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Fact or Fiction?

ImageAs I have sat at home and battled the flu bug today, I have had some time to dwell on the book I want to be working on. It has been quite a feat considering how foggy my brain has been the past couple days. One idea I have tossed around in my head for a while now, is about making a realistic fiction book out of my workplace experiences.

Between my hacking and coughing, I started laying out the foundation for my book this afternoon. The most interesting place I have worked at, at least from a book perspective, has to be the first company I joined here in the Unites States back in 2000. It was actually my first workplace ever. As an inexperienced beginner, with stars in my eyes, I started there with great enthusiasm, as is expected of any fresh college graduate, I am sure.

I wonder sometimes, if maybe, we should start with a little less enthusiasm when we have just started and then increase the enthusiasm by 2% every year. Maybe that would make for more productive, happier workers and thus more productive workplaces? But, I digress.

Getting back to my first company, it really was a great experience in many ways. So many changes occurred in the company and thus to me in the almost three years I was there. I am sure there were times when I was working there, I questioned myself if perhaps I should have chosen the other company that had made me an offer at the same time this one had. Maybe I should have. Or maybe I ended up where I was meant to be.  I will never know.  But what I do know is that those three years set up the foundation for the fighter in me to rise and fight for my dreams. And by fighting, I mean that I learned to believe in myself more. It definitely prepared me for being a consultant at Company #2.

The book I am working on will obviously be a highly fictionalized version of what actually happened. I mean, how else am I going to sell my book? Page after page cannot simply be “and then they all worked hard and went back to their respective homes”.

As I was listing out the cast of characters of  the book earlier today based on the people I worked with at that company and I had to chuckle. A real cast of characters we were. I could actually set my book in the 1950s or 60s because who will believe me when I say that people used to smoke in the office and stop by your cube and take their smoke break as they chatted with you?

Looking back, the one regret I have is that I did not keep a journal. If I had made notes of everything that had happened on a day-to-day basis, I would have had my story. I would just have to change it up a bit, add an event or two make the story more interesting and then my book would be ready. Now I have to entirely rely on my memory and my imagination.

Speaking of journals, last December I found the Irish author Patrick Taylor and his Irish Country Doctor series. I fell in love with this series. I read the books and then listened to them on audio books. It is series of books which tell a simple story about a doctor practicing in rural Ireland. These books were based on Taylor’s own journals of when he was just starting off as a doctor in Ireland. His books and that of Maeve Binchy have made me fall in love Ireland. The Ireland they write stories about, anyway! I want to go there soon. I hope you are reading this, honey!

After discovering the source of Taylor’s books, I talked to my kids about the importance of keeping a journal. I hope they were paying attention. No experience is insignificant. Every little piece comes together to form the whole puzzle that we call our lives. And journals can be great way to reflect on our lives and maybe share the stories down the road.

All this talk of journals actually makes me think that maybe I should keep a journal and writing in it every day for 30 days as my self-improvement challenge. What better way to motivate my kids than to be the example they can follow!?

While I decide what my 30 day challenge is, I will continue working on my book furiously. It is funny to look back and see myself and others through my mind’s eye. And who knows if it all really happened that way, anyway? After all, it is just my version of things. My version of things based on walking down memory lane today while doped up on TheraFlu and NyQuil, at that. But it sure makes a great story though!

Until next time,

Radhika

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2013 in Life size Bytes

 

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I wrote my cake.

Chapter 11 of the Browny book or a version of it is behind me now. I am glad I made myself write it tonight.
This evening I was definitely feeling the opposite of perky and full of energy. After returning from work, I made dinner, cleaned the kitchen, checked up on the boys school work and I was ready to cuddle up with a book and call it a day. And so that is what I did.
Reading a book these days has become such an exercise in learning for me. I generally read murder mysteries but these days more than who murdered whom I like paying attention to the writing style of the author. I pay a lot of attention to how the author has painted a picture of the scene he or she is trying to describe through their words. I am fascinated by that art. I am learning from what I read and am now trying to add more details into the Browny book so it paints a picture of Browny’s life in the reader’s mind. Reading books make me re-read my own work and re-evaluate and add or change a detail missing in the picture I am trying to paint.
Tonight was no exception. Two to three pages into the book and I was eager to write. Wanting to write was actually my second instinct. My first instinct was that I wanted a slice of cake, a large slice of chocolate cake at that. You see, the author had just finished describing how everyone was enjoying cake at a gathering. She described the cake in such way that my first thought was “I WANT CAKE”. Knowing how that would make my snug pants feel even snugger, I fought through the urge and instead settled on writing.
My pants are thanking me that they won’t have to squeeze in even more of me and my book is now one step closer to completion and Browny is one step closer to finding a home. I will be teaming up with a friend on illustrations for the book. I am also looking at self publishing the book through the many online options available these days. Nothing is finalized yet. It is such a wonderful process to be going through.
We are now thinking about our next book. We have settled on “Skyla Boneigh – Girl Detective”. We are in the very early stages of planning but I find myself often wondering what crimes she would solve in what we are hoping will be a series. I leave you tonight with the Prologue written by my son Ajay.

