Are you feeling lonely?
Do you want to talk to me from the bottom of your heart?
A few people have asked me these questions. There was a time when I felt lonely. But now, I have forgotten what loneliness is.
Maybe sometimes, when I am bored or looking for immediate help and scroll through my 159 members strong contact list, and stand there having no inclination to call any of them, I have felt it.
When I entered the pub and asked for a table for one and invited the wondering, curious stare from the bartender, I felt a pang of loneliness.
But now, I am addicted to the peace and calm of being alone. There is something so soothing about solitude that I have no urgent wish to give it up and connect with people.
I wouldn’t deny that at times, it feels awkward to sit alone. I resort to scrolling through my mobile, though I have no new notifications – not even candy crush requests, even after I avail the pub’s free Wi-Fi. It is then that I get these crazy thoughts. If I had a lot of money, I would create a unique coffee shop – just for loners like me, filled with single seats and perfect spots to sit, gazing out the window. Now, that would have a lot of takers. I knew there were people out there who felt like me and would flock there.
Why is it considered so wrong to go out alone? If I walk along the beach stretch, some people suspect that I am suicidal. If I stare at a group of folks, they notice and think I’m jealous. Or, is it just me? Am I the one who feels the phantom stares when no one actually cares?
I wanted to scream at those with the probing stares. “Stop calling me a loser! The way I live life is my choice.” But I stop short, fearing being labelled a psychopath.
Is it wrong that loneliness makes me attentive? I have stopped looking and started observing. I stare at things with a smile, pondering at the layers of life and the complexities that come, manmade and destined. I look beneath the surface, searching for things that are not apparent to a mind clouded with other, stronger preoccupations.
Sometimes, when I sit alone amidst couples, munching popcorn and sipping cola, I sense their sympathising looks. They know I am alone, and they look at me like it’s a bad thing. Of course, I understand the empathy, but their concern is misplaced. I don’t know if I am hurt, but I am awkward.
The thing is, I can’t brush away this feeling that I am being watched, that I am different from all the others. Even when I tried to check-in on Facebook, it asked me ‘with?’, and I discarded the post. Loneliness was not just the silence around me; it was also the noise surrounding me. I feel the same when the room is empty like I would feel if it were full of people.
I am trying my best. I want to lift my grumpy soul. I am trying to fool myself that my life would change and be filled with adventure very soon. My life feels ludicrous now, at least when I see it through the eyes of others. I am trying to clamber out of this phase. But I guess I’m just stuck with it. When I visualize my life ahead, I don’t see it mapping out in any other way.
The flowchart of my life begins at the small rectangle called Start and stops abruptly. Though there are a few deviations, it is on an infinite loop to the same rectangle, no matter what the input.
Perks of being a computer engineer.
My life doesn’t even have a ‘C’ for ‘clear’. After the mess of these many days, I have boldly risen away everything mundane and decided to live life without complications. The people who chained me down to weights have been cut off from my life like the limbs of an octopus. My family, friends, love life and career inclusive. Oh, wait! That makes it only four? Sigh. I am a mess all over again!
I wanted to stop thinking. I am not doing it intentionally, but I seem to have no stop switch either. My mind constantly ponders over something, even when I light up a small cigarette. I am instantly conscious of the great people of Chennai, and their part-horrified, part-disgusted looks at a girl who smokes. I don’t have proper company to go to a pub. Too many experiences of getting stoned or ending up with a slimy snake around my legs, not to mention the tears, drunk phone calls to my ex and the repercussions, have kept me well away from that morbid scene.
A few months ago, I decided I wanted to change my way of life. I wanted to escape the monotonous runt and do something passionately. I asked a few people in my life if I sounded good while singing. Their sniggers led me to record my voice. I struck off dubbing / playback singing from my list after hearing that.
My cakes and cookies came out burnt, unlike those perfect Pinterest attempts. The paper that was supposed to be filled with masterpiece verses remained blank, like my mind. My gardening attempts resulted in yellowed and withered plants. Early morning sunrise/nature photographs turned out blurry.
