Tuesday, January 26, 2016

26th January - The Significance of the Day

In 1930, the first Independence Day was celebrated in India. The Indian National Congress had fixed the last Sunday of January, 1930 as the day of complete independence. The entire country celebrated the day with solemn gatherings and peaceful marches. From that day onwards, every 26th January was celebrated as the Independence Day.

When the Indian Subcontinent finally achieved Independence, Lord Mountbatten chose 15th August 1947 as the date to hand over the power. This was the day when Japan surrendered to the Allies and brought the World War II to a close. So, this was not a day of India's pride but a day that marked Britain's power and supremacy. Still, the date was accepted as no one was ready to wait till 26th January 1948.

For the next two years, 26th January only remained as a memory of nationalist sentiments. Then, when the date to bring the Indian Constitution to force was to be chosen, 26th January became the first choice. In many ways, 26th January is the most important day for our country. It is the day when we have proved to the world that we can rule ourselves, write our own Constitution and lead our nation to glory.

The Indian Constitution, with 395 articles and 8 schedules, is one of the longest in the world. It was framed over a period of three years, with innumerable sittings, discussions, revisions and refinements. B.R. Ambedkar was the chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Indian Constitution. On the final day of this Committee, Ambedkar gave a moving speech, in which he identified three pitfalls to be avoided in the future:

1) He asked people to give up civil disobedience, satyagraha and non-cooperation and avail constitutional methods of redress.

2) He warned people against submitting without thinking to charismatic authority. To quote him, "in India, Bhakt or what may be called the path of devotion or hero-worship plays a part in its politics unequalled in magnitude by the part it plays in the politics of any other country in the world." He said this was a "sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship."

3) He asked the people not to be content with "mere political democracy". He said, "In politics, we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognizing the principle of one man one vote and one vote one value. In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value. How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril."

At every period of history and at every level of politics, independent India has been witness to recurrent events signifying the ignoring of these warnings. It is time we walk out of this trap. What better way to do that than by embracing the spirit of our Constitution.

To quote the preamble to our Constitution,

"WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation."

Happy Republic Day!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Flash Fiction

Recently, I began the #SaturdayShots feature on my Author page on Facebook (Please do like the page to be updated www.facebook.com/archanasaratauthor ) and I love the response that it is gathering. Every Saturday, I share a flash fiction on the page and it has been absolute fun to garner likes and comments. I concentrate on a variety of genres, themes and social issues and it is fun to see the responses pouring in. Sharing a few here...

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Social Media Marketing for Authors: Lose your inhibitions, not your time

While Social Media can help an author connect with her new and existing reader base, they can also convert into these vortexes that suck away the precious time you could use to write and steal away your focus and discipline. I went on a conscious campaign for the last one month to use social media wisely and the benefits from this exercise astounded me. I decided to share my tips on how you can conquer this time-devouring dragon:

  1. Make a Plan
    Have a clear written plan for your Social Media Campaign. If you love Facebook to just hang out with your writer pals and connect, put that into your plan too. It helps and it is a valid part of the campaign too. No one likes to connect with a robot who comes online just to harp about its book. It’s okay to be human. Just plan for it. Also, decide what are the Social Media platforms you want to be on and how much time are you going to schedule for each.

  2. Schedule it
    On your calendar, mark the time slot you are allotting for the same and stick to it. In my experience, I preferred the late evening slot when my energy levels are low. Mornings are for writing (which I still do with pen and paper), afternoons are for typing and creating marketing content and evenings are for posting, sharing and connecting online. I do digress at times and need an occasional nudge to get back my focus.

  3. Phones off
    Since I still continue to use a pen and paper to write, my laptop is never switched on most of the day. The only chance I have of wandering into facebook and twitter is on my phone. The best thing would be to remove these apps from your smart phone. The next best thing would be to mute all notifications and make sure nothing pops or beeps on your phone’s homescreen. The temptation that deviates your concentration can be silenced this way.

  4. Follow up
    Saving time on Social media requires effort and dedication. You need to understand that it is just a tool to support your work, it is not your work itself. Keep a weekly follow up plan to tweak your efforts and rules. For instance, you may need to be online for a considerable amount of time in the month that you launch your book.

  5. Apps help
    There are a huge variety of apps that help limit your time on Social Media. The ‘Stay Focused’ app on my Google browser and on my android phone help me control the number of hours I spend on facebook or twitter or whatsapp.

