In conversation with Anuja Rathi on writing and LIFE


  Interview with Anuja Rathi

Pune-based Anuja Rathi is a University topper in Psychology, Disc and Fierce certified, training professional, avid traveller and blogger, loves reading and clubbing. She describes herself as dynamic and versatile, aspiring author, a mother to a hyperactive and super naughty 2-year-old.

Princess is one blog that can charm you off the perch with the in-your-face and true to life persona. It was one sunny afternoon when I chanced on Anuja’s blog and since then, I’ve been an avid follower to her words for she always gives you a reason to visit her space. Honest to the core, meet the super talented and one of my favourite bloggers, Anuja Rathi, who was also my classmate at Fergusson College. Say Hola to Anuja on life, follow, read and share. It’s one interview I always wanted to do and read to know the gem that she is.

Anuja Rathi

Anuja Rathi

1. I’ve been following your blog, ‘Life…’since the time I first stumbled upon it in 2008.  The tagline, ‘This is Life…You can love it, you can hate it….Your dull, lonely days are over…coz Princess is here! Cheerio!’ is a killer. How did you arrive at the tag line and the name?

“Life…” – That was the first thing that came to my mind almost a decade ago when I thought about writing a blog which would address anything that came to mind about absolutely everything under the sun. I am a dreamer and philosopher, a connoisseur of all things weird and gorgeous. What better title than “life” to summarize the exquisiteness of it all?! My blog aims to bring a smile to everyone’s face, either because they find the content amusing or because they can relate to the feeling behind the words. If I can do that, my objective of writing is achieved!

 2. Your blog-Life-is a brand and your first post, Q Sera Sera shows you as a rebellious girl who doesn’t shy away from speaking her mind, even if it goes against the crowd. How much of Anuja Rathi is present in LIFE and how much have you changed as a person over the years?

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”

― Henry David Thoreau

My biggest strength is that I am a forthright, assertive person. That (unfortunately) is also my biggest weakness. I cannot disguise my thoughts and I refuse to mask my feelings even if they (at times) hurt egos and reveal truths that people do not want to accept or acknowledge. It has its own merits as well when people walk up to me and tell me how refreshing it is to meet someone so authentic and real. Needless to say, I am what I am, in person and online. I can’t be someone I’m not. I’d like to think I’ve become more mature and responsible in the last decade, while I still retain the pluck and liveliness that makes me, me!

3. You are a born talented writer who weaves beautiful short stories about human relationships, read love, conflict, and poetry which is not cut off from the real world. How much of these stories are inspired by real-life situations? I must say that I miss reading those beautiful stories that touch the heart and soul. Are there plans to make a comeback with such short stories?

Never say never! I am glad my readers recollect and miss my musings – I shall surely try to do justice to your expectations. Most of these poetic and literary compositions are inspired by real life people and situations – and that’s exactly why readers like yourself, remember them!

A family that lives together smiles together. Anuja with husband and son.

A family that lives together smiles together. Anuja with husband and son.

4. You’ve been my classmate at Fergusson College. I must say, we hardly spoke to each other but witnessed your incredible talent during one of the case study/presentation during Psychology lecture in FY. I feel words come easily to you and your effortless elocution skills, is testimony to that. Are there plans to give public speaking/motivational lectures in the future?

College is a different world altogether! We’re all figuring ourselves out more than each other. I have always been fond of teaching/training and speaking as well as writing. I have a passion and flair for language and communication. No wonder then that I chose a career in Training and most of my time is invested in interacting with people, delivering sessions (not “lectures”!) on behavioural and communication skills, inspiring and developing people so that they can achieve their personal and professional goals. Their win has been my win for the last 10 years! It’s immensely satisfying and enriching to be able to connect with people and accompany them on their journeys, contributing meaningfully, even if for a short while.

5. You have also done modelling during your Fergusson College days and also worked at that time. Unlike many of your peers, you didn’t wait for college to get over to take work and how it shaped your life and career, dabbling in so many things?

I think I have too much talent and energy to waste doing only one thing! Modelling was something that happened by chance since many people complimented me on my height (I’m 5 feet 7 inches tall). I enjoyed doing print shoots for boutiques and international mags and did a few ramp shows in India but I soon realised that I did not want to pursue a career in this industry. While still an undergrad, I completed my Diploma in Travel and Tourism and landed a full time job at an MNC doing HR and Travel desk related tasks. I also took up assignments in training individuals on communication skills. I barely remember coming to college, but my teachers and peers knew me even if I did not know them! The exposure and jumpstart I got by doing all that I did then is reaping benefits now, while I can boast of a rich experience that most people accomplish only by middle age. It has brought me a lot of laurels and respect. I feel truly blessed for all the opportunities I got and caught.

