" It's the same land, the same sky, but perceptions differ
it's the same road, the same turn, but journeys differ. "

Monday, 27 April 2015

A Quartet recalled

Memories hit hard sometimes. Nostalgia bugs me down as I recall my college days. A similar nostalgia bugged me when I was leaving my beloved school, friends and teachers for a newer, bigger and a hectic institution called college. A new set of friends, professors and professionals awaited me. The start was traumatic. Seriously! No friends, no fun and language barricade, as I studied in the state university, haunted me. It took time to settle down in the new life, to make new friends, breathe happily in new air. It was around mid-2nd year when I found my league, my friends! A bunch of the most hilarious, mad and absolutely nonchalant freaks whom, I now, promisingly and with whole my heart call, my dearest friends! :) Without them I was just breathing, with them, life started.

The final year was both the best and the worst. Fewer subjects, less assignments, minimum exams and maximum pressure! That is how I can sum it up. By the time I reached the fourth year, the admin staff had started handing me the stamps like a casual pen, for all the bonafide and certificate stamping, which we took in fat bundles! Project training was an amazing and a learning experience, which exposed me to a whole new world of research, its pressures, cycle and rules. It was hectic, cruel at times, but rewarding in totality. I still miss those deadlines, the hour long simulations I ran on the desktop and the clumsy software my fingers experimented with.

Attendance, a sacred need in colleges, was not an issue at all. Who goes to college in the final year? We were seniors, rather, super seniors or should I call veterans of our college. The guides, the perfect philosophers, friends and vanguards of the campus crowd. It was a time of too much studies but we had more recreation than exams. I may lose count of the films I saw in theatres, always the leading ones (read the chillars sitting in front rows).  Back then, it was a tumultuous time for our lovers too. No more college meant, no more back bench romance, no more khopcha love, and no more college parties!

At this juncture of a fast fading student life and an awaiting professional set up, our days saw the high and low tides of emotions. It was like the crest and troughs of a sine wave. We were like the shores of Marine Drive, getting wet and dry by the clock.

Whatever is penned here, is in complete sync with what thousands of my fresher friends feel world over. But when a beautiful journey as this, comes to an end, a Pandora’s box opens, to stock and pile up your memories, emotions and experiences, only to be opened up in later lives and reminisced. Later, it seems a transient time.

Abraham Lincoln remarked once, “And in the end it's not the years in your life that count; it's the life in your years.” I am glad, I had a life worth recalling, worth cherishing.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Dafe dar dafe...hum marte rahe

Dafe dar dafe, hum marte rahe
Dafe dar dafe, tujhse darkaar karte rahe

Tujhe kehti rahi nigaahein
K maan bhi lle zaalim, is dil ki qaraarein

Har nazm tere liye padhi
Har lafz tere liye dhari

Tujhe dekh hi ye dil khile
Tujhe paa kr hi rooh chale

Tu maan bhi lle zaalim
Har afsana sachcha hai

Teri hi nazar se sab sach nahin
Kuch toh mera bhi haq banta hai

Gidgidati rahi har baar tere saamne mai
Na suni meri aah tune phir bhi kyun

Kho kar hi mana tu aaj deewane
Ab umrbhar ka rona reh gya

Kya bharosa insan ka
Kal fir hass lega

Koi noor pasand aya
Aur fir aage badh lega

hum royenge, bilkhenge tab bhi sanam
lekin ab laut kr nahin ayenge

dil tut gya hai
rooh jal uthi hai

tumse mohabbat jo kri itni paak
shaq ne us pr kaalikhque mal di

pyar jo panpa tha hum beech
tere zehar ne us pr thuk diya

hum marr gaye aaj
hum marr gye aaj...

