Wednesday, March 14, 2018

So you broke up? What now?

“Sangeet, I’m in love with someone else. I’ve always been in love with her, Kushal said quietly, I married you just because my parents wanted me to.”

The silence that followed was chilling.

The above lines have been excerpted from my fiction, ‘In Pursuit of a Lesser Offence,’ (Alchemy, 2014). The main female protagonist in the story is besotted by her husband and goes out of her way to be liked and accepted by him. However, the husband not only abuses her but also hides the fact that he’s been having an affair with a colleague in his office till the wife confronts him on one occasion. The book is an attempt to explore the changing phase of modern - day relationships and also studies whether the reasons given by couples, to get into a committed relationship, the right ones or are they nose - diving just because they’re in love or that’s what the society expects them to do.

Coming back to the excerpt I shared in the beginning, doesn’t it look like a scene from real life? And quite a common one at that. Probably the circumstances may vary. So what should we do when our heart breaks? Go silent? Get into depression? Stop living?

For a while, maybe yes. It is normal to grieve after a break - up. In fact, grief is a process and it goes through various stages from feeling extremely low, to blaming self, to anger and hoping and wishing that things would go back to how it was. It takes time to heal. And it takes a strong will. A determination and gumption to jump back to our original self again. It takes wisdom and compassion. To forgive and forget. To move on in life.

Here are a few things you can do:

Deal with the fact: This is the toughest part. To acknowledge that you have been dumped or have to part ways with your lover. It is important to distract yourself at this stage. Remember, your heart has got into the habit of a daily dose of love messages or coffee with the one and only. Break the habit.  Try and think of ways to keep yourself occupied. Stop stalking your ex. Also remember that it’s normal to cry or feel low. In fact, it is best to talk it out as much as possible. It helps.
Don’t give in to the temptation: of calling up your ex to clear misunderstandings or to accuse him further of how he has used you. You were in the relationship out of your own free will. No one forced you into it. It is no use blaming the other partner for the break up. It is important to shift the focus from him to yourself. Take good care of your health and surround yourself with supportive and cheerful company.
Build up your Self – Esteem: Now this is the most difficult but also the most vital thing to do after a break up. Your self – worth takes a hit and impacts all other areas of your life; be it work, interaction with your family or taking crucial decisions about your personal growth. The best way to building your self-confidence is to first wipe - off the pictures playing in your ‘mind screen’ over and over. Get rid of the negative thoughts, shun them as soon as they enter your mind. Reinforce the ‘I can and I will,’ attitude. Slowly, the old and painful pictures get blurred and new ones take their place.
Be brave and walk out: In case of an abusive relationship, despite knowing how things stand… if you still don’t want to break free, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Firstly, if someone loves you they will not think of harming or hurting you. Secondly, to think that you love someone more than your own self is a sham. You’re fooling yourself and unnecessarily giving all your power to your worthless partner. You need to do a reality check. As humans we all crave for love but that doesn’t give anyone the right to make us feel guilty and worthless for their problems in life and slowly destroy our sense of self - worth. We owe it to ourselves to put a stop to it.
Consult a Psychologist: This is the best piece of advice I can give you. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re confused or emotionally disturbed with regard to your break up or an extraordinary situation in your relationship; please do not hesitate to contact a professional. They will guide you the best.

Keep Smiling! Always. :)

Thursday, March 8, 2018

International Women's Day and The Temple Bar Woman - what a coincidence!

It's International Women's Day today! 

It's also exactly a month since my new novel, "The Temple Bar Woman - a tale of danger, deceit and daring," was released in Delhi.

I've more than one reason to celeberate the spirit of womanhood. And pay a tribute to all the wonderful women in my life...including the female characters portrayed in all my books. 

A bit about  my new novel and its formal launch in Delhi-

 The book is a work of fiction and narrates the story of Radha - a simple village school teacher who is kidnapped for a flimsy reason by a powerful politician and his friends, insulted and abused before being sold to an upscale brothel in a city in an unconscious state. This is a story of her escape, rage and revenge and her quest to seek out and punish the man who destroyed her life.

If you take it at face value, the book is a racy read; however, it is an attempt to open the floor for discussion and get people talking about sexual violence and abuse openly. So that the subject becomes a part of living room conversations just like drug or alcohol abuse issues or any other problem afflicting the society. The event was hosted by SheThePeopleTv – The Book Club along with their venue partner, SodaBottleOpenerwala in Khan Market, New Delhi. 

 I also decided to have a couple of panel discussions at the formal book launch event and invited prominent citizens of the city to discuss and share their views.
Dr. Tripti Sharan (a gynaecologist who has handled rape and abuse cases and a writer; Dr. Sanjay Chugh (psychologist); Ms. Richa Mohan (Psychosocial trainer, social worker and researcher in the said area); Shri Harry Dhaliwal; (Jt. Comm. of Police famous for handling the sensational Dhaula Kuan Rape case) were the guests of honour at the launch function. There were two short - panel discussions focusing on different facets of the issue moderated by me:
1)    Are we as a culture in a state of denial as far as sexual abuse is concerned?
2)    Trivialising Gender violence: Social norms and attitudes
The discussions were followed by the book launch by Guests of honour and cake cutting. 

I'm happy that the book is finally out and the intial reviews are encouraging. While promoting my book, my aim is also to have more such conversations around the subject of sexual violence at various platforms. You may find me in your city soon. Will keep you posted. Do drop by if you are around when I visit your city. 

Happy Women's Day! Keep Smiling! :)

Media coverage of the event:
Times of India -


Buy the book here: