Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Food in Hinduism: The Significance of Offering Food to God

If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it. – Lord Krishna (Bhagawad Gita)

Food brings a sense of warmth, hospitality and loving awareness when it is prepared. In most Indian homes, we place considerable importance to the preparation of food and how it is served. For the same reason, in most Indian homes, food is served with care and love to a guest. I have found it interesting that food can bridge differences, bring people together rather than divide them. If you have missed my post on 'Three Types of Purity While Preparing Food,' you can read it here. 

Food in Hinduism: Importance of Naivedyam
In Hinduism, food is considered to be an aspect of Brahman (the Absolute and Almighty one). The rationale for this in Hinduism is that  - food nourishes, sustains and it is ingested into the body for our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being. That is one reason why great spiritual masters such as Sri Paramahansa Yogananda, Swami Vivekananda and the Avatar Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi emphasized that taste is not the prime function of food, from a spiritual perspective.

For as long as I can remember in my parents’ home, food is offered three times a day to the Almighty. An hour later, it is distributed as 'prasad.' Only after food is offered to the Almighty, we sit down for our meals. This is a discipline that my mother has instilled in us. Whether it is for daily meals, birthday, any celebration happening at home, it is offered to God first. Needless to say, it is a vegetarian home.  

In the context of Hinduism, what we offer first is known as 'Naivedyam' and when it comes back to the offerer/devotee for consumption, it is called 'prasada.' The offering of food to God is one of the expressions of Bhakti yoga in Hinduism. 

Food in Hinduism: How to offer to God

Different families have different traditions that are followed. So, I can only share here what is done at my parents’ home. A separate glass, plate and a place is kept for this. It is not used by anyone else except to distribute the prasad. The belief is that prasad has the blessings and divine energy of the deity invoked and therefore, it is divine.

Food in Hinduism:  The Rite of Purifying Water Before Partaking it

Food is considered to be handled at many levels - in its raw form as vegetables and ingredients, then in the next level – where it may be prepared by one or more persons in the kitchen and then where it is served, which again, maybe by another person. This requires food to be ‘purified’ or ‘made clean’ of all or any unhealthy negative energies that are invoked during its preparation.

Thoughts have energy and can be transmitted easily. In spirituality, it is believed that if you prepare food in anger or hatred and serve it to others even your loved ones, it has consequences on their health. 

In many Hindu homes, food is first 'purified' by sprinkling water drops on the plate/vessel on which it is served to a person. Also, in many traditional Hindu homes, the plate/plaintain leaf on which food is served is usually damp. This is due to the ‘purification’ rite.

The best form of purifying food before serving it is to chant a mantra. A mantra has the power to bless the food, neutralize negative energies and prepare the body and the mind to accept the same without any ill-effects. Where a mantra seems difficult to recite, it can be a thanks giving prayer instead. 

The crux is this: What matters in spirituality is your 'bhava' (emotion and depth of sincerity) than anything else.

Food in Hinduism: Why offer food to God
Just as I finished writing this blog post and I was about to post it to my blog, I had a feeling that my Guru – Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba wants to convey something to me.  This is unusual while writing a blogpost and happens very rarely. 

So, I took one book that is on Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba from my shelf and when I opened it, this is what it read:

‘The Gita does not intend that you should pluck a leaf or flower or fruit from some plant or tree and place it before God. Nor does it ask you to bring water from a well or river or the roadside tap. The leaf is your own body, which like a leaf, will fade and finally fall off from the branch. The flower is the heart, freed from pests such as lust, anger, greed, pride, hate. Fruit is the mind, the consequence of its yearnings, which have to be dedicated to God. The water is the stream that flows from the eyes when one experiences ecstatic bliss at the contemplation of God’s glory. Giving these four to God is the real act of surrender.”

I felt breathless as I contemplated on the words and savored the beauty of this wondrous moment – that Swami is with me while I write and that He guided me to add this to the blog post that I was about to publish – and this is my act of surrender to His Will and Compassion.

I bow with gratitude to my God and Guru - Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba for conveying the real meaning of Lord Krishna’s words to Arjuna and for helping me to be an instrument of sharing it here. The knowledge that Baba is always with me gives me more courage and conviction on the spiritual path than anything else. 

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Friday, January 24, 2014

How to grow out of bondage in our quest for eternity

There are many paths to Divinity but the hurdles ahead are much more than we anticipate. It's not always material possessions that stand in the way of our spiritual goals as hurdles. 