Saturday, 11 April 2015

DARPA Robotics Challenge all set for finale in June

This summer, 25 robots from around the world will go head to head in a competition to test how machines could one day provide assistance after natural or man-made disasters.
In October 2012, United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced a prize competition with the aim to develop semi-autonomous ground robots that can do "complex tasks in dangerous, degraded, human-engineered environments." The DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) began in October 2012, is to run for about 33 months with three competitions, a Virtual Robotics Challenge (VRC) that took place in June 2013 and two live hardware challenges, the DRC Trials in December 2013, and the DRC Finals in June 2015.
The event is being hosted in Pomona, California. As part of the event, the bots will attempt tasks such as walking about 30 feet (10 meters), activating an emergency shut-off switch and getting up from a lying position. The winning three teams will take home a combined $3.5 million in cash prizes, DARPA officials said.
The DARPA Robotics Challenge, is a competition to build human-controlled robots that may be used to perform challenging tasks that are dangerous for humans. "We are trying to make robots and human beings work together. Robots are very good at working in dangerous environments, while humans are very good at making judgment calls “Gill Pratt, program manager for the contest, said in a news conference.
The finals will require the robots to be untethered, which means the machines will need to be able to keep their balance or recover from a fall, adding a new level of difficulty. The robots must also have a battery or other on board power source.
"Usually, communications get very poor during disasters," both because the infrastructure becomes degraded and because emergency responders are all trying to use it at the same time, Pratt said. To mimic this scenario, the competition's organizers will intentionally degrade the communications links between the robots and their human controllers, requiring that the bots be semi-autonomous, or capable of acting partially on their own.
The finalists are working with a diverse array of robot designs, in terms of both hardware and software, such as Robo Simian, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory's primate-like robot, while Germany's Momaro robot resembles a torso on four wheels. Seven of the teams are using the upgraded Atlas robot from Boston Dynamics, a Google-owned robotics company based in Waltham, Massachusetts, but each of those will run unique software or other adaptations, Pratt said.
During this year's competition, each robot will have one hour to complete the course. First, the 'bots must drive a vehicle to a simulated disaster zone and walk about 30 feet (10 m) over a field of obstacles and debris. Then, the robots must rotate a circular valve, hook up some wires, cut a hole through a wall, climb up some stairs and exit a building. There will also be a surprise task, for which the teams won't be prepared in advance, Pratt said.
In addition to the robotics challenge, DARPA is hosting a competition for high school students to create a video that address concerns about robotic intelligence and society.

In the times when natural calamities and man-made disasters strike often, DARPA is trying to build on ‘helping hands’ which are high on intelligence and swift in movement. The grand robotics event will focus on the ability to complete such supervised autonomy tasks "despite low fidelity (low bandwidth, high latency, intermittent) communications" in order to test the bots for working under actual calamity situations.

Why India should know about ITER?

Near the west banks of Sabarmati, in the green city of Gandhinagar, a team of 122 scientists and engineers from across the country, are working silently on building the crucial components required to power the world’s largest nuclear reactor, upcoming in Cadarache, a province in southern France.
At a time when Indo-US nuke deal impasse has broken and both the countries look forward to steer their ‘123 agreement’ towards success, and when the world talks of nuclear non-proliferation, India is diligently working on realizing its dream of completion of ITER by 2019.
ITER, an acronym for International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, is an international nuclear fusion research and engineering megaproject, which is currently building the world's largest experimental tokamak nuclear fusion reactor. A tokamak is a device using a magnetic field to confine a plasma in the shape of a torus.
The ITER project aims to make the long-awaited transition from experimental studies of plasma physics to full-scale electricity-producing fusion power plants. It is a step towards future production of electricity from fusion energy. The most important aim is to produce at least ten times more thermal energy than the energy required to operate it, which can be converted to electricity in future power producing reactors based on fusion.
ITER's mission is to demonstrate the feasibility of fusion power, and prove that it can work without negative impact. The major aim of ITER is to momentarily produce ten times more thermal energy from fusion heating than, is supplied by auxiliary heating which means a Q value of 10. For half a century, scientists have dreamt about accomplishing this feat, but it was only in 2006 when progress was made with the formation of the ITER.

