Literary Lapses ~ Tamarind Rice

Standard

Ok. It’s official. I love Tamarind Rice. The eating kind? Hell yeah! But no, this is the literary kind.
I still remember the first time I contemplated writing for Tamarind Rice. The name itself, and the quirky descriptions for Nirali, Harshika and Karishma were enough to draw me in. And since then, the love affair with this warm, affectionate bunch of people, stirring up awesome content for hungry readers, has been an awesome one.

10599125_889561487738810_4922942070708810603_n

Their meet-ups are always so genuine, so heartfelt. Their love for words is so refreshing, and it was only apt that this meet up (aptly titled Literary Lapses) was held at M-Cubed – a much cooler name for Maharashtra Mitra Mandal Library, one that I did not even know existed in Bandra! :)

My eyes travelled across the room, and took in as many book titles I could, before the introductions and activities began.

First up, they gave us the oddest pairings we’d ever come across and asked us to imagine how their ‘first meeting’ (Meet Cute) would be. I got Draupadi & Poonam Pandey, and here’s how they met!

Coalescing Quotes: where they asked us to guess the famous quotes, and then weave a story around the two quotes we picked.

Show-Off Moment: where they put the spotlight on their regular contributors, and had them share the best stories they had submitted.
I got to read my first ever attempt at horror writing: Midnight Wishes 

Blind Date with Books: where we were asked not to judge a book by its cover. And I did exactly that. And got exactly the opposite :P

10974_889561504405475_5473035785153356635_nIMG_5743

I made new friends, met some old ones, got friends to meet this mad gang, took a lot of selfies with them, and spent a beautiful afternoon surrounded by words (& wordsmiths).

Thank you Tamarind Rice, each interaction with you is even more flavourful than before.
xoxo

10600427_889561507738808_52994907897667067_n

A different time!

Standard

I’d just clocked in 30 working hours, back to back. Working overnight to meet another impossible Friday deadline. Advertising. That’s all I needed to say, and that sympathetic look would come my way, where people wonder what kind of a lunatic I am to indulge in self-torture of this kind. (I mean, aren’t there other reasons worth killing your sleep for?)

Anyway, I reached home… groggy, smelly, grouchy… mentally, physically and emotionally tired. I took a nice long scented bath, got into a comfortable pair of shorts and tees, and embraced my blankie as the sound of the raindrops outside my window soothed me to sleep!

I knew I was dreaming, I just couldn’t see anything. I heard someone calling my name and woke up with a start! It was my younger sis, all of 2 years, crawling all over my face. I opened my eyes to see her smiling at me. The 5 year old me. My dad was calling out to me. She loved our early morning sessions, where I would tell dad to wake me up at 6.30 am (that’s when TNT would magically transform into Cartoon Network once again!;)
And then, I’d watch all my favourite cartoons, back to back. The Jetsons. The Simpsons. Captain Planet. Tom and Jerry. The Road Runners. The Flintstones. Courage the Cowardly Dog. And slowly, she’d been getting up early with me too.

I smiled at her, rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, uber happy that it was a non-school Saturday. My dad took both of us in his arms and placed us both on the sofa, and switched on the TV. The room was filled with giggles and gurgles, claps and laughs. Dad kept checking on us as he made breakfast. Our ‘cartoon marathon’ was soon over. Dad must’ve realised cos he hadn’t heard out voices for quite some time. He came to the hall and saw the TV on, but our eyes shut. I had rolled over and was resting on the bolster, while she was sleeping right next to me, with her hand over me. Dad smiled, clicked a photo of this moment, and carried us to our beds.

I could feel myself being lifted out of that sofa, and the warmth of my dad’s arms was the best feeling in the whole wide world.

I went back to my dream land. And after what felt like eternity, I heard my name being called out again. I woke up to my reality. My mom was waking me up for a good Saturday lunch. And after that, I sunk into my bean bag and watched an Emmy Marathon of Mad Men, season 7 with my elder sister!

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.
Topic: ‘Back in Time’. Imagine, one fine day, you wake up as a 5-year-old child and not as a grown up! What will you do then?

