It’s never a good idea to criticize yourself.

Especially if people are raving about your presentation.

Don’t criticize yourself publicly, don’t diminish their exuberance or their compliments by putting yourself down, but in the privacy of your own room…yes, think of what you did wrong. Analyze, assess, and fix it for next time so it’s even better!

While you’ll never reach perfection you should still strive for it!

I think I’m super hard on myself when it comes to presentations! My hubby’s right when he says, “Take it easy. They don’t know how it was supposed to go.”

So when I missed a vital piece of the Wanting Mor presentation during my session at Bookaroo on the first day, I’ve been beating myself up about it all night.

Can’t help it!

It was the theme of Wanting Mor for goodness sakes!!!

But I did manage to correct it today. And the funny thing was the word seemed to have spread since yesterday, and there were people getting ready for my presentation ten minutes before the scheduled time today.

So I gave them a reward. I read/storytold them The Roses in My Carpets so that I could later refer to the book and they’d understand what I was talking about.

And then at the end…I did the most important piece of the presentation, the theme of Wanting Mor, and alhamdu lillah, it went beautifully.

I won’t say ‘perfectly’ but man, it was pretty darn close!

Oh the reaction of the kids and the adults.

I think the reason why I got so discombobulated the first day was because even though the program clearly stated that the presentation was for 14-16 year olds, many parents had young kids sitting there!

I was going to be talking about big breasts, and suicide for goodness sakes!

And at first I tried to skirt around some of the issues, and in doing so I lost the flow of the presentation!

I was worried.

I had been repeatedly warned that Indian audiences were very conservative!

I tend to be blatant and up front in matters of sexuality and suicide even, how would they take my frankness?

I really needn’t have worried!

Yesterday I was in a space called the amphitheatre.

The volunteer brought me into the venue and I looked out at the meager handful of people who had bothered to show up…and this was because a Bollywood actress had actually arrived!!!

Her name is Kajol and apparently she’s pretty big! She was in Kutch Kutch Hotha Hai, which I think I might have seen, but honestly I didn’t remember her face.

They all look alike to me–white skin, arched brows, lipstick…

And she was off with a crowd on the side. And I thought alhamdu lillah, it’s just like the tiny little crowds I sometimes get in Canada. *sigh*

But I went ahead and began as usual, and the funny thing was, I kept seeing people standing at the edges, watching, listening, and then coming to sit down, and by the time I was done, the entire amphitheatre was packed solid!

And to my surprise, I was mobbed!

Even the little children, who’d been listening, were shoving pieces of paper at me for my autograph, and I started signing some of the chits till the volunteer told me that we had to clear out of there, take the whole kit and kaboodle to the author signing area, which we did.

The effusiveness of their reactions! Wow! They really loved it. And it was about then that I realized I hadn’t even tackled the most important point… the theme of Wanting Mor!

And I could have kicked myself, but I held my tongue when they poured their compliments over me.

And perhaps I shouldn’t even be criticizing myself here on the blog, but I figure someone might be able to learn from the experience so why not?

It’s been a fabulous learning experience. And…I got to meet Cornelia Funke!

It was so funny, I actually met her at the fancy dinner the night before Bookaroo started.

I saw her sitting at a table, this slight lady with blonde hair and she looked interesting so I came over to introduce myself–I’m brazen that way.

I said, “Hi, I’m Rukhsana, and you’re???”

She shook my hand and said, “Cornelia.”

There’s only one Cornelia I’ve ever heard of and that’s Cornelia Funke, so I said, “Funke?”

And she smiled! “Yes!”

And that’s when I lost my cool. I babbled, “You’re Cornelia Funke! The Cornelia Funke!”

And she laughed. “Yes!”

I guess it was cute. And I managed to recover my composure and we started talking, and later in the conversation I got to tell her some stories.

What’s amazing is how strong she is in folktales! She loves them as I do! In fact she’s working on a project that incorporates folktales from around the world into her story.

It was a fascinating conversation!

I felt like I’d found a kindred spirit!


And I got to tell her two of my favourites.

Cornelia Funke listened to me storytell, and she enjoyed them immensely, I can tell!

Oh it’s been amazing!

And on Friday before the dinner, I got to stroll through Lodhi gardens. It’s adjacent to the IIC where I’m staying.

Someone told me when I asked which sites there were to see in Delhi, oh yeah, Lodhi gardens…it has some ruins in it.

So I went in there, not knowing anything about the Lodhi dynasty at all!

The Lodhi emperors were originally from Afghanistan and ruled India for about eighty years before the Moghuls!

They predate the Moghuls!

And Lodhi gardens is the burial place of some of the Lodhi emperors!

It was magnificent!

And then today I got to see Moghul Emperor Humayun’s tomb. Oh, it was definitely a fine example of Moghul architecture, very Taj Mahal like! Loved it!

And emperor Babar was buried in there too, but his tomb is tiny. I just took a pic from afar because by that time the driver had been waiting quite a while and I was getting a bit tired. Didn’t want to exhaust myself before my presentation in the afternoon.

So it’s been a very full, very satisfying day.

And then while I was signing autographs and talking to all the people who’d been at the session. accepting their kind words on how moved they were by my story, this lady came up to me and said they were waiting for me come and do my presentation.

I said, “Huh? I did it at 2:45 to 3:45. It was done and I was getting ready to go home.

The problem was, in the program it was listed in standard format of 14:45, they’d read 4:45 and had missed it!

There were about thirteen people who’d completely missed it.

And desperately she asked me to tell her how to write stories of loss and abandonment (that’s the way my session had been described in the program). So right there, I gave her a mini workshop.

It was really touching!

And a fitting end to a beautiful day.