Sunday, July 25, 2010

Here it is...

Happy Friday, everybody! Most of you know that Modern History Press recently published my chapbook of poems “Because All Is Not Lost: Verse On Grief.”

On the same day, UK-based VAANI interviewed me. It's official; UK knows that I love to chat and dance. :-) Click here to read the interview:

Before I tell you what the book is about, I want to holler a big thank you to all the people who have made this dream come true: Millay Colony (for providing me with a creative environment); Abby Adams, my friend and fellow poet ( for her insightful critique and feedback); my husband, Anudit (for totally getting why I need to hide behind fog, hills, and solitude when it comes to writing poetry); and lastly but most importantly, my publisher, Victor R. Volkman (for his faith, open-mindedness, hard work, and devotion. It's an absolute delight working with you, Victor!)

About the book:

We have all lost a dear one at some point in our lives. Grief, depending on the relationship with the one deceased, affects us differently. But life is about celebrating those alive and not just mourning those who have moved on. Optimism and faith are the keys to overcoming the roadblocks life puts in our way. This book tries to state that there is always hope for anyone coping with grief.

Reviews so far:

"The real joy of this collection is its potential to be read in a single sitting, multiple times, with each subsequent reading revealing new insights. For poetry virgins, this text demands no sophisticated knowledge of poetics and literary discourse. To put simply, it is an accessible piece of enjoyable writing, a concept with which a lot of poets seem to struggle."

Orchid Tierney, Editor REM Magazine

"A gripping story of grief and loss and journey to faith and hope will interest all lovers of poetry."

Smita Singh, VAANI

So what are you waiting for? Grab your wallets, take out that credit card, and make the purchase. The book is available in: US, UK, and everywhere else in the world!

Thank you for all your support!



More until next time,


Copyright © 07. 30. 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Learning time management from a Bollywood dancer

The other day, a friend of mine (in India) was complaining about paucity of time. I said to her, “You don’t know what time crunch really means until you have lived in the west. At least you come home to readymade food, clean house, and children clad in night clothes.”

I cannot emphasize enough that I don’t mean that people in Asia have more time or an easy schedule. Not at all. From what I am told, by friends who have moved back to Asia from the US and UK, the concept of “work-life” balance is a myth in the east. But what works in their favor is that they have a support structure (maidservant, cook, chauffer, and an elaborate entourage overall) in place while majority of people in the west don’t. Sure, you get your cleaning services or kitchen help a few times a month, but your everyday chores need to be managed by you.

But, I am beginning to see a lot of merit in owning your own time. There is a lot less wastage of desires and opportunities. For example, maids in India often decide to work on their own time, which leaves the lady of the house hanging. What does that mean – everyone in their universe is dealt cups of mood swings and anxiety.

Of course, I would be lying if I said that, occasionally, I wouldn’t love for someone to serve us steaming hot food when we returned from work or scrub the place with Lemon Pledge every morning. But those pangs are few and far in between.

As tough as life here can be, being in-charge of your day makes you more enterprising. Allows you to experience new things. Encourages you to explore beyond our 9-5. Breaks the shackles of monotony. Be it working women, homemakers, or stay at homes, women in the west are go-getters. What is the other option?

My husband’s cousin, Ruchika Dias, is such a great example of someone with exemplary time management skills. She works at CSC, in Austin, Texas, as "Principal Architect Leader" where she manages a group of 15 IT consultants who implement software imaging and workflow system for insurance clients. No easy profession I tell ya. But here is the deal – Ruchika’s day or desires don’t end at 5p.m.

Ruchika has started a dance company, “Bollywood Shake.” The name is self-explanatory – classes include fusion of different Indian dance styles. She teaches people across various age groups. Ruchika offers classes at several locations. She has approximately 120 students - 60% Indian and 40% Non-Indian, and they have performed at several events.

When I asked Ruchika what inspired her to invest in another full time commitment (Remember, she has a full time job, a house, a marriage, and life in general to juggle already), she said, “No real inspiration other than the fact that I love dancing and have always enjoyed teaching. So starting a dance company was a perfect combination of both. Plus I wanted to do something fun and exciting outside of my regular job!”

