Sunday, December 29, 2013

Beauty & Choices:

Every woman’s life is the sum of all her choices, and Revlon India is here to support that. Choices by Revlon is a platform that will allow every woman to express her opinions and make her choices freely. This month, Revlon talks about Relationships. This is one of the many articles that aim to inspire women all over India in their choices about relationships. Start making a choice today. 
“Mama, I want to be as thin as an actress,” my 5-year-old child said to me as she pushed away a piece of chocolate cake.
I looked at her and realized this was my fault.
I’ve always been saying, “I’m fat!” I’ve cursed my grandmother and mother for giving me genes that never helped me lose weight. I wasn’t naturally thin or tall. I didn’t have a great metabolism that burned everything I ate. I smelt food and it went to my hips. I have been working out an hour a day since I was 12 and I’ve never been my ideal weight. I’ve coursed through magazines wishing that I would magically be thin. Moreover, this huge issue of not being slim was now foretelling on my child. What had I done?!
To be fair, it’s not all my fault. It is a curse of the modern age where everything thin is meant to be beautiful. Indians are obsessed with either being thin or being fair. Beauty is a tall, thin fair woman with long hair. And if we all emulate that, then we just become clones of an idea and lose out on any individuality or a great personality.
There are no fat actresses that Indian girls can look up to. There are no voluptuous women on magazines that housewives can emulate. It’s all about having flat tummies and perfect hourglass figures. We see women slogging it off in gyms, and joining weight loss programs that hamper not only their bodies but affect their minds. Because being on a “diet” just to have a flat tummy will make you depressed. Starving is not the key to a happy life!
As modern age women, we need to make a choice and just get off that stupid scale!
Your beauty does not lie around your hips. It is not defined if you have a double chin or not. Your beauty lies in your face, your heart, and your behavior. Why are you judging yourself through the eyes of a magazine?
Women meet each other and the first they like to comment on is their weight. We need to see each other in a new light. Just because weight is an easy start to a conversation doesn’t mean it should be the first option. Women have great relationships with their girl friends over so many issues. Let’s start talking about them first. Start with a compliment.
In our personal lives, men make us feel what we want them to feel. Men hardly care if you’re slightly plump. Our relationships can’t be labeled by how fat or thin we are. They’re defined by the beauty that lies within us. How much we radiate that inner glow that makes people want to be around us. How you make your partner feel about himself. How you support each other is what makes great relationships.
We women are a sum of far more experiences in our life than just a number on a scale. Our beauty lies in the fact that we have gone through heartbreak, childbirth, tragedies, joy, and given all of our energy to people to help them. Allowing ourselves to be imperfect and accepting the fact that we’re not super models will help us find happiness and peace. Because if the one thing that is not giving you that freedom to live and enjoy life completely is your weight, then you’re doing a disservice to yourself as a human being!
Working out everyday helps you live a healthier life. Cutting down on extra calories and refined foods prevents you from lifestyle diseases. So go ahead and be healthy. Just don’t deny yourself small treats and the occasional lapse in a workout if your body says so. Live healthy because you want to live longer, not because it will put you look better on Facebook!
Remove your focus from losing weight to doing something for yourself. Get a new haircut. Wear a brighter shade of lipstick. Get a fitted dress. Show off a new you that makes you feel confident. Accept yourself from top to toe. Your confidence will show in the swish of your hips as you walk the gloss of your hair as you toss it back and the curves in your smile as you laugh at life. That’s beautiful!
I looked at my daughter and picked up a spoon. “How about we share this cake and then we share an apple?” She nodded agreeing with the idea.
I took a bite and replied, “Do you know who I love the most in the world?” She looked up at me. I answered, “You. Because of all the good things you do. No actress will ever be as beautiful as you are. And they might be thin, but you are beautiful because you’re nice. And isn’t it always better to have people around who love you for who you are than just be thin?”
She smiled and nodded. I had finally got through! I would never curse my grandmother and mother for being fat again. Instead, I would thank them for giving me great values and making me take strong choices in the world that made me beautiful!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Giving Back on Christmas

I flew to Bangalore a few days before Christmas. My grandmother had a stroke that left her bed ridden and without the ability to speak clearly. It was horrible to see her like that. A shock that left me wondering what Christmas was really about.