6. You are also a doting mom to a cute little munchkin, Aarush. How has Aarush changed your life and do give our readers a peek on moments spent with your little one and how he brings a smile to your face every single day?

My little monster keeps me on my toes, and he is one of the best things to have happened to me. His innocence and intelligence have taught me a lot, and he manages to push all my buttons in all the right and wrong ways. I have come to see myself as a very patient parent and I did not know that tiny moments can become defining aspects in life. There are of course times when I wish I had more time and freedom on my hands, but life is incomplete without him now. Be it kissing him good morning or holding him close as he pretends to be a little baby! It’s a beautiful phase, even though it gets exhausting at times. Nevertheless, I’m blessed to have him in my life.

The doting Mom with her munchkin. Aarush.

The doting Mom with her munchkin. Aarush.

7. Congratulations for your elevation as location lead for Pune and Bangalore at Hitachi Consulting. Coming from a Psychology background, what your job profile consists of and was it something you always wanted to do professionally?

I have always been a Training professional, and my Masters in Industrial / Occupational Psychology was a natural choice given that I wanted to be a part of the corporate world. I started off as an Associate Consultant, then trainer and finally I am now managing L&D for multiple locations in India with one of the best IT firms. My job profile is very exciting – it gives me the autonomy to do my best and make learning a rewarding experience for employees across Americas, EMEA and APAC, while at the same time, empowering me to grow as a person and professional by collaborating with my global and consulting teams.

8. Describe a typical day in your life?

It’s a mad rush as I manage to get home chores sorted while attending to the little one, then get ready for work and reach just in time for meetings followed by training sessions. Barely have I caught a cup of coffee and connected with the team,  then it’s time to rush back home in time for Aarush to arrive from day-care. 24 hours are just not enough! I enjoy catching up with friends and family, books and reality TV shows when I get some time off for myself. I also take up freelance writing assignments and keep updating myself with the latest trends and growth in the industry.

 9Movie buff and regular traveller. What role films and travel plays in your life?

Films and travel – both give me the break from routine that my free soul craves for. Given a choice, I’d keep traveling the world until the end of time (or money!) It adds such a rich variety of thoughts and people, exposes you to cultures and hardships that you do not realise on a daily basis in the comfort of your homes and cushy jobs. I’ve seen almost all of India, except the Taj and Andamans, and also visited Kenya and London. Next on my bucket list is Europe and Australia.

10. Coming back to blogging and writing. How often do you blog and share the purpose behind writing and the kind of satisfaction it gives you as a person?  Also, has it crossed your mind to pen a book or novel, considering the fact that you are a super talented writer?

I blog as much as I can, but much less than I’d like! Life has taken on a crazy pace with parenthood as I juggle home and office work. It’s satisfying when I have managed to make a point or connect with my readers, even if it is just to say Hi. At the same time, it is also frustrating when I fail to find time and keep my readers waiting to hear from me. I very much aspire to write a book someday, hopefully before I’m 35! Fingers crossed.

11. Where does the talent for words, comes from-parents or inspiration?

Anuja posing with her Godfather, all smiles.

Anuja posing with her Godfather, all smiles.

I am grateful to my god-father, my paternal uncle, who instilled in me the love for reading and writing while I was still a baby. Once on this path, there is no going back. The sources of inspiration for me are endless – I find a story wherever I go, and I am a poet at heart.

Anuja is born poetess and a glimpse of the first one published in a newspaper.

Anuja is born poetess and a glimpse of the first one published in a newspaper.

12. How do you see the blogging and writing scene evolving in India as a writer as well as the fact how do you make time to write and read?

I’m struggling to find time to stand and smell the roses at the moment, given my stage in life and parenthood. But I am well aware that the writing scene in India has transformed from what it was a decade ago. There are so many talented people out there and a multitude of networks where they can post their voices and find like-minded companions. It’s truly heartening when I see new initiatives and events planned across the country to encourage and guide bloggers. My time to read and write starts after the little one is asleep at night, but it’s not too long before I find myself dozing off with exhaustion! Praying that changes soon. Until then!

 

 

Troll, Twitter Olympics gold and Shobha De


The Olympics game is over in Rio. A breather for the athletes till the next outing. Not quite so, for the Twitter troll and frenzied mob culture where any reason or perky tweet is good enough to let the madness unleash. It all started with Shobha De’s tweet on the famous selfie and the 140-odd-words devils went on a rampage.

