The Face At The Window up for pre-orders

cropped-bannertfatw.jpgOrder here


Synopsis: What if at the end of one’s life, one realizes that one has lived out a lie?
Mrs McNally, a retired school teacher, living alone in a cottage at the foothills of the Himalayas, has secrets that if revealed could shatter the two people she cares about the most, her daughter Millie and her grand daughter Nina.
Torn by her desire to reveal the truth that could change Millie’s life, and the need to let things continue as they are, Mrs McNally grapples not just with ghosts from her past, but also a strange, vicious presence in her house that seems to want something from her. Will she ever find the peace that eludes her, will she be rid of this entity haunting her house and, more importantly, will she find closure? A gently nuanced, layered story that deals with the lack of identity and an eternal finding of self, The Face at the Window holds a mirror to the fears we are all afraid to voice, the fear of aging, the fear of not belonging, and above all, the fear of having no one to love you at the end of your life.

my idiva column this week. 5 Reasons Why You Must Reinvent Yourself in 2016

It sneaks up on us all of a sudden, on that one day when we’re sitting in front of the telly, eating ice cream from the tub, feeling the fat cells pop as they stretch to accommodate more cellulite. Or when we get back home from a particularly stressful day at work and dread the thought of going back to the office the next day, wondering in despair if this is what life is going to be, a series of terrible days and mornings woken up with no carpe diem excitement.

We look at ourselves in the mirror and we see room for improvement, and nothing is holding us back from our ideal selves in our head, except our own determination to get there. And this could be nothing to do with appearance and helping a plastic surgeon get his third vacation home. We’ve all done this on a smaller scale occasionally, gone in for a drastic hair cut that drastically redefined what we perceived ourselves as, changing hair colour, throwing out the preferred wardrobe and experimenting with a new look or by taking up a hobby course in photography perhaps, knowing that photography is a passion that lurks on the sidelines, waiting for us to give it the attention it deserves.

Reinventing ourselves completely is something we shy away from, we’ve fallen into comfortable modes of dressing, behaving, looking, dealing with others, we worry about how people will respond to the new us. Professionally we are terrified about how reinventing ourselves will affect our career graph, whether choosing to shift track from say marketing to an artisanal baker will change our lives. Most of the times though the only thing that holds us back from being the person we want to be is, we ourselves.

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A guest post for Kidsstoppress on parenting and social media

Is Social Media Making You A More Stressed Out Parent?

Kiran Manral was a journalist before she moved out to set up a content supply company during the first dot com boom. An erstwhile blogger, both her blogs were considered amongst India’s top blogs and she was a Tehelka blogger columnist on gender issues.

Kiran Manral

Right off the bat, let me confess that I used to blog about my son. And I did so for over ten years, and that the above mentioned blog went on to become terribly popular, got listed among the leading parenting blogs in India and is now a book. Having got that disclaimer, and therefore any pretence of having a moral right to speak against social media from any soapbox out of the way, I can now talk about parenting in the age of social media.

When I got onto social media over a decade ago, it wasn’t as all pervasive as it is today. Sure there was Facebook, and there were blogs, and Twitter was but a gleam in its inventor’s eyes. Of Instagram and Pinterest and such like, we couldn’t even imagine, because we still had to click pictures via a camera, although we had morphed from film to digital, and could transfer pics via complicated processes of hooking up the camera to the computer via wires that were put on earth to tangle up into a knot of Gordian levels of complicatedness.

The easier things have become, the tougher it has become to keep up. Competitive parenting, I am told, is a real term today. I see it all around me. I see it at the school gate, at the pool side when my son was training competitively as a swimmer, I see it on social media. And it is not a phenomenon that is exclusive to India. In fact, competitive parenting is on the rise across the world, and social media has exacerbated the situation.

Read the rest of the post here

Do Your Homework

The offspring, like most offsprings do I suppose, changes his game plan for the future every couple of weeks. He’s been through liftman, postman, security guard and police man in the distant past when these jobs seemed of vital importance to him. In the recent past he has shifted his aspirations to astronaut (post Interstellar), dancer (post ABCD2) and spy.

An interesting encounter with a palmist had the prescient one tell him he would go abroad to study, and I rolled my eyes given that any studying that currently happens needs a stool and a whip to get done. But nonetheless, I realise that he is growing, college is but a few years away and further studies not so far away in the distant future that I can afford to twiddle my fingers and not be salting away surplus cash into the piggy bank to pay for his higher education, whatever he may choose to do. I’ve seen people around me break fixed assets, sell property and jewellery in order to fund their children’s higher education. I know that my mother did her very best to give me the best education she could, as a single parent with a limited income, and though times weren’t that expensive at that point, I did opt for a standard course of education knowing that there was no way she would be able to afford sending me abroad for higher education, even though I would have made the cut re admissions into a course of my choice.

It terrifies me at times to realise that the cost of higher education in these times is something that one needs to plan for, and if your child plans to study abroad, the amount you need to put aside is not something to be scoffed at.