Throughout the years I've put up a Christmas tree in my house and presents underneath for my family and especially my own daughter. Every year they open it with a small smile, a polite thank you and keep it aside to go back to doing what they were already doing.

Then everyone would go out for lunch and we would see massive decorations around the city with people shopping, eating and admiring the festivities.

This year I understood what a genuine smile was, an amazing present is and what festivities really mean.

I decided on Christmas morning that on behalf of my grandmother and I, I would go buy chappals for street kids and distribute them. I went to a store and asked for the best kind with cartoons on them, soft soles and great quality that would last at least the winter.
I picked up around 50 to distribute and went to the basti.

The kids went mad. They loved the chappals. I saw a few mothers snatch the boxes from my hand and a few boys pushing to get them. So I made a few girls wear the chappals on their feet instead of handing them over.

The children came and hugged me later and said Merry Christmas. I knew that it really was a special day.
I'm going to make this a tradition every year so my daughter starts giving as well and can pass on the legacy.
Needless to say we had yummy home food that day and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves without opening any presents.

I wish you a Merry Christmas! Be with the people you love, but love giving to the people who need it.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Revlon Begins Campaign with Relationships: Madhuri Banerjee Key Opinion Leader!

Photo: Madhuri Banerjee is a sought-after relationship expert, blogger and writer. She has authored three books which has sold more than 60,000 copies combined. 

Madhuri embodies today's women by speaking her mind and boldly expressing her thoughts through her works. Get to know her more this month as she'll be #ChoicesbyRevlon's relationship expert.
Madhuri Banerjee is a sought-after relationship expert, blogger and writer. She has authored three books which has sold more than 60,000 copies combined.

Madhuri embodies today's women by speaking her mind and boldly expressing her thoughts through her works. Get to know her more this month as she'll be #ChoicesbyRevlon's relationship expert.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Live Twitter Chat to Solve Relationship Issues.

Photo: Here's why Relationship Expert and Writer Madhuri Banerjee thinks Respect is important. 

Chat with her on Thursday (19 December) from 630PM to 730PM over at Twitter (@RevlonIndia) by following #AskRevlon.Here's why Relationship Expert and Writer Madhuri Banerjee thinks Respect is important.

Chat with her on Thursday (19 December) from 6:30PM to 7:30PM over at Twitter (@RevlonIndia) by following #AskRevlon and

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Madhuri Banerjee: Relationship Expert for Revlon's New Campaign "Choices" !

Choices & Relationships

Every woman’s life is the sum of all her choices, and Revlon India is here to support that. Choices by Revlon is a platform that will allow every woman to express her opinions and make her choices freely. This month, Revlon talks about Relationships. This is one of the many articles that aim to inspire women all over India in their choices about relationships. Start making a choice today. 

Are you married?

