able to hold my dream in my hand in form of my first novel. I have already signed the contract with a good publisher and the final editing and proofreading has already started.

So Thanks guys for your support during this journey. Forgive me if there is any typos or if I forget to thank anyone. :)

 As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

John F. Kennedy

Forget me…… “NOT”

It’s been long (may be weeks or months I am not sure, since I wrote my last post. I do not have any excuses for my absence in blogosphere. But today when I decided I would write something, I found like most of the times my mind could not generate any interesting thoughts to share here. Now I am too old to change the algorithm of my mind or to program it differently so that it can function just like a dedicated writer’s does.

While checking my blog stats, I could see the huge fall in that “number of visitors” column. No one likes to sit on a dining table and stare at an empty plate; while dishes are already served at others. All these days my blog was that empty plate. So the reason was evident. I believe this rule applies to every aspect of life.

At some point each one has to move on, each one has to make a choice, each of us has to find a replacement. But then I remember those words of wisdom from Maya Angelou,

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Is not it true. Who remembers, what I’ve written in those last couple of years in my blog. But if I have appeared in your thoughts for at least once during my days of absence I believe I have done something good with my blog. That signifies in someway I have made you all feel good at least for a short period of time.

Sometimes, these lessons blogging gives us seem so valid in real world too. I believe nothing is permanent; be it achievement, success, legacy or even history. Everything comes with an expiry date.  At each phase we need to start it all afresh. But then how we treat our companions in past, decides it for us if we have those very few people standing with us when we move forward in life.

I believe all of you have not forgotten me yet, or else I have to rethink about the way I treat others….

It’s not easy being a writer

I have never ever looked at a book placed on bookshelves the way I am doing now. Now when I hold thoughts of someone whom I never met written on white paper in my hands; my eyes do not move from left to right to find any flaws or to mark something that can give me some reasons to criticize the writer. I read those words inside a book to only look for things that would compel me to appreciate someone else’s work. The reason is simple and evident.

After working on more than two years on my first novel; I know how much effort it goes to bring that final product. The process starts with imagination of few characters that help the story move forward and continues with situations that express the inner thoughts that gives the first and foremost reason to a human to write while cutting himself off from the society during the process.  I believe the process of writing moves in circle. First a person has to wait for that fraction of second which gives birth to a thought in his mind that acts as a driving force to create a whole world fiction where characters and situations are illusions; yet the message, the emotions, the theme remains real. And just when he finishes the book and ends up writing the chapter out lines to help his manuscript create the first good impression in the editor and publishers mind; again he has to patiently wait for the confirmation of a publisher.

Being a first time writer, the cruelest yet important lesson I learnt is that you have to be patient. The speed remains in a writer’s control only till the creative part is on; after that suddenly everything slows down.  In my case I got positive responses from few publishers to my proposal almost after two and half months. And interestingly, it took more than four months to get the first positive response to my manuscript from new yet a good publisher with few bestselling books to their name. But I know it will take another few weeks for them to come up with the final confirmation. I am still waiting for evaluation results from few other publishers.  It’s a wish of every writer to work with the most honest and credible publisher; so that his words can get the best exposure it can. I am indifferent; so I too want to work with someone who would pay me well and who would not let me bother about the whole business and marketing aspect of my next book.

Now keeping these timelines in mind; by any means it’s not easy for someone to deal with this waiting period without letting frustration and irritation getting over his head. Now here comes another challenging part being a writer and especially if you want to write or your whole life. An author usually gets a royalty around 10% of the cover price. In a country of 1.2 billion where the readership is growing there is no guarantee, the books will be a best seller in a few weeks or months time. Unless someone has some unique marketing ideas and money to implement them; it takes time to spread the word. So the toughest part is to start working on your next book while the evaluation is on and your first book is still awaiting its turn at the publishing world.  It may seem like the height of optimism; but then there is no other way. If you have ideas roaming inside your head; then it’s better to bring them on paper. In India it requires at least three to four good books to back a young budding writer if he wants to write till his last breath while having enough money in his wallet to buy happiness for everyone including himself.

You people may think why the hell I am sharing all this here. Is not it so!! But let me tell now, I do not belong to the space where I want to me. If tomorrow my novel do well then I am ready to share my success with the single person I know in past twenty-eight years. I am also preparing to accept that my failure will be all my alone. But then there are many young people who writes better than me yet they have no idea about publishing; just because to the place they belong to, do not give them enough exposure. So now onward I will share my experience here once in a while for all those people who love creating world of their own with words that flows from their mind and heart.

Yes, it’s not easy being a writer; but then humans are not born to do things that are easy. I have started believing in it and I hope many you are going to do the same.

Happy Birthday, Colin!!

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.

