A.R Sara

A breezy & intense eternal teen with a zest for the here and the now

Overcoming writer’s challenges

Most of the consistent and voracious readers I know, either already possess a natural inclination to express their thoughts in written words or involuntarily develop it over the years. So what is it that holds them back?
Some of the most common challenges I see in the transition from a reader to a writer and realizing one’s potential as a writer, do not revolve around lack of opportunities or muses or any external stimuli. But rather around a finite set of hurdles that lie within. I have tried to outline a few that I believe are the critical ones to address to kick-start your creative engine.

    • Shedding inhibitions
      It takes courage and a sense of purpose to actually put thoughts on paper, which is akin to peeling layers off an artichoke to reveal the heart. The fear of exposing one’s thoughts to the world can be intimidating resulting in conflicting emotions and a strong awareness and acceptance of one’s vulnerabilities. It requires an acknowledgement of the presence of the invisible yet formidable layers of inhibitions, prior to making an effort to shed them one at a time.
    •  Handling empathy
      Yes, even a strong sense of empathy can make a writer think several times over and reconsider penning down thoughts, ideas, feelings and brooding over the choice of words. Especially avid readers, who read across genres, have a strong tendency to become overly sensitized and empathetic.
      A striking sensitivity and awareness that words can be stronger than swords, can become a deterrent. What if the words from the heart were to hurt someone. It is important to reflect and apply some logic and due diligence and ask yourself if you are ready to take ownership and responsibility for the true intent and the meaning behind the words from your inner perspective. If yes, then go ahead with sharing your writing.
      Know that, when you write from the gut, the words you string together will encompass the emotions that went into them and will be invoked and tangle with the reader’s mood, when reading them.
      You can’t control how your writing will be interpreted or perceived. The readers’ perceptions and current state of mind can color the words they read. But if everyone were to interpret your writing exactly the same way, every time, that would be like taking the flavor and zest out of food rendering it bland and predictable always.
    • Seeking validation and Acceptance
      A fear of indifference can be a strong deterrent. After having shed inhibitions to reveal a part of one’s inner self via words in a blog post, book, FB post, social media…what if the world is indifferent, or only a lack-luster response is garnered or worse…it is ridiculed and callously rejected. Now this should turn the focus on who do you really write for and how do you feel about it and why do you share it? Then the most critical query of all: Why do you write?
      Reflect on these questions and answer. Be true to yourself as you do. The answers you arrive at will help you resume your writing journey with a renewed vigor, defer it or change tracks altogether.
    • Structured vs unstructured writing
      While there are academic frameworks, guidelines on what constitutes good creative writing…be it an article or a book, there is nothing etched in stone that dictates perfect writing except for grammar. Now grammar is something you don’t want to risk compromising on, if you are serious about your writing.
      While it is important to be aware and keep learning and respecting structure, it can be counter productive and restrictive for a writer to regard guidelines as rules and get so caught-up with them that it begins to hinder one’s own unique writing style from evolving.
    • Lethargy
      Plain old laziness is another culprit that can put the breaks on your writing expedition. Writing is a solitary activity fueled by creative drive. Something that has to be inspired and indulged in and not forced. If sufficient discipline is not applied to bolster your passion, it is easy to slip into a state of ennui and comfort and begin slacking off. Shake off that lethargy with a quick walk or some other form of light exercise or change in activity.
    • An Author’s Delight – Magic formula
      Is there a magic formula to churn out commercial bestsellers or viral posts? Absolutely, there is, in my view. Simply put, the way I see it, bestsellers are the result of Writer’s Passion Matching Mass Appeal. What are the odds of this occurring? Passion cannot be nurtured or forced, it is an intrinsic energy from within. The writing style, story line, character development, genre…all these do add up but cannot assure that the book will be loved by many. It is the undefinable quality, you have no conscious control over, that finally matters and can make or break the book you write. So let passion drive you to write and let the universe conspire to match mass appeal to it rather than attempting it the other way round.

There is no clear-cut “one solution fits all writers” to address and eliminate challenges. But the path to breaking free from them lies in recognizing the challenges prior to tackling them…one step at a time.