Oh you’re single?
Are you in a relationship?
How’s your love life?
Do you want to have kids?
Are you living with your parents?
We are asked questions on relationships every day. We are also judged by the relationships we have. Our society places emphasis on men’s success at work and women’s success in relationships. Is she a good wife? Is she a good mother? Does she look after her in laws well? Women need to understand what the important relationships in their life are, and how they can make them better.
It is a well-known fact that a stable relationship makes a healthy mind and body. People suffering from heartbreaks, conflicts and confusion are often distracted at work and tired in their personal lives. All they want to do is just fix it or move on so their lives will be “normal” again. Women read several magazines and talk to other woman so that they can improve on the relationships in their life. Today, every woman has one relationship problem; be it with a parent, in law, spouse, lover, friend or even their house help. Every day we tackle these issues to understand ourselves better. Because at the core of how we tackle our relationships lies who we are.
I read a quote on a social media site recently. It said “A lot of men think they doing women a favour by asking for her hand in marriage, but lets think about this: she changes her name, changes her home, leaves her family, moves in with you, builds a home with you, gets pregnant for you, pregnancy change her body, she gets fat, almost gives up in the labor room due to the unbearable pains of child birth, and even the kids she delivers bear your name. Till the day she dies, everything she does benefits you. So who is really doing whom a favour? Dear men appreciate your wife today, it is not easy to be a woman.”
While this is a powerful statement and one that we should make every man understand, we must also look at it another way.
A woman does go through several things for the sake of a man. But these are all her CHOICES as well. She chooses to fall in love. She chooses to give up her name. She chooses to have a child. Instead of demanding that men start respecting us for the choices we make for them. Let’s start teaching them how to respect us for the choices we make for ourselves.
Suppose we don’t want to get married but have a live in relationship. Let’s stand by our choice to parents, society and the man and proclaim that commitment, dedication and love have nothing to do with a legal paper.  
If we don’t choose to have a child in our child bearing age and are constantly hearing “time is running out,” let’s stick by our choice to live a free life for ourselves and our partners instead of giving it up for children whom we don’t understand.
So find a man who not only loves you but respects you for your choices. That’s the partner who you can grow old with. He is the man who will embrace your individuality, instead of asking you to mould for society.
Friends & Lovers:
Let’s choose our relationships wisely. It’s what makes us who we are. We are a sum of the five people we spend most time with. Let those five people be the ones who stimulate you, support you, love you, understand you, inspire you and most important who don’t judge you for your choices.  
I’ve realised that most relationships in our life are ephemeral. People enter our lives for a reason. They are a symbol of what we need at that time. They enhance our lives and we reciprocate by enriching theirs. Some associations come into our lives to help us find our inner strength. There are toxic relationships that make us value and appreciate the people who come into our lives and change us for the people we need to become. Sometimes women become so comfortably numb in their current scenarios that they never take the step to do something more with their lives. There are people who enter our lives and become a cataclysm for us to believe in ourselves and change it. They help us identify what we are capable of and what we are missing. The beauty of all this is that it may be transient. The person might be there in your life forever but not in the capacity that he she will be for that moment. Or that man might exit your life forever but leave behind memories that you will always treasure. Appreciate the transient nature of relationships. It will always help you cherish the people more.
So don’t hold on to a person when it’s time to let go. Heartbreaks won’t affect you as much when you recognize that the best thing in your life is not what’s gone away, but what’s coming up next.
Families will not understand or support us all the time. It is wrong for us to expect them to. Give each other space when dialogues get over whelming.
We are not perfect. Our lives are not Photoshopped. We make mistakes. We get angry. We have regrets. We lose friends. We suffer from heartbreaks. We quit jobs. We hate situations. We are tired from the roles we play. We must learn to take a step back and understand that we are beautiful and loved. It doesn’t matter if we’re short or tall, fat or thin, homemakers or businesswomen. We are all in the same boat. We must learn to be kind to others and to ourselves. We must find peace in our choices and harmony with our families.
Often women give too much of themselves in relationships. Between balancing their career and homes, they find themselves unable to find time for themselves. They are obliged to attend office functions, socialize with their contacts, take children for birthday parties, meet relatives for gatherings, be a shoulder to cry on for friends, and help sort out lives for several people. They always want to be available for people, in the hope that they are seen as good human beings and great in the roles they play.
We don’t always have to be available for everyone. We can choose to say “No” and be guilt free. Our first priority must always be us. Only then we can give freely and help better. When we deplete our energies in giving too much, we feel neglected and unappreciated. We must stop doing everything for everyone else. Only then will we find happiness in the relationships that are important to us.
We’ve often heard, “She’s a good friend. She came and helped me when I was feeling low.”
“She’s a good mother. She gives her child everything.”
“She’s an amazing wife. Look at the dinner parties she throws!”
We are judged by the actions we take. The roles we play. But rarely on the people we are. Our choices should also reflect the time we spend on ourselves. We must choose to ignore the people around us who judge us. And truly start living for ourselves.
It’s okay not to be perfect. It’s okay if we screw up our roles. Our choices need not always be right. But we must always try and learn from them. That’s what makes women wonderful.
The choices we make must enhance our soul. Our relationships are a reflection of us. Laugh, live, love with all your heart and you’ve done a good job with your life!
What kind of a person are you in a relationship? Go find out here and let me know!!/photo.php?fbid=543304465755970&set=a.346128485473570.82174.143756885710732&type=1&theater

Today I'm a Sensible Darling! But tomorrow's another day ;)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Launching Harlequin's New Series: A Revealing Evening

Let me get this straight. I haven't written a Harlequin book. Yet. But the ever so charming head of Harlequin Romance Amrita asked me if I wanted to be part of a panel discussion. And I thought it was a wonderful idea.