IMG_5636-0

Secret Blog Review for Janaki Nagaraj

Standard

I love Secret Santa. And when Vinita Bahl announced a blogger version of this popular Christmas game, I was even more excited. But yes, my only regret is that I could not send in my entry before Christmas, and I deeply apologize for not keeping up with the rest of the group. (I am the last person to submit my secret blogger entry :/)

Anyway, we were given names alphabetically and I’m really glad that the name closest to me was someone I have always liked. She looks like Revathi, and writes like Yeats. She is none other Janaki Nagaraj, and she blogs at http://janakinagaraj.com/

She does not need much introduction at all – bloggers, budding poets and authors – everyone knows of her. From poetry to fiction to random musings, from book reviews to blogger meets, from prompts and contests to photo blogs, from guest posts to partnering the High Priestess with Indiblogeshwaris to getting featured in an anthology of poems; she has done it all! One google search on Janaki Nagaraj, and you know that you’re dealing with an online celebrity! Frankly, I was a little intimidated, but more excited to review her blog. Here it goes!

Being a sucker for designs, the first thing I did was judge the aesthetic value of her blog – and it was just like Janaki herself. Quiet, simple, understated yet beautiful, uncomplicated. What you see is what you get. The widgets at the left hand side were minimal and relevant… though I did think that social network plugins would help people connect with her beyond her blog too :)

She loves quotes and poems, and that is evident in almost every post… and the header of her blog too! (this one, I absolutely love!) 
Picture1

(In case the print is too small:

“In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.” ― Rumi)

I’ve noticed this about Janaki’s writing style is that she believes in creating intrigue throughout the post and the reveal leaves you craving for more. She does not fall into the trap of writing words that makes one dig out a dictionary after every sentence (ok, there are a few, but it’s worth the effort).  Her writing is simple yet evocative, and she knows how to tell a good story without any additional unnecessary drama that other writers usually resort to. Her settings are usually the ones she is familiar with and her random musings are pleasant and refreshing. Each one of them struck a chord with me! :)

Besides the articles in her archive, I clicked on this tab called Vithika – which states that it is Nidhi’s Photo Gallery. Curious to know more, I scrolled down and found some amazing posts here too. (PS: I figured that she documents her photo blogs under this tab ;)
This is something I am not clear about since I am new to it, but I do think that she features guest posts/ writers that she stumbles upon under the title of ‘inspirations’.
Here are some of my favourite posts from her blog:
With if-you-cannot-understand-my-silence, she manages to bring a sensitive topic out in the open and the conversations in the comments section of this post prove that she manages to connect with her audiences very well. Her writing voices a common sentiment and this is what sets her apart.
Indiblogger, Blogadda, Photokatha, Indiblogeshwaris, Poetry Jam (the list can go on and on…) – Janaki’s presence across blogging networks and other sites is very encouraging and makes me want to get off my lazy ass and be a lil more prompt with my posts (I’ve put that on my 2014 resolution checklist! ;)
Thank you BlogwatiG for this opportunity to review JanakiNagaraj ‘s blog and be her secret blogger elf…  and for reviving my love for poetry (since FYBA literature classes!) :P

The hues of romance…

Standard

This post has been selected as a Blogadda WOW post (Dated 15th September).

wow badge

The waves were lashing against the wall they were seated on.
The sun had just set, and the dusky amber sky created the perfect backdrop for a romantic evening.

She was twiddling her fingers,
nervously playing with the diamond ring he’d gotten her.

She stole glances at him, and looked away almost immediately.
He was observing her through the corner of his eyes.

They were used to typing away their every thought, their every emotion.
They were so used to the green icon pinging on their screen,
that now, when they were face to face, they were at a loss for words.

She wondered, had their online chats jaded their relationship,
and cast a grey shadow over their very first meeting?

They had talked about this meeting for months,
they had gone over every detail of his first trip to Mumbai.

They wanted to meet at Marine Drive,
no matter how cheesy it had sounded.

Now that it had been accomplished,
they were left with a deafening silence.

