The year 2018 connected me with some lovely human beings both online and offline. The latter being the more. I connected with some awesome people this year who have really made their mark in my life.
Started my new year in Panchmarhi, a small hill station in Madhya Pradesh. The town was part of British cantonment area during pre- Independence era and post Independence the base camp of Indian Army. The small cottages and bungalows of the place living evidence of the lavish British lifestyle. The place reminded me of my hometown, Shillong. We booked an old British cottage on a private hilltop for our two-night stay and we weren’t disappointed.
Later in January, I met some fabulous people at the conference organized by CETA. Shukla ma’am and Savita ma’am, you inspire so many of us. Thanks for your support. I also got the opportunity to readout my short read – The Wedding Gift.
Picture courtesy: Chandan Soni
I published my short reads and got an overwhelming response from the readers.
This year I also got the opportunity to meet with my author friend, Sudesna Ghosh who is also a cat lover. She flew all the way from Kolkata to spend some time in the mesmerizing locales of Chhattisgarh. I met her father first on one of his visit to my city. The gentlemen is a cat lover like me and it was fun discussing my cat stories with him. Sue is a charmer and can talk about cats for hours. We spent hours discussing plots, cats and of course the bongs.
We planned a tour to Puri in Holi this year. It was the first time that I didn’t play the festival of colors. But then it was a different experience to be in the religious destination, Jagganath Puri. Instead, we offered our prayers to the deity in the temple on this auspicious occasion.
Had a tremendous response to my first ever blog giveaway. Thank you for being the first five winners of my giveaway.
It was time when I met one of the most read romance writer, Preethi Venugopala. I have known her virtually for the last two years and on and off we discussed lots of things. But when we finally met, that was for about 45 minutes it seemed like we have so much to catch up on – writing, workshops and most of all our Turkish heartthrobs that time was really short. The kids were bored with our conversation and wanted to run out.
We went on a road trip to Chennai from Bangalore. And from Tamil movies to silk sarees I chanced upon everything.
From Chennai, we went to Pondicherry and it was an altogether different experience for us. Though very small, Pondicherry was the largest French colony in India. The city has a long and interesting history of trade and war. There is a strong French influence in the city, especially in the old quarters, with Rues and Boulevards lined with Mediterranean style houses and bakeries, although the city remains very much Indian. French is still understood, and the whole city makes for rather a pleasant mix of East and West. (As in Wikitravel).
The best place I loved was The Beach / Promenade. The Bollywood movie “Talash” was shot here.
Enroute Pondicherry we also got the chance to visit the historical Mahabalipuram, a tourist town 60 km south of Chennai famous for its stone carvings. Mamallapuram dates back to the Tamil Pallava dynasty in the 7th-9th century. The structures here mostly carved straight out of granite, are among the oldest existing examples of Dravidian (South Indian) architecture. (As in Wikitravel).
We went to Kolkata to meet my sick aunt. We celebrated her birthday. She was celebrating it for the first time in her life. In our family, back then, there was no birthday celebration culture. Only a bowlful of Payash (Kheer) was offered to the deity and the same was later distributed as prasad in the house. No calling friends or cutting cake. Glad things have changed for good since the past.
Here again, I got a chance to visit Sudesna Ghosh. I was very excited to meet Rustomji, her cat. A darling celebrity who knows how to show attitude. He didn’t allow us to touch him but kept lingering around tempting us to cuddle him.
This month gave me one of the most beautiful moments of my life. We laid the foundation of our dream house.
But otherwise, it was a month of my self-discovery.
I was invited for a storytelling session with the students of N.H Goel School, one of the renowned schools of the city. The students were very smart and didn’t waste any moment in answering my questions.
Nothing much done here only working hard.
Finished the first draft of my second story of the Jungle series. I know haven’t released the book 1 yet. Waiting for a favorable time. Started the 15 August preparation but the event was canceled.
The month started finishing the final edits for my upcoming novel The Clockmaker. I was mostly seen pulling my hair.
Busy with Durga puja celebrations. This time I didn’t get the opportunity to participate much in the cultural programs. So there was nothing much to do apart from going with the flow.
The month of Diwali also has me busy.
I was invited to attended lit fest organized by Krishna Public School, one of the renowned schools in the city.
Had my first stage show as a singer. In fact, I love singing.
The cover of my new book, The Clockmaker, was released along with the book trailer.
A weekend tour to a tribal village market in Odisha. Beautiful place with breathtaking scenery. The tribals were friendly and one of the finest craftsmen I came across.
Tiger sighting is something we have been trying since last year. This year we went to try our luck in Nagzira forest, Maharashtra. Nawegaon-Nagzira Tiger Reserve (NNTR) was notified as 46th tiger reserve of India on 12th December 2013. Its 5th Tiger reserve of Maharashtra. It is situated in Gondia and Bhandara Districts in the North–Eastern corner of Maharashtra. (Wikitravel) And it was bad luck once again. But we enjoyed our stay in the rustic locale. (pic courtesy: Delhi photography club)
As usual, my kid’s club celebrated Christmas with lots of enthusiasm and passion. They went door to door collecting unused toys, clothes, and shoes to be distributed among the needy on Christmas. Their effort won lots of heart including mine.
It was indeed a very coloful year with lots of new experiences. However, there was no major book release this year. MOst of the time was spent in editing and backend process. So the coming year looks more promising as far as my writing part is concerned. and I am very excited about it.