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All points please note!

On Getting Published, Good Books, and Living Goddesses

Here’s an update to the post below by Allison Williams:

I’ll add something for authors who wish to query in the USA – literary agent Janet Reid‘s blog is terrifically helpful with query and process guidance (it’s not quite as scary as ‘they’ll trash you if your title isn’t in italics 🙂 ) and the Query Shark blog is great for exactly how to write a query and where authors go wrong.

Also, the practice I’ve followed and that has helped many writers I know – send queries in batches, not all at once. Query 10 agents. If they all say no, something’s wrong with the query, so revise it before sending to the next ten. If agents request pages and then say no, revise the pages before sending to the next ten.

In the USA it’s important to send a personal query (Dear Agent X, I appreciate…

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Dear Agony Aunt

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Picture Credit HERE

Dear Agony Aunt,

This is to say I won’t be seeing you again. I thank you for all the patient hearing over all these years, especially in a world where nobody has ears anymore and family and friends don’t meet so often as they used to. However, I must confess, the eyes are growing larger and are capable of seeing wider, across the globe, as they remain glued to mobile phones.

What! Did you say, you didn’t know, what a Smartphone was?! Well, that is exactly why you have remained my best friend ever! Or else I would have washed my dirty linen on Twitter or Facebook or written a blogpost, instead of coming back to you.

Okay, let me not divulge from the point of where I started off, in the first place.

It’s been a long journey over several years and pains, aches and mood swings have littered the path, with violent spurts of irritability, squabbles, tears and anger tantrums, followed by days of uncontrollable desire to make haste to mate. Pushed around by programmed DNA to make babies, many times over I fell on a missionary position to make it with men, which the Lord knows are his ill begotten sons! Feminist though I am, I was unable to resist ‘taking help’ from THE LINGAM (see Link, if you please), that too with full consent, desperate desire to make babies!

Thankfully with modern technology, this wild attempt of mine failed. Praise the Lord!

And now, for the last two years I have been released from the chains of bondage to body, a few inches below the naval, by the kindness of nature. With all my neurological pathology cause by hormones, I am no more obsessed with the size of a man’s crotch, best suited to fertilize a human egg. Neither am I driven crazy by thoughts of losing the best crotch to the next best woman with bigger breasts. A wisdom has dawned, that the world is broken by wars about whose ‘gun’ / Lingam is bigger than whose and which breast can cause a man to stand upright till he invariably ‘falls’!

Thus, freed of the chains that bound me every month, to untold suffering, I have now attained nirbana. I am free of the vices that raked my body and my mind, jealousy being the first of them, quickly followed by possessiveness, all in the name of the illusion of love. I no more need to watch for a 36-24-36 size, which I am told is the ideal size to lock a man’s protrusion like he was stuck in a Coke bottle and could never come out.

I am therefore, peaceful and grateful to you for all the help you extended to me, in my turbulent journey of clots, plots and worry-warts.

Agony Aunt responds: Beware the aftermath of such raging wars with hormones. While they may have caused embarrassing stains and pains, but when they leave, they leave behind impressions of those terrible years, which are so engraved in the mind, that there may be, smoke, although there is no fire at all. See you soon again, my deluded child!

After almost 17 years of partnership, I realised that there have been umpteen moments when I decided to leave but didn’t go.

One of the key factors that make for a long relationship is lots of ups and downs. Smooth-running relationships spell disaster.

I have had a turbulent childhood and teenage years, a pattern I carried to my adult life as well. At first, I thought it was easier to up and go than waste time in negotiating a difficult relationship. Yet, over time, I realised that it takes much more to build a home, than it takes to break a house. I took up the challenge to remain, no matter what.

Key factors that helped me were my ability to see the brighter side of the darkest night. And realizing that the saying, ‘this also will pass’ is wrong. Many times, the same problems arise again and again, and the same words are exchanged till the voice can no longer hold those terrible screeching words any more nor the mind come up with reasons to explain and dialogue on the same old things, again.

“We have done that number before, ” I’d say. But, into deaf ears.

Spouse deafness can be awful especially if you are given to weak lungs and subsequent cough, due to over exercising the larynx. I am like that, only! What’s worse is, no, you don’t need the virus in the air to cause your sore throat and there are no broad-spectrum antibiotics that can cure your throat, please to note.