    You should try at least some of these ideas if Social media is eating up your day. As an author, creating unique interesting content is our primary job and marketing is only a secondary activity that supports it. As long as we do not overlook that, we will not be sucked into the social media whirlpool. Do you have any other ideas to help save time on social media? Do share them in the comments below.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Procrastination - The Illness of Doing Things

While I had always imagined procrastination to an ailment wherein you are not doing your work due to fear and laziness, I have come to realize that I am struck by a different strain of this same disease. I do work – a lot of work – just not the work I am supposed to do.

I had begun to write, as a profession, some ten years back. After few initial months, my name started appearing in print. My short stories and poetry appeared in many anthologies. The confidence made me complete the first draft of a book. At that time, I got ambushed into freelance writing. I had innumerable clients and made good money from the comfort of my home. Then, the guilt started gnawing – this was not what I wanted to do! I gave it all up when I was at the peak and got back to my original kind of writing. I finished the first draft of another book. Then again, I got waylaid. I did my M. Sc. in Counselling and also got international certification as a Life Coach. I worked hard and enjoyed every minute of it. Then I woke up from the euphoria – this is not what I set out to do. I went back to writing and did the first draft of yet another book. I steeled myself to stick on with it and now, I am working on the editing and rewriting of it.

The temptation to stagger into the by lanes is still too strong. However, now, after ten years, I have understood a by lane is just that – a path that takes me off the main road and delays me from reaching my goal. I am wary of them. Temptation and opportunity stand all around me, beckoning me to other tracks but I take a deep breath and think for a few minutes before deciding whether or not to go there. I still make mistakes but I don’t run to them. I walk slowly towards them. So, now, when I know it’s not the right path, I am no longer deep down the road. I can quickly jog back to where I was before.


Thursday, April 30, 2015


For the last day of Napowrimo, I wanted to share a poem very close to my heart. I had written this a few years back but I've reworked on this again before sharing it today.

 HUSH! My baby boy is asleep and

I sadly creep to the mirror.

Marriage makes your head roll.

Childbirth takes its toll.

I came to see what I lost

From what I was in the past…


Long black cascading tresses are now a bun- small and staunch;

Narrow swiveling hips have become a paunch.

As I view my rear, in dismay,

I realize my callipygian days have gone away.

Sleepless nights with an infant’s cries and gurgles

have framed my shiny eyes with dark circles.


No, long painted nails – I can’t have thee

As you might hurt my darling baby!

I looked at my lips in alarm -

Its months since I applied lip balm.

Don’t cry, my dear rough feet,

I can no longer pedicure every week!

Shadows have filled my mind.

I turn and see my husband behind.

He looks into my eyes with a love so new,

“Our son is so beautiful… he is just like you!

Each day, you are growing prettier dear!”

He said, kissed and pulled me near.
Thank you friends for reading and encouraging all these amateur poems. You have given me tons of confidence to work on and improve.

Z: Zucchini


“There is something I need to tell you. It is better we speak about such things before the wedding,” Robert sounded so serious. “When I was a kid, must be around 10 years of age, we had been to my father’s friend’s house.” Cathy held her breath. She was sure this was going to be a story of horror and abuse. They were just engaged and she didn’t want anything to disrupt her happiness.

“Were you abused there?” she asked. She couldn’t wait patiently for the slow build-up of the story. Many times, she wondered if it was actually advisable to marry a writer. He created stories out of nothings.

“Yes. Kind of,” he said.

“Do your parents know?”

“Yes, and they made sure I never get abused that way again.”

“Oh. How terrible! Are you still affected by it?”

“A lot,” he said. Cathy’s eyes watered. Will her life be alright marrying this guy? She loved him terribly but marriage is a different game altogether. There are other lives to consider. “Did something fall in your eyes, Cathy?”

“No, no.” Cathy wiped her eyes with her handkerchief.

“So, remember, I don’t want you abusing me that way too,” he said. “Let’s be clear on this. I hate zucchini. I can’t stand it. You will never buy or cook it in our house.”


“Yes. That fat man forcefully fed me a spoon of zucchini and I can’t get over it still. So…”

“Aaargh,” Cathy screamed. “You are so infuriating. You scared me so much.” Robert burst out laughing. Cathy stared at him. “You know what I’m going to do to punish you. I’m going to cook zucchini for an entire full month, once we are married.”



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