July 31, 2014

Completing UBC and NaBloPoMo - July 2014

So another fun, hectic, huge, emotional and very interesting month of Ultimate Blogging Challenge and NaBloPoMo comes to an end. 


What I learnt from blogging the whole of this month - 

  • Devoting a fixed blog-time everyday is essential for my blog
  • Visiting other blogs consistently led me to some beautiful blogs which I missed the earlier times
  • Blogging everyday is not that big of a deal when it becomes a habit
  • My mind is constantly at work churning out new content for posts

What could have been better - 

  • Scheduling few of my posts upfront so as to avoid publishing at the last minute for the day
  • Streamlining the number of blogs I visit so as to not miss reading posts from fellow bloggers
  • Being able to reply to all comments at the end of every day.

What was new this month on my blog - 

Yours' truly,
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I am done being "afraid"...

Sometimes, I feel life teaches you in the most funniest of ways. 

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When it gives you an opportunity, you look at it with doubt and assess your abilities. Then you think less of yourself and decide to give it a miss. But life has already skipped ahead of you and thrown it right back at your face. 

You cringe and recoil but to no avail. Then comes the fear that sends countless butterflies flying in your stomach. When you think everything in your life is doomed, you amaze yourself by surfing through the troubled waters with ease. 

Once it's all done with and dusted, you look back and feel proud of your achievements. 

And somewhere laughing from some corner of your heart is your life telling you with a smirk - "See I told you!" 

When Corinne from Everyday Gyaan decided to start the Blog Carnival with this prompt, I felt happy. For once I didn't need to concoct a story or think hard on what to write. 

Because I know my fears well. They have bogged me down for so long that it's become a part of me. But now it's high time I shed them away. 

If I wasn't afraid - 
  • I would embrace failure with open arms. Yes, I would. The fear of failure has stopped me every time I craved for a new beginning. What if I don't succeed? This question has been the first thought to pop in my mind whenever I decided to look for a new venture. But going forward, I have resolved to strive for success and embrace failure. They don't say - Failure is good for success - for no reason, do they? :) 
  • I would stop doubting myself. Am I good enough? Really? Every time I sail through a problem it makes me strong and feel hopeful that the next time it's going to be cakewalk. Only it isn't. The problem could be tiny but the doubt that settles in my mind about my capabilities seems larger than the problem itself. My inbuilt capabilities are what I possess but whatever I lack can definitely be learnt or improved on. That's my new motto every time a streak of confidence dips low.
  • Stop believing in my fears. I acknowledge that certain fears are bound to exist in life and choose leave it at that. No one wants to see our fears being an integral part of our lives so much so that we think twice before walking on our own. I felt truly inspired from an earlier post this month about fears. Ever since that post, my favourite quote to carry always with me is - Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. Doesn't the tag line itself speak a thousand words?

Remember, your problems are only as big as you make them.

What would you do if you weren't afraid?

Write Tribe

Yours' truly,
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                          **Linking to the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and BlogHer - NaBloPoMo**
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July 30, 2014

The road ahead...

29th July 2000

How should I describe today? A day of mixed emotions? Personal realizations? Life-changing moments? Or should I call it a plain rebirth? Sitting at the international airport lounge, with a family of strangers at my side and a hand-bag in my hand, I am amazed how my life has taken a sharp turn in the past 48 hours.   

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For 16 years I have stayed here. Abroad. In the Middle East. With my family. My parents who love me immensely. A mischievous baby bro who plays my side-kick and partner-in-crime for most pranks. Education in a sophisticated Indian school. Extra-curricular activities, competitions, regular concerts and outings to keep us busy. We had an almost perfect life.

Life was good. On one hand, I had just completed my Class 10 final exams with flying colors. The new year in Class 11 had begun in full swing - something I was still coping with thanks to the elongated vacation to India after the Class 10 exams and a sudden leg surgery in India. But nevertheless I was confident of catching up during the summer vacations (July and August) and be right on track in September before the Half Yearly exams. 

Major career options can take a back seat for now. These only need to be decided in Class 12 and that's still a good 1 year later. So why bother about it now?

On the other hand, fate was busy making other plans for me. 

As the first month of the vacation period creeped towards it's end, sudden changes at dad's workplace forced him and mom to rethink options for the future and our life abroad. And the first casualty was me.

