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Month: February 2016

It Happens For a Reason-Preeti Shenoy

It Happens For a Reason-Preeti Shenoy

Preeti Shenoy- Yes, she is an author I have been hearing a lot about. Her books are being discussed in the online circuit, she’s been nominated for the Forbes List of the 100 most influential celebrities of India since 2013 and, she is a blogger-turned-author. Ah ha! Now this last bit of info made me sit up.

And I read “It Happens for a Reason”! (Yawn Yawn Yawn….)

Let’s get to Vee, aka Vipasha. As a single mom, Vee juggles between her home run centre- “Paw Factor” for canines, and her job at the gym, to take care of her boy Aryan, born out of wedlock.  Way too simple, Vee seldom pays attention to her dressing, or looks (or the smell of dogs). Yet her pushy friend Suchi seldom gives up on her, and tries to fix her up with “eligible” men, to settle down in life. Vee on the other hand, isn’t too keen, given her busy schedule and the bitterness left behind by the man in her life Ankush. When on a bad day, over a few glasses of wine, Vee pours out her heart about her past life to Saurabh the quirky vet, she secretly develops an uncanny fondness for him. That’s when out of the blue, Ankush comes back into her life….

it-happens-for-a-reason

The plot sure doesn’t seem to be breath taking or fresh. Infact, to me it was just another run-of-the mill Bollywood styled writing. Did I find some likeness to the erstwhile hit movie Julie? But anyways, a simple plot as it may seem, writing a love story/drama about the life of a single mother, involves bringing in greater depth to the characters, to their thought processes, their approaches to life and their other relationships and perspectives. Preeti’s book has practically done justification to none. What were Vee’s apprehensions about her future and life? Did she have lonely moments? Did thoughts of Ankush come up often? Emphases on these points have not been adequately done.

After a considerable number of pages with pointless narration and sub plots, Preeti brings Ankush back into Vee’s life. The chemistry between the two during the second half yet again has been completely ignored. Infact Ankush’s characterization seems to have been given least importance. Who was Ankush? (Apart from his professional background) What was his predicament, to walk out on Vee? The climax of the book too is a total let down. Very predictable.

I always feel when an author is writing a love story, he has to make readers believe in it. Readers must be able to relate to it. And this is where Preeti has failed in the book. Plain narration, in a typical school essay style, the writing does not keep you hooked for a long time. I ended up yawning quite a bit and flipped through most pages with extreme ease.

There aren’t many reasons to pick up the book “It Happens for a Reason”. Not a great work from a popular/ bestselling author. One might as well pick up a glossy magazine instead.

Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey

No I ain’t talking about EL James’ erotic fiction series.  This is my little tale…..

A couple of winters ago, one morning the sun decided to peep out of the thick fog, right through my bedroom window.  I sat in front of the mirror combing my lovely tresses that was so “fantastico”, when amidst them I spotted a few strands of grey. Ha! I thought to myself. That’s just a few and could be hidden within my thick locks of black hair. But wait… What is this behind my ears? A whole bunch of them! I was aghast. I wasn’t even forty and was already graying!

Seeing me trying to pull out strand by strand, hubby dearie said,  “Didn’t you know, hair strands turn grey faster in winters? They should be fine once the summers arrive. Relax!” For some reason, his odd explanation comforted me, despite me not finding a single grey strand on his head! That evening I chanced upon an advertisement of a popular hair color brand. It claimed to color hair, well “ naturally”, without damaging it. The next day, I was at my neighborhood salon to get those few strands colored. The results were amazing. My hair felt soft to touch and the grey strands had disappeared. This now became a monthly routine where I would turn up at the salon as soon as my roots started to show up as white.

Months later, I soon realized that my hair had thinned down considerably. What was once a thick, bouncy pony tail, was now a mere rat’s tail. My next try was the so-called ammonia free hair color. But despite my hair being transformed into the darkest shade of black, they had started to feel like a broom- prickly to touch. That’s when Mrs. Khanna my neighbor told me to go the “natural” way with Henna. With utmost patience, every Sunday I would sit for three hours with the messy green paste on my head. I wouldn’t answer the door bell and my kids preferred to stay away from me.

It was too tedious a procedure. And by now each strand of my hair had almost three or more shades-  a jet black, a rusty orange or auburn, and the roots were white. My hair remained prickly and thin. These were my fifty shades of grey(or should I say graying). By the end of 6 months, I had had enough.

15454942-gray-hair-Women-suffering-from-gray-hair-Stock-VectorWhy do we fear grey hair, especially when it is premature? I asked myself these questions to arrive at a few answers.

  • Was graying a sign of growing old?

Probably I feared the natural process of aging. One fine day, looking at the mirror, I said to myself, age is what I feel within. It is not linked to the color of my hair.

  • Would graying affect my appearance?

We humans are a bunch of weirdo. Where it is ok for the skin color to be white, it probably isn’t for one’s hair to be white. I realized(maybe the hard way)- it’s no big deal- the salt and pepper look is just fine.

  • What would be people’s notion of me?

I often wonder why we humans are impacted by peoples’ opinions about us. I guess I was apprehensive too, about what people would think seeing me graying. I decided to finally go back to my roots-literally.

Irrespective of whether it was grey, white or black, I decided to stop further color experiments on them. Within a few months, my hair started gaining reasonable volume and the prickly feel subsided considerably. I often get asked by family and friends as to why I don’t color my hair. I just give them a polite smile and say, “I like it this way.”

