Life aboard a cruise liner

A review of All Aboard on Kala Kudva’s Blog

Kalakudva's Blog

Exactly a month ago i had met author Kiran Manral, during the launch of her book ‘All Aboard’. Eversince, I had been waiting for an opportunity to read it in one go . Finally i got the chance that i was looking for today….

The past one month has been very busy as i was moving home. Dealing with Electricians, carpenters, plumbers, painters , movers but most of all packing personal stuff has been a very arduous task. Of course, the effort seemed worthwhile when I finally set up the house and saw the end result. Seeing a house transform into a warm, inviting and cosy home under my very eyes has been very, very fulfilling.

So today I could finally put my feet up, relax and read the book end to end without much interruptions. Believe me the author transported me to another world , a world far away…

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Karmic Kids on First Moms Club

***Writer Mommy***
Book loving Mommas we have a Brand New feature called ‪#‎WriterMommy‬ and to kickstart this we have FMC Mommy and a dear friend Kiran Manral , who is out with her 4th book this month!!!
( Kiran has worked as a journalist with The Asian Age and The Times of India before she quit full time work to be a full time mommy smile emoticon One of the leading bloggers in India, her blogs were listed in Labnol’s list of India’s top blogs, and her parenting blog was ranked among the top five parenting blogs in India by Blogadda )
Here is a quick chat with her :

1. How did you begin writing?
I think I was always writing and always reading, ever since I was a child, I remember writing absolutely noxious stories about princesses and dragons and magic stuff that my mother seems to have saved in undisclosed location and will surely unearth at some point to embarrass the bejesus out of me someday. Professionally though, I began my career as a copywriter in an ad agency, went on into journalism and feature writing, and from there came the journey into blogging which led to the first book.
2. Give us a typical day in your life?
Morning is madness, as most moms know. I wake at 6am, get the tiffin boxes ready, the morning tea done, the little tasks of the morning domesticity settled, get the offspring spit polished and sent off to school. I leave for office after that, am at my desk from 8 am to 2.30 pm and then pick the son up from school and back home. It’s a pretty regular routine, one that revolves around school, tuition and class drops and picks.
3. What’s the best advice you’ve been given concerning writing and what would you like to tell aspiring bloggers/writers
I haven’t exactly been given any advice concerning writing, I bunged most of it off Stephen King from his wonderful book called On Writing which I heartily recommend to anyone considering writing a book. What I would like to add though is that you need to first be a reader before you dare to attempt being a writer. Unless you have the tools of your trade, which is the ability to work with words, writing will not come easily.
4. Tell us one thing that no one else knows about you?
I have zero life skills, I can’t swim, drive or cycle.
5. You are stranded on an island, which is that one book you would like to have with you?
Anything by P G Wodehouse. Perhaps the Jeeves Omnibus.
6. Tell us briefly about your latest book / books ?
My two latest books are All Aboard which is a lovely romance set on a Mediterranean cruise, published by Penguin and Karmic Kids published by Hay House, which is a take from my very popular blog of the same name, which is basically humorous anecdotes about bringing up my son from age 0 to 10. While All Aboard is more pure romance, Karmic Kids is a hilarious read. Both are quick, easy anytime reads. All my books can be ordered on Amazon here:

Ruchita Dar Shah's photo.
'Books written by @[702486190:2048:Kiran Manral]'

Karmic Kids on Tara Sharma Saluja’s blog

Congrats on #Karmic Kids @KiranManral! Here is an excerpt! One day I just may take the plunge and try and write a book too! Will be coming to you for tips:)

It’s been about 5 years since I began our show and writing this blog, that is at the crux of it.  Along the way I have interacted with and made many wonderful friends. Yes friends. I emphasize that as contrary to what one may think, feedback on our show and interactions on social media have not been with faceless viewers and readers, but most often with people who have gone on to become friends. We support each other in our endeavors, discuss stuff and often feature on each other’s platforms. @kiranmanral is one such friend. An author, former blogger, Mummy, social activist and loads more.

Kiran, it is a pleasure to host a guest blog from you, which is an excerpt from your wonderful new book, #Karmic Kids.

I have had a few discussions on perhaps writing a book, and I have to say as the daughter of an author, #PartapSharma and being from a family of authors and publishers, the thought of writing a book is daunting as in my eyes only Demi Gods actually write books!