Prologue

On a cold, winter, night, there was a faint knock on the Girls Only Orphanage (GOO for short). Mrs. Johann, the orphanage’s owner opens the big, castle like doors. There lying was a little basket with a letter on it and something in it. Mrs. Johann takes a peek in the basket. A new born baby was lying in the basket just in front of her eyes. She picks up the letter and reads it. “This is Mr. and Mrs. Boneigh. We have sent our dear child to this orphanage because we are a young couple and money doesn’t come very easy for either of us. Please do take very good care of her. (P.S- Her name is Skyla Boneigh and we love her dearly. We also left her a gift from us around her neck).” Mrs. Johann took another peek at Skyla. There was a gold, heart-shaped locket on her neck. Mrs. Johann picks the basket up with Skyla in it slowly and goes back inside.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Browny the book, Life size Bytes

 

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Random thoughts on this Sunday evening.

1. This weekend was incredibly relaxing. Like a getaway. Did nothing major. Just enjoyed time with the family. I am ready for Monday. I think. Almost.
2. This past Wednesday or Tuesday I came up with an idea of writing a blogpost of 100 reasons why I love having a job. As I sit here today I am not sure of what they were. Probably because tomorrow is Monday.
3. My neice turned five today. We enjoyed her princess party. Her brothers aka my sons dressed up in prince costumes two sizes too small. It was an incredibly cute sight.
4. I worry I will never be able to write down a correct recipe for any dish I come up with. Measuring and taking pictures sucks the joy out of cooking for me. Maybe I should post just one dish a week on the blog that I cook specifically for blogging? Pay my son a fee of $1 to be the official photographer maybe!? I like how I think.
5. Will Browny ever find a home!? Or will he just be bounced from owner to owner. I have no clue yet.
6. I love watching the TV Show “The Good Wife”. It makes me glad I am not a lawyer. But I have always wanted to be a lawyer. I also wanted to be an author. Wanted to be an author!? I think I still want to be an author. Or should I be a lawyer instead!? I love writing. Maybe I will love writing briefs!?
7. I made a traffic boo-boo this past week. I loved regaling my colleagues with tales of how I am now an outlaw. Maybe I am meant to be an outlaw when I grow up!?
8. I am listening to “Nanny Diaries” on CD as I drive to and from work. I am loving it. I love simple books. I hope my own book or books will be fun, simple reads as well.
9. I just have not found the time for Pinterest this week. That’s just not right. People lose themselves on Pinterest. I need to work harder at that. This whole being an outlaw thing is cutting into my Pinterest time.
10. I am grateful for my life, my family, health and everything I in my life – the good and the bad. I am also glad tomorrow is Monday. I think. Almost.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2012 in Life size Bytes

 

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Browny – Chapter 11 and beyond.