-Lao Tzu

Celebration of birthday is not something that we have in the list of traditions of our family culture. Since childhood I had never celebrated my birthday. It was only a couple of years earlier I could dare to break that tradition as my friends insisted that I had to cut the cake they brought. So no one knows it better than me, how it feels when you do not have friends visiting your home on the evening of that special day for every person which comes once in a year. Once I grew up, It hardly meant if there was any celebration or not. Like any other human, I too stopped finding happiness in these small occasions of togetherness and celebration. But before heavy phrases like success, money and fame entered my life I too was thirsty of love and hungry of attention from my dear ones. Although I knew I have apparently too many people in my life to support me and for few of them I hold the highest priority in their life. But then does not it feel good when someone wishes good things for you and tries his/her best to make you feel the most special person in the planet earth in a small way. Being a child, I too wanted others to make me feel special on my day. That experience is missing from my childhood memories. I can’t say I regret that. If you have not experienced something at all; then how can you regret it!

But it made me really happy when I saw a mother created a Facebook page and requested people across globe to wish him on his special day. She writes, “I am Colin’s mom, I created this page for my amazing, wonderful, challenging son who is about to turn 11 on March 9th. Because of Colin’s disabilities, social skills are not easy for him, and he often acts out in school, and the other kids don’t like him. So when I asked him if he wanted a party for his birthday, he said there wasn’t a point because he has no friends.”

Screenshot of the page on Faebook

Screenshot of the page on Facebook

I have never any doubt in my mind that only a mother can do what it requires to make her son happy. But the best thing is that there are still people left in this planet who pause for a moment in their busy lives and spend few moments to spread the happiness in lives of others. And the number of those good people in million suggest that there is still some hope left in this planet where most of the things happening in a wrong and undesired way.

I have no doubt this gesture from so many people will do the world of goods for that kid, Colin.  At least, he would never say it again that he has no friends.

I have experienced it myself how much few kind words and little bit of support from those people whom I have never met in my life did wonders in my life. I will share that some other day, for now I just wish every wish and kind words coming that kid Colin’s way, is going to help him in having that belief in him is that he is unique and he is special just like any other human. He too can do and achieve whatever he wants. At the end result hardly matters, it’s the journey that stays in hearts of all.

“May God bless him with good health, lots of happiness and may all his wishes come true… Happy birthday Colin.”

Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.

Shadow Lines

Shadow Lines

Shadow Lines

I walk on a lonely path,

With no courage to look back at my past,

With no fear to fail in future.

Leaving behind people whom I met,

I take every diversion coming my way,

Be it right or left.

I continue to walk in a path,

That leads me to my dream straight.

Where my journey would end I am not sure,

If people would see a success story in me…

 or if I will just be another failure;

I am glad now I have overcome that stage of fear.

Memories  give me strength,

Failed promises which I made to someone keeps on challenging my faith.

I smile and say, “There can never be another you…”

And I keep on walking, after taking one more deep breath.

Life is short, journey is long,

some say, to this space I do not belong.

I say, “I do not have to prove anyone wrong,

I just want to sing my life with my own written song.”

-Arindam

A Man from Earth

A man takes longer to mature than a woman. His body grows just like a coconut tree; still he never realizes that his strong muscular body is incapable of giving shades to others. He stretches his arms and swings with the fluctuating human emotions just like a coconut tree bends its body when a storm or shower hits it. Still keeping memories of those fleeting moments he moves forward. He again prepares himself to live up to the expectation of people around him. Tightening up his muscles he has to act as the strength of his dear ones. He folds his sleeves to carry all the burdens and to take the responsibility life brings towards his way.

The day after the storm, just like the coconut tree again stands straight holding up its head high and wait for the sun to rise again; a man too moves on with life hiding his weakness, holding his pain and regrets as he realizes he does not have any options left for him other than being strong. For him, the day starts with hopeful eyes of his dear ones looking at him as if they want to ask him, when are you going to make it big in life? As the day progresses answering so many questions of others, looking at the hopes of his dear ones, and faith of his loved ones on him; he ends the day saying, “My life is no more only mine.” He slowly finds himself lost in the crowd where every one is in a hurry to meet the need and greed. With success and money coming his way, he finds the path is leading him to a beautiful destination. He pulls up his socks and starts running towards that destination with pride and confidence.

Time passes, calendar changes, clock tickles. No one realizes that what if coconut tree is incapable of giving shades;  inside its fruit it offers both fluid and food to get rid of thirst and hunger. A man reaches the last phase of his life. He finds himself separated from the crowd. Success, money seems meaningless to him. He starts looking at the reflection of his happiness and seeks for a moments of peace and togetherness with his dear ones. Now he gains enough maturity, wisdom and experience to realize his life was only his that he willingly shared with everyone around him. He sits on an armchair, looks at the setting of the sun below the horizon. He remembers those moments which were completely his; those memories he treasured inside him to cherish for a lifetime.

