‘EXISTENCES’- My collection of 26 short stories: Kindness is not an act, it is a lifestyle.

Existences cover (1) - Copy(The cover is still work in progress)

 

These thoughts below, sum up my upcoming collection of 26 short stories titled ‘Existences’ – cover photo above, that have all been well roundedly and strategically thought out — with my varied corporate experiences, however easy going and casual they might read to the uninitiated. But isn’t that the purpose of training and coaching for change, through stories and role plays!
— Shuvashree Chowdhury Ghosh

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” — Kahlil Gibran

“People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centred.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest person with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest person with the smallest mind.
Think big anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack if you help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you might get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.”
–Dr. Kent M. Keith
American Author and Inspirational Speaker

“The Wise Woman’s Stone” : A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveller who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveller saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveller left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.
“I’ve been thinking,” he said, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.” — Anonymous

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PS: Read this post,with reference to the article published a few days ago in the link here: https://www.ndtv.com/…/indigo-staff-rude-this-behaviour-sho…

The first page, of the first story of Existences:

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Below is an excerpt from A Writer’s Notebook,  by Somerset Maugham:

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New Year thoughts…Truest to myself!

Wishing you, all my dear friends a very happy and prosperous New Year:
A year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. Your success and happiness lies foremost in you…don’t give the oars of it to others or external factors. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible mast against the strong winds of your difficulties that threaten to drown you. Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous new year ahead by believing in yourself, those you meet, and in the world we live in…

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Stepping into a bright 2018! Please come along with me… 

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In starting my 2018 today, putting on record a nagging thought…A truth!

When you come across independent women like me, taking leaps of faith so often, as we profess: You can be sure we’ve so often in life, had to choose between the devil (human and situations) and the deep sea, that we prefer the unknown sea intuitively. It’s because we’ve been tested so often with such brutal intensity that we can dare to even choose societal ostracization.

Let me give you a simple example…as a debut/new literary novelist, with 4 upcoming books, wouldn’t I at least try and impress you with a serious demeanour and dress in starched cotton clothes with thick rimmed glasses, if not a traditional sari to create an intellectual impression. 🙂

Instead we do our best on our work, very sincerely from the heart and soul…Leaving you to take us and character assassinate us if you please from our words or actions! We remain truest to ourselves.

Have a great year ahead! And I look forward to your love and continued support with my 4 books (including the new Across Borders), to reach you in another month…with no pretensions on intellectual superiority! 🙂

 


Warmest regards,
Shuvashree.

 

Random Thoughts: My Dire Need.

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Sharing random thoughts from a Facebook post of three years back, and a connected one further below from last night…

December 28, 2014

My Dire Need: My husband often tells me, sometimes embarrassedly, much to my impatience, that friends repeatedly ask him on reading my FB posts, if I’m alright and if all’s well with me. All I wish to convey, to my supposed well wishers out there via this post is, I am just as well, happy, or distressed as you or anyone else in this world. I do not write to vent my feelings, but to hopefully make a little difference to someone out there in the world who might be going through an anguish or experience I might have undergone at some time and am in a better position to appreciate.

Needless to say, I never preach what I have not undergone myself, or at least seriously thought about – thus my accompanying views with every post, however fanciful a quote, picture or words may appear to me. In fact, I never write about what I am going through in the present, but would have had to have that thought or experience at some time to be inspired to write about it. So much so that, I’ve posted on beauty and confidence building, humorous posts, sitting in my mother’s hospital room right after her 3rd stroke, when I was gripped with fear and anguish, that she would not make it through this time. Those who knew my condition then might again have thought I was going crazy to post such frivolity.

Also, after two decades of working and making myself productive every day of my life, now that I’m writing full-time which is a very lonely job and one which would take a long time to show result, I find the need to make myself productive to society in a small way, till I can do so in a larger way through the release of my subsequent book/work.
So my posts are my dire need to be of service to the community, however minutely, to feel useful in some way. But over and above, to keep my thinking cap on all the time and practice my writing skills, through delving into as diverse thoughts as possible, even as I slog page after page on my novel, over a single thought perhaps.