Last night I was discussing the ideas for the upcoming chapters with my sons and also asking them what they thought of the book so far. They enthusiastically shared their ideas for “our” book and each wants to write a chapter for the book now. Squeal!! I am so excited. The goal of writing this book was three fold, one was to get it out my system, second goal was to actually start writing instead of just wanting to write and thirdly to encourage creative writing and thinking in my sons. So far, all three goals have been accomplished. I think we are also going to try to get this book published. I may even try some illustartions for the book myself. And before I forget, my husband is our most ardent fan. He is thrilled to watch his sons actively take part in this process.
We have also collectively decided that we are going to disclose further chapters in the book. Where will Browny end up? Will Hannah get over her allergies? Will Browny end up with the Eckerts or the Smiths or the Boschs or a new family? And what about Mrs Boschs fear? Will she get over it? We don’t know the answers yet either. Writing is a process where one sentenece leads to another as your imagination takes off. So far that has been the guiding force for a bare bones idea I have had for a while now. While we had a set idea while beginning the book, now we are just going with the flow. We are just as eager to find out where Browny end up.
We hope you are enjoying the book as much as we are. We promise that once the book is out there will be lot more details in each chapter. The book is partly based on our lives and there are so many wonderful details we would like to share.
With Browny working on finding his new home, we are contemplating ideas for other books we would like to write. If not anything else, we would have at least flexed our writing and thinking muscles and spent time as a family on an activity that we are all thoroughly enjoying. We plan to display our letters of rejection with pride.
My older son loves photography and he hopes I plan to write a cookbook for which he is the official photography. Wait!! Isn’t that what this site was about to begin with!? I am glad he has made me realise my initial purpose for creating this site. He has however asked me to work on my food presentation skills. He tells me I can work wonders with any ingredient but I lack in the presentation department. My husband quickly agreed with my son while I half heartedly agreed. Hmpf! But I know they are right. So now you know what I am actively working on improving.
Thanks for coming along on this crazy ride with us! I am so glad we get to share it with you.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Browny the book

 

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Browny – Chapter 4

Adam and Alan came back home after having played with Browny for a little bit. They were so excited that the Smiths had gladly accepted their offer of help. They planned to be the best dog sitters ever.
First they needed to read up on Labrador retrievers. They asked their mom to take them to the library right away. She reminded them that they needed to finish breakfast and then shower and get dressed before she would take them to the library.
Once they were ready the three of them set out for the library. Adam and Alan immediately headed over to the kids section. There they each grabbed a book on Labrador retriever and began reading eagerly. After about an hour their mom reminded that she had to get back home to make lunch and that they could borrow the books to finish reading at home. The boys agreed.
Upon reaching home, they quickly checked the Smiths backyard to see if Browny was playing outside. They were eager to ring the doorbell and see if Browny was inside but their parents had told them to not disturb the Smiths unnecessarily. So they went back inside to finish reading the book.
As they were just settling in to read the book, they heard the now familiar bark of Browny. They rushed back outside and in-between playing with Browny started telling Mrs Smith all that they had read about Labrador retrievers or Labs as the breed is commonly known as and how they plan to use that knowledge to be the best dog sitters ever.
They told her that they had learned that Labrador retrievers were strong, dependable and have a great personality. Adam and Alan also told her that the books they had read had informed them that Labs were great swimmers. Labs also like to fetch and were all around great athletes, workers and companions. Adam and Alan informed her that Labrador Retrievers would be gentle with babies as well even though they could grow up to be 70-90 pounds. Mrs Smith was impressed with the research that Adam and Alan had done. She thanked them for taking their job as dog sitters so seriously!
Adam and Alan were pleased and they once again assured here that they would be available to dog sit whenever she needed them especially now that a baby was on the way. Mrs Smith gave a laugh! She then thanked them for their kindness and said they could start by walking with her and Browny if they so desired. They readily agreed and dog walked with Mrs Smith.
Upon coming back to the Smiths yard they played with Browny some more. They fed him a few dog snacks and gave him a bowl of water.
They headed back into their own home, reluctantly, upon hearing their mom calling them inside for lunch. They had enjoyed their first day with Browny. They were sad that they couldn’t spend more time with Browny as they were heading off to the movies with their mom later that afternoon.

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2012 in Browny the book

 

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Browny – Chapter 3

Adam and Alan had always wanted a dog. They dreamt of having a dog of their own to play with and to grow with. But their pleas had fallen on deaf ears. Mrs Bosch would not hear of it. There would be no dog allowed in the house she had said and she had stuck to the rule. Adam and Alan had to make do with their dogs of their friends and neighbors.
It was one on a bright and sunny morning that things would change. Alan and Adam were still in bed at 8:30 AM when they were woken up a puppy barking. Could it be!? They thought excitedly. Had their parents gotten them a dog?
They ran downstairs expecting to find a puppy. But there was none. They instead found their mom busy making breakfast. They asked her if she had a heard a puppy bark, hoping she would say that the family had a new dog. Instead she said that she had been busy all morning and hadn’t heard a puppy bark. But Adam and Alan knew they had heard barking. So they decided to look outside. Maybe a lost puppy was in their backyard. Could it be!? They ran to the backyard. But it was what they saw in the Smiths backyard that made their hearts happy.
They saw Mr and Mrs Smith playing a little brown puppy. The Smiths had gotten a new dog who they had named Browny.
It was love at first sight for Adam and Alan. They loved the puppy right away and it loved them back. Mr Smith informed them that the puppy was a Labrador retriever and it was a 1 month old boy puppy.
This was the best day ever for Adam and Alan. They had awesome neighbors with an even better dog. Maybe they would never get a dog of their own but the Smiths getting one was the next best thing. They right away told the Smiths that they would help take care of the dog in every way they could. it was on this day that the Boschs also found out that the Smiths were also going to have a baby.