It sure is a liberating feeling. I have left my hair to grey naturally.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Mrs. Funny Bones- Twinkle Khanna

Mrs. Funny Bones- Twinkle Khanna

Here is a tongue-in-cheek book by Twinkle Khanna- the 90’s starlet and wife of Bollywood star Akshay Kumar. This weekend, as I rummaged through the racks of my neighborhood lending library, I was glad to land my hands on Mrs. Funnybones.  I had heard quite a bit about the book- the launch amidst glitterati, the effective social media marketing and the fact that Twinkle Khanna’s witty tweets had been doing the rounds of Twitter for well over a year,  before the actual book launch. So it is but natural for me to have a reasonably high expectation from the book. And I must say, I wasn’t disappointed. Twinkle Khanna’s debut novel, Mrs. Funny Bones, is loaded with wit, and the satirical narration leaves you with a grin, smile and ROFL moments too.

 “She’s just like you and a lot like me”.

The book begins from the very title. Weaving together daily instances from her personal life, bringing up children, her mother’s crazy investment ideas, and her professional life, Twinkle Khanna takes a dig on all these and much more- including her name. Picking the best of humor I liked from the book…

 “Naming me Twinkle was a foolproof way of making sure that I would get teased throughout my life, have immigration officers at various airports stare at my passport and shake with hysterical laughter and strangers stalk me with WhatsApp messages like, ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, little star, I hope you get hit by a car!”

“I tell her, ‘It’s not funny, Mom, and sometimes you really do make stupid mistakes.’ She snorts, ‘That’s true, I made you.’

“There are 146 countries above us where the men have longer lifespans, and the biggest blow is that even with four wives who don’t fast for them, the Arab men outlive our good old Indian dudes.”

-excerpts from the book.book-review

Life is sure not different for most women. Twinkle Khanna portrays herself just like any other working women. Work constraints, getting the household chores done, and the responsibility of managing two children. At the end of the day there isn’t any difference between being a celebrity or a regular working class women. The narration is simple, crisp with the absence of complicated words and adjectives. I liked the clutter free presentation of the chapters, segregated alphabetic wise.

My thumbs up for:

  • The book is a light and a quick read. I managed to read it in a day.
  • It is one of those books you read without putting in too much thought and feel light on completion.

Thumbs down:

  • If you are looking for a great piece of literature, then this isn’t the book for you. The book is easy-going, and maintains a casual style.
  • No significant plot. The book is a compilation of multiple columns that one regularly reads in magazines/newspapers(Apparently Twinkle does write regular columns for DNA).
  • The humor at places seemed exaggerated and a bit overly done.

Nevertheless a good one time read. Laugh out loud, soak in the humor and get a window into Bollywood. ‘Cause Twinkle Khanna is someone who isn’t afraid to express her opinion.

I Do Wear His Stripes!!

I Do Wear His Stripes!!

I attended a military gathering with my husband recently where I met a junior officer, whom we have known for several years. Smart in his crisp blazer and scarf neatly tucked, this young officer was smarter than most Bollywood stars. Knowing well his age was over 30 and being a nosey Indian, I asked him when he planned on getting married. Gulping down the last bit of his drink, and creasing his eyebrows, he said, “Ma’am I wish it would happen soon. But you know the nature of our jobs. Every time I meet a girl and give her an insight into our lives, the risks and the constant movements, she hesitates”. “Come on”, I said. “Look at the number of women in this hall who have agreed to marry a Fauji. I am sure it is not difficult to find someone”.  “I hope I get lucky too Ma’am, for most girls these days seek a steady career and that is something I can’t guarantee. Nothing is guaranteed in our lives”, he said.

I let that conversation end there that day. But as I lay on my bed that night, I couldn’t help pondering over a certain truth that lay hidden in it.25_OPEN_PAGE_ARMY__1912669f

Not recently, I had attended an interview for the role of a sub-editor in a publication. The interview was going on pretty well until the point where I was asked where my hubby was employed. My answer changed the course of the interview. The HR guy across the table put down his pencil and asked me, “How do you think you would manage? Your husband would be away for long periods, and you may be transferred out even before getting your hands on the job.” I replied back,”Well, I don’t wear his stripes. And having just moved into this city, I would be here atleast for two years”. He asked me if I could sign a bond with effect to this- a commitment to not quit for two years. I could not. I didn’t get the job.

As a young girl, I would often be a witness to parties in Defence circles. My uncle, a Wing Commander was posted in the Command hospital in Bangalore. I would sneak between the curtains just to get a glimpse of women delicately draped in chiffons, sipping champagne from tall glasses. For me it was a surreal world. And this was where I wanted to belong.

But beyond this surreal world was another which I wasn’t really aware off.

Change became a constant companion. In my decade, of being married to a man in uniform, I have lived in 9 houses. To the extent, recently, my 7 year old confusedly asked me if it is a norm to shift to a new home at the beginning of every New Year!!!! And as constant as this change is the long spells of separation, when hubby dearie is out on duty.  I adorn multiple roles, of mom, dad, teacher…. Trying to not let loneliness set in and bother.

But I go on… for reasons are aplenty…

For one, I am immensely proud, proud of the uniform hubby adorns, proud that he has a job to do, proud that I have a significant role to play in his life.

Secondly, nothing is certain in anybody’s life, so why brood over the known uncertainty in my life. Looking at the broader picture, being a fauiji wife gives you an opportunity to grow, make friends, become resilient, and mature into a fine human being. 

And yes, I did lie to the HR guy at the interview. I do wear hubby’s stripes in a certain way by being a support, but they are invisible to the naked eye.