Interview with Yashluv Virwani

Finally, an author who loves Jhumpa Lahiri 😀

Trina Looks Back

Today is the Day 6 of Write Tribe Festival of Words #6. Today’s prompt: Feature a guest – a guest post / an interview. Today’s post is my personal favourite, that I wrote for this Blogging Festival. It gives me immense pleasure to interview one of the finest young authors of India Yashluv Virwani. His debut book Window Seat created ripples and is getting appreciation from readers and critics alike. It is undoubtedly one of the best books I read in recent times. Reading Window Seatwas such a liberating experience that I almost got immersed in it. After interviewing the author, I feel there are still so many questions that I need to ask him, maybe, some other time ‘fursat se’. So, here’s presenting the young, handsome and charming author of Window Seat, Yashluv Virwani.

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  • Window Seat is getting rave reviews from both reviewers…

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Getting back on track – Part 2

In the last post, I talked about depression and how I have been recently trying to make some changes in my life to deal with it. I shared the post on Facebook. A lot of people have reached out to me after reading it. Most of them had no clue of what I have been going through and have been very supportive since. Even simple things, like a friend appreciating me for waking up early from seeing my Whatsapp last online status, felt good. I truly appreciate these positive reinforcements .

That said, I have also been actively trying to keep myself busy during the weekends.So far it has worked out great.

Last night, my colleague cum good friend told me about this nice breakfast place they had been to during a team outing, and if I would like to join her this morning. I said yes without thinking too much.

I woke up around 8 AM today, freshened up, did some hasty meditation (still trying to bring in some sort of discipline in it), ate couple of biscuits and a kiwi and got ready to go.

The place is near Hope Farm, which is only a few minutes drive from here. Pooja, my friend was waiting near A2B, Hope Farm junction and we walked together to the cafe.

The place is called The Ant’s Cafe. It’s an oldish house with a big front yard full of trees.  I don’t know so much about architecture, but I liked how the house was built. The place is a little unkempt (lots of fallen leaves), which probably adds to its aura. Besides, there are lot of ants crawling around.

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I ordered French toast, peach and caramel smoothie while Pooja ordered omelette, waffle and watermelon juice.

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The smoothie was a little too sweet for me, but definitely tasty! Yet, at Rs. 318 for the two things I ordered, I found the cafe a little too expensive for breakfast. But then I hardly eat out and wouldn’t know the running rates for breakfasts at different places.

I was supposed to meet another friend from college in the evening at the mall near my house, but he lives near Ant’s Cafe, so I ended up visiting him in his flat directly. Chatted for about 2 hours and then took a bus back.

I also bought some groceries while coming back, so my refrigerator is full right now with fresh food.

Going out is a experience in itself. Today, especially, I found the roads, the mall and the bus very crowded. Not sure what the occasion was. I travel very less in Bangalore, which is why I almost forgot the toils of travelling in a crowded local bus. But all in all, today was a good day.

Life is changing, and it is changing fast. For the first time, I am making an conscious effort to take care of myself, imbibe good habits. It did take an effort to zone out of the state that I found myself in, but slowly, I am recovering. I am feeling much calm about my life right now.

Will  be back with more updates. Until then, thanks for being part of my journey! A special shout out to all of you who reached out through comments/calls and are cheering me on. Blessed to have you all in my life.

 

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Getting back on track – Part 1

For close to 8 months now, I have been struggling with mild depression. I had been going through a rough relationship patch, work life was hectic and there was little that I had been doing besides worrying about how stale my life was.

I have tried to pull back from that state: in January, I went to Pondicherry with some friends, in February bought my parents a new washing machine, in April I was taking part in NaNoWriMo and won it. Some of these things made me happy. But only marginally.

My work is usually hectic. Until the timings change happened (1-10 PM IST), I used to rush to office at around 9.30 AM and come back around 10.30 PM. All my day seemed to be consumed in that. After I returned from work, I refused to go to sleep right away – because I wanted to think about something other than my work. So I watched something or the other on my phone. This resulted in a vicious cycle wherein I slept late and woke up tired and rushed to kitchen to make lunch and then rushed to office to take an on-site call. I was angry at myself, then I was angry at my teammates for not being on time at work. I was throwing tantrums. Basically, it was all going downhill.