So Kiran you took the plunge and have 4 books out, a huge achievement so a huge congrats! At this point as always I say each to their own, as I always do in our show. I say this as each one has their own story and views on parenting and everything for that matter, but sharing with each other and agreeing, disagreeing and perhaps laughing and learning together is what my show is all about. My experiences have similarities and differences to yours, and learning and reading of people’s experiences interests me and I hope will interest all you readers too…

So here goes an excerpt from Kiran’s Karmic Kids – the story of parenting nobody told you!

– See more at:

Karmic Kids In Sakal Times, Pune

Kiran Manral talks about Karmic Kids
Reporters Name | Ambika Shaligram | Saturday, 17 October 2015 AT 10:02 PM IST
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Kiran Manral’s second book of this year Karmic Kids — The Story of Parenting Nobody Told You! is releasing soon. In an email interaction, she says that the non-fiction is a compilation of humorous parenting anecdotes posted on her now-defunct blog Karmickids.

Interesting title. Is your Karma passed on to your kids? Or vice-versa?

Both ways. I think children are part of a karmic debt one pays back to one’s parents. And through one’s kids, one resolves one’s own karma.

Is the book and the blog based on your interaction with your 12-year-old son?
Yes, the blog was based on his early years from zero to 10. I shut the blog when he turned 10. I think I have been very honest and straightforward in my blog posts about it being primarily anecdote driven and not a space where I offer any sort of parenting advice. I’ve stopped now because I think he’s old enough to post about himself if he chooses to do so.

How did your son react to the posts?
He knows vaguely that there was a blog on him, but hasn’t read the posts. He had become quite swollen headed in the sense that everyone seemed to know and adore him — even folks he met for the first time. Now that the blog has been stopped, that has thankfully died down.

How did you sift through anecdotes and what finally went into the book?
Actually, I did rework a lot of the content. It wasn’t a straight blog to book transfer because that rarely works. But I maintained the tone and voice of the blog. I read through the entire blog from the start, shortlisted the posts that I enjoyed writing and began from there.

If the book is chronological from zero to 10, then what were the issues or the feelings that were associated with each age group?
It is chronological in that the posts are about what happened in each year, but they might not be exactly chronological within that year in terms of occurrence.
The issues and feelings for each year as with all parenting, you travel the entire spectrum of emotions a million times in a single day — from joy and pride to anger and despair and so much more. Roughly though, each age comes with its own set of challenges — when they’re small it could be sleep, feeding, colic, and such. And, when they’re toddlers it could be food jags, tantrums, learning, curiosity and as they grow older, peer bonding, individuation and such.

Was the humorous tone deliberate?
Always. Life is too trying to not try and find a laugh in the midst of it all.

Read the original here

This is classic Manral—though her voice has become more confident over the years.

Review by Amazon customer about All Aboard
This is classic Manral—though her voice has become more confident over the years. But the classic Manral staples of aspiration, Indian kahani jis me drama, emotion, action hai hasn’t been abandoned in this new project. The writing is effervescent, the protagonists someone you can’t help falling in love with and an aunt who is definitely not a gentleman. What’s not to like? Sail away.
Order your copy here:

Shudh Desi Romance on a cruise!

“A lovely, desi romance which happens to take place on a Mediterranean cruise. The cruise, characters, and the reason for the cruise are all plausible. The protagonist’s feisty aunt stands out, as much for her bright make up as well as her unconventional attitudes. There is action, emotion, drama, a real, honest-to-goodness villain, a vamp, adorable children, very very authentic locales, and, of course, the jilted-almost-at-the- pheras Rhea, our heroine, with all her genuine issues and complexes, and the dashing Kamal, who seems to be totally ineligible, despite his strong sensual appeal. Totally contemporary and fast paced. A good addition to Kiran Manral’s work….. ” -Dipali Taneja on Amazon about All Aboard.

Order your copy here

A panel discussion I was part of at the Pune Lit Fest.

Make your choice, it’s your life
Reporters Name | Ambika Shaligram | Wednesday, 9 September 2015 AT 09:46 PM IST
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Banker Naina Lal Kidwai, writers — Kiran Manral, Shinie Antony and Madhuri Banerjee — voiced their opinions on what women empowerment means, at a panel discussion during the recently concluded Pune International Literary Festival 2015

Women in the workplace
The book that I put together (30 Women In Power) on 30 women CEOs, was conceived because I felt that we are not celebrating our success enough.

India has a high number of women  CEOs — heads of banking institutions, IT companies and various business facets. But when I asked colleagues who they were, they didn’t know. I thought we should allow these brilliant women to share their stories. Their stories are not about despair, but who helped them reach where they are today — fathers, husbands and mentors.

