Coming to Terms With Life

About the Book

There are times when you see Rya, the protagonist, overreacting to situations. Other times, you realize that she is stretching herself to accommodate others, almost till breaking point.

At times she is happy; sometimes she is sad. There is no big problem really, but Rya often wonders whether she is correct in her approach to life. Could it have been better?

Isn’t this what life is all about? You ask. Is Rya not able to find a middle path? Well, isn’t she?

She finds her peace in the form of a wild irresistible character called Teana whom she crafts into a volatile, willful, self centered individual in her own mind. What Rya imagines, Teana does. Rya dare not imitate Teana because whatever Teana does is usually unconventional. She has all the makings of a cult, and Rya is worried about releasing her. Also shy, to an extent… what will everyone think?

But she does release Teana in her first ever novel called Windblown – and people love her for her guts. Rya suddenly finds herself in the middle of so much action- media, drama, theatre, movies, stalkers; you name it she is going through it.

Life is taking a turn at 37, as the astrologer had predicted. He had predicted she would peak at 35, but then, maybe somewhere along the way, her life got delayed by a couple of years. She is scared; after the peak, what?

Her old illnesses dampen her happiness and limit her life now, when she is flying so high and feeling so good.

Rya worries about her children and whether her husband of 16 years will be able to take care of them when she is gone. After all these years, for the first time, she is expecting Rizwaan, her husband to do something for her. In fact, she is even making mental notes about what all she has to do when she comes face to face with God upstairs! She philosophizes, reminisces, analyzes all through the novel, dealing with joy and sadness, both. In places, the child in her peeps through, simply incorrigible. Other places, she sounds as old as the hills.

Part 1 of the book is so current, it deals with Rya’s day to day life after having authored Windblown. The book is doing well on the charts and she is being recognized in the literary circles – commendable for a first time author. She is getting used to success.

Part 2 shows her coming to terms with people and circumstances. Her health is cause for concern. She also struggles with her current commitments and tries to divine her destiny. She is introspecting and planning her life and afterlife and often laughs at herself because at the fag end, she has begun to expect things to happen for her!

Part 3 is a turbulent sea of memories. She is on this sterile white hospital bed and keeps going back in time to her childhood, her adolescence, her married life, responsibilities, experiences, milestones and lessons learnt. She remembers how she was her parents’ princess, the awkward teenager, the athlete brimming with health and energy, the shy collegian, the erudite scholar, the wife, the mother, the intuitive investment banker, and this author reveling in her success.

The years are vividly painted on the invisible canvas of her mind, and one by one these invisible paintings are brought to life. Her haphazard musings in hospital fill all the gaps that may have been felt in Parts 1 and 2. She calls herself “Queen of Musings” because she seems to be musing on something or the other perennially!

She finally goes home; home to the pots and pans, the unwashed mugs with coffee dried in them, the overloaded fridge, the unwashed linen, the plants she loves. She goes home to wait for her children who are coming to live with her.

But does she have the right to dream of life after 37?

About the Author

When the kids in the neighborhood would run to her for help with writing an essay or a story, Dolly Saxena would be at her creative best. And if she did three stories in English, she would ensure she did at least one in Hindi too, because that is her mother tongue. She is a proud Indian.

But she never really tried writing on her own because most of the friends she was growing up with were better writers than her, she felt. Enough and more people were doing it already! She happily read on and loved every bit of the reading.

Unpredictable as she has been, Dolly started off her working life as a Business Economist but over the years, grew up to be a Communicator, doing PR and Media.

When she took a break from work, she had no clue that Painted Years would happen. But she thoroughly enjoyed it, she says. “Having worked for almost 18 years, this is the best break I could have ever imagined!”

The inspiration for the story, she firmly believes is her love for people around her. She has learnt two lessons in life; first, everyone is so lovable, despite their faults. Second, no one is perfect.

Dolly devotes some time to charity groups and support groups helping out those who need her. It is her way of saying “thank you” for everything she has received in this life.

Dolly currently lives in Bangkok, Thailand, with her husband.

Visit Dolly on her blog at www.dollywrites.blogspot.com.

Excerpt 1  

“Rya’s mind briefly went back over the last six months during which she had felt increasingly alienated from Rizwaan. The children had gone back to boarding and Rizwaan had shut himself from her. Rya felt alone, so alone that she started thinking this was it- that one fine day, very soon, she would get up and go out of Rizwaan’s life. Then the aspiration to charm and win him back alternated with the aspiration to show him what stuff she was made of. Yet again, Rya found herself wondering whether she was the real Rya, or whether the real Rya was hiding somewhere close by, waiting to come out and take over. And Teana was born. As Teana grew, the woman became the petulant, flamboyant empress, on a perpetual winning tour of life. Rya liked her as she grew, despite her petulance and whims, and found herself empathizing with her! In her heart she knew her parents would think badly of her to support so wild a character, and they would definitely disapprove if Rya did what Teana did. Even Rizwaan, with all his love for flamboyance would not be able to take it from Rya- that is where she found Rizwaan prone to double standards. Other wild people were fine, but his wife had to be the poised, sophisticated woman who complemented his well groomed persona.”

Excerpt 2  

“Rya liked all things bright- colors fluorescent and dazzling; she believed in rainbows and that they brought luck. She remembered the forests in April- they would be aflame with the red silk cottons and flames of the forests. Roads in Delhi would be resplendent with gulmohars in full bloom. How she loved to watch them speed by while driving, in a never ending yellow and orange blur along the wide majestic avenues in New Delhi. She loved to be in her parents’ home in Ranikhet during the season preceding summer- the dead leaves would be deliciously crunchy under the feet and the smell of flowering mango trees would soothe the olfactories. As a child in her parents’ home, Rya would often pick up a mango flower fallen on the ground, crush it in her palm and then smell it deep and long- the raw smell would give her a high- a high of wellness, freedom and being loved. She dared not share this thought with Rizwaan- he would find it illogical, silly- in fact would probably not have the patience to understand it. But then, that’s how boys are, she was quite used to being told.”

VN:F [1.9.20_1166]
Rating: 9.8/10 (11 votes cast)
Coming to Terms With Life, 9.8 out of 10 based on 11 ratings

enjoyed this post? share with others:

twitter stumble upon digg

This entry was posted on Saturday, August 4th, 2012 at 7:11 pm and is filed under Fiction, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.


  1. August 6th, 2012 | seetarn says:


    This book is indeed an amazing read and talks about a great story of the protagonist fighting to live her dream…and how she crafts a character within a book to at least live the life the way she wants..its an interesting concept of having a book within in a book…
    All in all an good read…

    Looking forward for more amazing stories from the author…good luck and keep up the good work..

    Seeta Rajesh Nawagekar
    Author – The Cup of Life – A Journey towards Self Contemplation
    (The Cup of Life) Available on Amazon, Flipkart, Infibeam

  2. August 6th, 2012 | kiran says:

    seems an interesting story and the inner fears every woman with responsibility would have. Need to read in details to give more comments on it 🙂 All the best Dolly! Hope you get good sales out of it.

  3. August 6th, 2012 | Milind Ranade says:

    A crisp synopsis which does enough to arouse interest in the book…..

  4. August 23rd, 2012 | Anoop says:

    Hey Dolly,

    This is sheer Genius. And i thought i knew you so well for more than 3 decades. Wow….

    i must buy it online today. Sorry was tied up and hence the delay in this response. And all the best for the next one.


leave a comment