I was at a crucial stage of my education. Any chance of a sudden job loss for my dad would mean losing an entire academic year since the admissions in India close well before the end of July. Thus began discussions and decisions to get me admitted to a good junior college in India before the admissions close.

I was told 2 days ago that I need to move to India alone. My mother and brother would join me 20 days later. It took only 48 hours to book my ticket and pack my belongings from a country where I spent living and studying for 16 years. I'll tell you what I felt when I was told I would be shifting base to Mumbai to a new college to study with new friends who speak a new language? 

Fear. Sadness. Doubt. 

Not to forget the fact that I had never traveled alone by a bus, let alone an entire 4-hour flight journey.

My parents charted out a new life for me and I wasn't skeptical how I was going to adjust to it. At first it sounded exciting to share the breaking news with friends about the quick decision. On the day of my travel at 6 PM just as we were about to leave home for the airport, the feeling finally sunk in. 

I am never going to live in the Middle East anymore. I was being uprooted to a new location. 

I wanted time to pause. So I could breathe. So I could absorb my surroundings. So I could say good-bye. 

But time flew by like always and there I was at the airport looking clueless. My father requested a family, who were traveling to Mumbai like me, if I could accompany them on my maiden flight. They obliged. And thus the scene was set. 

Dad helped me check-in my bags and walked me till the immigration counter. When he kissed and hugged me, I felt a huge blow deep down in my heart. For the first time in 48 hours I realized I would be staying away from my dad for God-knows-how-long. 

So this is me now, on my maiden journey to India. Alone, in a flight, seated next to strangers, with a million emotions to share but no words to express. 

All thanks to the huge lump in my throat and the tight knot in my heart.

Dad - your loving hug choked me up. I wanted to say so much to you but I couldn't. Now all I can wish is I can tell you telepathically how much I will miss you. I wish I could tell you or mom how scared I am. That I am unaware of what this road beholds for me. 


P.S. - This was the flurry of thoughts running in my head as I moved out from one home to another to test the waters. Looking back at how the past 14 years have zoomed by, I feel nostalgic of that time. Life has changed so much post that journey. 

Today, I felt I should share with you what ran through my mind 14 years ago as I embarked on a new chapter in life. 

Do you remember your first journey away from home? What were your feelings?
Yours' truly,
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                          **Linking to the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and BlogHer - NaBloPoMo**
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July 29, 2014

Blast from the Past: Favorite posts {3}

My next favorite in this series is a poem I had written for BlogAdda's WOW prompt.

It was the first time I was attempting a WOW prompt. I liked this particular prompt since it required us to write a blog post from the perspective of a last tree standing on a deforested land. 

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I wrote this poem in a time span of 3-4 hours and loved the fact how my words flowed with each paragraph as I wrote. I think the topic was instigating enough which didn't need the expressions to be well-planned.

Deforestation is a pressing issue thanks to the huge impact global warming has had on our universe. Always attempt to put in efforts either growing trees and plants in your backyard or at least having few potted plants in your apartment / home. 

Take a look if you haven't already seen this one. Hope you like it as much as I loved writing on the issue :)

Do you like having plants in your home or backyard ? What are your thoughts on the deforestation issue?

Yours' truly,
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                     **Linking to the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and BlogHer - NaBloPoMo**
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July 28, 2014

Underage? Not anymore.

Treat Juvenile Rapist as an Adult and Punish Him and If proven they should be Hanged. #HangTheRapist

He's young. Not quite an adult. 

Attends school, plays sports, reads young adult novels and prefers eating junk food. Sure, there are bad influences at times - a cigarette here, some bad words there. But he's still young. Not quite an adult.

Or so you thought.

Look closely at him. Can you see the hideousness behind that face? Can you read his dirty mind? Can you look past his innocent face to reveal the filth in his character? 

No. That's because he's "juvenile" for you. Just another underage individual who probably made a silly mistake and repents it. You are confident - he won't do this again.

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Frankly speaking, when it comes to committing crimes like rapes, I don't understand the word - "juvenile". Even if we label them as "under maturity", we fail to acknowledge the maturity of this young adult when it comes to raping a girl.  
  • What's so underage in that term anyways? 
  • He was present at the time of the crime and he also helped in it, didn't he? 
  • Wasn't he wise (rather sane enough) to make the decision? 
  • Even if he was influenced into the decision, didn't he know the simple difference between right and wrong?