The foxes went loose, trashing, trolling and even wished death to Shobha De. One cannot say that her tweet was tongue-in-cheek but it made the trick crucifying her on social media. No sane person spared the lady. We decided to take her case and stamp a judgment on her, pronounced the life sentence,  charged guilty, hanged and hacked her to death. I wonder suddenly what happened to our tolerance level that we take so much pride in flouting and thumping our stomach. You know the good thing: Shobha De united India.

It’s no secret that Shobha De’s tweet was totally uncalled for when we consider the tough conditions in which our athletes train in India and still manage to represent our country in the Olympic games. Period. Shobha De became an antidote to the Alia Bhatt jokes and we were running our own Olympics game on Twitter, competing with the who’s who’s getting the best laugh at the lady’s expense. Memes were shared and every stroke or feat accomplished by our athletes, PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik or Dipa Karmakar were reduced to nought making Shobha De hog the limelight. It was not her own doing but Twitterati who gave her moments of shame, fame and name.

Sourced image: Google

Suddenly, Shobha De was bestowed upon with the rare honor where her name was twisted with peppy and saucy tweets. The ridiculous thing is that one got the impression that Shobha De and not the likes of PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik or Dipa Karmakar defended the colors of India and sprinted her way to the final. It feels like we were cheering every jibe that became a gold medal clinched by Shobha De at the Olympics. The lady must be smiling on how she took away the pie from our athletes who honored the country. She suddenly became not our punching bag but mascot at Rio. Who said that India failed to clinch gold? Of course, we did and made Shobha De win it for us.

Many of us are quite depraved like some sex searching souls and we get some kinda mental masturbation in trolling and cursing. It was a field day on Twitter Olympics.  Shobha De actually won it big at Rio without taking part in any discipline. It was not Shobha De who slammed her way to the Olympics final but PV Sindhu. Shobha De is no freestyle wrestler. Shobha is no artistic gymnast.

It’s not her who prepared for the Olympics, sweated it out in Rio or won medals but how thoughtful of us to shift accolades or laurels away from our athletes to give it to Shobha De on a platter. It’s not her fight. Yet! We were no less than the babus or Ministers who put a shameful act at Rio, indulging in drinks, selfie-ism or self-invited themselves clicking with athletes to take away the limelight or success.

Shobha De has just won Rio for India. Who did it? Of course, us, the self-claimed and self-stymied social media Gurus where every dig landed in the wrong place. The least of things we could do for the three wonderful and inspiring women Sindhu, Malik or Karmakar was to give them their due for bringing a nation together and make every girl in this country aspire to greatness in sports. We chose to do otherwise. Isn’t it a lack of respect for our athletes? It makes me wonder. I am tempted to ask Shobha De what sports discipline she is into and practices for bagging gold at Rio without venturing in sinful Brazilia. The lady must have enjoyed the time of her life and enjoyed the ice cream before it melted on her tongue.

So much for a tweet. It’s something I wanted to write for a long time but waited for Shobha De to struck 140-words gold and let the controversy die before penning it. See, social media was on a prowl and I didn’t want to be the Kabbab Mein Haddi.

Enjoy Twitter folks till the next Olympics. You just showed how to strike gold.

Love

V

Ordinary women, extraordinary feat


Color splashed.

Brevity is an understatement.

Winning hearts.

Capturing minds.

Celebrating an identity.

Women of substance.

Men of valor.

Ordinary mortals.

Trudging the path of fire.

Quenching thirst of success.

Unlimited Hunger.

Champion doesn’t win every battle.

Some are lost at the finishing line.

Undying spirit makes men and women.

Battling prejudices.

Nepotism dying a silent death.

Our athletes.

Pride of a nation.

Fighting against all odds.

Ordinary women.

Dark horses.

Winning is not everything.

Triumphant spirit is.

Daughters are not second class citizens.

Proved on the battlefield.

Refused to play second fiddle.

Not born from the limbs of men.

Walking with the head high.

Stop treating your daughters with scorn.

Born to rule the world.

Worth gold.

The poem is a tribute to our athletes, P V Sindhu, Sakshi Malik, Lalita Babbar and Dipa Karmakar who fought against all odds and made India proud. It’s time to stop treated our women as inferior and decide their fate by marrying them off or make them cook food. Prophecies of doom, time to chuck off your myopic view on the real place of women. Their places are high on the pedestal.