ITER was conceptualized in 1985 following an initiative by President Gorbachov of the erstwhile Soviet Union and President Reagon of the United States. The project is funded and run by seven member entities — the European Union, India, Japan, People's Republic of China, Russia, South Korea and the United States. ITER will be built mostly through in-kind contributions by the partners, in which they manufacture the ITER components assigned to them through their representative Domestic Agencies (DAs), which are delivered to ITER site for final assembly.
The ITER fusion reactor has been designed to produce 500 megawatts of output power while needing 50 megawatts to operate. Thereby the machine aims to demonstrate the principle of producing more energy from the fusion process than, is used to initiate it, something that has not yet been achieved in any fusion reactor. The facility is expected to finish its construction phase in 2019 and will start commissioning the reactor that same year and initiate plasma experiments in 2020 with full deuterium-tritium fusion experiments starting in 2027. If ITER becomes operational, it will become the largest magnetic confinement plasma physics experiment in use, surpassing the Joint European Torus.

India is providing a tenth of the components for the massive nuclear complex unfolding at Cadarache. New Delhi is contributing what would, when completed in 2021, be the world's largest refrigerator. The cryostat acts like a thermos flask but operates at some of the coldest temperatures ever seen in the universe, working at minus 269 degrees Celsius. This is used to keep the special super conducting magnets at the cold temperature at which they need to operate; the entire fusion system would collapse if it can't be kept cold.

India is also expected to contribute about 9,000 cores over the next decade to the project, thus paying for a little under 10% of the total cost.

Ratan K. Sinha, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, Mumbai says, “participation of India in the ITER project, with its immense scientific talent and industrial competence, has provided an opportunity to India to master cutting edge technologies.”

Sunday, 27 April 2014

LIVES IN EXILE: Exploring the Inner world of Tibetan Refugees

“I look at myself in a full length mirror, not once but twice and I see a void… Nothing, not a thing. Am I really invisible? Exiledom is a process of being made less a person than a non-person.”
-Gullerino Crabera Infante (a Tibetan refugee)

My intrigue and admiration for Tibetan people started with my interaction with a few of them at a sweater bazar (http://promenadeforyou.blogspot.in/2013/03/tibetans-in-exile.html). From then on, any news concerning the refugees from Tibet or Indian confrontations with China or His Holiness Dalai Lama’s peace plans has always caught my attention, almost instinctively. I read and followed many sites and books on the issue but one of the amazing works of note is by Ms/ Mrs (I’m not sure) Honey Oberoi Vahali. She is an Associate Professor at Department of Psychology, Delhi University. She has compiled and analyzed stories that date back to at least 3-5 decades back when the very lovely people of Tibet had to flee from their homes, leaving their hearts behind. The book, LIVES IN EXILE: Exploring the Inner world of Tibetan Refugees, is a heart wrenching collection of real stories of people who have faced severe inhumanities and troubles and who, despite all the wrath didn’t succumb to death. Instead, they gathered courage and fought for their rights. One cannot ignore noticing that they are still fighting for their cause but peacefully and this makes their fight special.

It amazes me how, after the extreme level of difficulties, torture and inhuman behavior these people had to face; they have still chosen the path of non-violence and peace. Buddhism is a very strong religion, I must say. It teaches you to forgive and be at peace with your body and soul, because unless that happens; you will never be able to forgive your own tormentors. While reading the book, I came across stories of ladies, who were raped repeatedly and not allowed to have a bath or change clothes for 11 years! (How long is that? Ever wondered?) Every month when they had menstrual bleeding, they let their blood flow to ground and kept wearing the same clothes, didn’t wash and kept living in filth and dirt. I came across stories of men who were paraded naked and were given electric shocks but the unity of Tibetan people didn’t give way. These people were fighting for a bigger cause, for freedom from exile, for freedom of life. When His Holiness seeked refuge in India, many Tibetans followed. Indian government allotted places in Manali, Dharamsala and Mcleodganj to them and they started re-building their lives here. But when life is harsh and struggle-some, God is bound to take more merciless decisions. Initially people were kind and helpful but with time, the sense of having helped for much longer than expected has peeped in. Troubles have started brewing in the lush green and peaceful valley of Himachal and Tibetans have nostalgically started feeling uprooted once again. When you live in a place for more than 4 decades, when you have seen your children growing and getting married at a place, you make it your home, another home. The Tibetans still struggle for food, to keep hunger at bay, to educate their children but for them, life is here.

