I am a fantasy writer working on various projects of storytelling as an author, scriptwriter, and graphic novelist. A dreamer at heart, I am fascinated by the unreal, unexplained and undefined and want to write about them. Each of my stories aims to prod boundaries and explore the other sides of happy, technicolour dreams and impressionist nightmares.
Inspired by the training given to those who join the Armed Forces, boot-camps are high-intensity workouts that deliver specific results. “It’s primarily an outdoor group activity where a cluster of people who have the same goal join together,” says J. Keshav, owner and president of BootCamp Chennai, whose 12-week outdoors boot camp costs Rs12,300. The goals of a boot camp could vary, from weight loss, building stamina and endurance to general fitness, stretching, toning or strengthening muscles.
“In one word, it’s roughing it out,” says Bengaluru-based Wannitaa Ashok, an expert in body transformation. “A full-body cardio and strength workout that’s very effective for weight loss,” she adds. It can help increase lean muscle mass, and build muscular and cardiovascular endurance and strength while improving overall coordination and balance, she explains. An important aspect of the workout is limiting the rest time between each move, so the heart rate goes up and you burn calories faster. “You do circuits of intense exercises for about 30-60 seconds each, pausing for only a few seconds between exercises,” says Vesna Pericevic Jacob, wellness expert and founder of Vesna’s Alta Celo, a wellness clinic based in Delhi. The idea is to schedule challenging workouts that push you to your limits, improve your fitness levels and burn calories faster.
My latest book, The Matsya Curse, was partly edited at the Chichester University, where I was for three months, on a Charles Wallace India Trust writing fellowship, galavanting, interacting with authors and teachers and basically learning so much. That’s the reason when it came to the book’s launch I decided to approach the British Council Library, Bangalore for it.
And oh, what a launch it was!
There’s still a heady hangover from it as I am writing this. There was a quiz, done by geeky spouse Ashwani and friend Prasad which was won by 11-year olds. I knew about four questions from the total fifteen and Leighton, the head of Bangalore BCL mentioned that he didn’t know any over Twitter. The quiz was followed by an excerpt reading from The Matsya Curse and then a conversatino between me and Samhita Arni. Sam was wonderful with her questions, well-read and covered all aspects of the book, be it tantrism, feminism, Indian mythology in fantasy or how much time it takes to write a book. Phew. What wonderfulness. Leaving you with a few photographs taken by the fab photograph and friend Darshan CG. Now back to planning more quizzes for you. Look out this space for announcements.
Feel you are addicted to social media? Here are the signs to look out for and what you can do about it.
Notifications are taking over your life
Brr. Boing. Beep. Your phone keeps calling, blinking, beckoning you, and you oblige again and again, while you’re studying, working, eating, dating or sleeping. It’s stressful and you have Fomo (fear of missing out) attacks in the middle of the night, when you wake up to check yet another beep. A study, conducted by a team of professors from the University of Southern California, US, in January 2016 and published in the journal Psychology Reports: Disability & Trauma, looked at people’s brains while they surfed social media and found that they responded to notifications much faster than they did to traffic signals. Ofir Turel, the professor who led the study, rated the need to check almost as high as cocaine addiction.
Change it: “We speculate that addictive behaviour in this case stems from low motivation to control the behaviour,” Turel said in a press release. Try switching off all push notifications on social media apps. Head to Settings>Notifications>Off for each application. This way, you will have to make the effort to open an app to see the notifications.
The 11th Like makes your day
Getting more than expected likes on Instagram and Facebook can give you a high—and you may feel depressed if the response is tepid. According to a report by Britain’s National Health Service, released in September, social media posts are responsible for a spike in depression and anxiety in a quarter of women aged 16-24. Continue reading “7 signs that you are addicted to social media”
I recently had a chance to talk about Indian graphic novels and comics that have come out in the last seven odd years. It’s a fascinating mix of novels made to reflect on social changes, satire, city narratives, anthologies, fantasy, superhero genre, mythology, biography and also a slide on the evolution of the Indian Comic Con and how it pushed the comics industry forward. I had prepared this talk for a UK audience at the Cartoon Museum so was glad that someone in India asked me to do it. The event, so well organised by Badri and Kusai of Gathr happened in the chic Nicobar. A fabulous turnout, interested audience and people who had curious questions. Loved doing this talk! Thanks Gathr for the opportunity. More on its Facebook page.
What’s a book launch without a tantric quiz? To formally announce the launch of my new novel, The Matsya Curse, we have organised a quiz which tests your knowledge of supernatural, folklore and tantrism. If Goddess-forbid, a quiz bores you, there will be a quick book reading from The Matsya Curse and a fiery session with author Samhita Arni (of the Sita’s Ramayana fame) on our evil plan to push in a feminist agenda through humour. And samosa and tea. Free. Seriously. Come, come! There’s no reason not to.
This Sunday. At British Council Library, Bangalore
It’s happening at 4pm at the lovely venue that’s the British Council Library. It’s a Sunday post-lunch session, there’s no traffic on the road and there are delectable books to be won.