Sometimes, it is we ourselves who are responsible. Why? Because of our stubborn refusal to acknowledge the mistakes we make even though we know deep within that we are doing it all wrong. When it comes to managing relationships, we make bigger mistakes despite spiritual awareness. This often causes disharmony, makes us feel lousy, hurt and angry about the contradictions and spiritual conflicts that arise within us. Here's my post on 'Messed up Relationships: Three Easy Ways to Tackle It' and 'How to see God clearly'

For those on the spiritual path, here are some important questions to consider such as:

1. How do we choose those whom we love and those we don't love? Is there a logical pattern to our choices? 

2. Do we go with intuition, what the heart says or with the indications of obvious attraction that the body shows towards another person? 

3. Can a person on the spiritual path justify feeling these contradictions in the first place? Whether yes or no, what's the way forward?

I found an interesting gem of a perspective in a Buddhist story. It's simple, not rocket science but I found it insightful nevertheless. 

The story goes like this: One day, a Buddhist monk visits a Prince. By tradition, Buddhist monks are allowed to carry only their begging bowl and essential clothes. The Prince suggests a walk in the gardens. So, the monk keeps the bowl in the palace and joins the Prince for a walk. 

After a while, a servant from the palace comes running, crying out, “Fire in the palace!” 

The monk instantly leapt to his feet crying out, ”My bowl!” and he ran towards the palace. 

Whereas the Prince who lived in the lap of luxury was detached from the need to run after his belongings. He simply walked away without any worry about the palace or his belongings.

This raises the question: who is the wiser, more enlightened one? The prince who lived in the lap of luxury yet felt no bondage to any of his possessions at the time or the monk in whose mind the attachment towards the bowl is much greater? 

I also recall an experience of Kannamma - one of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's earliest devotees - who had documented her experiences and published the book. She says that she had asked Swami for an example to cite what He would consider as absolute/perfect faith in a devotee. This is Swami's response, "If at any point of time in your life, I appear and ask you to come with me and to abandon everything you have  - family, possessions, everything - you should be able to leave it all that very moment and come with me without even a moment's hesitation. That is absolute faith."

With certainty and sincerity, I can say this with all my heart, " Am ready." But my Bhagawan has not called me yet.

We all have that kind of faith and strength within us but often we place it in those people who probably don't give a damn, or in relationships that may be one-sided and sometimes we place our faith in fancy possessions. 

The best thing about spirituality is that the relationship is always two-sided and you get a thousand fold benefit and blessings to grow and surge ahead on the path that you tread. The experiences that await you cannot be described because they are unique, rare and often painful. But in the spiritual path, none of these hardships are remotely as degrading and as painful as the ridiculous situations we create for ourselves. We lose confidence and risk heartbreak for the silliest reasons and all of it is because of our bondage and the endless waiting game that follows thereafter. In spirituality, everything is properly accounted for because there is a cosmic law in place that is far more just and accurate though it is definitely above our understanding.

You know it within you – all of us, at heart, run back to check on our relationships and belongings because we are attached to all these things that we are accumulating in this life. We see it as 'ours' without realizing that we can't take any of it back with us - that our first and foremost duty is to grow ourselves first in our quest for eternity. 

The day we can let go of self-created bondage in terms of prized possessions or relationships we feel we 'possess,'  only then we will learn to progress and to be open and ready to accept God’s will manifest in our life the way it should and can manifest in abundance – that is when we become true warriors in the realm of spirituality and we will be able to embrace the entire world without being in a state of bondage. 

I don't know much about the spiritual path but I know that with every step that I take forward, there are contradictions following me like a trail of ants solely because of my own bondage. I would love to know if you have experienced anything like this.

What are the hurdles you face on the spiritual path or on your path to growth and happiness? I'd love to hear your thoughts and insights on this.

♥♥  I thank you with all my heart for reading this post. Please Share this article on your favorite social networks. Every share, like or tweet makes me reach out to more people in a positive way. I am grateful and I appreciate you for doing so. ♥♥

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How to practice silence on a daily basis and what to learn from the experience

A Hebrew teaching by the sage Hillel the Elder: "If I am not for myself, who will be for me?" (Tiny Buddha)

I am not a quiet person by nature. I love to talk. I keep talking with those I am close to. Sometimes I think my mind and voice can never remain still. 