While the old Tibetans, who have faced the cruelties first-hand, are still in turmoil inside, they say the younger generations have become materialistic. They are more interested in mobiles, bikes and brands and less interested in knowing about the struggles of their forefathers. Although many young and active volunteers like Tenzin Tsundae, and people from TYC (Tibetan Youth Congress) have come up with foundations and charities which work extensively for the cause of freedom from exile, the more common ones still look detached. This hurts the elderly who still have nightmares about getting raped, about being paraded naked, about being tortured by inserting things into their vagina/ anus, about their nails being chipped by bamboo fine sticks and about being hungry for ages. Those who have seen the nightmarish days have set up schools and institutes (Norbulingkar Institute, Tibetan Children Villages, TIPA, etc.) to protect their heritage, arts and culture.

Mcleodganj, a small hamlet in Himachal Pradesh is a savior of sorts. It is home to 3 sets of uprooted people- Gaddis (refugee Muslims), Tibetans (people from Tibet/Lhasa) and the local Dharamsala people (from Sind). I feel proud of the fact that we have provided homes to the uprooted but the recent news of upheavals in the valley, about clashes between local people and refugees, pains me enormously. Although I understand that where 3 sets of cultures and people mix, languages mix, co-existence becomes tough but at the same time, I believe that sheltering and helping is the best form of mankind. If we lose hope and heart, lives will go haywire. I am not a Tibetan, neither do I live in any of the places around their settlements but I feel very strongly for the people who have lost their homes, their parents, their children and their lives. Physical torments heal with time but what remains are the scratches on heart and mind. Psychological wounds never heal, their pain subsides but when the pain is excruciating even after decades, it calls for help, it calls for fight; fight for freedom from the clutches of foreign powers. As children from young times, we have seen none of it; no wars, no fights for freedom, no impoverishment, no tortures but education has opened me up to a plethora of dark realities in existence.

Sometimes I wonder, if even in 21st century we have a scope of world war 3 (Ukraine and Russia), scope for slavery and exile; then what worth is education? When we seem to touch the highest pinnacles of technology, these sinful mishappenings pull us back and throw us on the ground. It’s high time for a reality check! I and you will never experience what people have had; neither can we ever wash away the permanent markers of agony. We cannot understand what hanging between namelessness and homelessness means. I don’t know how I could help but I’m sure I’ll find ways. Till I find the right channels I can at least spread the word and do something meaningful of my education and life.
As I wrap this up, I would quote the voice of a hurt, wounded lady from the refugee camp-
“The one who keeps hoping in the face of a hopeless situation suffers much more than the one who no longer hopes…” 


Tuesday, 11 March 2014

An Average Indian Girl in LOVE!!!!

"Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within."
                                                           James Baldwin

True that!
Welcome to the life of an average Indian girl under spell: the magical spell of love, cast upon her by some random guy who enters her life at the most unexpected time of life, in the most hilarious way she could ever have imagined! This magical spell which transforms this girl into the sweetest girl ever, for whole family "to-be" and rest, changes too many things to be counted straight. The girl changes her accent, changes her patterns; starting with the way she prays, to the way she greets people; from the way she does house chores to the way she dresses; from restricting her old circle to creating a brand new circle of friends and family, this little girl would bring sea changes in her life, making it dramatic enough to shoot one documentary on the whole 'change thing'! Old friends (especially guys) would take a backseat or rather will lose contact completely. Old girl friends would start getting sidelined as their useless babbles no more give pleasure. The pleasure shifts to your guy's words, his songs, his expressions and elements of his life. You almost overnight change into this respectful girl who will now not need to utter any of those swear words, who would now not shout in front of elders, who would now behave, who would now suddenly become woman-ish and start planning things which she never knows would ever happen or not! Your 'haan' would turn into 'hanji'. Your 'what's up' would turn into 'namaste ji' and the most appalling of all, you start taking interest in household chores! It's as if you want to become this perfect girl for this guy so that the family has one less annoying reason to deny the liasion. Unfortunately, parents in India still reLate to the old norms of caste and creed; they still adhere to the long existing practises of denying their child its right to chose a partener for life. I always wonder how my uncle/aunty's child doing love marriage is a great step but my confessing the same becomes a huge issue of ego; a tug of war of sorts! Your parents and relatives on one side, your sibings and you on one. All others, the pathetic spectators who have no other agenda in life except peeking into your home and collect gossip  to monger it elsewhere. Disgusting it is!