After striking everything from the list, I thought for a day and found the one little thing I should have struck in the beginning. Passion.
I had to stop drinking those pints. Beer bloated me up and added unwelcomed puffiness to my face. I promised myself that I wouldn’t lose my size zero. My shape and the spattered freckles on my face made me cute. The greasy shine on my nose was an added attraction. The faces that cross me and turn for a better look gave me that badass attitude.
I have the distinction of being rude to people. I refuse flatly when things are not acceptable to me. It is easier for me to say a big NO, unlike most others. My unbelievably smooth accent is one thing that makes me sexier, and one I use to full advantage, as a defence mechanism, to tower over my opponents.
Clothes like tank t-shirts, tattered trousers, and baggy pants make me look extremely intimidating. With the cigarette, a red bull/beer, spouting words peppered with feminism, I can see the common people, with their halo of self-defined morality (that changes conveniently based on needs), coin a term for me that I don’t quite approve of – Bitch.
But there is something people don’t understand.
My loneliness is a choice, not a situation.
And whenever I ache, I do something. That one thing I shouldn’t be doing.
Chuck fairy tales, go adventurous! – Is my motto. But with my spinal cord injury, my treks, and trip experience have mellowed down. Hampi being a not-so-tough to hike place, I said “Let’s go!” and three other friends joined.
- Where – Hampi
- For – Trekking, weekend getaway
- Organized by – Get Beyond Limits
- Cost factor – 3000 INR per head
- Cost includes — Bus picks us from Bangalore and drops us back, home stay, sightseeing more details are here
Why I chose this trip:
Selfish reasons, though — I am on the brink of starting my next novel, and I want some change to forget the characters of my previous flick. November being the National Novel Writing Month – I’m likely to start my third novel, tentatively I’ve given it a title – “Aspen Leaves,”
I wanted to meet new people – Of course, am an introvert but am a better observer. So, I wanted to see new people – I did start this trip with three friends and 20 strangers, but am back with 20 odd friends now! Yayy yay!
- Four outdoor leaders
- 2 Germans, one from China, almost 8+ from Chennai and others from North India
It was a convivial gang of people with our interests aligning to exploring, having fun and to get back home with new friends and memories.
We had photography enthusiasts, a horticulture student, a few who work in IT organizations, a few who sing well, and of course, I was the only published writer, yet, found a few readers/ potential writers over the trip.
How we turned friends:
It started off with an ice-breaking session at the bus when we kick-started our journey from Bangalore to Hampi – we had to introduce ourselves amending an adjective and that in particular had to be a food item, our sweetest memory in the year 2016, what would you do if you get up one fine morning and realize you just switched your gender, and also, share your fear.
Next was the bouldering session – where we got to introduce each other, start talking, encourage each other while climbing on the large boulders.
We were all set to trek, helping each other according to their speed. We explored Hampi — The famous Virupaksha temple, the Sanapur Lake, Vitthala temple, and we also had the chance to hear the history from a guide. Hike to Anjaneya temple was indeed an experience – 575 + 575 steps early in the morning was strenuous, but the view from the summit was mind-blowing.
I also had the opportunity to talk with ‘Kush’ he is an outdoor leader who also writes poems, and we shared our love for writing, and our teeny bag of secrets.
I somehow shed the ‘introvert’ me and spoke to one of the outdoor leader Prajna – I wanted to know about her profile, how tough it is to be a leader, her experiences, etc.. I also shared the plot details of my next novel, and we were in sync. I also told her that I love to travel with people who are not personally close because most who do end up talking about their issues in life. While my agenda of a trip is to give a damn to the problems and to live the trek to the fullest. (and I did)
As usual, I took the first seat of the bus started reeling, plotting, and thinking over the details to understand if I use the details/experience in any of the novels that are plot-ready
It was almost 8:00 PM when I realized that we are running out of time and that I have a train at 11:55 PM from Bangalore Cantt station. The outdoor leaders were thoughtful, and luckily, Kush – the outdoor leader had his plans laid. We got down elsewhere and booked an Ola cab, Kush kept talking to me to ensure I am alright and promised that I’d catch my train and I did.