When I came to Bangalore in the last half of 2015, I didn’t imagine that two years down the line I would be writing this post. Back in the day, my only worry was to find a place to stay at a reasonable price and start to pay off the student loan and do it consistently. Thankfully, I have been able to do that. I also helped out a lot with things at home (financially). These made me happy, but perhaps not enough.

The only root cause that made me so weak is my relationship, it consumed my entire being. I was heavily invested in this relationship – had planned out what the future could be. When you are far away from your loved ones, you often miss the void that distance creates between you. You fail to see the fissures and cracks that are created everyday. One day, suddenly, you wake up to see the deep chasm and wonder how did you ever get there.

This is what happened to me. The person in concern stopped communicating to me entirely. He was active on his social media and I am sure in every other aspect of his life, but I simply could not get him to talk to me.

We spoke on and off – ever enough to convince me that the cracks were getting repaired. I feigned an imaginary break up, hoping it would make him notice. It didn’t.

I think we are too broken.

Meanwhile, I was sleeping even late, waking up around 10 AM and then hurrying to get ready for office. You’d think that the timing change at office would promote some good things back at home. Instead, things were as worse as they could perhaps get.

As I write this today, I am still not out of the depressed phase. But I am perhaps at a point in time when things are starting to look better. I spoke about the issues in my life to plenty of people (even had a mild breakdown at office), spoke to a cousin who I had not interacted in years. Talking about it helped. I was trying to hold onto any new tactic that I could find from people, to mend my broken life.

Today, I am consciously trying to change some things in life:

  1. No matter what happens, get to bed by 12: Haven’t  been entirely successful every day in this, but my bed time has definitely improved
  2. Wake up early: around 8-8.30ish for the last few days
  3. Do half an hour of yoga and meditation
  4. Not skip breakfast – With the help of my cousin, I am trying out multiple changes to my breakfast (Earlier, because of waking up early, I was missing it entirely or making do with the 12 PM brunch)
  5. Meet with people on weekends – Keep busy

These are simple changes, but at first they were hard to implement. Now, I am easing into it. It helps that I had always been a disciplined kid – always waking up early in the morning. In fact, that I was not waking up early was what was frustrating me the most, as if I was dealing with my depression by staying in bed)

I have been doing this only for 3 days now, but there’s already a positive feedback that I can feel. I am looking forward to waking up every morning, to experience something new. I still need to decide how to fill my morning space.

If you have been reading this far, thank you! Depression is not an easy thing to deal with. It takes strong willpower to get anywhere. I will be posting more on this space, as I deal with everyday life and return to being the person I used to be. Until then, thanks for being part of my journey!

 

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What horror movies are all about?

Yesterday, my team at work made sudden plan of meeting up today, grabbing lunch and spending some time together.

We did meet up today at the nearby mall. There were the four of us and a last  minute plan to include my last team lead. Everyone ended up coming at different times. We ate, talked and joked for a while.

After lunch, my ex-team lead left. Me and two other teammates returned to my flat (after some grocery shopping), where another of my teammate was already waiting – he wasn’t able to make it to lunch due to other commitments.

After some discussion on what to do for the next few hours, we ended up watching The Babadook. I am not a huge fan of horror movies. They keep me up at night when I am alone, and I do not like the feeling. Anyway, because there were the four of us, I thought it was worth a try – this was probably my first horror movie after The Conjuring.

I have never gotten the point of horror stories. I always used to wonder why people would pay to be scared. Why was the point of your heart suddenly wanting to jump out of your chest? In my opinion, if I had control, I would have all horror movies destroyed and stopped from being made.

However, I ended up liking The Babadook. More than a horror story, it is about the story of woman losing her husband while on the way to deliver their baby. It is the story of how she is coping after six years have passed since the incident – the story of how she wishes it was the baby that she had lost that day and not her husband. For the first time, while watching a horror movie, I felt that these movies are supposed to mirror the deepest fears that we have. The ghosts and the scary make-ups and the music are but symbols. My worst nightmare probably does not look like a ghost that walks with its legs backwards. But it is about how difficult we find it to cope with our losses and end up going down the rabbit hole of depression. To the point where we start imagining things that are not there.

Some realization, that! However, that doesn’t really mean I am going to try out more horror stories.

I am getting the creeps as I write this.

Until later! ❤

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Taking back control

For the longest time,

My life was going downhill.

D-O-W-N-H-I-L-L!

People around me were leaving,

By the day, I was becoming emptier.

The emotions and inspirations that drove me once,

No longer drove me.

I waited for things to happen.

For good things to happen.

For good news to come.

For something to make me feel happy again.

But well, for someone who likes to take control

My fate wasn’t quite forthcoming with taking control.

So darker it became.

Deep dark, as I waited for things to change.

As I drowned into the darkness,

I thrashed my arms and my legs – hoping to find something to hold on to in the viscous dark.

I meditated, but my mind was never at peace.

I took control of my breathing.

That is when I realized that as long as our body is in harmony with the natural elements that sustain it, everything fall back in place.

Slowly, I was getting back control.

It’s been almost a week now since I have been feeling better.

The walls that were once choking me are still strong,

but gradually, the walls are weakening.

And my resolve, is slowly growing stronger.

 

 

 

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Decisions! Decisions! Decisions!

A big part of grown up life is about taking decisions. Starting from what to cook for dinner, whether or not to buy the phone you have always wanted to, whether to move to a new place, when to say no, how to talk and convince people and so on.

Some of these decisions are easy to make, while others are more complicated. As, I grow I also understand the biases that I have. For example, as a person, I have never been the kind who likes to ‘advertise’. But every day at work, I am told, verbally and non-verbally, that I need to be able to sell what I am producing – in my case, my analysis. I need to be able to own the impact I create and say it out loud in front of the client. Well, like I said, I was never that person. My problem with advertising was, is, more often than not, people end up packaging lies as niceties and win brownie points. I am someone who likes white more than grey, which is why I struggle to polish the impact we might have created and presented it in a way that it is a big deal.

But I am at a point in my career where I need to take a decision: whether to take the leap and let go of my inhibition that stops me from being an efficient salesperson or hold on to the misplaced ideals that have become the biases that drive me.

When I was a schoolgirl, I was looking towards a future which looked hopeful. In that future, I could have been anyone: a doctor, a storyteller, a pilot, a painter. In that future, I would have been someone who a lot of people would know and respect. In that future, people around me would be proud of me.

But now that I am living that future, I am not who I thought I would be. My popularity is much more limited than many people of my age. At this point, I don’t know if the people around me really respect me. Or if they even like the person that I am.

Yes, perhaps the aim is not to be liked by everyone. But sometimes, it matters what the people immediately around you make of you. What can you do to make these people happy? Who can you be that will bring a smile to people’s faces? Because no matter how much we say ‘I live for myself’, we are social animals who thrive amongst others.

Everyday, I find myself in two minds while taking decisions. Does it get any easier? I hope so.

Until later,

 

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FREE BOOK PROMOTION | Silhoutte of the Past

Sometimes it’s best to keep the past dead and buried……

A stormy day, a corpse and a group of suspects.

Three years after the death of Maribeth, seven people have gathered together at the same place for a business deal. Little do they know that they were about to witness another death at the Tiscayne Country Club. This time there is no ambiguity. It is murder! Unfortunately, Amber Levinson, who had gone to deliver the gardening supplies to the club on that stormy day, gets caught into the web of deceit of these powerful and influential people.

When Detective Myers points a finger of blame at Amber as his prime suspect, she has to figure out who the killer was. With the help of her assistant Dave and cousin Marlene, she starts digging into the secrets and motives of the people at the country club.

Can Amber unravel the mystery and solve the murder to prove her innocence?

Find out in this cozy mystery novella, The Silhouette of the Past.

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About the author

Shilpa NirajShilpa Niraj has been reading mysteries ever since she first discovered Nancy Drew. An ardent fan of mysteries, she can still go back and reread her favorite books of Agatha Christie and Erle Stanley Gardner. An avid reader and a blogger, she is now working on her third mystery.

Shilpa holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and a master’s degree in Information Management from Mumbai University. She lives with her husband and son in Mumbai, India. When she is not writing, she is busy exploring new destinations.

Keep up with Shilpa: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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