I am the chatterbox in the family but family members say that wherever I go, I make it a festive celebration of sorts. So, you can imagine how difficult it can be for some one as talkative as me to practice silence on a daily basis. But if I can do it, be assured that you will be able to do so too. 

Lessons from Silence

Here are some vital lessons I have learned from practicing silence and I truly hope you find it useful:

1. Silence makes you stronger and it helps you to think deeper about anything you are facing in a serene, energizing way. Sometimes you are able to decode the big problems and come up with easy solutions because your mind is clear as crystal after you practice silence.

2. Silence brings you closest to yourself. It brings you face to face with who you really are, what it is that you are running away from and where you want to be heading to. You see and experience the real Truth about yourself, as a person and as a soul, through silence. In a way, it can freak you out but it's worth it because you strengthen your mind with it. Best of all, it is free of cost and there are no side effects.

3. Silence brings you closer to those whom you love deeply. It strengthens your relationships. For instance, when meditating, I pray and send out loving, positive energy to the few close people whom I love. As I pray for them, I can visualize them and send them my loving thoughts that reach them as energy. But when I do this, I feel closer to them and my love multiplies and strengthens itself to continue this as a beautiful sacred affirmation.

4.  Silence can be exciting because it makes you rethink about your priorities in life and can toss out some predictable outcomes that make life seem boring or mundane for you. In fact, silence nudges you out of your comfort zone altogether.


Do you have a specific spiritual practice that works for you? I would love to hear about it. Please write in!


♥♥  I thank you with all my heart for reading my post. I dedicate this post with love and gratitude to all those who are finding their own ways to enjoy solitude. REQUEST: Please SHARE this article on your favorite social networks. Every share, like or tweet makes me reach out to more people who are in various phases of finding their own happiness in life. I am grateful and I appreciate you for doing so. ♥♥

Monday, January 20, 2014

Movie Review: Fahad Fazil & Amala Paul Sizzle Together in Oru Indian Pranayakatha



It was a pleasure to watch Sathyan Anthikad's latest film "Oru Indian Pranayakadha" which marked the veteran director's clear departure from his signature style films. 
[Confession: I never miss a Fahadh Fazil movie. I am a HUGE fan of his right from Chappa Kurishu.

Of course, there are several other actors who play their part very well in this film but you should go watch the movie to enjoy it better. I don't want to spill the entire story here.

Right from the first scene, brace yourself to be bowled over by Aimanam Siddharthan, a young upcoming politician who leaves no stone unturned in his path to become an MLA. He charts out his every move to win the hearts of the people, gain visibility with the 'High Command' and extract political mileage out of every public appearance he makes. You get the feeling that he likes to have every move charted out in advance and planned in a way that reaps political dividends for his growth as a politician. 

But his plans fall apart when 'High Command' announces a new contestant (Hint: dynastic politics at play) and sidelines Aimanam Siddharthan altogether. Crushed, angry and feeling defeated, he wants to stay away from the place when his mentor is Uthup Vellikadan (starring Innacent) who is a seasoned politician asks him to do him a personal favor. The favor is to help Irene (starring Amala Paul) with her documentary film. It is here that Aimanam Siddharthan's well-planned life takes an unexpected turn, revealing the cosmic law that no matter how meticulously you plan every move in life, there's always a twist to it that happens for the better. 

Oru Indian Pranayakatha:  Laugh Out Loud Scenes
There is a scene where Irene tells Siddharthan about how men in Kerala tend to misbehave with women, His reaction displays characteristic wit and he tells her that he isn't one of them. He lists reasons and the last one being, "You aren't as good looking as the girl I am in love with." The way he says it is so witty that you can't stop grinning and Irene, after he leaves, goes to the mirror and looks into her reflection, searching for flaws. That, I tell you, is what almost every girl/woman would do.

Another scene: In the bus, they are traveling together. Siddharthan, in jest, complains about women jostling against him in the bus and how his image as a clean politician will be impacted by it. Then Irene sits next to him and starts pushing herself closer to him, her body pressing against him, her face inches away from him repeatedly almost touching yet not touching and the best part is that they both know she does all of this on purpose. 

The calm and cool Siddharthan starts to get so flustered, his expressions are so honest yet comical and finally, he refuses to get up at the bus stop when the bus halts and he keeps a most embarrassed expression that will drive you to laughter. What I liked about this scene is it's delivery - no cheap dialogues yet all the nuances of teasing are memorably captured. This detailing proves yet again that Sathyan Anthikad does not lose sight of his core audience - the families that flock to see his films. He keeps them close to his heart and to his style of film making.

