Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Love and Longing in Firefly Season: Read an Excerpt



Rashi Ratnam, the newly minted design assistant of billionaire fashion designer Neel Mishra, is sceptical when she leaves on a field trip to Kerala with her temperamental boss.

It doesn't matter that she has been harbouring a crush on her gorgeous boss since forever.

The man intimidates her and is cold like ice.

Also, he hasn't still forgotten his ex-girlfriend. 

At Heaven's Cove, the beautiful backwater island owned by Neel's grandparents, Rashi begins to see Neel in a new light. She also discovers his best-kept secrets.

It is the firefly season, and there is nothing that stops her from falling madly in love with Neel.

But love is not easy.

With Neel's jealous ex-girlfriend hovering around them stirring up troubles, life becomes strenuous.

Can they face the curve balls that fate throws at them?

Or will their love die a slow death?

But in the end, is the choice theirs to make?

Read this heartwarming contemporary love story of letting go and letting love in.


The girl sitting next to Rashi seemed lost in her own reflection. Good for her! It was now worth staring at. Rashi watched as Sara, the main beautician, curled the girl’s long, silky tresses and pinned them into a loose bun at her nape. When she had entered this uptown Mumbai salon, the girl had looked like something the cat had dragged in. Now she looked like a Bollywood diva.

Rashi was in here for such a transformation. Else, the bullies at the fashion house where she worked would continue to irritate her until she exploded. Apparently, she looked like a scarecrow in their perfect paradise. Barely three months had passed since she had joined and already, she had pissed off a lot of people with her quick comebacks and don’t-care-attitude. 

She didn’t care two hoots about what others thought about her. She was there to learn design, not to be a fashion model. For some reason, the girls at the fashion house thought differently. To top it all, Kiarra, her boss’ girlfriend, the true-blue-fashionista who ran the fashion house, had already asked Rashi to always be well-groomed. Twice.

“All our clients are V.V.I.Ps. You don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable with your shabby ways, do you?” Kiarra had asked her just yesterday and Rashi had taken the day off to get a makeover. If she continued to annoy her, Rashi might have to bid goodbye to her dream job.  

Neel Mishra’s fashion house had been her dream destination right from when she had started designing clothes. The man was a magician when it came to couture. She wanted to learn from him, watch him create enchantment with clothes. But that would just remain a dream if she got herself thrown out before the man returned from his work trip to Florida.

Rashi scowled at her own reflection. Wavy hair, and butterscotch tinted, pimple-prone skin, courtesy of the genes she inherited from her father. A slightly plump disposition and a funny nose which flared too much whenever she was angry, courtesy of the genes from her mother. God must have given the job of creating her to an apprentice. A sloppy one at that. In a family of overly talented, beautiful people, she was an anomaly. 

Rashi belonged to the family of the Ratnams. The whole of India idolised her family. Her grandfather was a stalwart in the Telugu movie industry and her father had continued his legacy. Her brother, Rajeev Ratnam, was a hotshot movie director. Her mother, Urmila Ratnam, was a legendary movie actress. Her sister-in-law, Princess Ishaani, belonged to the Sravanapura Royal family and was also a leading Bollywood singer. 

And who was she? A struggling noob designer at a famous fashion house. She had concealed her true identity when she had joined the team. She had introduced herself as Rashi R to everyone, not Rashi Ratnam. She knew what would happen if her real identity was known. She would either make more enemies or end up having to cater to many fake friends. And then there was also the mockery.  Rashi didn’t want any of it. 

 Rashi hated going out with her mother. Most of her friends wondered how someone as beautiful as Urmila had managed to produce someone as plain-looking as her. And often, they told it to her face. Rashi quietly snuffed the flame of irritation in such situations. If not, her mother would make her regret every single word of outburst. And anyway, who wanted to make an impression on those plastic dummies?! Most of them couldn’t even smile thanks to the many plastic surgeries and Botox treatments they underwent.

Anyway, who cared?! Rashi let out a sudden yelp when the girl working on her right foot scrubbed the heel a bit roughly.