So then why should we treat them any different from any other accused person? 

We have read time and again of numerous incidents involving juvenile defendants. A 3-year-old accidentally murders his father with a pistol. A 10 year-old school kid open fires with a gun in the class room murdering scores of children. In these cases, you could still try the accused in juvenile courts. The accused are either kids or mere-adolescents. They were surely unaware of the repercussions. 

But like in the case of the 2012 Delhi rape case, the so-called "juvenile" was 17 years and 6 months old on the day of the incident. Let's not forget, the news described him as the most brutal of the six accused. Do we still think he was only partially involved in the rape? Or that he was probably unaware of the consequences?

In my opinion, it's time we changed the juvenile age for rape crimes. Let's bring it down by 5-6 years. Any age higher than that threshold should be subjected to adult punishment. My mother always says - "It's better to nip the problem at its bud than let it flourish into a huge creeper." I agree. Let's hang the juvenile who are convicted in rape crimes unless proven otherwise. That's the only fair way to deal with such dirty minds. 

Leave him today and he will return tomorrow. With a bigger vengeance. With a much more gruesome crime. He's surely not going to learn from his first time experience. 

"You can’t make the same mistake twice, the second time you make it, it’s a choice." 

Or so the saying goes. But in this case, I reckon even the first time the juvenile are involved in a crime of personal choice and decision.

What's your take on this issue? Do share your thoughts.

**Linking with Indispire#23**

Yours' truly,
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        **Linking to the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and BlogHer - NaBloPoMo**
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July 27, 2014

Book Review: The Deliberate Sinner

Title: The Deliberate Sinner
Author: Bhaavna Arora
Place: India 
Publisher: Srishti Publishers and Distributors
Publication Date: 2014
Genre: Adult Fiction
Edition: 2014 
Pages: 162 (Paperback)
ISBN: 978-93-82665-20-5

Goodreads blurb - Click here

My thoughts - 
"Hate the sin, Not the sinner!" shone the words as I turned the cover page of the book from BlogAdda. The autograph of the author below those words made me smile with anticipation. :)

How true were those words! More often than not, we end up hating the sinner. Our intellectual minds are so well-programmed to suppress that little voice in our head called conscience. Our heads conveniently choose to filter out the important bits of reality and shift focus on the trash information. 

'The Deliberate Sinner' gives us an insight of this so-called society which judges you at every step, at every turn of your life and chooses to label you as per it's whims and fancies. It poses crucial questions that have plagued our worlds for so long and even now. It's an ode to all those women who strive to make a difference to their otherwise not-happening lives. 

The characters-Rihana and Veer are realistic and well-drawn. They remind you of any modern-day couple who lose themselves in the denseness of deadlines, career, future but still crave for romance, passion, desires and most importantly love. 

The author has done a commendable job to highlight the grave situations in today's world. Every twist in the story made me cringe and ask myself - why do such people exist? What makes male chauvinism a difficult nut to crack? I empathized with Rihana on her misfortunes. I was crushed at her defeats. I was happy for her well-deserved success.

In my opinion, the few areas which could have been better were the pace of the narration, the introduction of the supporting characters and the clich├ęd ending. Nevertheless, the boldness of the story and the added ingredients of sensuality manages to keep the reader hooked. I would still call this book an entertainer and rate it 3/5.

Some of my favorite quotes from this book - 

"You have to take the problem head on. Either you die, or you kill the enemy; there is no other way."

"The day you stop experiencing pain or pleasure, that very day you cease to exist. Pain and pleasure are inseparable."

"Love can be arranged."

And the best one... 

"Nobody will marry you if you laugh like this. Laugh like a girl!" :D

Thanks Bhaavna Arora for the personalized message and BlogAdda for this wonderful book review opportunity :)

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Yours' truly,
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July 26, 2014

Looking back 10 years...

Every decade brings us new memories in our lives. 

Famous life coach and motivational speaker, Tony Robbins believes - "Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year - and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!"

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When I look back at the last 10 years, it feels like a blur. Not because I have forgotten the moments in those years, but because as always life has been fast paced and leaping towards it's destination at breakneck speed. 

By far, my twenties have been the most fun-filled years (I have 2 months to go before I enter the thirties). It's also been very fulfilling personally. 