She decided to erase the chat history in her head,
and start over.

“Hi, I’m Saloni.”, she said,
her cheeks turning a pretty shade of crimson.

He was taken aback at first,
but was relieved that she decided to break the ice.

“Hi, I’m Rahul. Naam to suna hoga.”

She finally let go of her apprehensions and laughed like there was no tomorrow.
And just like that, his heart melted all over again.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda
(prompt: This week your post should have five different colours acting as adjectives for five important words, around which your write-up revolves.)

A Journey of Independence!

Standard

She began working at the age of 17.
She is turning 30 this year.

And this journey of 13 years has defined her in ways that even she did not imagine.

She wanted to start earning, so that she could help out with the finances at home.
Her dad took ill just about the time she got her second job.
And she has come a long way since then, with her father smiling down upon her.

She was always had a way with words; we would call her a sweet talker.
She could sell ice to an eskimo, and her second hand windcheater to her younger sister, for just Rs. 100/-
(gullible, wannabe school children, I tell you! :P)

After an initial stint in sales at Just Dial, she moved on to work at some of the leading call centres.
And that’s where she realized her true calling. As a Training & Quality Coach, she loved everything about her job.
And decided to pursue exactly that.

She went on to work with Leadership Management India & The MARS Hospitality Services,
and acquired immense experience working with leading clients.

Today, she is successfully her own boss.

Setting off on your own is not that easy. It requires immense hard work.
The sense of responsibility that comes with it, is equal to the freedom you enjoy.

And she manages to balance that scale perfectly well.
She pursues her passion for photography with the same dedication she has towards her business.

Street-smart. Fiercely independent. Quick thinker. Uber confident.
She has been the perfect role model for me, to spread my wings & fly.

From her I’ve learnt, that to believe in your dreams, you need to first believe in yourself.

She is my sister, Vanessa Pereira. And this is her journey of independence.
http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=32575296&locale=en_US&trk=tyah

Written for the Indiblogeshwaris Ladies Independence Special Contest
in association with http://womenentrepreneursinindia.com/

Crossing Boundaries…

Standard

This post has been selected as a Blogadda WOW post (Dated 25th August).

wow badge

Sunday, 18th August.
Rishikesh Building: 6.30 pm

The children geared up for another game of cricket. It was risky, because just a month ago, they had been warned by the society, not to play cricket in the garden. Reason? Too many complaints of broken windows. Especially from the Monster – Mrs. Sharma, whose 3rd floor window was always in the way of a good ‘sixer’. Six times, that’s how many times her window had become the target. And she was mighty furious.

Today, she stood there, at her window, waiting for them to start their game. She had decided that if they broke any more of her windows, she was going to find out who exactly did it, and make them pay for it. “If the building secretary isn’t going to do anything about it, I will have to do something about this nuisance myself”, she grumbled to herself.

And the boys, ranging from 6 to 16 years, well…they had a plan of their own. They decided to play a prank on her. How? By constantly hitting the ball on the offside, no major boundaries… just minor runs & only one tappa catches would be declared as out. Sounded simple, no? How could she catch them breaking windows, if they were playing a decent game? They decided to to tease her all evening with this tactic of theirs.

So the team captain Ansh ran the team through the rules once again. The opening batsman, Harsh, had been famous for his spectacular boundaries. He did not like this idea at all. Why should he be deprived of playing a good game, just because of a few complaints. He had made up his mind. After the first few overs, Mrs. Sharma would get fed up of their ‘tuk tuk’ game & go inside. That’s when he would start hitting his big shots.

As predicted, by the fifth over, she did get irritated by their stupid game. Just as Harsh saw her walking in, he decided to go for the big boundary. The team held their breath as they watched the ball fly through the air in slow motion. Yes, his sweet spot turned out to be her window. Again.  Except, this time, the ball didn’t hit the window. It flew right through it!