“Hello sweetheart, I do need it when I walk out of here,” Rashi whispered to the girl. Sara’s puny little assistant had somehow evoked sympathy in her. Else she would have snapped at her for being so rough. 

“Sorry, madam. But too much dead skin.”

“Don’t scrub too hard. It is painful,” said Rashi. 

The girl stopped scrubbing and went to the next phase of massaging her foot with some lotion. Too ticklish. Who knew her feet were this sensitive? Or was the girl deliberately torturing her? She narrowed her eyes at the girl. No. She seemed a bit scared. Good.

 Never ever go for a pedicure again, Rashi made a mental note. Dead skin be damned. She didn’t want anyone poking around her toes or heels ever.

Beside her, the newly minted beauty got up to leave. Rashi admired her graceful exit and mentally prepared herself for her own transformation. She was going to impress everyone at the welcome back party they were throwing for Neel this weekend. 

Monday, April 5, 2021

My 6-Step Process for Writing a Book while Working Full-time

“Go from wanting to become a Writer” to “being one.”

You have been toying with the idea of taking that plunge into writing.

But you work full-time.

You can't find time to write.

I get you...

I work full-time too.

I have a 6-step process that helps me

accomplish my writing goals.

Want to adopt them?

Let's begin...

Step 1: Guard your time: Practice Saying No

Scenario one: 

You have fixed working hours. A colleague asks for help.

You agree. He is a friend, after all. You slog at the computer for hours

solving another man's problem.

Scenario Two:

A get-together is being planned. You are unanimously chosen as the organizer. 

They say you are the smartest of the bunch.

You agree. 

You devote your free hours to planning and making the event a grand success.

Scenario Three: 

Your friend calls whenever you are both free. You spend

hours on the phone discussing other people's problems and despairing

where the world is going.

Are you someone who can relate to any of the scenarios mentioned


Do you have difficulty using the word 'No'?

Shield your time. A second gone is lost forever.

Step 2 : Prioritize: Fix a writing time

Even if you are a productivity superstar, writing can often get sidelined.

So, make writing your top priority.

Fix a time that suits you.

Promise yourself that you will write daily.

You don't need to dedicate hours to a writing project every day.

A few minutes at a time. Half an hour daily. A dedicated hour.

It can be anything.

Write a sentence, write a paragraph, write an entire chapter.

Get some writing done.

Remember, little drops of water make the mighty ocean.

Step 3: Plan

Like any project you undertake, your writing project also requires careful planning.

Whenever you get time, think about your book.

Allow it to get completely formed in your mind before you even start

If you are writing a novel, think about what you want to happen in the opening scene.

Think about the dialogues your characters might say.

Ponder on who your characters are? What makes them tick?

Decide how you want the story to progress.

Get clear on how you want the story to end.

Make post-it notes and pin them above your writing desk.

 Record voice memos if an idea comes to you while you are driving.

Keep a journal to jot down all new ideas.

Step 4: Create a blueprint ( Learn to plot)

Writer's block is one common problem that most writers face.

One of the reasons this occurs is because they do not know how to take the story forward.

Just like how an architect needs a blueprint to carry out construction,
you need a clear outline for your book.

In step 3, you must have created the necessary building blocks for your book.

In this step, you will arrange them and create a clear blueprint for your story.

Write down in detail what happens in each chapter of your book.

This will help you enormously when you sit down to write.

Step 5: Focus, Write!

Now that you have your blueprint ready, it is now time to get some serious writing done.

Switch off the internet.

Put your phone in silence mode.

Set the timer for 30 minutes and just write.

Let nothing distract you when you write.

Laser focus.

Enjoy the process!

Step 6: Set clear writing goals, reward yourself

Every day, set realistic goals according to your schedule.

Work towards it as much as you can.

Relax. Put on a piece of soothing music, and conquer your daily goal with a smile on your face.

If you achieve your daily word count target, pat yourself on the back.

If you reach your weekly word count target, reward yourself.

It can be anything.

A book you have been planning to buy.

A long bubble bath. A walk in the park.

Dinner at your favorite restaurant.

A quick weekend getaway.

Keep your writer self happy!


So let's recap...