The evening panned itself out. I met Dolly Thakore, Ashok Banker, Aftab Shivdasani and Aastha Atrey. I sat on a panel chatting about romance, men, relationships and how society needs to change the way they read.

I remember the evening because:
1. The panel was scintillating. The audience was even more fun.
2. Aftab agreed to pose for a cover of one of my books.
3. Ashok revealed that he was a true romantic at heart. He also said he came out with 8 books last year and 3 this year which means he writes ALL  the time and I can take a leaf out of his book and start working harder!
4. Dolly Thakore still has spice in her to be blunt and scandalous.
5. The Sula white wine was chilled and really amazing. Could take on an Australian wine any day.
6. I met several new people who loved my books Losing My Virginity And Other Dumb Ideas as well as Mistakes Like Love And Sex.
7. My lovely friends came to support me.

I felt honoured and privileged to be part of this. Hope many people will read more romance. We need more love in this world!

Aastha, Amrita, Aftab, me, Dolly, Ashok

Stepping out with a smile on my face.

You shd be on the cover of a book. Sure, anything for u M! ;)

Sitting down after a long evening. Loved the ambience of Olive

Friday, November 15, 2013

An Interview & a Dialogue on the Redundancy of Marriage

I had given this interview some time back when my second book Mistakes Like Love And Sex was releasing. Recently the conversation came up again when someone new to my Losing My Virginity And Other Dumb Ideas group shared his views on it. I have written this below the interview. And my response to it as well.
BOTH HER books 'Losing my Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas' as well as 'Mistakes like love and Sex,' published by Penguin, have been huge successes among the Indian audience.

You have been named as the 'Carrie Bradshaw on the block' by Cosmopolitan. How do you feel about it?

Madhuri Banerjee: I love being called Carrie Bradshaw. I loved every episode of 'Sex And The City,' and I am greatly influenced by the strong, powerful, independent women it depicts. Carrie is fun, sassy, striking and remarkable. If that’s how my writing is portrayed then I am over the moon with that compliment!

Mills and Boons India has signed you for a book. How did that happen?

Madhuri Banerjee: I am writing a Harlequin Romance kind of book with Rupa Publications. They saw that I enjoy writing love stories and approached me to write the book.

Do you think erotic novels are well received in our country? Or is there a double standard with people wanting to read erotica but at the same time they do not want to divulge that they read these books?

Madhuri Banerjee: Erotica novels in India still need to be openly accepted. People will not buy and read it in a train. Even book covers that are a little risqué become a huge no-no for readers. So erotica writers will be labeled as the women who “think like that” rather than writers who tell a good story. There is definitely a double standard because everyone would have read '50 Shades of Grey' but they will rather say they’ve read a Kamala Das. They disconnect erotica from India. Indians are pure. We don’t indulge in sex or sexual writing!

In your latest book 'Mistakes like Love and Sex,' are you Kaveri the protagonist?

Madhuri Banerjee: Not at all. I’m more Shyamolie. But all the characters are real people with an exaggerated figment of my imagination.

You have dabbled in a lot of things such as being a producer for Zoom, assistant director for eminent directors, and writing a relationship column. Why did you turn to full-time writing?

Madhuri Banerjee: I’ve always written wherever I went. I wrote and directed many things. I was always there for script readings to change the tonality of the scenes. So writing has always been in my blood. Full-time writing came when I realized directing takes me away from my daughter too much. And since I wanted to be a hands-on mother while she was young, I started writing 100 percent instead of splitting it with directing.

You have written a relationship column. Are you the much needed agony aunt for your friends? Does the experience of giving advice to people come in handy now while writing a book?