Oru Indian Pranayakatha: Sathyan Anthikad's Magical Touch
As a Malayali, I have always enjoyed watching Sathyan Anthikad's films because they are so down to earth and brings in refreshing simplicity with a magical touch. In Sathyan Anthikad films, there is an unspoken guarantee that you can watch his film with your whole family. Interestingly, this movie marks a slight shift in the usual Sathyan Anthikad style of direction but change is good, that is how I see it. 

Some scenes are suggestive of the increasing boldness and intimacy between the hero and the heroine - this is something which I have not observed in any of his previous films. For instance, in this movie, there is a scene where Irene (the heroine starring Amala Paul) goes confidently to a textile shop and orders the inner wear for a very flustered Aimanam Siddharthan - this is a clear first in a Sathyan Anthikad movie.

Another difference - in most Sathyan Anthikad's movies that I have seen - the music is by Illayaraja and to me, as a listener, it has become somewhat methodical and predictable. But in this film, Vidyasagar's music is refreshingly young, well-choreographed and interestingly romantic in terms of display of love between the hero and the heroine. 


Oru Indian Pranayakatha: Fahad Fazil & Amala Paul Sizzle Together

Fahad Fazil, as Aimanam Siddharthan, is pleasing, convincing and natural. What I hadn't anticipated is that he would share a sizzling chemistry with the actress Amala Paul. As Irene, she is convincing, her body language is confident (as always) and her portrayal is just spot on. The two actors share a great sense of timing in dialogue delivery. But I do feel there are several scenes where her dialogue delivery seems unclear and certainly not as confident as her body language. 

Verdict: It's a feel good film and I enjoyed watching it. Go watch it in theaters.

If you liked this movie review, you may want to read these too:


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Life is quite funny or we make it so

Life is funny sometimes. The way it makes you act and react to situations, it can be hilarious at times.

Just the other day, I ran into an old friend. Lets call him A. He happens to be a former colleague of my husband, a good friend of mine because we share exactly the same interests pertaining to writers, books, films & music and we became good family friends. So, you are thinking "What's the big deal?" 

Nothing much. Except that we stopped talking for the last five years. Or rather, I completely cut off this friend from my life altogether. Ah, now grab some coffee if you want to listen to this story and have a good laugh at the end of it too.

It's like this. The three of us spent the early years in Delhi hanging out together most of the time especially after work. We would watch movies together, eat dinner together, go to the nearby Guruvayur temple together and party together. We were an amazing team and had an enviable friendship. 

Together, the three of have celebrated some of my professional and 'creative' milestones by going out for treats at yes, hold your breath, McDonalds, Subway and so on, where we would literally dissect my latest story or creative column as though it is next in queue for a Booker Prize. 

What I enjoyed most was about being able to share ideas, agree, disagree, debate and have an all-round conversation about everything and anything. And yes, we were an amazing team of brilliant minds especially because we are all lawyers and we are moving in the upper crust of legal luminaries. This meant that our conversations never ran short of fun. 

But none of us would have guessed that we wouldn't be looking eye-to-eye in few years time. That's what makes life funny when you look at the twists and turns that happen on the way.

To put things simply, my three year old son and A's 1 year old daughter were great friends too. Several times when my son would go to their home to play, the door was shut on him and he was told to come later. A couple of times, this happened and I didn't take it seriously. Then one day, I got a call from a mutual friend who told me that my son had gone there to play, he was told to wait outside as their daughter would wake up in five minutes after her 3 o clock nap. He was told to wait five minutes and they closed the door on him. It was a very hot summer day. He waited and waited outside thinking his little friend would come and then he became very weak and seemed to almost drop down in front of their door. This mutual friend saw him and took him to her house and kept him there.

This incident angered me beyond all words. I thought we are good friends and I could not understand how this kind of behavior happens repeatedly to a child. If there is a problem and they don't like the two kids being friends, they should communicate or address it, not ill-treat a child who is three years old. Personally, I would never ever treat a friend's child like this.