What do you think is the purpose of literature? The worth of literature is being questioned these days, certainly here in Canada.
One works on two levels. At the subconscious level one is not working with an agenda, one is working out of a compulsion to tell your story, to put words on paper, to keep something from disappearing. And the joy of using language ought not to be forgotten.
On a conscious level, after you’ve written your work, sometimes it takes you by surprise. You say, oh, is that what it was about? At the end of the book you say, so that’s why it stayed in your mind for so long. What’s the reason for writing it? And invariably the reason is to tell the truth, in a somewhat sideways, somewhat subversive way. You don’t always manage to do that openly, face-to-face, you have to find a kind of a secret way.
The truth about life?
You have a strong body of work dating back many decades. Do you have any of your books that are favourites, that have stayed with you?
Want to slow down ageing? There is a way. We break down some nutrients that can help you stay agile and young.
Slow down ageing: Infuse turmeric in milk
That old granny tale about drinking milk with a pinch of turmeric actually works. “Having a pinch of turmeric with milk daily (for an adult) makes your skin shine as turmeric has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties,” explains Sawant. A study published in July 2014 in the PLOS Medicine journal proved that curcumin, the powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant chemical in turmeric, protects the shortening of telomeres, keeping the cells younger. “When had in raw form, turmeric helps in fighting against bacteria and in blood purification,” she says. Those who are lactose-intolerant can have turmeric with water, even honey. The idea is to have it in raw form, as cooking reduces the effects of curcumin, adds Sawant. Continue reading “Slow down ageing through what you eat”
A reading party, a rather modern phenomenon of people coming together and being introduced to a genre or to read together, silently, sitting in a pub or a cafe, is a wonderful idea. Which is why when Gathr approached me for this event, I was quite excited. It’s happening this Thursday in Bangalore. I will be doing a talk on my love of comics, showing people the books I have, read other people’s collection of graphic novels and mostly celebrate the Indian comics genre. I hope there are more reading parties like this, that people sign up for and more and more people pick up Indian-made comics. Come over, peeps, if comics are your kind of a thing.
The fifth edition of our odd juxtaposition of reading and party finds us focusing on modern Indian graphic novels, a genre that is really finding its feet. We’ve curated a set of some of the most interesting new works available for your reading pleasure. Continue reading “Event: A graphic reading party in Bangalore”
Am superbly thrilled to share the cover of my latest book with you all. Anantya Tantrist is back. And so is this adventure, which is crazier than the last one. The cover’s been done by the wonderful, wonderful George Mathen. (Read about how I convinced him to do it here). And well, it’s out, it’s coming and I’m going gaga and have lost the art of writing a bit. On preorder now.
Tantrik detective Anantya Tantrist is back, smart-ass comments, dark mantras and all
In Banaras, Bhairava, a black tantrik, sets out to win control of life through mass murder, aided by an army of pretas. In Delhi, a tribal supernatural melts to death in a five-star hotel on the same night that an ancient demonologist is murdered. All this while, the government and the Central Association of Tantriks choose to look the other way and gods, demi-gods, immortals and rakshasas all join Bhairava’s army.
All that stands between the murdering bosses and the hapless masses is unofficial detective Anantya Tantrist, armed with a boneblade, a tote of mandalas and a cocky attitude. Just as she begins to see a pattern between a goddess selling art, a miracle-producing minister, an undead mob attacking a rock concert and her immortal friend throwing a tantrum, Anantya faces her most personal hell: her ex-boyfriend Neel has come back from the dead and is trying to kill her. He’s not the only one, of course. A powerful rakshasi wants her head, a pair of demi-gods wants her blood and the trolls are trying to squash her to pulp.
She cannot even sleep off the exhaustion, because each time she drops off, Bhairava invades her mind, trying to consume it. Join Anantya as she faces her most formidable enemy yet in the ultimate battle for her mind and her city.
“A remarkable tale,” says Anand Neelakanthan, author of Asura and Bahubali. Please to pre-order and read.
Of all the ones I’ve been to, Blossoms Book House is especially close to my heart. Maybe because it was in their vast collection on tantrism that I first came across the climax of my first book of Anantya Tantrist series – Cult of Chaos. I’ve spent hours in the bylanes of its fantasy and science fiction sections. Oh and don’t even get me started about the corner that houses the comics. The ideas I’ve found there, have fuelled a lot of my other books, including Anantya’s upcoming adventure, The Matsya Curse.
How important are bookstores for authors when it comes to inspiration and research? Did I really find ghosts and supernatural monsters in Blossoms Book House? I’ve been roped in by the lovely people at The Humming Tree and Book and Brews to do a session about my love for bookstores as part of The Book Shop Crawl on Sunday. I will tell you why, even though I voraciously read on my Kindle, bookstores remain important for me. This Sunday. 2.30pm.
Even though the event is sold out, I’m allowing readers and those curious to sneak in to hear the stories. So come, peeps!