Love

V

 

 

 

 

Excerpt from unpublished draft: In the name of love


Hey folks,

Sharing with you an excerpt from the unpublished manuscript which I am writing since four years. Maybe sharing the excerpt will help me revive the book that I haven’t touched for ages and yes, the first draft is lying unattended in a corner.  Do read the excerpt and tell me what do you think:

In the name of love

It’s the biggest lie I’ve ever spoken in life. Can love turn a saint, a man who loved Zoya like anything,  into a devil overnight? Her silence was killing me. I turned into an obsessive lover. My life was going to change in the next few days, months and years. I was denying it. She was making me jealous when she went for chai with the dude we met at the tapdi last time. I will not let it happen. I am obsessed with Zoya. I am plotting to kill that guy but I have the sweetest revenge in mind. It doesn’t matter that I become a sinner. I am in love with her.

It’s not a question of being right or wrong, saint or devil. It’s a question of love.  We met the last time and hugged each other tightly. The tension was palpable. I was getting jealous when Zoya told me that her parents were planning to hitch her with an NRI in US. We were holding hands. I abruptly separated our palms and started walking. She fumed, “Ouch! What the fuck? You’ve hurt me?” I apologized.  Her face expressed hurt and angst. We walked in silence. Both us knew why.

There was no communication between us for days till we decided to meet at Barista in Colaba and ordered two Cappuccino. I couldn’t face her. She asked, “What’s wrong? Still angry?”. The smile lit her face like the crescent moon. I faked an anger, “Is our relationship hurting you, Zoya?” The cheerfulness disappeared from her face. “What do you mean?” she asked. “You’ve lied to me,” I said. “The last time you went for tea with my friend behind my back and never bothered to say that you went along with him. I think he likes you. He told that he wants to sleep with you and that you told him that I am just an option in your life and not a priority.” Zoya was on the verge of tears. Her face seethed with anger.

“Tell that stupid friend of yours to stop lying. You better stop hanging with such despo. I thought that he is a good and decent guy,” she said. Zoya’s mood was spoilt. I am the culprit. Yes, I lied to her. She picked her brown bag, “I am going back home now. Yes! Tell this guy not to ever appear in front of me or else, I will turn spew venom at him and all those cuss words he couldn’t even imagine in his wildest dreams.”

Zoya walked away from me, trying to control her tears. I was lying on the bed when the phone beeped, “I will always love you, no matter where we are. It’s up to you whether you trust me or not.” I felt guilty that night. I have lied about an innocent guy who never harmed me and made the most beautiful girl who loved me cry. Do I deserve Zoya’s love? I ain’t sure about it. Why the fuck did I lie to her? This jealousy is killing me. I promised never to let anything hurt her. But, I did. What kind of love is that?

With Love

V

 

Sex with an ex (5)


Read previous episode here.

Sex with an ex (5):

It’s painful. Anita’s eyes became red and burnt like spewed fire. Her silence gnawed her soul every second. She cannot stop it and wanted to yell, ‘No, Enough. It’s tearing me out. I cannot take it anymore. My soul is ripped every nanosecond. Everything became black. She writhed in pain.

After all, how long can she lie to herself? Anita felt impure to cheat on her fiancé. He doesn’t deserve it. Ajay ran his fingers on her neck and caressed her belly, pressed his finger on her stiff boob and back. He licked her flat stomach.

She lay on the bed, gave her soul and body to the potent force that pressed her lip in a flurry of electrified passion. Blood oozed. Ajay ran out of breath, “I need you….” She yelped and moaned. He bit her ear. He undid his zip, lay on her curvy, naked body and entered her with full force. He thought, “It never felt so good.” He ejaculated inside.

It’s was the first time that Anita felt suffocated and rushed to the washroom, bent on her knees and threw up in the English toilet vase. Her body stiffened. She sat on the marble floor and cried her lungs out, howled in pain. She breathed heavily. How she wish she could kill herself!

Anita has lost control over her own self and couldn’t bear to hear her own screeched voice that horrified her. She wanted to run away from herself.  She was battered and needed to recollect herself, torn into pieces. She couldn’t blame Ajay. She has been a party to the clandestine meeting, routine sex and dragged herself in the muck. Anita fainted inside the washroom.

“I don’t understand one thing with you. You are unhappy with the sex you have with him and why the fuck you are still doing it. Have you seen your face in the mirror? What are you doing to yourself? ” Rohini blasted her.

“I don’t know what I am doing to myself. The more I try to distance myself from him, I am drawn to his arms and cuddle. The thing is we don’t sit and talk but end up making up everywhere, in the car, hall, hotel lobby and washroom. What should I do?” Anita broke up.