© 2017 RajaRajeshwari Nagasigamani


Colorful glimpse

A splash of deep blue,
My way steadily flew,
Swept by the morning gale,
The sky, in comparison pale.
Inner coat of brown and white,
Out of focus when in flight,
Wing span so impressive,
Looking grand and festive.
The sparkle in an eye,
While nibbling on a fly.
Gifted with a unique flair,
An elusive sight you were,
Till an opportune moment did appear,
A glimpse I managed to capture,
On my phone and on my mind,
A memory I can, at will rewind

Text & Images © N.RajaRajeshwari 2018



Homework woes! Something ate my homework…

Something ate this student’s homework. Read on to find out more…

“Your homework is not where it should be
So let me see…
Was it the dog that ate it up may be…
Chewed it all into a pulp
And swallowed it in a single gulp?”
Asked the teacher raising a brow.
The pupil replied sounding low,
“Ma’am believe me when I tell you this,
School assignments are not something I like to miss
It was eaten up indeed,
A most cruel and nasty deed!
Painful it was…to witness my work guzzled up in a blink,
But just not in the way you think…
So this is what really happened.
Do hear me out till the end.
It was a long weekend,
With an unexpected end.
I worked hard on the school project.
Smartly using the laptop’s intellect.
Loads of information I did collect.
As I browsed the world wide internet,
I found diagrams with properties of a magnet,
And images of the continents on our planet.
I say this with sincerity and no hyperbole.
Traveled from the tip of the North pole,
To the very end of the South pole.
To complete the quest you set me on,
Fighting every distraction and yawn,
I swiped across many a screens.
Switching devices with Apple OS to Android’s Jellybeans,
Did my research with great care.
So many neat facts I laid bare,
Skipping games, T.V and naps.
With a few moves, clicks and taps,
I saved it all in a large document.
You know I am a dedicated student.
I thought will share it with you a soft copy instead of print.
I even opened my email box,
With the swiftness of an exploring fox.
But just before I could attach and hit send…
There was an ‘Oh no!’ moment.
My fingers clumsily slipped and my elbow oddly bent,
Pressing the keys…control, alt and delete in a single motion.
What a deadly combination!
Off vanished my precious file,
Taking with it my intense toil,
To a world beyond reach.
A most inconvenient accidental breach!
Believe me when I tell you,
It was an action I could not undo!
So please please excuse me will you…
When I tell you…When I tell you…
It was not my dog so dear,
But my laptop for sure!
That indeed gobbled up all my homework and burped with a ding!
Making me sadly sing…Ring a ling a ding!”

© N.RajaRajeshwari 2018

Veggie fair

When I was a child without a care,
My mother took me to the veggie fair,
There were veggies veggies every where!
Broccoli, carrots, spinach and more wandered about, here and there!
They stomped around uncooked and bare!
I saw a lot more than my eyes could bear…
It made my hair stand on end…yes it did.
Running into them at every bend…as a kid.
It was oh! Such a terrible scare…
The veggies…they turned around with a rude stare.
I said to them, ”Eating you is so very unfair!”
They looked me in the eye and snorted with a glare,
“Don’t pick and choose but eat us all, then it will be fair.”
“Chew us raw or cooked very rare.”
“Munch us whole or in a salad, chopped up long, round or square.”
“Just eat us all up if you dare.”
“Chomp us up, mash us up!”
“To your health lets raise a cup.”
They began to dreadfully blare,
Dancing with a certain flair.
They swirled, twirled and lifted off the ground,
All of them…the short, tall, thin and round.
They rose in a riot of colors into the sir,
Till one by one they slowly did fade and disappear…
My mother smiled and said, as she ruffled my hair,
“You can eat your veggies at home, school or anywhere.”
“But if you don’t want your friends to flee…then your veggies don’t you share!”

Text © N.RajaRajeshwari 2018

Puppy Chronicles – The frightful mantis

With a playful glance and a happy yap, the puppy approached the elegant creature.

The one demurely meditating in the corner.

A mantis saying its prayers in solemn silence.

The puppy enquired, “Can we be friends?”

A K9 and a meditating insect would make a funny pair, don’t you think?

The K9 eyed the mantis standing so still, serious and stiff,

Then with a wag the pup moved in for a long sniff.

The mantis came out of its tranquil trance,

While the puppy did a joyful dance,

The insect turned around with a saucer-eyed icy glare,

Both its arms menacingly shot up in the air,

Bulky and muscled like a grizzly bear’s, were they,

Showing readiness for a mean fight and not play,

Ready to box the curious puppy’s floppy ears,

Even as the puppy drew back in surprise, close to tears…

The mantis resumed its earlier stance,

And shut out the world, its posture in perfect balance.