Madhuri Banerjee: Of course. Every experience, every advice, every story leads some way into my writing. Whether it is in thoughts, scenes, character growth, climaxes, plots or dialogues. Real life is more exciting than the imaginary world. But the imaginary world gives a new perspective for real life.

In your latest book 'Mistakes like Love and Sex' a character 'Shy' says a beautiful line about love and how people interpret love their way, not leaving space for the other person's interpretation. What according to Madhuri is love?

Madhuri Banerjee: Love has no adjective. It’s not true, unconditional, pure, deep, absolute, or unwavering. It’s either there or it isn’t. And when you accept that, then you give yourself to it. And love cannot be mistaken with a relationship or a marriage. It’s a presence in your life, a part of your soul that’s happy, fulfilling, and peaceful.

While reading your book there was an undercurrent feeling that arranged marriage is not something which you feel highly about. Do you feel it is a dead institution?

Madhuri Banerjee: I know of many arranged marriages that have worked. But they all have required tremendous effort. Just like love marriages. I honestly feel that marriages will (somewhere in the distant future) be redundant. When people realize that they love each other and they want to be together, it will not require a legal system and the approval of a family to keep them together. Love requires nothing more than two individuals who believe they can work anything out. A marriage is about two families coming together. When people realize what they want, they’ll have the strength to pick the correct one.

As far as handling relationships is concerned how has India changed from yesteryears?

Madhuri Banerjee: We still see relationships defined in the old way with the man as the provider and the wife as the nurturer. And all relationships leading to marriage. With Bollywood on screen couples, everything is about “living happily ever after” and off screen, the press does not leave two people alone until they get married. So it’s not evolving. I hope that a new generation will realize that you don’t need a bond with an entire family to be complete. It’s wonderful to be in a committed relationship and figure out your own rules and not just blindly accept the society’s norms. Then have a wife as the provider and a man an equal nurturer.

Do we have among us a Kaveri, Shyamoli and Aditi, who is confident enough to lead a life on their own and get into a relationships on their on terms? Don't you feel all these characters are idealists and not so much as realists?

Madhuri Banerjee: No, they are the future of India. They live amongst us now but we don’t pay heed to them. They are not idealists. They believe in themselves. And as an author I can only create strong female characters that can be an inspiration to people as well as have an identifiable quality. Each woman today is an Aditi, Kaveri and Shyamolie put together. All you need is to find the strength deep within. And even if you falter and make mistakes, believe in yourself and carry on!

The Dialogue:
Karan Ajmani The concept of marriage was invented to establish civility of society. Imagine a world with no marriages at all. The result could be that in a live in relationship, without the commitment of marriage, people can act according to their whims and fancies. They shall act irresponsible towards bringing up a child and looking out for each other. They could simply walk out at any given time, infidelity being a reason, leaving the partner and child to fend for themselves without a sense of duty towards them. Another reason, marriage as an institution was created when the issue of whom to pass on the property title of a deceased person arose. It began when the concept of property ownership was created. Earlier land was commonly used and there were no personal boundaries of occupation by an individual. People began fighting for dominance on land resulting in divisions. I know there are bad marriages. The good ones need to be kept alive to prevent the world from entering chaos caused due to absence of responsibility towards spouse and family. We are basically nest builders and intelligent emotional beings.

Madhuri Banerjee - Can I just say I love weddings. The ceremonies, the colours, the bling, the oily food and noisy relatives. Hopes of people entering a world they will make together. The trepidation of the bride as she walks beside people she loves one last time and the groom who stands in anticipation wondering if he can live up to her dreams. Simply beautiful. Now let's get to marriage. Where those dreams are shattered because you are forced to be with each other. A committment is when you choose to be with each other every day. Some marriages are great because they make that choice everyday, every week and every year. Those people didn't need a piece of paper or a fire to tell them to stay together in any case. And people who love their children will always be there for them, even if they're not married. Responsibility doesn't come whether you're married and have a legal heir. It comes from deep in the heart where you know that child is dependent on you for time and love and you will put everything aside for him/her. A parent is one who raises a child with love, not one who has biologically given birth to it or got married. Infidelity happens in most marriages. If you truly love the person, you will be loyal irrespective of a marriage. And when it comes to property, money and jewellery, you don't need a marriage to be able to give it to the people you want. You just need a lawyer to write it out. These are not the olden times. As emotional and intelligent beings, we must move towards a progressive society where we respect, understand and love each other without the institution that binds and gags romance. We must find partners that enrich our souls, not ones who we tie down in marriage. We must find people who help with our spiritual upliftment, even if they're not there forever. WE must give to the other as much and as deeply as we can. The commitment then happens within us, without expectation. And only then it will be forever. And you will get back as well. With or without being married.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bengali Matrimony: A misplaced email leads to a conversation on marriage!