I wanted to immediately confront and ask them directly why they, being family friends, behaved like this to my son. But I calmed myself down and decided not to and talked more to Adi about the various instances when they asked him to wait outside. Each time, I got to know that it is A's wife who had done so. So, that meant if I had to address this situation I would have to tell A about his wife's conduct towards my son. I didn't want to create a messy scene between a couple over my son. My husband and I decided that we cannot alter how others behave to us but we can alter how we react to sticky situations.

We agreed on some ground rules:

1. No more friendly visits/chats/  to A's house or with A and family. 
2. Keep contact minimal.
3. Help Adi find friends of his age whom he can play with outdoors in the society building itself.
4. Treat A's kid with loving attention just like before (who comes to our home at least thrice a day from the time she wakes up).

Following this, we never met A for months at a stretch and the months stretched to years. We had no contact with them. And poof! We met them at a mall yesterday after many years because A came over, in his usual heart warming style, and began talking to us with such delight because we were meeting up after years.

In a span of thirty minutes, we were all chattering at once and catching up with a lot of the things happening in our lives as if we hadn't ever stopped talking before. A and family were genuinely happy to meet and talk with us. 

The only glitch is this - the kids were no longer speaking to each other anymore.

While, we the grown ups, began talking like an immature bunch, our kids had apparently grown up and decided to ignore each other. 

Life, as I told you, is quite funny. Or rather, we make it so.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

World of Books: It’s not demand that creates supply, it’s the other way around

In one of my recent blog posts, I had written that many Indian writers are going overboard with their social media book promotions. It gives me some relief that I am not the only one who thinks so. 
1. Anyone can publish a book these days, and just about everyone does. But if the supply of writers is increasing at a velocity unknown in literary history, the supply of readers is not.
2. Competition is rather fierce. Result: ceaseless self-promotion by eager beginners.
3. The poet Joseph Brodsky, who wrote that "in cultural matters, it is not demand that creates supply, it is the other way around. You read Dante because he wrote 'The Divine Comedy' not because you felt the need for him; you would not have been able to conjure either the man or the poem."  
Read the third point again. It tells us what we suspected all along. Readers aren’t a bunch of idiots who listen blindly to what authors tell them about their books. We don't fall for the most obvious bait – author’s marketing pitch - and pick up any book from the bookstore. We spend hours browsing through hundreds of books before we decide to invest our precious time, money and commit our heart’s attention to a book.
The clincher is this – it’s not just the bucks we are parting with when we invest in books. We invest a bit of ourselves in the books we buy and read. For the same reason, readers are not likely to cater to the growing tribe of publicity-crazy authors who have their eye on churning out best sellers come what may. 

Best sellers aren’t such a bad thing, provided they have real substance. But if you are telling me that many of the pulp fiction novels in Indian publishing are best sellers, I have to cross my heart and tell you something that every reader would connect with “I read for the pleasure of experiencing a different world – a better world – and not necessarily to read a rehashed ‘masala’ version of what authors think can sell.”
When authors sell, they need to know one simple thing – they become vendors. Not real writers like Anita Desai, Kavery Nambisan, Manju Kapur and Shashi Deshapande, to mention a few.  Publicity-crazy authors are not in the league of bookshop owners but they are pure vendors who are into the business of making money out of books. And the actual process of writing, as we all agree, is a creative function. Pure and simple.
So, if you are an avid writer or reader, I’d like to know this: How do you choose the books you read? Is it based on an author’s clai, “I am the best there is because my book sells better than anyone else” or is it based on topic, content, craft and so on?

I would like to believe that you choose to read the books you really, really like.

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Power of Words

The power of words cannot be under estimated. It is not always people who hurt us as much as their words do. Perhaps we all live such rush-filled lives that we don't even pause to think before we say something that can be hurtful. Sometimes words can make you cry. Think about this when you feel tempted to use words to hit back.

Words have tremendous power. They have life. They spark love, hate and a melange of emotions in the human mind. They trigger actions and reactions that have far-reaching implications in an individual's life. 

When you offer hope and compassion, it lights up a person's life. When you criticize someone without thinking about how deeply it hurts that person, it is your words that will never be forgotten by that person. 

Have you ever recalled the words of those who have hurt your feelings? Then you would know the importance of using words with more care and compassion.

Pause and think of the most beautiful words some one special has said to you. As you reflect on it, the heart seems to burst with lightness and an array of sensations that may range from happiness to pleasure.

Do you feel the silken sweet words slide over you like smooth soap on your skin?

Imagine how beautiful the world and how happy everyone would be if we used words with care and not with an intention to hurt or to judge or to belittle others. 