Most women, profiled in the book, are married and have children. So they have done the balancing act — between work and raising a family — really well. Another scenario emerging in the workplace, is that attempts are being made to make it easier for women to return after a break. What we do in our company is that when a high performing woman employee takes a break (for motherhood or any other reason), we keep in touch with her, encourage her to come back, give her flexi hours, or ‘work from home’ options. We have also offered six months’ paternity leave for men because their presence is required at home.

I have always been a great believer in meritocracy. But, it’s not an equal world. There are less than 4 per cent women on a corporate board. So, the government’s policy in this regard is directionally right. Reservation creates an enabling atmosphere. In Panchayati Raj too, a change has been seen. Earlier, women were propped up by their husbands or fathers. But studies have proved that now the women have come into their own and won the polls without any help. We have to make a start somewhere.
-Naina Lal Kidwai
HSBC Chairman, India

Men and women can’t be stereotyped
I wasn’t treated as ‘girl child’ and I thought that it was very liberating. In the workplace, I would like to be treated as an employee instead of a female employee; I would like to be called a writer, instead of a ‘woman writer’.

I think the idea of empowerment or an image change for women has to be from grassroots to upper echelon. I remember that the Maharashtra State Board had made changes to their textbooks, from KG level. For instance, when ‘D for Doctor’ had  to be explained, they chose the illustration of a girl doctor to emphasise the point. That was a very good decision.

We also have to ensure that men too cannot be stereotyped. For example, a man wearing a skirt is at worst ridiculed as wimp, or at best labelled as a transgender. But a woman wearing pants is considered to make a power statement. Change has to embrace both men and women.
-Shinie Antony
Writer, Co-convenor of Bengaluru Literary Festival

Marry the right man

I feel that empowerment starts with the person you marry and who is going to be the father of your child. A father has to support his daughters or at least not act as an impediment in their growth. Earlier, it was fathers who made the decision that the girl would study in a language school while the boy would be enrolled in an English medium school. Now, that’s changing, at least in urban centres.

It’s also important that when the kids are growing, there should be no gender discrimination in their mind. A girl shouldn’t think that a boy is allowed to do certain things because he is a boy. Same goes for sexual rights. A boy and a girl should be empowered to discuss and tell their parents if they didn’t like some person’s touch.
-Kiran Manral
Writer, All Aboard, Once upon a crush

Take the first step
The word ‘empowered’ means that you have a responsibility towards yourself and others. Empowerment is not just being sexually liberated and doing what you want. India has many women who are empowered and privileged, but give that up after getting married. They give up their decision-making skills or making choices like retaining their separate bank a/c, not learning to file tax returns or changing a tyre.

Empowerment isn’t just about finding a job, but taking the first step in choosing your destiny and figuring out choices that will work for you. You must put your foot down if you aren’t comfortable doing certain things.
-Madhuri Banerjee
Writer of Scandalous Housewives, My Clingy Girlfriend

Karmic Kids. A sneak peek


Chapter 1

Year One

Did I really make this wailing ball of flesh?

He had been nine months in utero, and god knows, I was curious to see how he’d turned out. So when they placed him on my stomach, a little mewling ball of flesh, I recoiled. The blood, the blood. I am, to put it politely, a little squeamish about blood. It was a miracle I didn’t pass out from the sight of this little creature they said they’d pulled out of me, even though it bore little resemblance to a human right now, never mind that it gave credence to the man descended from the apes theory. And of course, there was the myopia. Mine not his.

“Where are my spectacles?” I squealed, realising that the first moments of mother child bonding were to be perennially marred by the fact that I couldn’t see him too clearly. And of course I wanted to see him clearly, I had a roster list of things to be tick marked off, five digits per limb, one nos male appendage, two eyes, two ears, one mouth and such.

“Where are my spectacles?” I squealed again. The anaesthetist looked at the gynaec who looked at the nurse who then looked at the ward boy who grunted and looked around in a fair amount of confusion before it dawned on the cabal that the spectacles in question had been handed across to the mater for safekeeping, and the mater was outside the operation theatre, and a minion was despatched to retrieve the spectacles from her, and my mater in keeping with her penchant for keeping everything safely, had deposited the spectacles in the shelf back in the hospital room we were in, which was at a considerable distance away from the operating theatre. Consequently, my first view of the offspring was that of a red blur that looked somewhat like a newborn kitten or puppy, although the primary impression, in retrospect, was that of a monkey.  Maternal love did not well immediately in the maternal breast, I must confess.