Rohini hugged her tightly. “See, life is not easy as we think it is. Trust me, some emotional ties are not really worth it. I don’t have a relationship with my husband. In the start, both of us tried to save the relationship but it never took off.  I have come to terms with it. In the first place, we fooled ourselves by entering the marriage bond. Now, we are done but living together for the sake of it.”

Rohini gently held Anita’s palms, “I think you need to get away from him. Go away and visit a new city or on an adventure trek. Take the time to figure things out. I bet your fiancé doesn’t know anything about it.” Anita was crestfallen and wore a guilt-ridden face. “That’s okay, Anita. He doesn’t need to know. I am here with you.”

Rohini and Anita have been meeting each other and they hit it off instantly like two long-lost sisters before they realized it. Secrets were spilled out on their personal lives where both took a strong liking to each other.  It became their firm belief that destiny has something to do by bringing them together.  Anita felt better every time she spoke to Rohini and became stronger by the day, slowing picking the thread in her life. She ignored Ajay frantic calls after the horrible night when they last slept together. All it took was meeting Rohini over coffee that made Anita see things with little clarity.

She got a dinner date with her fiancé. Anita was composed and intrigued at the same time with the man she is engaged to.  During their last meeting, he hid phone like a thief and the confidence in him turned shaky when Anita entered the room. A voice inside her head whispered, “This man is dicey.”

Love

V

Youth spring of romance, love, lust and desire


Image source: Google

 

Old flame.

Unrequited Love.

New love.

Intimate desire.

Lust.

Ignite the Fire.

Craving for love.

Unquenched thirst.

Bruised heart.

Madness.

Youth spring.

Reckless.

Heartbreaker.

Heartbroken,

shred into pieces.

Dating spree.

Love-making machine.

Void.

Good, bad and horrible sex.

Hiding bruises.

Soft heart.

Stone hearted.

Quenching desires.

Void in the heart.

Incomplete soul.

Seeking the soul mate.

Love is all around.

Experimenting with feelings.

Relationships.

Boon.

Exploring romance and love.

Be spirited.

Love freely.

Kiss madly.

Make wild love.

Explore.

Dredge unchartered zone.

Liberate the soul.

It’s beauty.

Don’t hold it back.

Unshackle the desires.

Flirt with danger.

Unabashed sex.

Just do it.

Fall in love.

Cry.

Suffer heartbreak.

Rise

Be You.

Revel in the youth spring.

Reclaim it.

 

 

World Photography Day: Kodak camera shots


 

August 19 was World Photography Day. It was a sheer coincidence that on the eve, my old, neglected and dusted Kodak digital camera caught my fancy when it was lying in a corner on the shelf. I dusted the charged, cleaned the camera and got it charged. I decided to take my 7-year-old camera with me when I go out for my coffee and pastry. I clicked and clicked, after ages. Yours truly wasn’t aware of World Photography Day and call it a sheer coincidence. The best thing is that the pictures were not clicked with the smartphone but dear old Digital camera. Trust me, this joy cannot be weighed in words and an elated feeling that the phone upload cannot beat. Here, sharing some picture taken where I am currently based in Mauritius, with you.

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This place is the capital and called, Caudan Waterfront in Port Louis, a kinda shopping centre and it gives an interesting view of the mountains. The place is frequented by many tourists and many Indian honeymoon couples can be spotted to pose.

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It’s a very old building that was constructed very long time in the capital and me think it was during the British colonisation rule.

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I have an inkling and weak spot for those phone booth which is now something of the post. I remember when I went back to Pune in 2011, I walked fishing for an old STD booth but couldn’t find any much to my chagrin. I think mobile phones has somehow robbed us of everything beautiful and simple in life. The phone booth is nestled there for display only.

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A view of the Mauritius Parliament and Government House in the capital. I ain’t very sure whose picture is that but guess one of the architects of the family of British colonizers.

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A view of the city centre and capital in the sunny afternoon on a Friday.

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I love fountain. It’s a beautiful and rare one that sits between one hand, State Bank of Mauritius and the other, HSBC Bank.

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The sea view of the Caudanwaterfront which was earlier known as the Dock where super successful flicks such as Romesh Sharma’s Hum and David Dhawan’s Bade Miya Chote Miya and Karan Johar’s Kuch Kuch Hota Hai were shot in the 1990s.

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A view leading to the market place where there are several Government offices, Banks and eating outlets.

See ya

Ciao

V

PS: The pictures were taken last Friday but dunno why it’s being read as being clicked on 02/01/2008.