Yet as a writer, I find some words turn elusive when I try to grasp it within my reach. Words such as 'Help me' or 'I need a break' are very difficult to say. Do you face that dilemma too? Have you ever felt deeply inspired and moved by words that came your way? 

Do share your story and do take out some time to read mine please.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My Book Wishlist in 2014: Read more, Refine your writer's voice

The year is 2014. And I have a wishlist. But it is a different kind of wishlist that has been inspired by Mark Rubinstein's thought-provoking article as given here 



So, here you go. This is my 'book wishlist' for 2014.

Good fiction across all formats and genres

Well-written fiction - be it in short story form, novel or literary form - should be welcomed, promoted and discussed. 
Renaissance of non-fiction books
We are seeing a renaissance of non-fiction books being published, discussed and promoted across the country. This is terrific and I hope this trend lasts. Unlike in fiction, it is the subject of the book that becomes the bait for a reader to pick it up. Interestingly, it is the very same subject that drives a publishing company's marketing plan. This means that a publishing company may have several non-fiction books in the pipeline but their marketing of it would vary based on the topic itself. 

In fact, TOI had ,in a recent report, cited 'According to Bahri, the ration of sales for fiction to non-fiction is 60:40.' Interesting fact, don't you think? 
Some of the notable non-fiction titles this year include  historian and author Ramachandra Guha's "Gandhi Before India" and Anita Raghavan's thriller "The Billionaire's Apprentice" which traces the rise and fall of business tycoon Raj Rajaratnam and financial consultant Rajat Gupta.
Another key trend to watch out for is in the area of legal books. Some of the finest names in India’s legal system are penning their observations, experiences and sharing their expertise on niche areas of law. Don’t miss books like Fali S Nariman’s “Before MemoryFades” which is a gem of a book touching upon his interactions within and outside the legal profession as well as interesting anecdotes, stirring experiences that can give you a real feel of what the legal profession is like behind the scenes and lots more.
Another book to check is Sandeep Parekh’s ebook titled ‘Fraud, Manipulation and Insider Trading in the Indian Securities Markets’ and is already gathering momentum. You can read moreinformation about it here 
Growing tribe of quality-conscious readers 
We need to cultivate and nurture a growing tribe of quality-conscious readers who demand more from the books they read. This should fuel a hunger among writers to excel at their craft and take it more seriously. True, in India, pulp fiction that celebrates sex and one night stands sells like hot cakes. Everyone is reading it. But should we let sleaze overrule the charm of a good, well-written story that tugs at the heart strings? Never. 
Let Readers buy & Writers write 
Authors should tone down their fetish of promoting and highlight "star" ratings of their books on websites like Flipkart. 

The more authors try to aggressively rate only themselves  or their books as better than the rest, the more it turns off avid readers like me. There has to be a sense of balance in a writer's mind while promoting one's books on social media. This is not to say that all Indian writers are guilty of 24X7 coverage of their book promotions but increasingly I see it go over the top, nauseatingly so. But increasingly, a number of Indian writers are so bullish about their books that they try to become book sellers than writers. To me, that seems a clear indication: they are losing the plot about their craft. 
In one of her rare public interactions with readers, Anita Desai mentioned this trend. She spoke about how lonely and painful the writing process had been for her but she would still write, write and write without caring whether anyone read it. That's the kind of passion that every writer needs to incorporate into their writing practice. I am serious! In fact, Anita Desai also said she never tracked whether herbooks sold well and was pleasantly surprised to know that her books were so well-received abroad and were a topic of study and discussion among students, particularly in the UK and US.  
She also cautioned contemporary writers about getting too caught up in the cycle of marketing and promotion and gently hinted that to write is the best way of showing love to your craft. I SO love her simplicity and openness about this.  Writers, please get your act together, focus on the craft and not go overboard with publicity stunts. 
One of the reasons I have decreased my intake of books by Indian writers is because their over-the-top aggressive promotions that spoils my interest in buying their books. 
Also, established authors in popular genres who have met with success are pumping out inferior and formulaic novels that appeal to below-average readers. To do this continuously tells a choosy reader like me that the author is either stuck in a rut or is thinking only about the number of copies being sold. That is a clear dampener and I would steer clear from buying books of so-called 'popular' authors.
 If you liked this post, do read this too.   What's on your wish list for 2014? I'd love to know.

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