And this is what I have been doing the year through.
My new release book Grow Up Messy is showered with love from readers and critics alike. Especial mention here would be for Ahana, my youngest reader so far. She disliked my cover instantly saying its very childish (Considering herself quite grown up for a ten year old) but loved the adventures Misry went through in the book. Although the character Misry is a naughty five year old yet her thoughts are more of a ten year old child. Hence the book is targeted for the middle grade and young adults. The book was loved by the parents and kids alike.
Watched Poorna, a film by Rahul Bose with the kids of my kids club. They had a fantastic time in the Inox theater with popcorn cold drinks and a very inspiring story of Poorna, an underprivileged girl who became the youngest girl to scale the mount Everest.
A family reunion time. Had been to a wedding at my hometown and was nostalgic as always. Memories freshened up visiting all the old folks and cousins. How can one stay away from family for sooo long I still wonder? Family is the pillar of strength for many of us yet work keep us moving to new places. Sigh!
A short trip to Sunderban was a big surprise packet. Sunderban trip was a very different experience. Chilly winds in the morning didn’t stop us from traveling in a mid-sized trawler boat in the cold water of the Sunderban delta that comprises of confluence of Padma, Meghna and Brahmaputra river right before the Bay of Bengal sea. The mangroves which is the natural habitat of the Royal Bengal Tigers were the biggest attraction for us. Throughout the time we were on the boat our eyes were on the lookout for the King of this land. However, we were not that fortunate. We spent the entire day on the cruise eating lavish food like crabs, prawns and other sea fish prepared in the boat itself. Bengalis need nothing more in life after that.
Tribal girls ready for Jhumar dance
PS I still have to document my trip on my YouTube and blog. Sigh!
Valentine Day gave me a new surprise. No not my husband. But my son and his pranks. The Day of Love celebrated in a different way. You can read it here.
With school holidays set in I didn’t have time for myself anymore. My life and time devoted to the kid’s demand. What a hectic month it had been. With almost all his friends taking examinations D had nobody but me to give him company. I literally had to hunt play mates for him. Finally got him enrolled in badminton classes. And I was stuck with his schedule. While waiting for his training class to be over I made couple of new friends and discovered many new things this small city offered. Especially trips to Malviya Road increased and window shopping turned out to be our favorite pastime. Learning new recipes and bitching about other girlfriends turned out to be another favorite timepass we women loved to indulge in.
Had been part of writing festival organized by Blogchatter. It was three months of interaction online interaction with aspiring writers and bloggers through twitter chat and facebook live. Here is one of my articles on How to write your first novel.
With the temperature raising every single day the thoughts never got a chance to evolve in the mind. I started with the other stories of the Jungle Series besides The Clockmaker. For some reason this series was taking forever to be published. Initially I had ten short story collection and that’s how I promoted my upcoming book. I approached the publishing houses. But nobody was interested to pick up short stories collection from a not so well known author like me. So I indulged myself in redrafting my stories into a full fledged novel. And it took me another six to eight months to actually finish it.
Again a busy month with the kids. My Kids Club had Summer Camp and the days were pretty adventurous. We had a visit to the Post Office, Space Mission, best out of waste and even had a lemonade stall in the busy market place run by the kids. It had been a freaky month with temperature outside reaching 46 degrees centigrade and inside almost touching 50 degrees centigrade with the kids laughter.
Kids posting handwritten letters to their grandparents
A few things in life has changed me completely and Aakaar, an initiative by the sanskriti department in my part of world is one of them. I got the privileged of learning Madhubani Art from the renowned artist Shrimati Shanti Devi, who has represented India in my countries regarding this Indian art form. I am in the kindergarten again and playing with brush after almost thirty years and its like homecoming for me. As a guru she passed on her passion to all of us however we could absorb just a tinge of it. We are all praise for her and her passion for bringing her imagination on the canvas. She says every art has a story. Madhubani or Mithila art was started by Raja Janak to document his daughter Sita’s wedding on the canvas and later the Ramayana. It is a rural art form and was hidden from the world all those years until Bihar was struck with massive earthquake and the paintings were revealed. Keeping up the tradition alive is this acclaimed artist whose wall art has been incorporated on the national museum Delhi. However, it is really painful to see an artist of this caliber being deprived of the samman, respect, which she deserves. She has been part of the project for the last ten years yet few students know her name or even bother to know more about her as an artist. Being a rural woman she doesn’t know internet and hence is not aware of promoting her work on online platforms. She also shared that folk artists are not treated well within the country whereas outside India, people really appreciate their work and give the due respect. I have been offline for a almost twenty days now and she had transferred me to a magical world. A world of gobar handmade canvas over which one takes the flight of imagination and imprints the lines with brush and colorful pallets. Sharing some of her renowned work.