He shuts his eyelids. Tears roll out of his eyes and dissolve on his cheeks. He murmurs, “My life was mine… and I should have lived few moments just for myself.”

Publishing: I am ready to run with my Write foot Forward

It took me almost 27 years to give it my best shot while putting all my heart, body and soul in doing something. From page no-1 to page no-291 it was not an easy journey. From the first word to the last… from the first character to the last dialogue a character speaks I lived every moment of it. I used to sleep at 5:30 in the morning and the next day, I used to spend all day thinking how I would have reacted if someday I had to face the situation any of my book’s characters were facing. I lived this routine life for more than a year.

Once the editing was done, I never bothered to open that document again, to meet those characters of my first novel. I wanted to get everything out of my head. Before I saved that document on my laptop for the last time, I made sure most of my book’s readers are going to find themselves in that book. I am introvert, so I hardly express my deepest feeling with anyone while I am not writing. So I make sure most of those caged thoughts inside my head would come out in this book.

I have no doubt; the best moment for a person is when he/she finds himself in front of a mirror. No person bothers to act judgmental or critical at that very moment when he sees his own reflection on the glass surface. While standing at the other side of the mirror we all confirm how we look in front of others. I want my book to work like that mirror while it reaches hands of a reader. During the process, to the best of my ability I tried to make sure the characters would not look like caricatures to someone who reads the book. 

Few people, who read my manuscript, fortunately reacted just the way I wanted them to react. Most of them even today call me with the name of the male lead character. They feel it’s a true story based on my life and honestly, it feels great to experience it. I do not mind losing my own identity to a fictional character which I had given birth to with my words.

The journey has just started. It’s a terribly slow journey. The publishing world works slower than the Indian Government. The deadlines specified by them are as good as those red lights at traffic signals in our country without a traffic police around. But I am fortunate enough to receive good responses till now. So the journey is not over yet. The promotion plays the most vital role; so I am keeping a note of every single unique promotional idea someone offering me these days. I am no business man, but I am trying to be one. I know it would not be easy for me to write my next book, with a wallet that does not own enough to buy me everything I need to keep people around me happy. I also have a great bunch of friends living in different cities of this huge country who are ready to spread the word across. I really hope the final approval is coming anytime soon. The wait has to end at some point. 

It’s like I am down on my knee and waiting for the gun to be fired, so that I can run. I can run as fast as I can. I just hope I would be good enough to cross all the huddles coming my way.  It’s like I had to wonder randomly and aimlessly for long 26 years to realize what I enjoy doing and now I want to make up for all those missing years of my life that could have taken me closer to my dream.

***~~~~***

( What is the most unique book promotion event you ever experienced or heard of?)

Sequel to Memory

A couple of days earlier, I watched a movie called, “Before Sunset”. It’s a sequel to a movie called, “Before Sunrise”. I haven’t seen the first one yet though.

The movie goes like this; a young American man (Hawke) and a young French woman (Delpy) meet on a train and spend one night in Vienna. Nine years later they meet again. They spend one afternoon together in Paris. It’s a beautiful movie.

Starting from the locations, to plots, to characterization to scene settings… everything is just perfect. But after the movie ended I was left with a simple question in my mind, “How could two people meet so comfortably nine years later… as if nothing has changed? How could they start from the same point where they left nine years ago possible?”

Few days earlier I met an old friend of mine. We were really close friends at some point of time. We did not have to look at the clock while calling each other on our cell phones; we were never afraid of cracking a cheap joke at each other as either of us knew, one’s word can never hurt the other.

But after six years, when I met her; somehow I was happy yet uncomfortable. I wanted to talk to her for hours, but could not find just the right words. There was something which was missing. May be it was the love, trust, faith or compatibility we were sharing at some phase of our lives with each other. I do not have the answer and I did not bother to dig too much into that well of past to extract what made us both behave life two strangers although we are not really.

I believe every relationship, be it love, friendship or anything else… keeps two people together with an invisible bond. Somehow time looses that bond. We can’t pause a moment as far as a relationship is concern… and return to that same moment being the same people after a certain time. That can’t be possible.

Benjamin Franklin, very rightly quoted, “Lost time is never found again.” The world is so crowded that, in absence of a person other person finds plenty of reasons and ways to keep himself or herself busy. During this whole process, somehow that person intentionally or unintentionally changes. Just like William Gibson once said, “Time moves in one direction, memory in another.” May be during this journey we meet people who leave their foot prints in our lives and memories. Still when we move forward in this journey we separate ourselves from those few people who were specials to us at some point of time. This is the trend of life, and it’s also the harsh reality of every relationship.