Today I received my first mail from a matrimonial site. And not just any matrimonial site, the Bengali Matrimony dot com. I almost died of shock. I thought it was a prank my parents were playing on me. But when I asked them they firmly denied it.
It came from a woman who had mistaken me for someone else. So I decided to write back to the lady and let her know that the email had been sent to the wrong address because otherwise she would have felt that the Madhuri Banerjee she had written to had rejected her proposal. And I could never let my namesake get such a reputation!
Suddenly I found myself trying to explain what marriage was for me. It was a lovely experience discussing this with an elderly lady and a complete stranger. I’m sure the letters haven’t stopped with this exchange. I’m sure there is a bond that we are forming and I’m soon going to be travelling to attend a wedding! ;)
Here are the exchange of letters: (Names have been changed to protect the identity of the people involved)

Dear Mrs Banerjee,
By way of introduction, I am G. Chatterjee. A few days earlier, my sister had spoken to you from Kanpur with regards to marriage alliance for your daughter Kaveri and my son Projol.
Unfortunately, I am have not been well, and have not been able to connect with you. My sons is currently in Sydney Australia and would be coming to India during Durga Pujo. He is working as a Project Manager with ABCD.

My sons profile id is Bxxxx on Bengali Matrimony. Please do have a look and let me know if you would like to take this forward. If you could also share your contact number.


Smt G. Chatterjee

My reply:
Dear Ms. Chatterjee,
I hope you are feeling better now. Health is wealth and you must not worry and ruin it.

This mail has been confused with someone else. Your sister has not spoken to me and my daughter is not the person who she or you have in mind for your son. Please recheck the email Id and send the mail again.

However, on a separate note - Your son sounds quite the catch! Which girl wouldn't want to move to Sydney? After all it has The Sydney Opera House! What more could anyone want?!

Please do not worry if your son takes time to settle down. I'm sure he will find the perfect match and have lovely children one day. In the meantime, do know that marriage is perceived differently for youngsters. It is highly overrated. Pray that he finds love, happiness, success, and peace in his life rather than just a wife. Who might actually take away the other things!

Aapni bhalo theko.

All the best.
The Wrong Madhuri.

Her reply back:

Dear Madhuri,

Thank you for your lovely email. My apologies, it seems the new age technology and emails are indeed going to take some time for me to figure out.I am sure I might have got the email id wrong.

It was wonderful reading your email and you have rightly mentioned about how important it is to get the right girl for my son. I am having an interesting journey these days, as times have changed. Gone are the days when we were married and all it mattered was if the boy was well mannered, cultured and settled.

Unfortunately, it does seem times have changed and now girls and their families have a much more complex and stringent checklist for a boys family. Mix it with the modernization transition which our society is going through, it some times leaves me gaping at the kind of things sometimes I do come across. I have stayed in Australia, and trust me sometimes, I find things are simpler and better there than in India.

Anyways, thanks for your well wishes and hopefully we find a girl who brings happiness to our family and above all leads a peaceful and happy life with the family. 

Until next time
G Chatterjee

My reply:
Dear Maam,
Please do not worry. There are far more important things you should be doing than worrying about your son!

Revel in the journey you are in right now. The time won't come again. And you deserve time for yourself as well.