I have known Ruchika for over a decade now. She’s always been an excellent dancer. Her friends and us family members have always known it, but now the US is beginning to recognize and appreciate her talents too. Her classes are doing really well. Did I mention that CBS News, amongst other media channels, interviewed her?

Where am I going with this post? What I am trying to say is that all human beings have 24 hours in a day. How you choose to spend those 1,440 minutes is in your hands.

More until next time,


Copyright © 07. 22. 2010

“You will never "find" time for anything. If you want time, you must make it” ~ Charles Bruxton

Thursday, July 8, 2010

There is something wrong if food served is the size of a butt!

My Dad says that cooking is eighty percent heart, ten percent science, and ten percent art. You can tell that food is an integral part of our lives.

While there are a few who eat to live, I love my food with passion. The whole nine yards: purchasing, cooking, and entertaining. Uttering food, burden, and compromise in the same breath is sacriligeous for me. Maybe because my mother is an exceptionally good cook, and she NEVER prepared mediocre food or complained about cooking. She was ahead of her time in terms of her culinary abilities. When most women from her generation were trying their hand at stuffed parathas, she was baking us pizza, lasagna, roast chicken, and chocolate cakes etc.

South Asians, in the last decade or so, have started catching up on the health mantra. But I remember my mom would make us different kinds of cuisines, including healthy stuff like soups, salads, and grilled fish from the time I was a pre-teen. She introduced us to the concept of cooking and savoring food without murdering it with oil and kilos of spices.

Needless to say, I am obsessive about what my husband and I eat. And I take copious amounts of pleasure and pain in getting our raw ingredients from organic and health food stores and cooking fresh meals. So, it bothers me when I am in a situation (for an extended period of time) where unhealthy or terribly cooked grub is the only available option.

Last weekend, my husband and I were in south central Michigan for two days before we headed off to Ohio for a very dear cousin’s engagement. This town in MI was like nothing I had ever seen before. Forget wine bars, this town didn’t even have a coffee shop to its name. Their best restaurants came with crayon colors, plastic glasses, sticky tables, three varieties of soup laden with cheese, and servers with bad haircuts. I shudder as I think. I remember, at one of the “popular” restaurants, the waitress brought me salad in a bowl the size of a tub. A family of three could have eaten for two days from that. Wait, it doesn’t end there. She garnished my fresh greens and grilled chicken with a pond of ranch dressing. Dude, if I wanted ranch dressing, I would order buffalo wings not salad.

The good thing with the place being dead was that we got a lot of our work done. On one of the evenings, my husband and I decided to catch a late night movie at a drive-in since we had been working all day. We showed up with a bottle of water because the movie was to start only at 10:00 p.m., which meant it was post-dinner. But lo and behold, most others either came armed with pizza boxes or bought themselves a scoop of cardiac arrest at the hot dog store along with bottles of fizzy drinks. I couldn’t help but notice that portliness was in the air.

I was in San Francisco (SF) in the third week of June. I have always appreciated SF, like other visitors, because of how pretty it is. But it was something else living there and experiencing the local lifestyle. Two things I really loved about San Francisco: people exercise regularly and most of them eat well (at least people my age). The menus at restaurants were always so enticing. You had your share of sinful food but there were also delicious, healthy options available. On one hand, it’s a vegan’s paradise; on the other, we had no problem finding places that served organic meats and natural foods. And come to think of it, I saw leaner and fitter folks in SF compared to where we were last weekend.

Aside from SF, a few years ago, I remember liking one other city (would consider living there) - Boulder, CO a lot because of how health conscious and fit the locals were.

So, these experiences made me wonder about the fattest states in the United States. After all, eating habits have a direct impact on obesity and our health. With minimal effort, I came across this link: I wasn’t shocked at what I read.

Warnings from National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Heart Association clearly hasn’t made a dent to the physical prosperity of people in certain parts of the country. Restaurants have their own business models to deal with, but can’t we at least start making the change in our own homes?


More until next time, 


Copyright © 07. 08.2010



“To say that obesity is caused by merely consuming too many calories is like saying that the only cause of the American Revolution was the Boston Tea Party” ~ Adelle Davis