— Shuvashree

Three years later…December 28, 2017:

This Fb memory came up, just when I’m summing up all that I’ve written in the last decade! 😊 For the last 6 months I’ve been repeatedly reading, editing…then proofreading…now finally scanning through the typeset versions of 4 of my books readying for their release shortly.
If you have an inkling of the kind of emotionally intense topics and thoughts my writing/work comprises, you might understand that I’m a bundle of live wire, high strung psychological nerves now. Actors go into severe depression after playing one intense character…or a novelist from few characters in one serious novel. Here I’m living under the skin of several I created in 4 books simultaneously, especially so in the last 6 months.
Yet I have been entertaining you with my numerous photo posts for the last weeks, from my Goa trip, when I feel crazier than I did in my entire life, or like a zombie as I do this morning – staring into space from mental fatigue. I’ve been using photography to distract me from the sea of words I’m floating in and nature is the best healer…That also explains the passion. 😊
Anyways, to sum this up…never try to gauge the current mental and emotional condition of a fiction writer from what they’ve just written🤓…it’s like thinking an actor is reliving his current life for you through his latest film. Yet he has to draw inspiration from lifelong experiences to be any good at what he projects.
–Shuvashree.

My new novel,’Entwined Lives’: An Excerpt from the Chapter – ‘Power Is the Ultimate Aphrodisiac.’

 

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Below is an excerpt from my upcoming novel, “Entwined Lives” – to be released in Jaunaury/February 2018. Please click on the photo of the book’s working cover (unfinished) to read the synopsis/blurb to understand the context of the excerpt.

I’m sharing this now, right after reading Salma Hayek’s story in this link: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/12/13/opinion/contributors/salma-hayek-harvey-weinstein.html?smid=fb-share

  “But why do so many of us, as female artists, have to go to war to tell our stories when we have so much to offer? Why do we have to fight tooth and nail to maintain our dignity? I think it is because we, as women, have been devalued artistically to an indecent state, to the point where the film industry stopped making an effort to find out what female audiences wanted to see and what stories we wanted to tell.” – Salma Hayek.

Chapter 17 Power Is the Ultimate Aphrodisiac

Once on the stretch that led to the MRC Nagar main road, Sujata was relieved the traffic was still not heavy. She continued to drive with the car’s windows down, craving fresh air after the raging turmoil she had felt in the chilled luxury hotel room. Going over the events that had just transpired, Sujata wondered if there was anything she could have done differently, to prevent this revolting fiasco. After much thought, she concluded that there wasn’t, except for not going to his room alone, even if it was on business.

Whether it is sexual harassment, rape, or attempted rape, they are all about asserting power that demeans and threatens the victim’s self-worth and crushes their soul. It then leaves the mere ghost of the victim’s former self, to deal with the world’s accusatory fingers, and frail attempts to nail the culprit. This explained Sujata’s attempt at normalcy of behaviour in public, even after the atrocious outbreak.

Often, one will come across a man in power, chasing a woman whom he thinks he can win over with his seasoned charms, but if not, he will resort to persuasion and bullying. Such men cannot take ‘no’ for an answer, as it hurts their fragile egos. They have usually got all they’ve desired in life, and are used to having their way with women too often. And thus, they do not understand that when a woman says ‘no’ … she means so. A man who then stoops to sexually harass and bully doesn’t realise an unresponsive woman is not flattered by his interest, neither will she succumb however powerful or affluent he may be. She might be ashamed, humiliated by his undue attention. It takes moral strength and the nerves of steel to ward off a man with immense social power, more so if he is her superior at work or even her husband’s. A woman then cannot even easily talk about her predator to anyone, as she is blamed for how she looks or dresses, and might have acted to allure him.

Then even the law will ask a woman for physical proof of having been sexually harassed, which is more humiliating in recounting, let alone proving. Thus women, often in saving their dignity from further abuse, after already having had it crushed, tend to be quiet on the matter. How would they go about proving it, and who would believe them, they fear. Their well-meaning friends and families too will advise them not to take on such a powerful and socially respected man. Thus, Sujata was afraid no one would believe her! To make matters worse, in her case, she was not even sure if she could relate this incident to her husband, for fear he might blame her instead and make her feel cheap. How could she relate this to her parents or sister either? They would surely say it was her fault for going to the man’s room, knowing how he bragged of his escapades with women. Little would they understand that she had never imagined being the victim of a much older family friend she had known since her youth.

 Sujata went over the last two meetings, when she had met him along with Anand. There was no way of telling he would turn out this way. She cursed herself repeatedly now for going up to his room. But this could have happened at any other place—in her office or his. You cannot be suspicious of the world at large, of all men all the time, Sujata judiciously concluded. Yet she was convinced that such issues need to be dealt with severely when they do arise, in an attempt to reduce the sureness and guts of such people. She would talk to him firmly. It’s just that she would first allow herself to heal from the blow and the resulting emotional fragility before doing so.

PS: To read the vividly sketched circumstances, the story, that leads to the end of the chapter in the excerpt I shared above, and more such intense stories in the lives of working women with aspirations, please get your copy of “Entwined Lives.”  🙂 

 

https://www.newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/casual-sex-everyone-is-doing-it

An excerpt from the NewYourker link above…”Ultimately, the desire for a deeper human connection always wins out, for both men and women,” she wrote”: 
In Entwined Lives, this is also precisely what I tried to project, responsibly, on a topic that’s usually not discussed, leave alone owned up to, in the supposedly conservative psyche of the metropolitan Indian.
Quoting from this article again: “Critics see the high rates of casual sex as an “epidemic” of sorts that is taking over society as a whole. Hookup culture, we hear, is demeaning women and wreaking havoc on our ability to establish stable, fulfilling relationships.”

“I Never Wanted To Be A Poet”

 

 

A lovely, inspiring and heartwarming evening at the Prakriti international poetry festival session at Amdavadi, Chennai, yesterday, listening to reputed poet Jayanta Mahapatra talking about his poetry and reading his poems that ended with an autobiographical narrative that was so charming, after Allan Sealey had read his poems along with beautiful slides of depictions from the Mughal (Akbar) period. The evening, commenced with an introduction by Ranvir Shah, who compared today’s event to the show stopper sequel that you have in a fashion show to showcase the designers best work, by the best models.
I was much awed by Jayanta Mahapatra’s humility and charm, even after decades of prominence, over and above his sensitive, gems of poems, full of empathetic humanity, so aesthetically and delicately crafted. I could personally relate to many of the points he shared, as he chattily went about introducing himself to us, easing us into his poems.
“I never wanted to be a poet” he stated softly, yet emphatically, “I was a physicist…poetry came to me by itself when I was thirty nine.”
These lines, really gave me a deep sense of assurance, motivation and strength, just when I’m applying the final soft touches to my manuscript of a collection of 90 poems, titled ‘Fragments’ written over the last ten years, that is to be released along with the other 3 prose books by January. This is because, even I didn’t want to be a writer of any kind till I was 35 years, leave alone wanting to be a poet.
I wrote my first poem at 36 years, which actually washed up on me like a wave from the sea, barely a year that I’d moved to Chennai. Then the second poem got published in a collection of poems – taken from my blog with permission, without my submitting it anywhere. These first two poems go on to be the first poems of ‘Fragments.’
The part I loved best and could relate to most, about Mr Mahapatra’s overall communication was when he said, “Poetry taught me how to love people.”
I could relate rather well to his views, when he said, “I never wanted to settle outside my homeland, far from my people, in UK or USA, even though I had a lot of opportunity, as even my parents settled abroad later.”

In my case, ever since I was 20, and inspite of my parents encouragement to meet them, after I did, I rejected one NRI prospective groom after another, or those working abroad especially the US, as I was determined not to live abroad.
I just feel so blessed that I had the opportunity to listen to him today and feel strenthened, after I finally let go of the manuscript of Fragments, this afternoon, after clinging to it for years…till I got a firm reminder from the publisher today. Though I’m still going to be copy editing it with an editor for a while longer. It’s been very different for the novel and short stories, where I’ve been in a hurry from the start to let them go. 😊
— Shuvashree Chowdhury Ghosh.