Before I got down from the bus I sensed most of them are worried about my train, my friend shoved more money in my hand; another said to inform immediately if I miss the train to pick me back from the station.
Having no clue about Bangalore with battery drained phone – I relied on people. I gathered information from the folks around to know the platform number, the coach stops, etc.. I usually take the side upper berth to avoid conversations with people ( Acute and slight Anthropophobia, you see!)
Just when my faith in humanity restored, and when I was about to doze off, the TTR woke me up at 2:00 AM to check the bloody tickets and left the lights on. Goddamn!
- Leg cramps, chapped lips, slight tan, and Hampi Hangover
- Friends, friends and more friends
- Google drive with beautiful pictures
- A mail thread connecting all of us
Hampi gave me a necessary break to start afresh! Bless me people – am all set to write “Aspen Leaves,” this November.
I’d better write three novels than a synopsis, because, it is THAT difficult. For my next flick Dirty Martini – My editors and I re-wrote the synopsis for almost 50 times 🙁 though we are convinced now, we also know how challenging and painstaking it is. Agents ask for synopsis along with your query letter most of the times.
I thought this post would be of some use to the newbies and also, for the authors to use this as a checklist.
Quintessential a synopsis:
- 1-2 pages in length
- Single spaced
- All the essential details of your novel should be summarized
- It must be interesting enough to be picked
Yes, Challenging indeed.
- Protagonist, the conflict, and setting
As I usually say, all the stories are about pushing the protagonist in a situation and helping him/her to come out of it. Make sure it is fresh, new and exciting. Ensure that your elements in your story don’t reflect or imitate any other.
- Major plot turns/twists
Explain the motivation of your protagonist, emotions of the characters involved during these plot turns should be recorded
- How the major plot is resolved
The ending, the surprise factors, etc.. should be listed
Points to remember/ Checklist:
- Give a clear picture – the roadmap of your novel (the complete skeleton) the reader/agent should not feel confused. Focus on clarity
- Don’t cram too many characters – just your protagonist, antagonist, and one or two major supporting characters
- No descriptions – No unnecessary details
- No to jargons
- Don’t refer other novels
- No adverbs and No cliches
- A good opening line is a good brownie point
- Use active voice
- Avoid the character’s backstory in the synopsis
- Don’t split your synopsis into sections/don’t use labels as you do while brainstorming
If you have more points to add, please feel free to comment 🙂
Indeed an enticing cover and title different from usual rom-coms, and the blurb says that the novel is based on ‘boxing’ which is new to me as a reader, and hence I picked this book for review when The Book Club offered.
Excellent characterization – be it Karan or Sonia, the author has fleshed the characters pretty well. Especially Sonia, her character resonates with the reader in you for hours together post reading.
A beautiful novel with the events that concoct to keep the reader in you engaged. The author has done justice for the time spent on this novel. A sheer recommendations for a light read in one go. The chapters are knit well, fast and intriguing throughout. Very well written novel.
There were interesting details about the rule and regulations of boxing which amused me to a great extent.
The novel is also on par with excellence with respect to grammar and sentence structure, the editor deserves a good pat on his/her back for this. Tremendous job!
The only disappointing factor is the abrupt ending, otherwise a very promising novel by the author. Looking forward to read more by the author.
A book of 160 pages with 2 murder mystery stories – Vikram Rana Investigates. It was amusing at first because the title was engrossing and the cover was interesting, so I started reading the story with some anticipation. My review below:
The opening scene starts with the family chart and introduction of characters as chapters, am not really a fan of “telling” but “showing” – so with respect to the craft of writing, I am a bit disappointed.