© N.RajaRajeshwari 2018









Write away

When the urge to write turns into an endless yearning!
Setting my thoughts and fingertips burning.
A hunger so raw, a gnawing craving…
Do I regard it as a curse or a boon worth saving?!
© N.RajaRajeshwari 2018

Jolly, Jumpy, Round and Red


It is that time of the year again! Heads huddled in studies and play! An exchange of ideas, thoughts, stationary, books and more. It is also a time that sees the return and rise of the dreaded little monsters that torment the head…so much so that it calls for a story…short but not sweet!

How about a hairy, scary, wickedly funny tale of four nasty, beastly, itchy, scratchy creatures! Interested? If yes, then read on…


Four little lousy lice Jolly, Jumpy, Round and Red,

Dancing and frolicking on my distressed head,

“Catch us if you can!” they willfully said, 

As they had a satisfying fill of my blood,

With every wickedly greedy gulp, 

Growing more bold, nasty and plump,

Causing a scalp itchy, twitchy, scratchy and sore…

The icky, yucky, beastly four!


Several sweeps of my comb I did dare, 

Through marked sections of my frizzy hair,

In a frenzy they fled to the untouched end, 

Unaware of what I truly did intend,

Still feasting on me without a thought or care!

Making my anger quickly flare,

With a scalp itchy, twitchy, scratchy and sore

The icky, yucky, beastly four…


More calculated and frantic brushing…

To keep up with my adrenaline rushing,

I forced them to go scurrying!

My focused attack surely had them worrying.

They ran to huddle in a corner panting,

Yet they continued to feed as if taunting,

Making my scalp itchy, twitchy and scratchy even more!

The icky, yucky, beastly four…


Even as the itching got intense,

I searched for them with mirror and magnifying lens,

And I had stumbled on their hideout…I could sense,

My fingers clutched the comb rather tense…

For a swift and strong slide down my long mane,

Finally got them all simple and plain!

Soothing my scalp itchy, twitchy, scratchy and so sore

The icky, yucky, beastly four…


Then a firm and fatal click of my nails, 

It’s a neat trick that never fails…

The irksome quartet of many a quirky tales

Now lie flattened and still on the shiny floor, 

They can cause mischief and trouble, no more!

Or a scalp itchy, twitchy, scratchy and sore,

Bringing a fitting end to this lousy lore,

Of Jolly, Jumpy, Round and Red, the icky, yucky, beastly four…


~The End~


Also published with illustrations on https://storyweaver.org.in/stories/37845-jolly-jumpy-round-and-red
Read it here :https://storyweaver.org.in/stories/show-in-iframe/37845-jolly-jumpy-round-and-red?iframe=true

Wonder Mouse goes places

Who would have thought “Wonder Mouse” would make it to Print Media…HindustanTimes 🙂
Here’s a link to the digital edition of the same –


Wonder Mouse

Tucked under an old rag in the loft,
A curled fur ball fuzzy and soft!
That is how I found you,
Sporting a pleasing golden hue.
A face spiky and impossibly tiny,
Eyes pitch dark and shiny,
Pupils glowing bright,
In curiosity or fright,
Sniffing with a minute nose,
You strike a winsome pose,
A smooth tail slim and long,
To grip the vines so strong.
Ears like fragile leaves,
Swaying like gentle waves,
Sweeping whiskers that softly quiver,
Fingers sturdy and slender,
Like translucent claws they appear.
Draped in a shimmering fur of gold,
Your movement is nimble and bold,
You…little creature are a charm to behold!


Here’s an extended version …

Tucked under an old rag in the loft,
A curled fur ball fuzzy and soft!
That  is how I found you,
Sporting a pleasing golden hue.
A face spiky and impossibly tiny, Looking so amused and a little funny!
Before I could react or exclaim,
The cleaner took careful aim!
Escaping the cleaner’s broom,
You dashed across the garden storeroom.


Eyes pitch dark and shiny,
Pupils glowing bright, In curiosity or fright,
Sniffing with a minute nose,
You struck a winsome pose!
Yet she relentlessly chased you around,
As you hopped under a cloth refusing to be found,
She lifted the cover and there you were…
Cowering yet watching steadily with a watery stare.
I stopped her from bringing the broom upon you!
It was just in time, phew!


A smooth tail slim and long,
To grip the vines so strong.
Ears like fragile leaves,
Swaying like gentle waves,
Sweeping whiskers that softly quiver…
Even as you did shiver!
I was alarmed when you stayed still.
Gently moved you to a ventilated cupboard under the window sill.
Tried to revive you with some water, cheese and pieces of fruit.
Next day saw you actively exploring in your furry suit!
Zig-zagging your way across the space, looking so cute!