So there, you learn your lesson: Silence, is golden, when the other cannot hear. Lengthy discourses may also be done via email and guess what, you may write the stuff, but the other may read or choose not to, but the fact is, you’ve said what you needed to say and the eyes may hear or not hear at all, but you are free of a huge burden and hey, you have saved yourself from the terrible sore-throat, guilt feeling  for having vomited out angry words and what not.

Second, fall in love with someone else, for the time being. All in your head, of course! It helps, since you have psyched yourself into fooling your endocrine glands into producing in large quantities, the much needed adrenaline on which you are now high. Pity the poor gland has no concept of real from the imagined. You can at least be safe for a while, because you have sufficient stress relieving hormones to take you forth for the next ten months or so, during which time, your present problem with partner may end, but a new set of problems may crop up, for which you need new strategies.

Third, take a break from each other. Do different things. Pretend to be present when together, but ‘take leave of your mind‘ and visit far places which the other is talking to you. I can swear on this method! Be meditative and laugh at the right moment though or make exclamations whenever needed. In case, the other catches your absent mindedness, then repeat the last words she said to you.

“Are you listening?” There! It’s that easy. Just say, ‘Yes, I am listening; you just said, are you listening?’ ”

Life’s battles can be won in many ways. The critical issue is: strategy, which is a well-thought out plan devoid of all emotions. So you can keep a home, even if the house is breaking!

And this is how, I have stayed on, holding the fort of a relationship, that is forever bouncing like a ball. And have gained in insight and patience and forbearance.

I learnt a lesson from Snoopy, my pet dog. She was not like a cat, whose loyalty depended on where she gets her food and safe stay. She was loyal to me and no matter what I said to her, all she did was rolled her eyes this way and that, but she never left.

I’ve done the same throughout all these years myself. It really is all about  strategy!

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Picture from the net

 

 

My mother passed away in my arms on the 26th March,2000 at 5.15 in the evening. I was at her bedside when the end came. I knew it was the end and I burnt the incense and put her Guru’s photo at her head and took the Gita and started to read the second chapter which is all about life, death and life after. My left hand was on the right side of her face as she breathed her last coinciding with the end of the chapter as well. I quote the lines “This is the state, O, Partha of the man who rests in Brahman; having attained to it, he is not deluded. He  who abides in this state even at the hour of death passes into oneness with Brahman” It was for me the most amazing and the most spiritual experience – almost as if I was midwife to the entire process and transition that had happened. I was not afraid at all and there was no resistance from me as well. Only a great intimacy, perhaps stronger than I have ever had with my mother even during her living years.

.The 26th March was also her birthday and we had all gathered to sing Happy Birthday to her and everyone hugged and kissed her even though she was in coma. Then we all shared her favourite sweetmeat. I then left for the Ramakrishna Mission of which she was a dikshita and brought in the “charanamrit” which I fed her with. Five hours after that in the presence of all of us at the Chronic Care Center she left her body.

The entire experience was really very spiritual. All my life I had dreaded the thought of her dying. In my early childhood I had a recurring dream in which I would always see her dead and would wake up crying. The dreams stopped abruptly in my teenage years. Nevertheless it was always a fear.

She had been ill for a long time and sometimes I would even wish that she would leave this body and mind and “take on a new dress” as it were but deep within the thought also made me afraid to lose her physical presence for the rest of my living years. Around the same time I also felt that I needed to clear the past with her. Things that had caused tension between us and unresolved issues from our past especially that she had been a single parent and by the time I saw my father for the first time I was 21. So there was a lot of back log as one can imagine. Hence, I spent days when she was conscious clearing as many things from the past so she felt completely okay about everything. It was good for both of us.

My mother was like my child. Although she gave birth to me, as I grew up, I became her mother! Whenever we were together I was the one who took care of her all the time. It sometimes made me very angry. It is harder to give than to take. It takes a lot more to give to our parents out of conscious desire and not out of duty. Hence her passing away became even more significant to me.

Death comes to all of us but we see it as an end of life, not as a part of life. We learn that it is a transition from one state to another but we still fear it. For me the experience was unique – just the exhalation of the last breath and the “movement” had happened. From this life to life after.

