Tuesday, May 26, 2015

our big, fat Indian wedding

Samir and I are still recovering from wedding. It was the best weekend of our lives and we can't believe it's over. 

Mendhi night

Had the best time with my girlfriends in between events and during our dance performance at the Sangeet

My friend Ami made our table numbers, each with a book title, and  literary quotations for each table

Penn Masala, the group that Samir was on (and the reason we met)

Our decorator surprised us with a welcome table that had a theme of books and music

Surprise love letter and peonies from Samir the morning of the wedding

Ending our night on the dance floor

there should be a word for

-When you're in the rhythm of a lovely conversation and it gets interrupted and is forever altered

-The silence that infiltrates a home after guests leave

-How seeing someone you love cry out of happiness compels you to do the same

-The way you and an old friend will always pick up right where you left off

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Last week, my amazing classmates and I celebrated the end of medical school. We discussed how it didn't seem as though it was actually over. Most of us expected to head back to the hospital after the ceremonies. But now, after years of counting down to this date, we didn't feel ready. It's funny how anticipation can change its face. 

Hooded by my dad/favorite doctor in the world :) 

Honored to speak at graduation and reflect on things we've been through as a class 

Now, the days are drifting by in a blur of errands, checklists, and phone calls. Our entire house looks like an Indian wedding vomited all over it, with invitations, programs, and bright fabrics strewn across each floor. 
Last week, I cleaned out my childhood bedroom and sifted through journals with yellowed pages. My time capsules. 
As each change arrives, I'm trying to stay present, instead of drowning in stress the way I usually do. 
Time for the next chapter!

Sunday, May 10, 2015


writing lessons from recent reads

1. Have a protagonist concerned for someone else's well-being. It deepens motivation and  evokes sympathy. 
In Girl In Translation, the main character goes to school and then works in a factory all night to make her mother's job easier. When her aunt (mother's sister) insults her mother, she yells at her, even though she knows that disrespecting an elder could affect her reputation forever. 

2. Convey emotions through dialogue.
I'm still reading A Touch of Stardust. The protagonist, Julie, reveals her insecurities to a big movie star she's working for, by saying nobody in her hometown understands her and she knows she's a laughingstock there for being unmarried.

3. Use flashback to advance the plot.
Laura Moriarty brilliantly used flashback in The Chaperone to show events that changed everything about each character's current state. The reader thought they had the entire, simple story until those parts of the novel. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

when something bad has happened

Today, my parents were discussing a situation that seemed terrible at first and ended up being a blessing in disguise. It took them several years to see this. Their conversation made me think of the moments that don't often receive the gratitude they deserve. 


I'm grateful for the (many) rejections I received during my early writing days.
They taught me that I had a lot of learning to do and that writing is a craft that requires discipline, hard work, flexibility, and a willingness to continuously improve. 

I'm grateful for the guy who tried to push me into marrying him and my confusion and guilt over not wanting to. 
He taught me that there should never be so much convincing required when making a life choice. 

I'm grateful for the people who were never able to admit their mistakes. 
They taught me the value of the strong friendships in my life and helped me cultivate forgiveness. 

I'm grateful for my unhappiness towards moving around a lot as a child.
It taught me to seek solace in books, so I was never dependent on others for fulfillment, and cherish my younger siblings. 

I'm grateful for the high stress that coated many days over the past several years.
It taught me to manage my time, never take days off for granted, and work to build a life I won't need days off from.

I'm grateful to the years of uncertainty about blending my passions for medicine, writing, and public health. 
They taught me to seek mentors who combine their interests to create multi-faceted careers and be open to taking a fluid path.

I'm grateful to the helplessness I felt during our family trips to India, when children banged their fists on our cab windows.
It taught me about the complexity of poverty and that trying to make a difference is a lifelong pursuit, paved with its own setbacks and triumphs.  

Saturday, May 2, 2015

four simple elements to improve a scene

                                            1. Interruptions
                                            2. Surprises
                                            3. Stalls
                                            4. Secrets