Allow me to introduce myself.
My name is Ritu Bhathal, a 40 (soon to be 40-something!) year old woman, living in the heart of Kent, UK.
By day, I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, daughter-in-law, and a teacher.
By night, I am exhausted!
No, seriously, I am a blogger, and writer.
After I have sorted all the general household kerfuffle out, kids fed and watered, washed and packed into bed, hubby and myself also fed, laundry done, lunches made for the next day, and any outstanding schoolwork done, then I manage to sit down with my iPad/Surface or on my computer, to either write a blog post, or peruse my followed blogs, or generally write.
Yes, that means I seem to burn the candle at both ends, as I rarely sleep before midnight, and in term time, I am up at 6 then have to be alert to deal with forty 3-4 year olds!
But, as I explained to one of my colleagues, who questioned my priorities, writing, and blogging is my way to relax, my wind down time.
Blogging is the way I reignited my passion for writing. Every since I was a wee whippet, I loved reading, and as I grew older and more able, the writing side kicked in. It was wonderful to have that realisation that I could also write stories, and poems, and they could, very often, be quite good!
I won awards in school writing competitions, and was convinced that by 18 I would have written a bestseller novel!
Alas, that didn’t quite happen, but after university, before I was due to get married, I started writing in earnest again.
5000 words and I had to put that on pause again.
Then 10 years ago, I tried again. 13,000 words later, my first child appeared. That put paid to any more creative writing time!
Then, as I mentioned, I started blogging, 18 months ago, and it all came flooding back. That joy at allowing my pen to write (keys to type!) and letting out my thoughts and feelings in written word, and at times, giving my creative side an airing too.
Comments filtered down to me, encouraging me, telling me that what I wrote wasn’t complete rubbish, and the support of fellow bloggers, along with my family spurred me on to start a writing project, a little one at first, that I finally completed!
So here we have it… my first book, an anthology of my poems, titled Poetic RITUals.
It is a collection of my verses, ranging from family odes, to life observations, to matters of the heart, and finishing with rhymes with a humorous twist. Hopefully, something that readers would like on their bookshelf, that they can dip into whenever they need a pick me up.
I recently subjected my colleagues to a copy of the finished product, and have had some wonderful feedback from them! (Though it’s possible that the ones that didn’t think much of it haven’t said anything to me!)
And in the pipeline, I have a couple of fiction projects. One is a novel, which fits into a genre that I have coined Chick-Pea Curry Lit. This basically means Chick lit with an Indian flavour! The other is a collection of short stories.
What else would you like to know about me?
I’m a pretty positive person, and I try to show that in my writing. I firmly believe that a smile is priceless, and can change a person’s day, hence my Twitter Handle @PhantomGiggler. That was what I was known as at university, as I was always smiling, or laughing!
I love reading (obviously!), and I have tried hard to instil that love of reading within my children too. I read stories in class every day, hoping that if I can awaken a love of story and books into one child, if not the whole class, then I have done a good job. Accents feature heavily in my reading of books, and I often overhear my daughter reading stories to her pretend class of soft toy children in the same accents!
Music is another passion of mine. I come from an Indian background, and my parents both loved music. My father was firmly into Punjabi folk music, and bhangra, both of them loved Bollywood, and my mum had a penchant for the 60’s music of the west! Added to that, my love of Motown, Swing and Soul, Dance, R’n’B and general pop music, makes my musical interests pretty eclectic!
Oh, and I do subject others to my own singing! Along with some of my family members, I sing at weddings in the family. We sing traditional songs, songs that many Punjabi families are forgetting now, more in favour of a DJ at a party, rather than the traditional Ladies sing song and dance fest of yester-year. But my family like both! So we learned old folk songs and dances and they are now a requisite item at our family weddings!
Well, that is a mere snippet of me and my life!
I hope that peering inside part of the mind of Ritu encourages you to peer inside my book too!
…Can I just add…I love Malteasers too!!!!!!!
Poetic RITUals is available at: