Archive | June 2013

My Books: Short Stories and a Novella in the Pipeline

I just started working on my third book today. I had gotten the plot idea sometime back when I was traveling in the Amtrak. It was my first train journey in America and believe me, the number of interesting people one gets to see and the numerous little colorful incidents that occur during the span of a 14 hour train journey, constitute the making of a bestselling book or a blockbuster movie. No wonder Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express is a timeless masterpiece.

Here’s the list of the previous books that I’ve published on Amazon as kindle editions. Both are short stories. My third one is going to be a novella with some great thrills and drama and a memorable train journey across India! I will update my readers as soon as I am done with the book.

Not My Cup Of Tea! (Humorous Short Story)
Kindle Price: $0.99
Prime Members: $0.00

‘Not My Cup Of Tea’ is a humorous short story of a couple who love each other a lot but in the process of the daily grind and raising their two demanding kids, they feel that their relationship is getting a little strained as they aren’t able to devote much time towards each other. The story makes an interesting read, especially along with a piping hot cup of Masala Tea (and a little betting money) by your side!

Nilaufer’s Chauffeur
Kindle Price: $0.99
Prime Members: $0.00

Nilaufer’s Chauffeur is the story of a motherless little girl named Nilaufer who is the apple of her father’s eye. Nilaufer’s father is an emigrant who made it big in the United States by virtue of his hard work and discipline. He pampers Nilaufer to the hilt and showers her with loads of affection. He has a vision for her. He wants Nilaufer to follow his footsteps and be successful in life. He dreams that one day she will be rich and famous and will move about in a chauffeur-driven car. “Where is Nilaufer’s Chaffeur?”, He would jokingly tease her with this rhyming one-liner. Read on to explore the father-daughter relationship. This book will enrich both children and parents alike.


Frugal Living.. Tried living Without a Car? I’m out!

Well, I was able to do this for close to a month… but gave up yesterday!

When my car had died on Memorial day, I had vowed not to buy a new one and wanted to see if we could live without a car. After all, our home had an excellent walk-score and everything including shopping, schools, doctor’s office was at walking distance. My office was close to 3 miles but I had bought a bike (and accessories) for commuting to work.

I was very positive that I would be successful in my aim of saving close to $500 per month in car expenses (and even share frugal tips with friends) on how living without a car could be achieved and according to me everything was going great and as planned until…


They always say behind every successful man there is a woman, but they fail to mention that behind every unsuccessful man, is also a woman, with a rolling pin in her hands! So for the sake of harmony in matrimony, I had no option but to give in to DW’s demand “I want a car right now!”

So readers, we have a car now.. but I still continue the second part of my mission. That is the weight loss part. This week, I am down 1 more pound. I will still use my bike to commute to work and continue to watch my diet and exercise.

So at four weeks here is my progress:-

Weight lost till date : 3 pounds

I know its not much, but I’ll keep it slow and steady to win this part (despite DW being behind me). I hope she’s not adding extra butter in my food 😛

Time for my morning cuppa coffee!


Sanskrit : The Mother of all Languages.. A Dead Language?

From the beginning, I had been fascinated by words and languages, and growing up in the Capital of India meant exposure to five different languages! Incredible, isn’t it?

There was Hindi, which is the Official Language of India; followed by English which is the secondary official language and medium of instruction in most private schools; Punjabi which is my ‘mother-tongue’ and is spoken and heard as much on the streets of Delhi as it might be in any remote village in the interiors of the state of Punjab; Then we had Urdu which is similar to Hindi (not in script, albeit) and is considered the language of poetry, romantic ghazals and nazms (it also happens to be the national language of neighboring Pakistan); And finally, in middle school, I was introduced to this fifth language Sanskrit – the divine language of ancient India. Actually we had a choice between French, German and Sanskrit. I opted for Sanskrit because I had heard it would be easy to learn if we already knew Hindi. (even the written script being the same).

On the very first day of the Sanskrit class, our teacher Mr Sharma, announced nonchalantly, “Kids, Even though Sanskrit is now a ‘Dead Language’ but it is still the ‘Mother of All Languages’ of the world!”

I immediately sat up with my ears perked. I mean how often do you hear two heavy phrases in the same sentence and I was sure no sixth grader had ever endured this before. I had to raise my hand. “Sir, What does ‘dead language’ mean and how-come Sanskrit is the ‘Mother of all Languages’?”

Mr Sharma explained how all European Languages like English, German, Latin, French, Italian and all Indian Languages like Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, etc were derived from Sanskrit and that there are numerous words in most languages of the world that have their corresponding root words in Sanskrit. He gave a couple of examples:
like the English word Brother is derived from Sanskrit Bhratra, and the Latin ‘Ignite’ finds it origin in the Sanskrit word for fire ‘Agni’. He then went onto explain that dead language was a language that is no longer spoken by the people.

Now prior to this class, I had never heard anybody converse in Sanskrit. But I still believed it was cruel to label it as a dead-language. After-all they were still teaching the Language in Schools. How could it be dead?

That day, I went home and spent the entire evening rotating the dial on my father’s AM radio (we did not have FM stations back then) in search of a station broadcasting a program in Sanskrit. I was about to give up when ‘Akaashvani’ began airing the News in Sanskrit!

