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Posts Tagged ‘reflections’

You know how us Indians, almost all of us universally, have been brought up on the funda that life is a constant grind? And that all we can do is struggle and hope for the best? And as a corollary, the oft repeated verse from the Gita – Karmanyevadhikaraste Maphaleshu Kadachan is quoted? (Methinks it’s the only thing people have read in the Gita. Certainly, it’s the only one I’ve read. I tried to read the whole book, though. Honestly I did. Many times. I gave it up every time. Almost all Hindu texts, to me, appear to be misogynistic rants.)

It’s a whole load of crap. Let me tell you where I’m coming from:

Kkrishnaa’s Konfessions: When I first started writing, I just wrote because I had a story that excited me. And I knew I was writing it well. That’s it. I just wanted it published. I knew it was good enough to be published. More importantly, I believed it was going to get published. And lo! Within three days of submitting the MS I got a contract. The second one followed. And now there, are expectations that I’ll churn out a third one before the year is out. My life is harder now than when I first began writing! Which brings me to an unrelated but important observation – getting success is easy, maintaining it is hard.

Blog: I started blogging because I write a journal-like entry every morning anyway. So I figured, why not put it on the Net? And let’s face it, it gives me a platform to voice my opinions, pontificate and popularize my book (soon to be books). As an added advantage, it allows me to put up favorable reviews and edit bad ones. Other than that, I’m the laziest blogger in the whole world.

Therefore, it came as pleasant surprise when I did a search for my blog and found it tops in many directories! I don’t know how and when that happened (Certainly, my blog doesn’t inform me when someone links me). It’s not that I consciously cultivate readership. I don’t go that many other blogs. Or comment on them. I just don’t have the time. When I’m not writing my novel, I’m writing for TV. And when I’m not doing that, I’m writing film screenplays. Then there are newspapers and magazines who want my ‘expert’ opinion on something.

Sales of Kkrishnaa’s Konfessions: I’ve never harangued my publishers for better publicity and promotion for the book, knowing their efforts are inadequate and lots more could be done. I don’t do that because I believe the product is good enough to do well without it. And it is in the bestsellers list every time. More importantly, it’s not dead stock. Every book store I ask tells me the book is a ‘fast moving item.’

There was this one books store in Powai which didn’t have the book in its display. When I asked a salesman about it, he helpfully got up and tried to locate it for me. While he was searching, I asked him why it wasn’t on prominent display. He stopped, shook his head and shrugged his shoulders. “It wasn’t a moving.” My heart sank. Anyway, after a few minutes of fruitless searching, he went back to his desk and checked in the computer. And looked up, dazed. “We had fifteen copies. It’s sold out! We’ve placed an order for more.”

Which brings me to another unrelated important observation – in things like books, movies and almost anything to do with popular culture, it is word of mouth publicity that counts. Sure, splashy campaigns in traditional media help in generating visibility, but they don’t always translate into sales. I read many reviews and author interviews in newspapers but I don’t rush out to buy their books. I wait for an opinion from a friend I trust before I fork out the money.

Anyway, to come back to point of this rambling and long winded post, new age stuff with its emphasis on ‘abundance’ and ‘getting what you want is easy’ really works! All you have to do is believe.

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“The Chinese are a communal people,” someone said to me the other day in context of the Beijing Olympics.

I was confused. Communal? Had I missed something about a religious genocide perpretrated by China? So I clarified, “Surely you mean communist? They are communists.”  

This person waves his hand dismissively. “Communal, communist, same thing. You know what I mean.”

“I didn’t. And that’s why I had to clarify,” I replied.

“You writers are all the same. Nitpicking on words, on grammar.”

That got my goat for two reasons. One, that people are too lazy to learn to communicate well and when rebuked, gently mind you, assume an air of disdain and exclaim writers! Good, effective communication is the not the sole purview of writers. And two, I DO NOT NITPICK. But that’s beside the point.

But taking up the first grouse, I wonder why people think language is not important. Even in school, which were the courses that were considered important for our future and which were the ones that were considered irksome?

Remember the groaning “Oh God, why I have to study English?” Sure, we all groaned the same way about math and science also. But there was a difference. There we meant “Oh God! I’m not prepared enough.” Or “Omigod! I’m going to fail and the spend the rest of my life as an auto mechanic,” whereas in the case of language we meant, “Oh God, why do I have to waste my time studying active and passive verbs when I could be studying math and avoiding that very future?”

Language falls under the purview of art. And you know what the popular perception about art is. It’s good if you have a talent for it but not the end of the world if you don’t.

I say, the exact converse is true. When I was in college pursuing a graduate degree in economics, one of our teachers told us, “Learn language first. If you are not articulate, you can be the best economist but it won’t matter because you will not be able to put your ideas across.”

A word of advice I’ve never forgotten.

Here’s an interesting article I came across on the subject. You might want to give it a peek.

PS: I don’t agree with arts not being important either. Sure science and math are the building blocks of a hunger-free, disease-free world. But what good is a developed, modern world if there is no music, no theatre, no literature to beautify it?

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Today is just one of those days. I had a feeling as soon as I got up that it was going to be one of those days. First, I overslept and didn’t get up at five as I had planned to and lost out on a good three hours of uninterrupted writing. And two, my body is killing me. I tried one of those fancy workouts yesterday. I decided that running was not posing much of a challenge and that I needed to push my body some more. So I went in for one of those high-intensity free weights workouts yesterday. And it was fun. Yesterday. Today it’s just a pain in the ass.

My friends find it strange that I have to keep working out more at higher intensities to get the same amount of benefit. For those of you who think the same, read up a bit on peaks and plateaux. Physiological, not geographical.

As one of my friends, a dyed-in-the-wool couch potato, says, “Let me get this right. You start running and lose a bit of weight. Then you stop losing weight because your body has gotten used to that exercise. So, to lose more weight, you have to either run more, for which you don’t have the time, or do a different, higher intensity workout. And you have to keep doing this? I think I’ll stick to my sedentary lifestyle, thank you very much. I mean if I’m still not going to lose all that much weight, why work out at all?”

Hmmm, when you put it that way, it does kinda make it a little bit like running harder to stay in the same place.

Talking of rat races, a thought just occured to me. I chose this lifestyle because I wanted a quality life where I was free for pursue my hobbies and interests. But have I done that? (Hint: the correct answer is no).  I haven’t been mountaineering in two years. Or scuba diving. And it doesn’t seem likely that I will manage it this year either.

I could have, after I’d written Kkrishnaa, but then preproduction took precedence and then the publicity broke. And now there’s pressure on me to finish my second book. And then I have to start work on the Kkrishnaa sequel. And then I have to work on the publicity for the second book.

And I thought I jumped off the treadmill years ago.

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