Fingers sturdy and slender,
Like translucent claws they appear.
Draped in a shimmering fur of gold,
Your movement is nimble and bold,
You…little creature are a charm to behold!
It was time to set you free,
To roam the wilderness in peace and just be!
So I carried you in a box and left you in the tall uneven grass.
You leaped on to a large leaf and looked alert like attending class.
Then you zoomed away into the foliage of deep green,
Fading away in a flash of furry gold and in a moment you were not to be seen!


Copyright © 2018 RajaRajeshwari Nagasigamani

Top 12 eclectic reads

An eclectic selection of twelve books, both fiction and non-fiction, that offer an unbeatable and unique reading experience.

1.The Girl who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
A coming of age story with a heart and soul, in a fantasy setting, replete with magic, love, loss, redemption, adventure and friendship. It is the stuff epic fairy tales are made of. At the center of the story lies an oppressed village that forcibly snatches a child away from its parents and sacrifices it to a witch every year by abandoning it in the nearby forest, compelled by the elders who govern and control the village. A witch who resides with a dragon and a swamp monster on the other side, rescues the abandoned child every year and transports it to another faraway village, to be raised in kind and loving homes. During one such yearly rescue errand, while transporting the child, the witch feeds the child moonlight instead of the usual starlight leading to an accidental granting of powerful magical powers. The witch decides to adopt and raise the child, naming her Luna and binding her magic from surfacing till she is at an age she can handle it. As Luna reaches that age, the magic within her breaks free to surge and it is upto her to tame and handle it even as a series of events unfold, unraveling the mysteries and secrets surrounding the village and the witch.
2. The Historian
A heady mix of Dracula folklore and history, it captivates with its atmospheric narrative, slow buildup and is genuinely scary without relying on gore or cliched vampire romance.
3. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet
A fictional and deeply emotional and moving epic saga with a rich assortment of strongly carved characters and a plot that revolves around the construction of a cathedral in the 12th century English against a backdrop of anarchy, religious conflicts and political intrigue.

4. Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

Pick this up for the sheer brilliance, lucid narrative and astuteness with which the author has presented an interpretation of the theory of evolution from the viewpoint of a gene. It offers a fresh new perspective on what drives the evolutionary process. The numerous analogies are clever and apt and help decode and simplify the complex concepts and comprehend with ease.
5. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
A concise, compact, thought-provoking and meaningful summary of 200,000 of human history, chronicling the progression of the ape-like simple creature of the homo genus to an intellectual, opportunistic and complex being of the homo-sapien species, who rose to the top of the food chain.
6. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
This book offers a multi-layered reading experience which stimulates you with mystery, adventure, magic realism and a generous dose of shock value, all wrapped in a dreamlike surreal landscape.
download (1)

7. Fox by Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks 

It is a fable that has a moving and dark theme, yet carries a beautiful allure that makes it a compelling read. With its powerful and haunting quality, it can sear itself into the reader’s memory.
The prose inspires vivid imagery in the mind with words left unsaid, while the illustrations speak louder than words.
8.  Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
It is a fictional retelling of the Mahabharata mythology from Draupadi’s perspective. It makes the reader empathize with the tragic protagonist and other well-etched characters, with its poignant and powerful tone.
It is a perfectly intoxicating blend of the raw emotions, descriptions, thoughts to match the interpretation of Draupadi’s viewpoint.
download (2)
9. Maus by Art Spiegelman
A path-breaking graphic novel that is historical fiction and both memoir and autobiographical in nature. It is one that proved that literature dealing with deep and serious topics can be expressed using a graphic/comic medium. It is a Pulitzer prize winner.
It unfolds with the author interviewing his father, a holocaust survivor about his life experiences from the days before the World War II to the end of the Holocaust, and a narrative of the author’s life in the present time frame, including his troubled relationship with his father. The dispassionate and straightforward storytelling style has a startling effect and that combined with the depiction of Jews as mice and German’s as cats, infuses the novel with a strange and haunting quality.
10. Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
A dystopian novel with a marked feminist slant, that manages to disturb and unsettle with a dark plot line that delves into how quickly and devastatingly a society can decline and regress from a progressive to an oppressive society in a heartbeat. It touches on the volatility of women’s status in society and the technical ease with which her financial freedom and basic rights can be swept away in the blink of an eye. The portrayal of the events chillingly feel real on account of the rich, raw, poignant and powerful narrative.
11. Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
A magical and charming tale that imparts powerful and sublime messages around personal destiny, true love and self-realization. It follows the journey of a shepherd boy who meets many impactful and colorful characters on the way who transform his thinking, till his quest culminates in a beautiful and stunning discovery that transcends the physical.
12. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
True to its name the epistolary novel is frivolous, eccentric and weird and a lot more.  It is a story that is set in the period surrounding the WW2 timeline. Friendship, impact of war, life on a small quaint island, wit, humour and a love for literature are all seamlessly woven together in an old-fashioned exchange of letters to create a pleasant, sunny, poignant and memorable effect.
Thanks for reading till the end. Hope this helps identify your next read or revisit a book or books you have already read.
Have you read any of the above books and did they appeal to you?

