Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sold! To the man in the corner....

....or to the lady in Westland, in my case. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the third book has been accepted by Westland, the same kind folk who published Bringing Up Vasu and By The Water Cooler.

I am very happy to report that it does not get old. When D, my editor messaged me saying that I could breathe easy because they liked the story and would take it on, I tried to play it cool with my family and friends. You know, just looking nonchalant and going about the business of life - today I made breakfast, went to work and sold another book, ho-hum - but by the end of the day, the facade was totally breaking down and I wanted to go to the same rooftops (no wait, they have already been covered, should look at increasing penetration) from where I had declared my joy about BUV and BTWC. I can't help it. It is just the most exciting feeling.

Anyway, so after crowing about it on Facebook and Twitter, I felt a little better.

This new book is about....haha, you didn't really think I was going to give it away, did you? But I swear, it's a good story and I've worked awfully hard on it and it's going to be a long time before it hits the shelves but hey, in the meanwhile, we are talking here, no?

So, that's my big news for now. How I am going to find the time to work on the edits, hold down my job and raise my two punters is anybody's guess but damned if I am not going to try till it hurts.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Floatsam, jetsam and kidsam

I was chatting with Mona the other day and we were discussing our kids' swimming lessons. I realized that I had not written about how Adi learnt swimming this past summer. We joined a club nearby just so the kids would get access to some sort of sporting facilities. Being quite new to the club and its workings, I had no idea how coveted the swimming class slots were. I thought we would have a leisurely first few days of summer vacations before we got down to these dirty duties. My husband, the esteemed M, was laid up after his surgery and so he was not jumping around in his usual methodical fashion, organizing lives and so on. It was left to me, the artist of the family to go and see the coach and figure out fees and such like, a task that I usually abhor.

I landed up at the pool at peak sunshine hour and spotted a multitude of children splashing about. I hoisted up my skirts (literally for I was wearing a floor length skirt in keeping with the theme of inappropriate dressing) and tried to locate the coach. I caught sight of him at one end and scurried to catch up to strike a deal except that by the time I reached there he had already swum to the other end. Acutely aware of providing entertainment to the watching millions - a task I am becoming really adept at since an incident involving me falling down on my ass after slipping on a wet floor, mind you - I finally managed to catch hold of the slippery eel of the coach. He laughed at my request and told me that there were about a hundred kids in waiting and I could technically put my son's name at the bottom of the list but he wouldn't hang his hopes on it.

I came back home and dolefully recounted the story to M who muttered something about having to crack the system, something I don't do very well given the other full-time responsibility of entertaining the milling crowds. Well, anyway, after repeated requests and so on, a slot was miraculously obtained for the boy. Now began the task of getting him to actually swim.

The scene just before the lesson began was a harrowing one. The kids would emerge from the dressing rooms and be marched off to the lifeguard to put their floats on. After that it would all get really disturbing. Some of the kids would wail for all they were worth and would hang on resolutely from the mothers' legs as they determinedly hobbled towards the pool. Others would get into the pool but scramble over the sides and make a dash for safe land before being caught by the agile mothers and being dragged back to the water and others would just give their watching mothers tearful achha silla diya tune mere pyaar ka looks that the maters completely ignored. It was madness of a scale hitherto unseen. The pool would soon be teeming with children of age 5, their mothers watching from the sidelines. Now the coach spoke in a very strange accent and it was difficult to understand exactly what was being barked at the kids. I think by and large the kids guessed the instructions judging the tone. Or maybe sign language, who knows.

The mums were also really cool. Some of them actually swam as much outside the pool as their child did inside, making graceful swimming motions with their arms and looking really silly and not giving a damn. Remember that when you are deciding on our old-age homes, you kids.

For a few days, I valiantly stood by and cheered on the boy, my heart in my mouth. Then Thatha arrived from Singapore and this duty was transferred to him. Thatha is a man of technology and vision and sometimes he likes to combine the two. And so, armed with his tablet, he would land at the venue and then make videos of his grandson as he tried to stay afloat and mail them to us. The madness continued but in a week's time or so, all those crying, bawling babies had kicked their floats. They were swimming! They were diving from boards! They were swimming! It was most gratifying to see those little tadpoles actually traverse the length of the pool.

Most exciting. We have it on video. Multiple videos, in fact.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Office office

And so, just like that, I am back in an office. Not just any office. My old office. The one where I spent hours and hours poring over data, drinking endless cups of murky chai, laughing with my team and going through breakdowns as deadlines came rushing at me.

My first day back was bittersweet. All the old faces are gone. They got married, had children, moved jobs, moved cities, countries and continents. And yet, I am back once again.

Everyone seems surprised at this decision of mine. I think I had convinced everyone that I would be a starving writer for the rest of my living days.

Just like that, the last six years have whizzed by. I have no qualms about how I spent them. I wrote books and took care of my children. Sure, I had the occasional nervous breakdown about what the hell I was doing with my life but those moments passed with the aid of cocktails.

The thing is, I have been thinking about reintroducing my old job into my life for some time now.

It's not because the kids are all grown up. I mean, of course Ragini started pre-school a few months ago and is gone for a couple of hours each morning. And Adi, the baby after whom this blog was once named is a kindergartner now!  They come back from school and after some loafing around, it is time for lunch and then the baby goes off for a nap and Adi has playdates and tennis and chess. For the first time in years, I do not have the demands of a small baby. But that's not it.  

It's also not because the trusty Padma has been with me for the last several years and my mum stays with me. It does have an impact, sure, but I am of the school of thought that Aditya and Ragini are to be raised by M and me. Not M's parents, not my mum, not Padma, though all these people have really helped over the years. Still, the buck stops with us.

It's not because I am an over-achiever who has a point to prove. I am not.

It's not because I am done writing. I am not.

In fact, it's just the opposite.

My work involves meeting lots of people from varied sections of our society. I used to find them fascinating and I still do. And I really and ardently believe that interacting with new people will enrich my writing.

I may be wrong, which is why I am treating this as an experiment. If I find I am so immersed in office work that I am not finding the time for my other job, I will have to rethink my decision. But for some reason, I have a feeling I will be able to do both and one will feed into the other.

The kids. They are used to me working on mysterious documents that sometimes result in books anyway. In their strangely adaptive way, they just sort of took this change in their stride. Ah, she is going out in the morning instead of lounging around in eyesore-inducing pajamas till late afternoon. Well, more power to her. 

Things have changed.

And change is good.