Time does not change any of us, but it unfolds different shades of life in front of us each passing day. We may not realize the changes those occur within us as it’s a very slow process; but for someone who meets us after really long those changes in us proved to be much bigger than what they occur to us and others who meet us on daily basis.

I believe that is the beauty of life, it always gives us a chance to start it all new. It does not compel us to move forward from that point where we left at some point of time carrying all the past baggage.

Another Year ended!!

I wrote this one, a couple of years earlier. All those people who read my book, “I wish and hope” must have read this one… as the book starts with this one.

After two years… I find nothing much has changed in this planet. I thought of sharing this one with you all one last time, before 2013 ends and 2014 starts…..

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*******~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was the night of 31st December 2011.  I checked the time in my cell phone.  There were few hours left before the last digit of the year would change and ‘1’ would turn into ‘2’ and the year 2011 would end. But it was nothing new. Since my birth, the last couple of digits had already changed 26 times. Each year, I used to celebrate the last day of the year with family and friends with the hope that, the coming year would bring more happiness and success.

But this time it was completely different. I was standing alone in my balcony waiting for the arrival of New Year, a new beginning, and for the first time I was not there with my family and close friends to welcome a new year. Instead of celebrating I was busy fighting loneliness.

I had nothing much to do so I switched on my television to see the celebration that was going on across the world. People were dancing, singing and partying hard. I could not have celebrated alone, so I thought it would be better to watch these people, and be a part of their celebration. However after some time I realized that, watching those celebrations was hurting me more. So I tuned into a news channel and I came to know that, the cyclone that had hit my country few hours earlier had claimed at least 30 lives by then. Then I turned off the television and decided that, I would call my Mom. I talked to my Mom, who was more than a thousand miles away from me. She tried her best to convince me that she was not missing me and I also did the same.

Those last few hours made me realize something. All of us live in one world. We consume oxygen from the same atmosphere. Yet each one of us has different problems to deal with, each one of us has different reasons to celebrate, each one of us has different priorities in life, each one of us has different encumbrances and each one of us has different expectations from life.

That day I saw people from a different part of the world busy celebrating the New Year which had already arrived in their country. There were some people in my country who were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the New Year so that their celebrations would begin. Then there were some people who were worried about what had happened to their family members after that natural disaster. Some were mourning the loss of their dear ones and some were trying to rebuild their homes.

Maybe this is how the world, we live in works. We are so busy looking for that reason to celebrate our own achievements, our own success that we forget what is going on elsewhere. We limit ourselves to a very small region; by dividing ourselves and by creating borders.

That day I realized that we need to break that barrier and connect with each other irrespective of our origins, religion or beliefs. We need to give someone else the freedom and the time to share his pain or happiness with us. We need to make our shoulders strong enough to carry a person who can’t walk on his own. We need to value what our heart says.

C’mon US!!

Since Thursday, The government, the media and the people here have started showing their displeasure over the arrest and barbaric treatment of India’s diplomat in Newyork. The news headlines suggest, she was strip-searched, kept in cell with drug addicts.  Being a leading country of the world, no one expects such behavior from its officials. By any means, it does not set a good example in front of the world. Now this has somehow generated anger in most of us Indians. If people of my country are capable of protesting against injustice for women in India, then also they are capable of doing it when something similar happens anywhere in this planet.

None of us enjoy when we hear the idol of our generation, who is a scientist and also ex-president of India, was frisked on board the aircraft, and had his jacket and shoes briefly taken away at a New York airport in the year 2009.

There is a long list of famous Indians of various fields who were detained at various airports in US for no reason. We justifies most of those cases, by saying, it’s fine if US is doing so to protect its people. The celebrity and VIP culture is so deeply rooted in India that, the actors, singers sometimes expect the same celebrity treatment across the globe. But that argument surely falls short when we consider cases like what happened with a women diplomat last Thursday, or like what happened with Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam long back in 2009.

Somehow I feel episodes like these, send a wrong message about US. Today while we were having a chat, one of my close friends asked me , why the hell people go to US, if these things happen. His question was simple, yet it opens a whole new argument. I did not argue. But my personal experience with people living in this country is just wonderful. I find those people honest, hardworking, and straight forward. But people who have never gone there or have never met any person who belongs to that country create their own perceptions with instances like these. Just like there are many misconceptions about us Indians. Instances like these give birth to a general perception on the arrogance of US officials; which is a wrong thing for sure as they represent the people living in that country too.

Most of my blog readers belong to this country; so I know I am risking my readership by writing this. But I also have lots of faith on intelligence and humanity of people living in that country as I feel they can judge if this was right or wrong keeping their nationality aside. I am sure their heart and conscience would surely tell them to not appreciate this behavior of officials which hurts sentiment of so many people living in another country.