Biryani – with a twist

I have meticulously typed up this recipe after keenly observing my mom make the famed traditional dish with a difference. Coconut milk lends a unique and rich flavor to the popular dish with a mouth watering twist. Follow the instructions carefully. Share your feedback if you get to try it. 🙂


Refined Oil – 2 tablespoons
Maggi Magic Cubes – 2 (Chicken or Vegetable)


Whole spices for tempering:

Cardamom – 4 pods
Anise petals/seeds – 4
Cinnamon sticks – 5 small
Bay leaves – 2
Cloves – 5 (Not shown in the pic…but don’t miss including this ingredient)
Saump/Fennel Seeds – 1 full teaspoon

Vegetables for tempering:

Green Chillies – 3 (split in 2s)
Large Onion chopped lengthwise – 1
Large tomatoes chopped – 2
Ginger Garlic paste – 1 full teaspoon
Mint/Pudina leaves – 1 cup, lightly shredded
Coriander leaves with stems – 1 cup, lightly shredded
Coconut – Half a Coconut grated
Biryani long grain rice – 1 large measuring cup + 1 medium measuring cup. Washed and drained.
Lime juice – 1 tablespoon freshly extracted.

Extracting Coconut Milk:

Use a blender/mixer/grinder to thoroughly grind the grated coconut. Drain it to extract fresh coconut milk. Use water to extract milk properly. Use the same large measuring cup you used for measuring rice to measure the extracted coconut milk. If it is less then 3 measuring cups add water to dilute it, till you get three large measuring cups of coconut milk. The amount of rice used here requires 3 parts liquid. Keep aside the coconut milk in a bowl.

Marinating chicken or plant based alternative or mutton:

Chicken or Mutton or Plant based alternative cut into cubes – 1/2 Kg
Ginger garlic paste – 2 full teaspoons
Curd/Yoghurt – 4 tablespoons
Garam masala powder – 1 teaspoon
Red Chilli powder – 2 teaspoon
Salt – as appropriate. Add salt only in case of Chicken. Else don’t add salt at this point. Adding salt to marinate mutton, can make it rubbery.
Mix all the ingredients and freeze for a minimum of 2 hours.

Yoghurt/Curd Chutney:

Finely chopped tomatoes – 1/2 cup
Finely chopped green chillies – 1/2 cup

Finely chopped green chillies – 1 teaspoon

Yoghurt/Curd – 1 cup
Salt to taste

Cooking Procedure:

1.Heat oil in a large pressure cooker.
2.Add anise seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, cloves and stir.
3. After a few seconds add Saump/Fennel seeds and stir.
4. After few seconds add onions and chillies and stir.
5. After about a minute or two once the onions turn translucent and start becoming lightly golden, add the ginger garlic paste and stir.
5. After a few seconds add the chopped tomatoes.
6. Add the marinated chicken or mutton or the plant based alternative
7. Blend all thoroughly.
8. Add coriander and pudina/mint and mix.
9. Close the cooker lid without the weight. Let it simmer for 15 to 20 mins till the Chicken or Mutton or the Plant based alternative is cooked and tender.
10. Add the extracted coconut milk
11. Add the washed and drained rice along with crushed Maggi Magic cubes
12. Add lime juice
13. Bring to a boil
14. Close cooker lid. Place the pressure cooker weight on top
15. Cook on high flame. Immediately are the after the second whistle on the cooker sounds, switch off the stove
16. Let it sit for 20 to 30 mins till the pressure completely leaves
17. Remove the weight. It should come off easily since there is no pressure. Open the lid and gently stir the Biryani.
18. Serve hot with Yoghurt/Curd chutney on the side.
%d bloggers like this: