An afternoon at home

I am sitting on the tiny balcony, an Oscar Wilde book in my hand. The air, until a little while ago, was smelling sweetly of pomelo flowers. Very sweet indeed!

Then there was this smell of dust. It is that time of the year when the roads are sandy, dusty and they soil your feet. I find it hard to breathe. There is some dog smell also.

A cuckoo is cooing sweetly, while the crows caw.

There are tiny kids playing cricket on the dusty playground few feet across. I watch the child, a girl or a boy, I do not know. They are at that age where you do not get to know what the sex is from afar, when there are no curves in the body and the hair is boyishly short. I watch the kid, smartly posing as the ball comes, bending the knees like a professional would. Impressive, I think. Myself, I have always been afraid of being the batsman in a game of cricket, afraid of embarassing myself by not hitting the ball once.

Sunlight vanishes as I write this. Conch shells are being blown by the women. Mosquitoes are nagging at my legs, time to go inside.

For years, I have sat on this balcony. When I was younger, this hour would mean the hour of light snacks and getting back to the heavy books – physics or maths. Today, I really don’t have much to do. Today, I am a grown woman visiting home on a vacation. There are only couple of days till I get back to my real life, my work life. Until then, I wish to soak in the smells, the sights and the sounds of this hour. Like a much cherished pickle, for another desolate afternoon, in a city eons away from here.

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Shantiniketan Day Trip

On Feb. 18th, to celebrate my parents’ 25th anniversary, we went on a day trip to Shantiniketan.

Shantiniketan is situated at roughly 50 km from Durgapur, my hometown. It is home to Viswa Bharati, the unique educational institution that Rabindranatu Tagore, the much-famed Bengali poet, set up. Shantiniketan has seen footfalls of noted personalities throughout the Indian history. From Gandhi to Amartya Sen, this place has hosted many.

It was an honour to breathe in the same air that these people have breathed in, to stand on the same soil, same buildings where Tagore once walked.

We spent most of our time in the Rabindra Museum, knowing Tagore, understanding his life. The other part of our trip was spent inside the houses around the museum in which Tagore lived and hosted guests.

I also happened to witness a baul singing under a tree. Also, saw some great creative artwork like Slate Sketches in the adjacent Shonibarer Haat. Had the good fortune to watch Santhal women dance in the same hut.

Here are some pictures, relishing the moments of the day. Hope you like them!

 

 

 

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Yours truly, under the Banyan tree

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Open air classroom

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The Fish by Artist Ramkinkar Bej

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Santhal women dancing

 

 

 

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A week long break from work!

So, yesterday I  took a flight from Bangalore and reached Kolkata. My parents’ 25th anniversary is tomorrow. I wanted to celebrate the day together as a family.

Right now I am in my brother’s flat, typing this out on his laptop.

Yesterday was a long day. I reached work at 9 in the morning, left at four in the afternoon for airport. While I was on the bus to the airport, I received a message saying the flight has been delayed by 35 minutes. That was painful. Even after all of us boarded the flight, the plane was on the ground for 25 minutes. In the flight, my legs were hurting and all I wanted was a bed to lay on. It was a long day.

My brother received me at the airport, it was good to see him. We took an Uber back to his flat. He is now at college and I am thinking what to do with the time before he is done with classes and both of us can start for our hometown.

I will mostly be off the internet (except for an occasional Facebook update maybe), relaxing back home. When I get back to Bangalore, I will be starting an new chapter of work life and I am not very sure if I am up for the challenges yet. But if I have learnt something from my time in Mu Sigma, it is this: The greatest learnings are outside your comfort zone. So, I am gonna use this ten days’ trip to do some thinking, have some fun so that when I get back I am all recharged.

Catch up with you guys in ten days, maybe? Meanwhile, keep blogging and spreading the love.

P.S: If you have not read my latest book yet, you can buy it here. It is available on Amazon for $3.01. People have told me that it’s worth the read. I hope you can add to that feedback.

 

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The first review!

A big thanks to everyone who supported me and spread a word about my book, How I tamed the dragon named fear. Thanks to you guys, I was able to reach 35 people yesterday. And one of the readers was kind enough to leave a review, this soon:

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What should I say, that felt great! I guess positive feedback feels especially good if it comes from someone you do not know at all. Thank you Milan for reading the book and sharing your thoughts.

Once again, huge thanks to everyone who spread a word about this book. Also, a big thanks to everyone who downloaded the book yesterday. I hope you find it a good read. And if you do, please leave me a review!

Best,

Arpita

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How my beta readers made my book better?

As writers, we are often so close to our writings that we fail to see the flaws that our writings have. While I was writing my recently published second book, I took care that the book did not suffer from such shortsightedness. In December 2016, with much self-doubt and suspicion I sent out a very rough draft of the book to a couple of friends and bloggers.

The feedback I received was immensely helpful towards building the finished product that is now live on Amazon.

The book, How I tamed the dragon named fear, is self-help book that draws heavily from my personal experience. In the book, I have talked about things that make me afraid and how I have learned to deal with them over the years.

The major chunk of feedback that I received from my beta readers went somewhat like this:

  1. The book is immensely personal, hence the range of fears is limited, should try and broaden the horizon
  2. The chapters were initially designed to be stand-alone capsules – Anand from Anand’s Parodies suggested I try connecting each chapter so they have a continuous flow
  3. Adding visuals

I focused on points 1 and 2 and tried to re-create the book from a new angle. Speaking and emailing with my beta readers gave me the much needed clarity. Besides, being the nice folks that my betas were, they supported me strongly even for that really messy rough draft. That act of kindness hugely motivated me to continue work to the finish line and helped me in not doubting myself while I on it.

So, thank you Anand, Rachana and Neeladrita (my lovely school friend who’s currently working towards a Ph.D. in Mohali). Thank you so much for the time you guys took out and gave to this book. You have truly made the book a better one.

Have you ever had your work-in-progress read by beta readers? Did it change the course of your book? Share your experience with me in the Comments section.

P.S: If you have not downloaded How I tamed the dragon named fear yet, do it ASAP. It’s only a few more hours that it will stay FREE! Buy it here.

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It’s FREE today!

Folks,

My new book, How I tamed the dragon named fear is available on Amazon for free today. Download your copy before you forget! 😀

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Free Book Promotion | How I tamed the dragon named fear

As I mentioned in my last post, How I tamed the dragon named fear is now available on Amazon! Woo-hoo!

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I have been flooded with congratulatory messages on Facebook. It really feels great!

How I tamed the dragon named fear available for FREE TOMORROW!

To add to this happiness, I am making the book available for FREE on Amazon tomorrow (11th February, 2017). I want to reach as many of you as I can, as soon as I can. For all of you who own a Kindle, I please download the book tomorrow. For those who don’t, you can download Kindle app on your smartphones/tablets as well and then download the book.

My humble request you all to share about the book and the  FREE PROMOTION on your social media platforms! Feel free to link to this blog post! Thanks in advance to all of you!

There, now I can get back to my actual work! Hope to hear your feedback on the book soonest.

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