Arrange marriages last longer- a bullshit notion religiously followed in India. Let me cut to some facts straight! Yes, arranged marriages last longer because splitting or breaking marriage while your relatives and family slapping on your back, is never easy! you adjust, your partner adjusts. To others, a happy married couple, to each other, a friend, may be or may not be; relationships/affairs blossom outside the marriage but that's fine as long as people don't know about it! Is that what we preach? Lectures aplenty from families and fights with your love, the girl's life goes completely haywire!

All future thoughts are accounted for both and the guy's family. All aspirations take a backseat because the very essence which keeps you afloat, boosts you is love and staying away from him, focus vanishes. May be living together could make lives better, sooner. But that's what an average girl from an average family faces in our country. One, you cannot love because you have an obligation towards your parents; you are suppossed to make love to the guy your family selects (read a prize bachelor! - daulat, shauhrat aur chhat). Two, if you do, you have some conditions required to attain something which should be a prerogative (choosing the guy you love, the guy who loves you). Three, when nothing goes right, you and your guy would go mad and fight and this possibly is the worst of all! Sigh!

If the girl tells her family, she's damned (all the circus that follows!). If she doesn't tell her family, she's damned (if you have cunning people out there who sneak, peek and speak!). All the talks of 'samaaj' and society which follows! You get warnings about crooks roaming everywhere, about guys who rape girls on the pretext of love. You are called to watch every piece of news flashing on television which comprise of words like 'pyaar' and 'dhoka'; the most alarming of the news will be discussed repeatedly to highlight the cons of the most divine feeling in this world- love. The constant one liner would do the rounds regularly- "aajkal bachcho k dimag hi kharab hain, abhi samajh me ni ata, jab jhelenge tab pata chalega."; "humne tumhare papa ko dekha bhi nahin tha." Uff!

To go over it all again, you fall for someone, you start loving him, you build your whole life around him, sometimes your career is ruined, your plans stalled, your friends ignored and your family will be mad at you. After all this, you do whatever it takes to handle yourself and your guy emotionally, physically and mentally. And that is what all average Indian girls in love do. Nobody realizes that if we have it in us to change our names and adopt a completely new family; if we have it in us to move to a new place, live among new people and build a life; if we can rear children and if we can cracks competitive exams, we CAN very well chose a guy who is best for us, who'll be the best father to their children, the best companion for life, the best support system she could rely on forever.

Oh my! An average Indian Girl in LOVE is still a taboo, for most sections of the society. One more generation and maybe things would turn for good.

The quote which follows has nothing to do with my write- up. I just found it and i loved it! Is that not a reason good enough? :P 
"He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you."
                                                                      Bob Marley

PS: Sorry to all the uncles and aunties whom I offend but Love is the best feeling in this world and taking away the right to proclaim it for somebody is the most pathetic form of bound on mankind.

Monday, 17 February 2014


Back in school, when I sat among groups chit chatting, discussing and pondering over the changing times, dissecting the many facets of human behaviour and science behind them (me being an engineer, logic pokes in everywhere), winning had many connotations, to each his own. 

While for some, it were getting the top marks, top degrees and dreams of building palatial homes (much like the Chatur Ramalingam of 3 Idiots!), for others, which included me, it was a parallel world of hidden dreams. Dreams, best known to us! Everybody had aspirations and different struggles. To some wooing popular girls or having trophy girlfriends was a win (in the race for fame), to others, flashing latest gadgets in the mart was a win ( in the race for being a gizmo freak). Some had targets, of getting into white collared jobs or reaching the pinnacle of top IT companies, few had dreams of becoming famous by getting into some reality shows! I, on the other hand, somewhat offbeat, a little or may be too off track, had absolutely and completely complementary notions for this term! 