The character of Vikram Rana is compelling, but other than that I didn’t sympathize with any other and the pace was slow to medium as well. The punch of a murder mystery went missing.
While I loved the worldbuilding and setting of the novella where each scene felt rooted and properly etched with the place in mind, and the dialogues were natural as well, but at some instances I felt it is detailed more than required, Could have been a bit more crispier.
I feel delighted that the author took enough care with respect to the language, grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, etc.. It is on par except at a few places. More than the story, I think the responsibility of the author to present a good story with the right elements in place impressed me as a reader.
A well-knit story with nothing cheesy to distract, the author did justice and is not carried away with any commercializing factors.
I did like the stories as a reader, since it is a murder mystery, am not giving any spoilers away. It would have been a great read though, because the pace and craft didn’t satisfy the mystery lover in me.
Overall a short novella with 2 mystery stories to read in one go! pick if you like the old-school type mystery with good language.
Rating – 3/5
Back with another Indian-Publishing-Scene post, if you’ve not read my Indian authors and book marketing post, please do!
Why this post? Because I hear a lot of issues between the publisher-author duo these days. To mention a few complaints:
The publisher won’t give the author royalty for the first 1000 copies.
The publisher asked to sign an agreement to buy 200 copies of your book.
The publisher has increased the MRP and is not ready to reduce which affects the book sales.
My book is out of stock, and my publisher refused to reprint.
My publisher is not sending my books to any bookstore.
I spent XXXXX on publishing my book, you know it’s my baby, but, I didn’t get any returns.
Having published a book already, and having gone through the ups and downs of the publishing industry in a short span. I thought this had to be said.
Dear Author, you’re facing these issues because of YOU. It was you who wanted to publish the book right away. It was your choice to go with a publisher whose vision is to make money than to produce quality literature.
Gone are the days when writers had to send hard copies of their novel to a publisher, wait for their reply for a year and then send to another post rejection. There were authors who took years to get published, who worked hard on knitting their stories, editing it thoroughly and wanted to publish it for the love of literature. But, are we the same? We want fame. We want a book release every year, no matter what the story is, no matter how poor the paper quality is, no matter how bad the language is, no matter who reads it and what reviews we receive because money does it all. All it takes is 10,000 INR to get ten 5-star reviews right? You know reviewers who don’t read but post reviews. All it takes is just 25,000 INR to market your book on all Facebook groups, right?
Vanity Publishing /Self-publishing platforms (Not all) have dragged and pulled the Indian literature down, but, why care? All we need is the author tag? Throw a few thousands and get published. No, am not blaming all, but at least 3/10 do this, as I acquainted almost 500+ authors and am a part of groups with 10,000+ writers all over India.
Ask yourself. Do you see authors who published via the publishing houses that fall under the creamy categories complain? including those who self-publish/kindle publish as per their choice. Do you see them struggling hard to establish/market their books? As far as I know, not really, at least when compared to us – those who paid to get published.
I can’t stop you from doing what you want my dear author, but, if I can give you a small advice – research about the quality of Indian literature and the books that are available. Understand where you are, work on your story, plot, language, grammar, diction, sentence structure, etc.. Hire a good editor and give the best possible manuscript to the right publishers who are passionate about publishing good books. Wait, even if it takes years. Choose your book reviewers right. Don’t send it to every tom, dick, and Harry, please! The best type of marketing is the word of mouth. And, that would eventually happen. If not now, sooner or later.
I indeed published via a self-publishing platform; I learned a few lessons and now, am working hard to correct the mistakes and do well with my next release. I don’t deny the fact that there are good vanity published books and there are traditionally published bad books as well. But, the equation and weightage when thought through makes a difference.
If this post helps to change even any one of the readers’ mindset – I’d be more than happy, else, I’d still be happy because I feel better when I blog.
P.S — This post is not for anyone in particular, because, I have the habit of dealing it in person. This is a very common post addressing the most common issues of authors-publishers duo.