Yes! I could now prove to Mr Sharma that Sanskrit was still heard and spoken by people and was not dead. At the end of the News, I was astonished yet again, when the news-reader announced his name before bidding good-bye. It was Mr Shashi Pal Sharma, our Sanskrit Teacher!

The next day we did not have Sanskrit period. However, I caught up with Mr Sharma in the Staff room during recess, and told him that I had listened to the Sanskrit News that he had read on Radio. He smiled, as I asked how could Sanskrit be a dead language when apparently there were listeners of the Sanskrit-News that he reads on the Radio?

He continued smiling as he explained calmly that listeners did not necessarily translate to speakers of the language and Sanskrit was literally on the brink of extinction and the Sanskrit News and other initiatives like these have been started to help resuscitate the language. When people listen, then only they will start speaking. Just like nobody can be a born writer. First one has to read a lot and then once can consider becoming a writer.

I was impressed by Mr Sharma’s words and his contribution to the language. Sanskrit became my favorite subject at school and I always topped in my class in Sanskrit. I also wanted to make an effort and do my part for the language. I began listening to the Sanskrit News regularly on the radio. Then starting with the Gayatri Mantra, I started to learn and understand the meanings of the vedic shlokas (hymns in Sanskrit). I also volunteered at the local temple near my house where I would teach Basic Sanskrit to adults once a week. And early in the mornings, I would go there to recite sanskrit shlokas for the morning prayers before boarding my school bus. I started filling a journal with a list of words in English that had their origins in Sanskrit or Hindi.

This was then and it has been close to four decades now. I have grown up and moved on. But worldwide efforts to revive Sanskrit are stronger now than ever. Many organizations like the American Sanskrit Institute are doing their part. I have no idea where I lost my journal or the desire amidst the travails of life. But through this blog entry I wish to revisit my relationship with my favorite language and attempt to recreate the list that took me 5-6 years to build. I will keep on filling in the list below as I recall more words. My readers are welcome to comment and add words to the list that I am starting. (its not sorted alphabetically right now, but once I have it somewhat-populated, I will fix that)


English Word Sanskrit/Hindi/Urdu Origin
Brother Bhratra
Mother Matr
Father Pitr
Serpent Serp
Door Dwar
Guru Guru
Juggernaut Jagannath
Avatar avatara
Aryan Arya
Jungle jangal
Loot Lunta

Week 2: Progress on Weight Loss Regimen

Hello Readers,

It has been a great week. I was feeling fitter and leaner already (at-least psychologically) and then the reading on my new weighing scale confirmed it this morning: I am down 2 pounds already!

So what have I been up to since last week? Besides Biking to and from work, I am doing light exercises, nothing fancy – just 5 minutes weight training and stretching every evening. I’ve also developed a software application for myself that I am using to keep track of my daily calorific intake. It really helps to curb my urge to over-indulge (in carbs) when I see a running total of what I’m putting in my belly in real time.

I know, I don’t look much overweight in appearance, but to reach my ideal BMI (22.5) I need to lose 20 pounds (make that 18 now) and my readers will remember that this idea of weight loss came to me as a byproduct of my plan on saving money by living without a car. I have invested some money though, in items that will help me in my weight-loss journey. Here is the list of items I’ve bought (since the start of my weight loss regime). It came out cheaper than the $150 I would have spent on filling a car’s tank with a month’s supply of gas and unlike gas, this is one-time ‘investment’ for me and not a recurring monthly charge:


Taylor Digital Weighing Scale: : $24.99

Schwinn Intercept Adult Bike Helmet : $16.99

Schwinn Classic Bicycle Bell: $8.00

Mirrycle MTB Bar End Bike Mirror: $12.00

Kryptonite Keeper 12 Standard Bike Lock: $21.00

Valeo Ab Wheel: $12.99

Valeo Neoprene Hand Weights: $9.99

Valeo 2-Pound Wrist Weights: $12.99

Valeo 5-Pound Ankle & Wrist Weights: $16.99

Valeo Deluxe Speed Jump Rope: $7.99

Total: $143.93

The total is well under $150. I’m happy with my purchases or as I would like to call them ‘investments’. Note: I bought everything from and got FREE SHIPPING and had to pay No Sales Tax. I will keep on posting periodic updates on my progress.

Weight lost till date : 2 pounds

Bye for now.


PS: need to get following for the wifey:

  1. OXO Good Grips Cherry Pitter, Black

  2. Everlast for Her Pilates Twist Board with Resistance Tubing

  3. Romantic LED Candles

Week 1 – Biking to work: Weight loss Regimen starts!

UPS brown truck delivered my new bike over the weekend. did a great job of packaging and delivering on time. (Note to self: Shop online at for Dad’s this year’s Father’s Day gift or email him an Amazon GC) Assembly of my bike was a breeze and it looks and runs great.

I’m using my older son’s bike helmet today.. So I still need to buy a decent bike helmet, bell, mirror, light, lock, and a bike computer. Will shop around online and offline stores for these accessories and will share when I find best deals.

Today also marks the start of my weight loss regimen. As of today, I weigh in at 185 pounds and my target weight at the end of six months is 165 lbs. Wish me luck!