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2012 in Browny the book

 

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Browny – Chapter 2

Before I share Chapter 2 with you, I would like to say that what you will read below is a ROUGH draft. Even as I wrote it, I felt like I was rushing through the chapter. Hurrying to the end. My doubts were confirmed right after my husband and sons read the chapter. “Where are the details?” they asked me.
I am a voracious reader. I like reading simple books like “A year in Provence”. Simple, beautiful and fun writing. I love the detail – the way the characters and the surroundings are described. I want to emulate the style of writing that resonates with the reader.
Yet, when I begin writing, I feel like I have to avoid details at all costs. What if it is too much detail? What if it is irrelevant detail? My profession doesn’t help with my writing either. As a software developer, short, concise, logical writing is the order of the day. When I email my family, I write to them in short bullet points. No flowery details in my emails.
To rectify the situation, I decided to write this post. Put my struggle into words. The first step to solving a problem is acknowledging the problem right!?
I have purchased a book on how to write blogs and books. And I am learning from my two sons on how to go about writing stories. Here’s to a new year and new beginnings!

Chapter 2:
Life went on as normal for the Boschs. They did not want to think of the rude behavior of the Smiths. They did not have much time to dwell on it anyway! They had the annual subdivision party to prepare for. The Boschs were responsible for music this year.
The annual subdivision party was something that the Boschs always looked forward to. There was always plenty of delicious food, music, friends, games and even pets at the party. Adam and Alan loved dogs and they always made sure to play with all the dogs at the party. The Johnsons, who had moved a few weeks ago, had owned a pug named Tobey. Adam and Alan loved Tobey and really missed him. But luckily, they had to plan the music for the party and little time to stop and think of Tobey.
Adam, Alan and their dad went about picking their favorite singers. Dad wanted the oldies and the kids wanted all the latest songs that they heard everywhere. So they finally settled on a mix of old and new.
Mrs Bosch in the meantime was planning to bake brownies for the party. She had to bake a really large batch for the party. Mrs Bosch was known as a master baker in her neighborhood and she didn’t want to let down the people at the party. So Adam, Alan and Mr Bosch had to help with the brownies as well. They had to do the dishes, or sift the flour or beat the eggs or whatever else she needed them do. Adam and Alan were exhausted. It seemed like their teachers were piling them up with homework at the same time. They knew there was no use complaining to their parents, so they just worked hard and tried to do it all. Besides, the party was so worth all the effort!
Finally the big day of the party arrived. The Boschs hoped everyone would like the music and the brownies. The Boschs arrived early and help with the setup of the party.
Mr Bosch, Adam and Alan performed DJ duties while Mrs Bosch mingled with the crowd making sure everyone was enjoying the music her family was playing. Adam and Alan loved the experience. They were sure that they wanted to be DJs once they grew up.
Between DJ duties, Adam and Alan made sure to play with their friends and the dogs at the party. They also ate plenty of food.
Towards the end of the evening, as the party was winding down and the Boschs were putting away the equipment and helping to clean up after the party, they were surprised to see the Smiths walking towards them. They hadn’t realized that the Smiths were at the party.
The Boschs were in no mood for another rude encounter. But much to their surprise the Smiths were very nice and told the Boschs how much they enjoyed the music. This made the Boschs very happy. The Smiths even help with the clean up.
Before heading home the Boschs invited the Smiths to their house for dinner the following night. The Smiths gladly accepted.
It was during the dinner that the Boschs learned that the Smiths had some bad experiences with their neighbors in their old neighborhood and hence were very cautious when they were moving in. They apologized for sounding rude.
The Boschs told the Smiths not to worry and that all was forgotten. The Boschs and Smiths were now very good friends just like neighbors should be.

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2012 in Browny the book

 

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