Winning to me was not about marks, top ranks or cash prizes. It was always associated with that ‘high’ which i felt after accomplishing the goal I had set. That one smile or rather the glee I flashed after scoring a point over my friends when it came to arguments on life and love; that hug which I won after doing something really needful for a friend; those drops of sweat that I had running through my temple after having reached the place I set as a deal (while jogging); all this was winning, all this is winning! The moment of triumph to me!

If I complete a book in a day and I read it really well, I win. If I jog a round track of 8 km successfully in one go, I win. If I complete 50% of the course chapters with complete understanding before the university exam, I win. If I am able to clarify my students’ queries satisfactorily and prevent from learning some wrong concept, I win. If I can pay my own bus fare, with my very own hard earned money, I win. If I can help a blind man cross a road and not walk past him, I win. If I decide to lose weight but can’t, yet I smile and look forward to another day’s plan and not crib over it, I win. If I get over the sickening news of rapes and murders flashed everyday on television and yet allow my young ones to face the world confidently and not be scared, I win. If I can earn my family’s respect and trust with my deeds, I win. If I can have a cup of tea peacefully every morning, even in solitude, I win. I win over the hectic lives, the pace of erratic human existence! If I can make people see reason in loving and marrying a guy of my choice, I win. If I can walk with my partner through the life’s many phases, I win. If I can rear my child to grow to respect women and not think of them as an object ever, I win. If I can build a home for my parents, however small it may be, I win. If I can do 10 % of what my parents have done for me, for them, I win. Winning has nothing to do with being the richest man on the face of earth. 

Winning has nothing to do with topping universitiesor reaching the moon. Winning is building a lovable family, brooding love andemotions, knowledge and conscience, thoughts and wisdom; in times of turbulenceand peace; in times of exultation and melancholy; in times of distress and excitement!Winning is never flashy, never whining, never degrading; winning is a personal winwin innings!

Monday, 6 January 2014

Annual feedback ! 2014's on the go!

Hi guys. As we welcome 2014, it strikes me that i have been writing for many years now, though the blog came up in 2010, a little late than what it should have been. Anyway, i gather that there are a few, and may i say, very few staunch followers who care to read all the posts put up here. To those, i appeal, please help me improve. i call for you suggestions, be it about the blog layout, articles, poems, themes, pictures, etc; do tell me what you would like to see here and what you expect me to write on. Frankly, i am pretty impulsive and hence writing articles/poems doesn't come regularly to me but whenevr it does, it's cats and dogs! :) So guys, feedback, suggestions, crtique... please feel free to tell me. And may this year , I fulfill your expectations better :)

Have a great year ahead!

Welcome 2014 :)

Ah! So we completed another year.
 Another year of smiles and tears,
another year of joys and turmoil,
another year of laziness and toil,
another year of strong and fragile,
another year of scams and donations,
another year of political upheavals,
another year of cinema and music,
another year of religion and brawl,
another year of joys and ahoys,
another year of rueful eyes and
another year of love and sighs!

So many forms, so many shapes,
life of all, different path it takes
petrified of tomorrow, we do not stop dreams
nowhere does, a heart not screams
we get some of what we desire
the rest Allah gives to others
we pray for all and so do others
thus He grants us all,
a pie of this and a pie of that
 He keeps his mercy cover us all.

Rejoice, recover, laugh I say,
happiness and laughter will sweep the way
don't let spirits low, come what may
have fun, be hep and hay!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

An interview with Rita Lee Chapman

With immense pleasure, I hereby present to you friends, an interview with Ms Rita Lee Chapman, a renowned author whose second book is now out in the market. I must acknowledge the role of Goodreads in placing me in touch with Rita and several other authors and genuine readers out there who, most sincerely come forward to review and discuss the common love of all- books!! Now coming back to the interview, let me part with a little introduction to Rita.
Rita Lee Chapman was born in the UK and came to Australia in her early twenties. It was only when she retired to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland that she wrote her first novel “Missing in Egypt” a romantic travel mystery. 

“This fulfils a lifelong ambition for me. In primary school I wrote long stories but since then my writing had been restricted to business correspondence, press releases and letters home to my family! 

Her second book, Winston - A Horse's Tale is one for horse lovers from teenagers upwards.
Let us start with now.