Here are 10 important events that took place in my life (in chronological order) in the last 10 years  - 

1. Completion of my Graduation 

2. My first job 

3. Moving to the UK for work 

4. Loss of my maternal grandfather 

5. Visiting Singapore as a danseuse 

6. Entering matrimony 

7. Completion of my Post-Graduation 

8. Purchasing our home 

9. Moving to USA for work 

10. Birth of my baby girl 

Tell me, what are the 10 most important events that have happened in your life in the past decade ? :)

Yours' truly,
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                                **Linking to the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and BlogHer - NaBloPoMo**
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July 25, 2014

10 things I love about blogging...

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1. Writing to my hearts' content about my interests, opinions, likes, dislikes, experiences and favorite moments makes me feel on top of this world.

2. I get a wonderful opportunity to improve myself and my writing constantly. 

3. I am grateful for the wonderful network of virtual friends that blogging has given me. I have made more friends in 3 years of blogging life than I would have befriended in real life otherwise. :)

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4. I am grateful that blogging gave me a small platform of my own where I could nurture my inner voice. All that I couldn't have said vocally has been written in this small space of mine.

5. I am able to share my views and thoughts on a common topic (like a social issue, health problem, personal experience etc.).

6. I get to read awesome posts by new / old / experienced / professional bloggers every day / minute / second.

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7. I love this opportunity to connect with fellow bloggers every day.

8. I get to know my virtual friends better through their blogs. By reading their words, I get an insight into their inner worlds.

9. I look forward to the feedback from readers.

10. Last but the not the least, blogging inspires me to live each day so that I can create a memory to write in this blog. 

Tell me 10 things you love about blogging. 

You don't have to tell me in the comments. 

Go on, blog about it and leave the link to your blog post in the comments below. :)

Yours' truly,
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July 24, 2014

I can't live without...

We all have things that we can't live without. Don't we? I'd be surprised if you didn't. 

Really? Cross your heart? Ok, I believe you. :)

Talking about technology addiction, what makes us vulnerable enough that we can't seem to continue our existence void of certain gadgets? When did we change our old selves to fully depend on these products? We didn't have these "facilities" right from birth. We didn't spend our lives - right through childhood to adulthood - with these gadgets and yet, here we are today, looking lost and depressed if we lose our dependable partners for even a minute.

Don't worry. Not everything on this list needs to be a bad addiction. It could be a dear possession, a good habit, a special someone? :)

So let's share the 3 things that we can't live without? Ok? Done. 

I decided to write about the first 3 things that come to my mind so here goes - 

1. My iPhone - Yes, I must admit it. I am addicted. But life has been a lot easier too. Communication, news, camera, music, blogging, video recording, online reading, alarm clock and the likes. Life did exist even before the iPhone happened but with each passing day I am amazed by the product at how simple and easy it is to use for any age group. 

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2. Books - eBook or paperback, I need to have either one in my bag at all times. This year has by far been the best in terms of my reading. It's not a lot of books but even then I find myself looking for a book to read over watching mindless programs on TV or just whiling my time away. :) I've decided to continue the reading even if it's only for a few pages every single day.

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3. Sleep - I don't need to snooze all day long to feel refreshed. It takes a 6 hour sleep (at nights) and a power nap of 30 mins (on some afternoons) to keep me going during the day. With the baby around, I can't be assured of a continuous slumber but even a non-stop 3 hours interval works for me. 

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Name 3 things you can't do without. :)

Yours' truly,
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                  **Linking to the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and BlogHer - NaBloPoMo**
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July 23, 2014

Wordless Wednesdays - 3

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Yours' truly,
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July 22, 2014

I am grateful ...