‘Phew, bach gaye’, he thought. They all breathed a sigh of relief. Which was soon drowned out by a piercing shrill, coming from Mrs. Sharma’s apartment. The boys froze. What had happened? Should they go & check? Ansh & Harsh being the oldest among them, decided to do the right thing. They asked the lil ones to stay put & most importantly, stay cool. They ran up to her 3rd floor apartment. They rang the doorbell frantically, and the 50 year old matriarch came limping towards the doors, her eyes welling up with tears. She let them in only cos she needed help. She realized she could yell at them a little later.

They noticed the mess in the house. The mess they’d created. Apparently, Harsh’s super sixer had entered her living room, bounced off her table, knocked over her cough syrup. The glass bottle had fallen to the ground, and she had accidentally stepped on shards of glass.

They were sorry, and their eyes reflected that. They made her sit down on the sofa & immediately ran to the window to call out for help. The watchman couldn’t hear their shouts. ‘Munni badnaam’ was playing out on his FM player. The chillar party sensed the urgency, ran towards him & pulled out his earphones, and told him that 3rd floor wali ‘monster aunty’ needed help.

They all rushed her to the nearest clinic, and stayed there until their parents came to pick them up. The doc had mentioned that the gash was quite deep, and that she would have to walk with support for at least a week or 2.

As they reached the building, they all took turns to apologize to her and promised that they would go to a open ground to play cricket. They also told her that they would like to visit her every evening, till she gets better.

Ansh had noticed that her family hadn’t come by to get her from the clinic. He asked her, “Your family members didn’t come. Where are they?” She remembered that dreadful car accident that took away her husband & her son, brushed away her tears & said, “I’m looking at them, right now!”

She gave them a group hug, planted kisses on their foreheads and just like that, Monster wali aunty found a new reason to live!

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda
(prompt: 3 words, 1 story. cough syrup, earphones, prank)

L for Liebster, L for Lucille, L for Love!

Standard

So this post is looooooooooooooooong overdue… in fact, blogwatig bestowed the honour of the Liebster Award on me exactly a year ago (23rd August, 2012 to be precise). And I have been such a lazy ass. It has taken me about 3 blogger meets, and over a 30 posts to get to this one. And I’m glad I’m finally here.

images

So, what is a Liebster Award, you ask?
Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.

It’s appreciation from fellow bloggers & your chance to introduce yourself to other awesome bloggers.

So, Vinita thinks Im awesome? Yay! Here’s how we met. Rutavi Mehta introduced me to the awesome women of the Indiblogeshwari community. And soon enough, I was at my very first blogger meet last year in August. And my blog post describing the event was when  the Queen Blogger first discovered my writing. And she loved it. :)

Vinita and I are connected in more ways than one. She and I both belong to the ad industry, very similar in nature. And now, she has passed on her Liebster honour to me. So here I am, fulfilling the tradition of this award.

Here are the rules:

If you are tagged/nominated, you have to post 11 facts about yourself
Then you answer the 11 questions the tagger has given you & make 11 questions for the people you are going to tag.
Tag 11 more Bloggers (with no more than 200 followers)
Tell the people you tagged that you did.
No tagging back.

Eleven Facts About Me!  
1. I love trekking and adventure sorts, but it takes a lot for me to get off my lazy ass!
2. People think I am really nice, thats until they see the throbbing vein in my temple when Im screaming my lungs out. PS: Dont worry. It takes me a long time to reach that agitated state. I will give you a lot of chances to prove that you are not stupid.
3. I HATE liars.
4. I have always wanted to learn the violin. And Salsa.
5. I love dogs & think that they are way better than the current batch of humans on this planet.
6. I love DIY art. My cupboard has equal portions of clothes & junk Ive collected over time.
7. Ive been obsessed with the colour purple ever since college days. Even dyed my moms wedding dress in a wispy shade of lavender, cut it short & flaunted it for Christmas that year. Thanks mom!
8. Loved my dad to bits. Keep wishing I could get into a time machine and say a lot of things that I didnt get to say!
9. Drama queen by nature. Drama-lover too.
10. I will always accept a compliment with a lil bit of disbelief, cynicism.
11. I absolutely HATE anyone throwing kachra on the road, in the trains. Have actually held a woman’s hand and asked her to hand me her kachra, and threw it in the nearest dustbin I saw.