On Firming My Worldviews As A Writer.

Existences cover (1) - Copy

Dear friends,
Sharing these Facebook ‘memories’ and posts here below, with dates…As, if I’m preparing to release three of my books by next month, including the one with the working (unfinished) cover above – a collection of 26 short stories, along with the republished version of my first novel Across Borders, and hoping you will read them, it is my responsibility to share with you, that I am trained and experienced over almost two decades, to disseminate a lot of my views in theese books, in addition to my insights from a lifetime of good reading. 😊
I must admit, that in spite of all the bravado with my new books I’m very anxious…Please pray for me…look forward to your support!

Also my blog, like ones diary,  seems like a good place to save these memories for a lifetime.
Warmly,
Shuvashree.

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Thanks so much FB ! …You’ve helped me win a virtual medal, one I’ll cherish life long.This is with reference to an earlier post copied below. 🤗
On connecting with my ex boss Ernest Collett on FB, via my message below, he replied to the person who shared my message on his timeline:
“Sandip -Thanks for connecting us! I am very proud of Shuvashree and always admired her sincerity and dedication. She was passionate in our efforts in improving our service in the air and on the ground. She never stood back from anybody, even Mr Soon! Would love to read her book.”
December 7, 2013: at 10:45pm.
PS – Mr Soon, from Singapore Airlines, was the Head of Airport Services… and let me share that as head of service quality and training Ernest Collett did set an example as expected and rewarded me timely… I received the only Merit Award that year from the quality department, of Rs. 5000, which in the year 1999/2000, wasn’t so small an amount.
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Dec 7, 2013: at 12.47 pm
My onetime South African boss in Jet Airways, head of service quality and training then, on a coach ride from Mumbai to Lonavla, where I was going to assist him in conducting a senior leadership workshop, very amusedly said to me – “Shuvashree, someday I’ll write a book on you, you’ll see …” This was in response to my animated discussion on people whom we had concluded a heated meeting with in Mumbai, and my opinions on various stations (cities) I audited. I had stopped midsentence, baffled and embarrassed, but soon catching my breath I replied, “When you do, please send me a copy also”…Little did I know then, that he had planted the seed of a book in my head subconsciously. His constant quizzing me on my views, as he did whenever we spoke and met, gave me the confidence to take my views to the world via a book…As I read/watch South Africa – where he’s gone back, in the news now, after Nelson Mandela’s passing away, I wish I can find a way of connecting with him, sending him a copy of my book. 😊

 

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My Invested Feelings

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“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at it’s destination full of hope.” — Maya Angelou

 

Walking in the drizzle, I look for your house;

The traffic is unruly, as roads are in puddles:

I ask house guards, passers-by, for directions

Till I finally make it to your grilled front gate

Through which I see your lined book shelves.

 

“Sir has just gone out,’ your guard tells me;

So I persuade him to call you to come back

Since I’ve tried to reach you in varied ways:

But it’s the silent treatment you’ve doled out

To deal with hurt over accrued differences.

 

You say you cannot come back to meet me:

‘I’m with overseas guests’ you evenly assert,

Though I might not return to your gate ever

As we live in distant towns, at nation’s ends;

Our paths, over work, had by chance met.

 

My attempts to keep a communication alive

You take for granted, apologies disrespect,

No effort to convey regret for your mistakes

In nursing your wounded ego above all else,

As my feelings for you to conserve, I struggle.

 

Do I pick my trodden feelings off your stairs

Knowing I’m at times so tempted to recreate,

The romance we shared – with someone else

Who looks like you, has your endearing traits,

My feelings, that in you remain deeply invested!

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PS:  This is inspired by the movie ‘Shaadi Mei Zaroor Aana,” in the link below, that I just saw and loved, with my mother in Calcutta. I scribbled it right away after returning home…leave it to edit later. 🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=An4vqppEWXU