Had a two days story telling session with the school kids. I narrated two stories from my new release Grow Up Messy! The students enjoyed the stories very much or maybe they enjoyed the story telling more. They were pretty surprised to know about ebook. Most didn’t like reading books and those who did knew about paperbacks only. However, I was more surprised to know that the kids knew nothing about the armed forces of our country. Since Grow Up Messy! has a military background I had to explain them the basics first. Due to time crunch it was very difficult to make them understand the nature of job these people do. I wish school had a few more sessions where the children could know more about these organizations in our country. Unfortunately, we emphasize more on the career prospects rather than learning.
Students enjoying after the session
With the arrival of the monsoons we had a short summer retreat to Kanha National Park to meet the Royal Bengal Tiger. We were unfortunate again. We didn’t get a glimpse of the tiger. However, we learned a lot of things about the area. Kanha is situated in Madhya Pradesh and is one of the first Tiger projects in the country started here in 1974.
Jeep Safari at Kanha National Park
Watched Lipstic Under my Burkha.This is the first movie I watched with my friends after marriage. Otherwise I would always end up watching Rowdy Rathore or Wonder girl in the theater with my family. Movies of my choice was seldom chosen by family and finally when they did, they slept off while I watched. So LUMB was kind of special for me. Firstly, because of its theme and secondly because of my daring. lol
You can read about my movie moments here
Our anniversary month. after leading a nomadic life we finally took a step together in settling down eventually.
My music lessons started. It was so refreshing to be back in college feeling like a new adult again. Gazals, poems and geet
took most part of my day. I also got a chance to perform on stage in chorus in Saraswati vandana too on one occasion occupying the last corner place in the crowd of singers. It was fun. My love for Urdu poetry was rejuvenated here. I was once more smitten by Urdu Shayars and one of them is the poet Bashir Bhardra
. Once again I started writing Hindi poems. You can read my poems here.
My kids club got a chance to perform on occasion of Independence Day in the most happening place of the city. The kids staged a Hindi drama, Aazadi- Ek Ehsaaas
, written and directed by me. And also show themselves in various avatars of the patriotic personalities in fancy dress program. Thankfully all went well and we got covered in various newspaper as one of the fabulous event of the city on the occasion.
Had a small trip to Chitrakoot water falls, the Nigra falls of India. With the monsoons in full swing it was a spectacular sight.
Had an opportunity to trek to the tribal goddess cave of Gond tribe in a remote village in Rajim.
Gond Tribe worship place
Full fledged preparations for Durga Puja celebrations. For the first
Bengali comedy Drama
time I was directing a Bengali Natak, Sashi Babur Biyer Swopno, (Shashi Babu’s wedding dreams) written by me.
I had an amateur team of adults to play the roles. And it was not easy to handle them because they all considered me as amateur which I certainly was. However, after working with kids I found it very difficult to work with adults. They had huge ego which got crushed on a slightest budge. Sigh! Nevertheless we staged the show on the specified date and thankfully got appreciated too. All well that ends well. So this drama gave me lots of confidence to stage more shows like this. A city which is very culturally thrived a comedy drama like this one is always appreciated.
My first self edit was doing better now. My thoughts were much clearer and my work crispier than before. Meanwhile I also penned couple of Hindi micro poems
that had been appreciated by the Hindi speaking community here. October was a month of self discovery for me. I had shut myself off from everything both online and offline. Book ideas and music were the only two things that stayed with me in a positive way. It was a very stressful month for me otherwise.
Was more of a socializing month for me. Got an opportunity to see stage performance of Chhattisgarhi lokgeet artists, LokChaya. It was an altogether new experience for me.
Had an opportunity to be part of a Inter school literary fest held in one of the renowned schools of the city.
My birthday month and I share it with my book baby Grow Up Messy! A delight to be loved by kids and parents alike. Misry gathered rave reviews from her readers throughout the year. The second part, The Sibling Saga, is awaited eagerly.
We had a cricket match in our kids club. The parents also joined in and spent a beautiful Sunday morning fielding or bowling in the ground while the kids slashed fours and sixers. Our umpire a newly retired director of the state health department did full justice to his role.
Posing after the match
Christmas is again being a Santa and bring a smile on people’s face. Collecting unused and old clothes, books, toys and other essentials and distributing to the needy is what our kids club has been doing on regular basis. Visiting oldage homes, orphanage, missionaries is what we have been doing consecutively the last three years. Glad to share that more people are joining hands for this cause.
Kids interacting with the seniors in the OldAge Home
In the end, I would like to thank all my readers, followers, critics, reviewers, author friends, buddy writers and well wishers and also those who haven’t read me yet, someday you will. You guys have encouraged me to write more and try new things in the world of fantasy and fiction. Without your support the journey would not have been possible at all.
This year ends with a beginning for a new year with lots of hopes for all of us. Wish all your dreams come true and mine too.
2017 has been an year of self discovery for me. Hopefully 2018 shall be one of implementation.