I'm surprised how we gauge each other in matters of love and relationships. Ultimately the man should just be well mannered, cultured and settled but even these three words have such deep connotations. Nowadays everyone wants someone who understands them, can communicate with them, support them, make them laugh and respect them. Their work is as important as the marriage. Individuality is placed higher than companionship. Sacrifice is underestimated. And compromise non negotiable.

Please also know that marriage as an institution seems to be fading away. A simple piece of paper that keeps two people together even if they are unhappy.

I hope you find a girl who realises the value of your son. And I hope your son puts her on a pedestal always. It's the only way a marriage will be about love and not about the piece of paper. Then it won't matter if she's Indian, Bengali, Brahmin, Dark, Fair, Short, fat, tall, loud, or otherwise. the couple will have found the one thing that will always keep them together and you will never need to worry about your son again.

 Yes, you're right. It is simpler abroad than here in India. Doesn't make us less Indian if we imbibe the traditions of something simpler if they are not from our land.

Take care.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My 3rd Book: My Yummy Mummy Guide with Karisma Kapoor

Bombay TImes 17.9.2013
The day of my 1st book Losing My Virginity And Other Dumb Ideas launch in March 2011, an editor for Penguin approached me to write a book with Karisma Kapoor. I thought it would be a great opportunity to write more books and attempt a non fiction. Also I thought I would get to run some screenplays of mine to her and her sister Kareena Kapoor. Easy. I would finish this book in a few months and move on to other projects.
I signed on the dotted line not knowing what it would entail. No royalty. Minimum pay. But I was excited.
My Yummy Mummy Guide was a difficult book to write. It took 2 years and a deep commitment from me.  
LMV and its sequel Mistakes Like Love And Sex came from my heart. They were autobiographical somewhere. A journey that was both fun and philosophical. Something I wanted to write for everyone to identify with. Something I wanted to publish so people would know who I was.
I admire Karisma for juggling so many things and still giving me time. While I was writing it, I saw so many similarities between her and me.

She lost 24 kilos in 9 months, and I put on 9 kilos in 24 months.

She puts her kids to bed at sharp 7 o clock. If it’s 7 o clock and my kid is still alive, I’ve done my job!

She’s so pretty and her kids look exactly like her. My child also looks like me – blank!

She can coordinate 2 children’s activities like the back of her hand. I’ve put a gps on the back of my child’s hand so I can locate her when she’s somewhere doing something.

She got pregnant on her first try like that (snap). I had to do it 33 times before I could conceive. It was a weekend I will never forget! ;)

So I’m truly happy for Karisma. She’s a great mom. And I hope this book is a bestseller as well.
For all the moms out there, I know how hard it is to juggle a career, children, a house, and still try and look semi decent. There are days when we forget to hit the parlour and look like Rana Rathor Singh with a moustache. There are days when we don't want to cook and Dominoes is our best friend and guilt our worst enemy. There are days when we are dying to go back to work just to get relief from our children but when we do, we miss them terribly. I completely sympathize with all women who just want one hour to themselves in a day. We would exchange our husbands for a perfect maid. Without a doubt!
I'm looking forward to writing fiction from now on for my books and leave the non fiction truth to my blog here. I am truly happy with the Gitanjali Group who covered the one book launch I was invited for and put my photo in the papers. I'm gonna save up money and buy my jewellery only from them now. Cos they showed me how important I was in front of Shobhaa De and Karisma Kapoor. Made me feel so special.

I hope all my friends will buy all the books and let me know which part they liked the most. Fiction or non fiction, we should be inspired through books and hope they help us in our daily life.

Midday Mumbai 17.9.2013

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Flashback. Mumbai Mirror Article

My destiny was set when I was six months old.

At my annaprashan ceremony, I sat on my father’s lap and reached out for the one object that would define me today. A pen. Later, when I was trying my hand at filmmaking, my father reminded me that I was wasting my talent and my future was already fixed. How I embraced it, and where I went from there, was my choice.

The annaprashan ceremony or `mukhe bhaat’ that we Bengalis call it, is the first time a child is fed rice. The six month old sits on an elder’s lap, is first blessed and then fed solid food like kheer. It’s followed by a game where the child has to touch one of the symbolic objects placed on a silver plate. The plate has books – symbolizing he’s going to be a philosopher or a very learned man, jewels or coins representing he’ll be a businessman, a pen – signifying wisdom through writing, and grass or soil indicating he’ll be one with the people or a politician. The plate is held up for the child. And his profession is determined by what he touches. 