Death of a parent is one of the most profound experiences in life. We almost take it for granted that they will live forever – and they do in spirit but in the body they do go just as anything else in the world. For the first time we are truly adult and grown up. Overnight we know we cannot be a child anymore. The umbilical cord has snapped finally.

During this trying time that I sat beside my mother’s bed nursing a person in coma for over 13 days I prayed a lot not only for the release of her soul but also a great deal for myself. Crisis has always brought my needs before God and I have ardently prayed for myself and my own state of mind and body and healing even as the catastrophe is happening. I must tell all of you that the Lord answered all my prayers and more.

He gave me immense strength to bear this all by myself. He gave me a new family and tons of friends who bore my pain with me. Much prior to this happening He gave me a friend and companion whose moral and emotional support was a source of great strength for me. He gave me stability in spite of what had happened and even as I completed the last rights, I knew He had healed me and if at times I do cry it is only because I am human.

Not for a moment have I any doubt that He is a kind and a giving God and He loves me immensely. And He shows me the truth and has gifted me with insight to see His Workings without a moments’ doubt. It is always so clear.

When I returned from the cremation grounds to the house there was a little baby our house help was baby-sitting. The baby was only three months old and her mother had died in childbirth. I thought of birth, life, death  –  and life after.

I quote from the Gita, chapter two,” As a man casts off worn-out garments and takes others that are new, even so the embodied one casts off worn-out bodies and passes on to  others new”

Click to Listen to The Bhagavad Gita Chapter Two

 

What If…

Yes, I said, many times over
I know not what direction
My love will take
And in what ways it will express
Itself in time.

For love is a visitor
residing in us in many forms
fluidly traveling in directions
beyond our control.

What if –
What I feel for you is love
Not caged in the boundaries
Of our bodies?

At one time
We made love in darkness
Pulling the curtains over
So that only our bodies
Expressed what we felt in our hearts.

Then, we made out
In broad day light
When both of us could see
each other’s bodies and face
We had moved from darkness to light we said.

But now sitting in Silence
over distances
when we both can see
only the impression we made on camera
posted on Facebook…

What if
With our eyes closed
over distances
with neither our hands
or our legs intertwined
we still do what we used to do
In darkness and in light of day…

What if
As pure energy
we still meet
In spaces that defy
Boundaries and definitions …

Would our orgasm
be tremours that last forever
and eternity?
Or would our energies commune
In silence while we sit still
Grasping each other in our thoughts
And say,

We made love.

My Muse

 Let me turn to my muse today

The man with curly hair and a thick moustache

Who walked like a King

On the streets of Fort and Colaba Causeway

Looking rich.

The footpath sellers at Fort and Fountain

Knew him well

Every once in a while he bought the most expensive cigarettes from them

And smoked them like you do a bidi

Surely, they said, he must be a King

“Ya badey Baap ka beta”

Actually nobody knew

The Parsi rebel

Penniless or loaded

Had the air of a King

He belonged to the Land of Milk and Honey

Wealth was in his gait and not his bait

He had it all tucked in his genes

The penniless pauper from faraway land

My muse

The Colour Blue

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I won’t see Madhu’s blue eyes again

And I won’t see her childlike pudgy fingers sit on her lap

Waiting for me to intertwine mine in hers

I won’t see her eyes fill with concern for her son

Nor the coldness that is theirs

When she speaks of her husband.

I won’t see them rest on my face

And ponder if I was a fool

To love her so.

Her eyes don’t know what I hide in mine

The dark shrouded pupil swimming in the ocean of milk

Conceal myriad memories around a pair of blue eyes

So dear to me in my childhood

Tucked away in the recesses of my mind

That pair of liquid blue eyes

So proud even behind dark glasses

Acts like a dam blocking out pulsating passion.

On the surface, my eyes are cold and dead.

Time will never erase the memory of those blue eyes

That rejected me.

But time can never stop me from seeking them

Again and again around me in friends and lovers

Those beautiful blue eyes

Just like Madhu’s blue eyes.

I won’t see Madhu’s blue eyes again

Tucked behind the wall of my cold eyes

I have stored the memory of those eyes

Which today, reflect in the coldness of the shroud

That covers my pupils

Swimming in the ocean of white milk

Dead.

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