They whisked him off to be cleaned up, weighed and tested and announced proudly to me that he’d got an AGPAR of nine and my competitive streak automatically reared its ugly head and asked what the top score in this test was, and damn it, if he couldn’t ace his AGPAR now what hopes did we have at the JEE some years down the line.

I should have kept those spectacles handy. Perhaps for the next offspring, I told myself.

Finally, I was wheeled out of the operation theatre, the needlework completed, attached to a drip, smiling from a combination of relief that this was finally done with and I could get back to walking around without a baseball in my stomach and wobbling uncertainly every time I approached a long, curving flight of stairs.

I then drifted into a chemically induced sleep, and when I emerged blinking into the cold fluorescent light of evening, the offspring was brought in to see me. Swaddled in regulation hospital swaddle cloth and an ugly frilly cap on his head.  No no no, I thought to myself, my kid cannot wear ugly frilly cap, not when the troops are marching in to view him and pass judgement on who he looks like, talking of which, whom did he look like, me or the spouse. I stared at the little mewling ball of flesh kept gently next to me, the side of me that wasn’t attached by intravenous needle to drip.  Just then, he scrunched up his face or the crumpled, wizened, red squashed thing that was his face then and opened his eyes to look at me. Grey eyes. I froze. I imagined the spouse dashing off paternity suits and shaking an irate fist at me. Such lovely grey eyes and thick curling lashes. The newly minted maternal heart, it completely melted into mush, the oxytocin I know now, that had kicked in, and how. I would fight tigers barehanded, climb down cliffs, throw myself in the path of a speeding car, and even do calculus again if I needed to, for this child.

The child in question gave me a scathing, startled look and began bawling at the top of his voice. And what a voice it was. I was sure people from three adjoining suburbs would despatch representatives to check the source of this nuisance and were writing out petitions in triplicate to the authorities to do something about it.

“Feed him,” said my mother, who had been hitherto fawning over him with beaming grand-parental pride, throwing him at me.


“Feed him,” repeated the hospital ayah who was standing around with no actual purpose except to look most amused at my complete incompetence in the situation.  It was a line I would hear the most often in the next 365 days. It was also the moment that I realised that I would never look at my breasts in the same way ever again.

Whenever the offspring so much as emitted one bawl, he would be thrown back at me with the command, “Feed him.”

I had never ever held a newborn in my life and all the dolls they make you practise with in the pre-natal classes don’t come with amplifiers for voice boxes, making your hands go all jittery, and likely to drop the swaddled ball of flesh onto the floor, and all the horror stories they tell you about babies who’ve been dropped on the head flash in Font Size 200 in the mind’s eye.

A nurse was sent for and the doctor on duty as well, because well, you might as well have an appreciative audience while you try to figure out which part of you should curl up and die when you have to reveal in a public situation a breast that is suddenly gigantic with what the mater casually informs you is “the milk coming in,” which you assumed would be nice and pleasant and the cause of much maternal and offspring bonding and nothing like what it really is, which is two massive boulders on your chest which you assume you will need a couple of wheelbarrows under, if you plan on moving out of the hospital bed ever and navigating the earth again.

All those years you spent, errm, stuffing your foundation garments with socks and such like, are nothing on this. But alas, there is nothing, nothing remotely sexy about suddenly finding your chest morphed into a natural heritage rock formation site, and I’m not even getting into the reason my kind doctor offered me a tube of lanolin based ointment with stern instructions to apply it on my nipples at regular intervals. Suffice to know it involved cracks and bleeding and not in the manner made popular by the books which dealt with red rooms of pain.

It was scary, this being the source of nutrition for another human.  Another, very demanding human, who raised hell if he wasn’t provided with his feed on the dot, every couple of hours, ensuring that the entire suburb knew that he was being deprived of his victuals by his cruel mother.

Finally, one night, when all was quiet and nothing moved, not even the mouse, I stared down, in the flickering light of the television set to mute as I watched stick thin figures on fashion television, resolving to get there soon, at a little ball of flesh gulping greedily from my chest.  I created him. He is mine, I thought, never mind what Kahlil Gibran had to say on the issue, and I couldn’t have been more proud.  The grey eyes, by the way, have morphed into a lovely deep brown, like his father’s and the boy is now, a reduction Xerox of the spouse, and has inherited from the Y chromosomal donor the temper sitting on the nose, as they say in the colloquial. The plans for DNA testing have been well dropped.

Order your copy here