I didn’t know it at six months, but what kept me sane throughout my life was a diary I penned every night for twenty years. I wrote poems and articles in spiral bound notebooks, my pen being my precious possession. But, I was too inhibited to publish anything. When I finally embraced my destiny, I wrote my debut novel Losing My Virginity And Other Dumb Ideas. The opening chapter I wrote with a pen, sitting in a café and understanding that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

There are some Indian traditions that need to be passed from one generation to another. I’m glad my daughter touched the book at her annaprashan ceremony. I’ll remind her to be wise later!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Love in The Digital Age: The Dos & Breakups

You would think that with all the technology available, it would be easier to find love in the digital age. It’s not. Here are a few tips to get it right.

3 Facebook Rules –

·       Do Not Friend Him First! If you’ve identified someone you like who is a friend of a friend, first ask your friend to mention you offline. Let him send you a friend request. Moreover, even after that, you need to wait for about 24 hours before you accept. Let him know you’re “considering” it.

·       Tagging, Commenting, Liking –If you comment, like or write on his wall every day, he’ll lose interest and run away. Why? Because he will think you’re a stalker who could be more dangerous in the real world than the virtual one. Tagging him in all your photos saying “wish you were here” is screaming hopeless. Comment on birthdays or promotions with a simple Happy Birthday or Congrats. Adding extra exclamations, smileys and “When do we celebrate” makes you look desperate.

·       Statuses - Be careful of adding single, complicated or in a relationship if he hasn’t put it up. Let him take the initiative. Otherwise, you will have to change it soon enough and save face.

Break up Rule: Un-friend him before he un-friends you. Let him know who’s boss! Besides, you don’t want to see him with new women. It’ll only hurt later.

3 Texting Rules –

·       Short and Sweet – If he asks “Wat’s up” you honestly don’t have to give an entire history of your day starting with your maid hasn’t turned up or your mom screamed at you. The rule of thumb is to answer in as many words as he does, or less. The appropriate answer here would be, “Chilling.”

·       TTYL – Always end a conversation first. Be so super busy that those precious moments you gave to him should be a privilege. Always be late for something. Have a spin class in a few minutes, or be attending to some urgent work. After you say the Talk To You Later, don’t specify when. Soon is a good enough answer to make him want to talk to you again.

·       Landline Theory – If you had a landline and were working you would probably chat with the person once if you were in office and once when you finally got home and had finished relaxing. Now since we carry our phones everywhere, people expect to receive answers immediately. Don’t seem eager. A 10 am text means you can wait till 1 to say, “Hey. On a lunch break so cd reply.” Time makes the heart grow fonder!

Break up Rule: Don’t send him angry long explanations about how much you gave in the relationship while he did nothing. It’ll only add to your bill. He’ll probably delete it after reading the first 3 words!

3 Twitter Rules

·       To Follow or Not to Follow – Cute guy. Interesting bio. Seems to follow a few people you know. Still, you need him to follow you first. Make sure that you tweet the correct things to get his attention. You know the common people who he follows will Retweet those things. Make sure he notices. Once he does, give it a few days before you follow him back.

·       DMing – So you’ve started a chat. Now he wants your phone number and email id. Take it slow. Get to know him better. You can learn a lot about a man by his daily tweets. Ask him questions about his tweets to know him better. Wait a few months and then give your number.

·       All the World’s A Stage – Unless you want everyone to know personal details about your life, keep your fights on Watsapp. Making sarcy comments on each other’s timelines means all those who follow both of you are privy to this little drama. Doesn’t show either of you in a good light.

Break up Rule – Un-follow and do not comment about your relationship. It’s nobody’s business to ask you on your timeline. You are not obligated to answer them. Be classy while being digital!

Reserved for One: A poem

We don't trust enough We don't pour out our hearts  Telling all our secrets, our fears and surrendering to each other. Comple...