Shat koti namas to thy divine lotus feet Param Poojaniya Swamiji and Sri Hari Bhagavan.
By divine grace and divine compassion of Param Poojaniya Swamiji and Sri Hari Bhagavan I self-published my debut book, ‘The Taste Of Classic Coconut Cuisine’, with The White Falcon publishing. Thank you, March 🙂
When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it ~~ Paulo Coelho
This is my favourite quote from Paulo Coelho and I believe in it, too.
I started writing because I had too much to say and I was too excited about it. I began somewhere in the middle of 2019. At that time, I had a sweet void of silence, one which was gentle and vibrant. I felt a compulsion to speak to this silent void of love whenever I sat alone. To my surprise, I found my thoughts filling up my diary slowly and steadily.
By the grace of Param Poojaniya Swamiji, everything was aligned in my favour during this time and I had also started a one-year meditation streak on Black Lotus App.
I am a voracious reader, and books are my companions ever since I can remember. But I wasn’t planning to write a book until that day when out of some great compulsion from within, I started writing about the story of my childhood spent with my great-grandparents in my small village at my ancestral home. Some days, I wrote stories of my childhood, and on some other days, I wrote about the delicious food recipes from my granny’s kitchen. Like this, I progressed and soon I realised I am in the middle of the making of a book. Rather I thought I am writing two books — a storybook and a recipe book. J
One day, I called my best friend Dr Sangeeta Jadhav and told her about my new passion for writing. She was so excited and we decided we will meet over coffee somewhere and discuss this “important matter’’. She has always made me feel whatever small things I am doing are very important matters and has cheered me with love that can only be named as unconditional.
It was the beginning of a long-term commitment, support, and guidance from my pious friend. I believe my beloved Sri Hari arranges good friends like her in times of my need. Jai Sri Hari. One more friend was coming my way to help me. I was yet to find out who that was.
One Saturday evening, Sangeeta and I decided to meet over coffee at Teavilla café on Fergusson College Road. It is a very nice place. We sat there for a long time discussing my writing and sipping Oolong tea. I told Sangeeta, “I am writing like this… Stories on one side, recipes of the cuisine on the other. I don’t know how to make a connection between them.”
She said, with great conviction in her voice, “Bhabhi, the one who makes you write this will help you connect it also. Now you have the foundation, you must build on this.” I nodded, even though I had no idea of how I was to build on this foundation which was nothing but scribbles. And by divine grace, soon I could connect my stories to the recipes. I conveyed this happy news to her also.
Meeting a friend over coffee after decades was such a refreshing change for me, and we enjoyed our weekend meets. Sangeeta used to give me small targets like finish 2000 words, or 5000 words, etc. I carried my small diary along with me when we met. I was not used to writing in Microsoft Word yet.
My diary scribblings were so complicated, sometimes even I couldn’t decipher them. I changed to writing on Word Doc and it helped a lot. I never had a great handwriting anyway. Now it has become worse because I haven’t touched pen to paper in many decades. Whenever I hand over a handwritten shopping list to my kids they politely refuse and say, “Mom, please text karo na.” 🙂
I updated my status on Facebook to “Finding my font”.
Every fortnight, Sangeeta would drive a long way from Viman Nagar to some small cafes near my home in Panchavati. Some days we didn’t discuss the book at all. We went shopping, had lunch or watched a movie and took selfies. Later, I’d send the screenshots of my writing to her and she was always kind enough to shower me with loads of appreciation, the much-needed vitamin M (motivation ), and Vitamin S (self-confidence) .
One day, while we were enjoying a masala dosa and uttappa in a restaurant she said, “Bhabhi, we will go on a 10-day cruise to Goa.” I dropped that thought there itself even though it was such a glittering thought. I put forward my suggestion, “We will go on a one-day trip to Mulshi?” To my great relief, she said, “Yes, we will.”
For me, it was hard to find anyone who said “yes”. Both the trips haven’t happened so far. I confined my photography dreams to my kitchen and it worked well. It was satisfying to combine cooking and shooting. My food photography started showing some results, too.
My meditation streak on Black Lotus App and my writing were happening daily. During that time, Param Poojaniya Swamiji made os.me open to all aspiring writers. I jumped in and posted my blogs. The loving community received my blogs well and their comments were assuring and loving. The first time I saw my writing in print and published, it was astounding.
To be continued…
Links to my book The Taste Of Classic Coconut Cuisine is here:
International Links :
Looking forward to your love and blessings. Jai Sri Hari 🙂