Every time I now tell the child he needs to study, I am uncomfortably aware of the need to begin saving for his future studies. The moral authority with which I tell him to study gets negated when I don’t plan for the potential expense that his future education swings over my head like the proverbial Damocles sword.

If I tell him to “Do Your Homework,” I need to do mine too, in order to plan for his future, and to fulfil his aspirations. This means starting to save, and starting to plan what needs to invested. I think, as parents, we all have a responsibility to #DoYourHomework. After all our children’s aspirations depend upon it.



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My iDiva Column this week: 10 Practical Lessons for Every Introvert to Survive in an Extroverted World

12 Jan 2016

I have always struggled with the need to, as T S Eliot put it so succinctly, ‘put on a face to meet the faces I would be meeting’. I would be more than pleased to be let alone, to not be ferreted out from underneath the tablecloth at a dinner party, then surgically separated from the book that would inevitably be in my hand, and be compelled to be polite and social, and answer questions from people I barely knew and had no interest in getting to know better. Give me someone I found interesting and I was all too keen to spend hours getting to know all their childhood separation anxiety issues and how they broke up with their imaginary friend, but put me in one of those where there were many people, lots of tinkling conversation and people holding other people in thrall and you had me in fight or flee panic.

Things didn’t change much as I grew up, but I did get more adept in the art of being ‘social’ when I needed to, although I would emerge from the experience quite drained and needing a lot of alone time just to recharge myself. I grew up thinking I was an aberration, but now I realise I am not alone, that many people, like me, prefer being by themselves than being with company. I have also accepted that I need to be fiercely possessive of my alone time, and make exceptions discerningly. But if you, like me, are one of those who prefer solitude or one-on-one time with a friend over meeting many people or being constantly out there in the midst of the action, this is what might help you stay unruffled.

1. You can leave an event when you want to. You are an adult now and you get to call when it is quite enough for you. You can also do the ‘show face’ thing to must-attend events where you really go to express solidarity and not feel guilty about it.

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Karmic Kids gets mentioned in the top 5 books on parenting by Indian authors in The Sunday Guardian

Books that give you the lowdown on good parenting



In 2015, books on parenting were given plenty of shelf space in India. Koral Dasgupta rediscovers five of the best books on parenting by Indian authors, and lists the lessons learnt.

“If you are bored of all the “gyan” and want to breathe free, and yet feel drawn to the same parenting chaos endlessly and suffocatingly, it’s time for you to lap up Kiran Manral’s Karmic Kids, which by her own admission is an account of “laid back parenting.” The book is an intelligent and hilarious take on parenting blues and advocates one simple thought to all super-moms and super-dads. Take it easy! There are many sticky moments in life when things assume too much importance because of peer pressure or the self-dictated benchmarks you have burdened yourself with! Manral picks those up, year by year till the kids turn ten, and addresses them with humour. From your body and mind, to those of others in the family, the helps, the baby blues, growing demands for theme parties you are clueless about, and many other issues crop up and settle themselves in the printed pages. As you read the book you would probably laugh at yourself thinking of those moments when simple or silly ambitions that you had set with yourself or with the baby managed to unnerve you considerably and you behaved as if you are someone else. Karmic Kids will stand by you and support those moments. It will assure you that everything is fair in love, war and parenting!”

My column for iDiva this week: 10 New Year Resolutions you should be making

Every year, when December 31 rolls by, I tell myself, with the ennui that the passing of each year brings, that making New Year Resolutions is passé, and what do I really accomplish by them apart from the certainty that I would break them and was it really worth the ink on paper it took to put them down. This year was about the same. I decided to do away with making resolutions altogether, and then, when I sat down to contemplate on how the year had passed I realised what resolutions for the New Year really meant. They are the hope that the coming year would be better that the previous one, they signify a desire to take charge of ourselves and our circumstances and improve them, and most importantly, resolutions are always an indication of our realisation that we acknowledged what is troubling us about our lives right now. And this acknowledgement is always half the battle won.


Here, then, are 10 New Year Resolutions you should be making.



New Year Resolutions



1. Be judicious of the time you spend on social media. Sure it may seem like Wonderland out there, with so many followers hanging on for your every update, fascinating, famous people you can interact with, the heady euphoria of the pinging of likes on a single status update or a post on Instagram, the rough and tumble of a Twitter argument, the headiness of getting a reply from a celebrity, the joy of seeing a post on a blog go viral, but be aware that real life is out there, offline. You have one life, it is not meant to be lived out on instagram.


2. Get healthy. This doesn’t necessarily mean to lose weight or diet yourself down to what you think is your ideal size, but rather to get fit enough to be at your physical peak. Eat well, and healthy, be conscious about what you put into your body, be judicious about the things you abuse your body with-cigarettes, junk food, alcohol or worse. Know that you have one body to last you a lifetime, and what you feed it and how you treat it is how it will stand up through the long march of time. Work at getting fit, work out if you have to. You are in the prime of life right now, and your body should be at its peak fitness levels. Write down your health and fitness goals and work towards them over the year.

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