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  1. For having my parents near me today. Here. At this moment. Your blessings and optimism always seem to move mountains for me.
  2. For being around my baby bro. I treasure the time I spend with him - fighting, laughing, gossiping, watching old movies, singing.
  3. For the wonderful friends I have. Your love, concern and best wishes keep me going.
  4. For being able to spend lots of time in India with my loved ones - a chance I didn't get before 2013 thanks to studies, work and a hundred other commitments.
  5. To my hubby. He agreed to continue working and staying alone in US - away from us, away from the baby for so long - just so that our families get to see her in her prime year. Honey, I can't imagine how strong you have been to let us go on this extended vacation.
  6. For having a shelter. The rains are the worst season to be homeless in India. The winters are the most gruesome to be living on the streets in the US. It's relaxing to watch the heavy rains from my terrace but there's a part of me which is lost in the down-trodden shabby areas of the city wondering and praying for the homeless.
  7. For being alive.
  8. For being able to read and write. For me, this is the biggest gift I have been blessed with.
  9. For being fortunate enough to spend this initial phase of motherhood taking care of my little girl and not get bogged down with work, deadlines or any stress that's not related to her.
  10. For the excitement and anticipation that builds up before coming to India. If there's no place like home, then equally there's no place like India. The warmth of family, the monsoons, the festivals, places, the exquisite cuisine.... I could keep going. Nothing in this world can replace that.
 What are the things that you are grateful for?

Yours' truly,
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                     **Linking to the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and BlogHer - NaBloPoMo**
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July 21, 2014

Zest Up Your Life

After a long day of work, we all tire up. Our bodies scream for rest from the excessive travel, our minds plead for freedom from all the brain activity and our souls look for immediate rejuvenation to escape the monotony of life. Some people prefer doing nothing after their busy day at work, while others prefer to nudge their inner selves irrespective of a hard day of work to completely destress. 

So is there a mantra to relax yourself? 
Absolutely not.

Does relaxation of body, mind and soul always need to come at an exorbitant price? 
Depends on your choice of relaxation so yes, it's true for some people.

What do I prefer to zest up my life? 
The simple things in life which are either economical or come totally free for life and in abundance.

  • The company of family and friends 
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Having my loved ones around me makes me happy. It not only relieves me of the day's worries but also reminds me - no matter who am I or what I face in life, they will always be by my side. They are there to hear me out, to talk to me, to reprimand me, to appreciate me, to tease me and to celebrate with me. :) 

  • Books

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Aren't books an individual's best friend? I recently blogged about 'My Happy Place' where I mentioned how a good book would help transporting me to another world. Add a steaming hot cup of tea/coffee and some peace and quiet; there would be my ideal definition of a complete day. :)

  • A long drive in the rains

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The monsoons make me feel alive. The non-stop pouring of water, the plush greenery of nature and the scent of the wet, moist earth puts me in a trance. I miss this awesome weather when I am not around to relish it. :)

  • A daily dose of music

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Time may heal everything but music definitely heals a weary mind. I usually prefer soulful Indian music (instrumental or vocal) to help me relax my mind. It helps to remove my fatigue and soothe my nerves. :)

  • A quiet meal
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I don't ask for a fancy meal, I don't crave for a loud surrounding. Give me a healthy homemade meal with no distractions and allow me to indulge into the moment. 

How do you like to zest up your life? :)

This post is a part of the #ZestUpYourLife activity in association with TATA Zest and BlogAdda.com

Yours' truly,
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                     **Linking to the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and BlogHer - NaBloPoMo**

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July 20, 2014

Blast from the Past: Favorite Posts {2}

Today's favorite is again from the year 2012. It was the second time I was writing for BlogAdda's Write-Over-the-Weekend initiative. For those of you who aren't aware, this is a weekly blogging initiative (on Fridays) where you get a prompt as inspiration for writing a blog post. 

The prompt for that particular week was - 

For a minute look around the things near you and then include them creatively in a story.

Back then, I was working for a project at Bloomington, Illinois, US. We were a team of 4 people who had newly joined. Through the week, all 4 of us would work together and work on our deadlines. Come weekends and we would crave the company of our respective families (Hubby was stationed at New York back then which was a good 2-flights away from me).

I remembered this prompt at work and decided to look around me in an attempt to observe things for a minute. What I found were voices inside each one of us, striving hard to emerge and fulfill our needs. A desire to be with family, a desire to always have them by our side, a desire to not feel bad while missing them.

I came back home with this thought and put my words into a blog post. Check it out here - 'Empty Voices'.

Yours' truly,
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July 19, 2014

55 fiction : Eat right

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I can’t stand seeing another morsel of food.

Why is this “a big deal” anyways? Like I am about to die or something.

Why is everyone elated to see me stuffed?

“Remember, eating right is important for girls” – yes Grandma but not for girls who are about to be crucified at the altar of marriage.

                           **Linking to the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and BlogHer - NaBloPoMo**
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