The Eleven Questions that I have been asked….

1. Do you think a 3 am friend is a myth?
Totally. My best friend starts snoring way before midnight. And even an owl like me would bitchslap anyone who woke me up at an unearthly hour like that. (Medical emergencies are exempt from this rule :P)

2. Who would you rather be? A celebrity or the Prime Minister of the country?
Prime Minister, who becomes a celebrity – thanks to my deeds & not my silence! ;)

3. What is the one quality you’d like the older generation to imbibe from the younger one?
To learn to relax, keep calm.

4. What is the one quality the older generation must pass on as a legacy to the next?
Their grace, and dignity. The way they could hold beautiful conversations without a trace of profanity in it.

5. What is your take on beauty contests?
Reinforcement of beliefs that external beauty makes you who are. The last quizzing round is just a formality. The swimsuit round is where the real winner lies. It is just another boost for the cosmetic & skin cream industry!

6. If there was one thing you could do to make a difference, what would that be?
I would work towards preserving / increasing the green cover on this planet.

7. What has your electricity consumption been the last month? Is it gonna change for the better?
Its on the rise, and I feel guilty. Hope to change that.

8. Who is the one person that inspires you?
My elder sister. A self-made person, who has created opportunities for herself at every stage of her life.

9. Did you ever go back to school and meet your teachers? Why?
Once. Didn’t get to meet them, most of them have retired or have left this world :(

10. What colours would you paint with if you had just two shades to choose from?
Black & white. The basics. But the essentials.

11. Since I am bestowing the award, What one liner would you write describing me? :P
Fultoo fatakari. The online space would be quite boring without you.

The Eleven Questions that I now ask YOU

1. What is that one moment that defined you?
2. The best thing someone has ever said to you.
3. If you weren’t doing what you you’re doing currently, what would see yourself as?
4. The best place you’ve travelled to, and the best memory associated to it.
5. How did you deal with your first heart break?
6. What is the worst piece of advice you’ve given someone?
7. If you could choose your name, what would you call yourself?
8. Have you ever done something stupid, and absolutely loved it? Temme about it.
9. What is the worst Youtube video of yours, that became a viral sensation among your friends?
10. Have you ever considered shaving your head, just for kicks? Would you?
11. If you had a chance to slap someone, just for being alive, who would it be?

The Eleven Worthies I pass the Liebster Award to:
1. Anmol Rawat: http://anmolrawat.blogspot.in/ : been reading his posts on the Blogadda WOW weekends, and love the stories he’s been churning out.
2. Bhakti http://bhaks.wordpress.com/: Just discovered that I hardly know anything about my colleague. Her blog is a good place to start with.
3. http://fuchsiaoutbursts.wordpress.com/: Dunno much about her, except that we share the same theme. And our love for WOW weekend prompts.
4. http://thewhitescape.wordpress.com/ I love all her weekend posts for WOW, and look forward to them :)
5. Mahesh Patil. http://maheshpatil.net/: A colleague, photographer & extremely punny & sarcastic guy. Would love to know more about him through this post.
6. Jayshree Punjabi: http://mindlicker.wordpress.com/: bachpan ki dost, who I’ve reconnected with after a long time.
7. Gopika Panchmatia. http://goodfoodbadjokes.wordpress.com/: A very close friend & awesome cook/ food blogger, serial killer – armed with PJs :P I know a lot about her, this is just to see her quirky responses :)
8. Prianca Bhatia: http://confessionboxpp.blogspot.in/ The most hilarious blogger Ive ever come across. Ever. One of the first friends I made in college
9. http://proactiveindian.com/ love the anonymous nature of his identity. Would love to know more.
10. Kalindi : http://kalindishappiness.wordpress.com/ The awesome Vipassana chick . And thats why I need to know more about her. Cos u cant call someone that awesome vipassana chick :P
11. Aditto : http://aditto.wordpress.com/ food & travel ka combo – aditto! LOL, tell me more :P
Please leave a link to your Liebster Award post in the comments section below so that I can read your answers :)