1.      Tell us something about your childhood and life which would help us open up a little.

Hi Vandana.  I was born in London and moved to Australia in my early twenties.  I spent my working life in Sydney before moving to Queensland to retire.

2.      Now that we already know who Rita is, we would like to know what inspired you to write and when did you actually start writing? What was your first composition like?

I loved writing stories in English class at school and always wrote far more than was required!  My best marks were for a booklet on how to look after your pets.  I started my latest book Winston – A Horse’s Tale several years ago on a typewriter and foolscap paper!  I never found time to finish a book when I was working and only went looking for it and a few other half-started stories after I had published Missing in Egypt.

3.      Since you have already seen success with your first novel: Missing in Egypt, how do you plan to better your distribution and marketing process with this second book of yours?

I’d love to say that Missing in Egypt was a resounding success but, to be honest, it wasn’t.  It is very hard to promote and market yourself, particularly if you are trying to write your next book.  I think Winston – A Horse’s Tale will be easier to target as it’s for horse lovers, whereas Missing in Egypt was a romantic travel mystery and therefore had a more general appeal.

4.      Do you have any agent? Do you recommend one to young and aspiring authors?

No, I don’t have an agent and haven’t looked for one.  For that reason I can’t really say whether an agent is helpful or an added expense.

5.      Now that we have already spoken about the seller side, I am curious to know about the Winston: A horse’s tale. Please tell us something about your book?

Winston is one for horse lovers from teenagers upwards!  He is a good-looking palomino horse whose life involves several different owners and many adventures.  As you read his story, told by Winston himself, you will appreciate horse ownership from the horse’s point of view.  Born on a country property in Australia, Winston tells of his breaking-in and education and the different people he encounters – good, bad and ignorant.  As well as his own story, Winston includes the experiences of other horses he meets along life’s way. 

Whether it’s jumping, eventing, hunting or just hacking, Winston tries hard to please his rider. Follow his successes and his failures from his breaking-in to his show jumping win. It is an eventful life – the story of one Australian horse out of thousands, but one that you will remember!

6.      Rita, I am sure your followers are curious to know whether you are working on any other book at the moment or not?  Please delight us.

I have written the first few chapters of my next book, but it is on hold whilst I promote Winston.

7.      We can see a variety in your work. Your first book was a romantic travel mystery and the second one is based on your love for horses. May we expect the next one to be different from any of these?

Yes, I am trying my hand at a crime thriller this time.

8.      So, who is the hero of the book? Any favourite quote from the book?

The lead character is female but that is all I can say at this stage.

9.      Did you face any difficulties while writing? Was there any research involved? Any confession which you want to make?

Ooh!  That’s a sneaky question!  My first book was challenging because I didn’t know where it was going.  Also I had to check my facts in describing the various Egyptian temples.  With Winston – A Horse’s Tale the words flowed and I found it easy to write.  My confession?  I found some small errors in Missing in Egypt and republished it, so hopefully it is now “perfect”.

10.  Okay so as we move towards the last part of this interesting interview, may I ask you what do you have to say about the digital platform for readers today? Do you suggest socializing or latest apps for genuine readers or you prefer the good old paperback books for reading?

The arrival of Amazon and the e-book has made it possible for anyone to publish their book, which I think is amazing and certainly was for me.  It has of course meant that there are millions of books on the market and it is hard for your book to be noticed.  For the reader it is wonderful, especially with so many giveaways and free books available.  For bookshops it is obviously a problem but people still love to give books as gifts.  I personally prefer to read from a paperback and to hold a copy of your own book in your hands is a very powerful feeling. 

11.  It was a pleasure having you on our blog Rita. Would like to say something to your readers? Any parting note for us?

Yes,  I’d like to thank your readers for their interest in this interview and I hope they’ll check out my books!  Many thanks to you, Vandana, for giving me the opportunity to appear on your blogsite.  It was a pleasure to do such a well-thought out and, in some cases, challenging interview.

 With this we end with the beautiful and insightful conversation with Rita. May I tell you Rita, it was a pleasure having you :) Thank you and may your book do well and break records in terms of love with the audience and popularity. Best Wishes!