Category Archives: LIFE

Addicted to My Phone? Sorry, I Refute This Charge!

An ode to my friend,(my lovely mobile phone) in the form of a prose poem:

My phone is my notebook, my postbox, my gaming station, my book stand, my news reporter and my business supporter! My phone is also my camera and my pictures album folder. My phone is my banker,my meeting place with friends and a place to look up the latest trends. The device even doubles up as my vanity mirror and my music system. My phone is my dictionary and spelling corrector, it can teach me to strum the guitar and teach me mandarin if I want. Its also my magnifying glass you bet! Use your imagination and you’ll know how. It takes me to far off places and is a small doorway to the big bountiful world which I can hold in my fist or my pocket. The big bonus is that it can also be used to make calls! Yes you heard that right.I can also make calls. I need all these facilities in my life, so when my phone is my true friend indeed, when in need, why do people call it phone addiction? It’s not just a phony phone after- all; its much more!

NaBloPoMo: A Giant Step towards Substantial Blogging!

NaBloPoMo? Not ever heard of this word? If not then perhaps you are new to the blogging world. NaBloPoMo is actually an acronym for National Blog Posting Month. November is the chosen month and one is supposed to make a blog post each day of this month, even on weekends! Sounds exciting isn’t it? It definitely is provided you are willing to take up the challenge. NaBloPoMo is a challenge because in order to write good, interesting and quality posts you need to keep the fire burning inside you for 30 continuous days. As for me I love accepting challenges. Mind you, it does wonders for your blog winning you new readers, creating a bond with the community as you share your experiences besides giving you that much needed jump in views on the stats page. My phone never stops buzzing on the WordPress app I have downloaded on my phone, whenever I publish a new post, signaling a new like or comment. It is a tremendous boost of confidence in your abilities as a writer.

Who thought up NaBloPoMo and why?

Well, I’ll answer in the words of Eden Kennedy herself, who thought up the brilliant idea of NaBloPoMo in the year 2006 ( The following excerpt is taken from an interview by Deb Rox)

‘A lot of people don’t sort of take blog writing all that seriously.  A lot of blog writers don’t take it that seriously themselves because they are posting links to current events, or using it as a discussion forum rather than as a place to thoughtfully express using good interesting verbs or good descriptive writing of what’s going on in their life or in their brain.  I thought let’s just focus on that part of it, see if you can sit down and write something everyday and throw it up there.  What happens after you do that for a while and you are doing it publicly it’s not like you are writing it in your diary everyday, you are throwing it out there for between 10 and 100 or 1000 people to read depending on your traffic.  Your barriers start to come down and you start that perfectionism thing and start to loosen up for better or worse sometimes worse.  Sometimes you end up posting up stuff you never thought was worth writing about and it turns out “Hey I really liked writing that post and I want to explore that more.” or you get more feedback or whatever.  It’s just a way of loosening up that nasty perfectionism thing if you have that.’

The biggest advantage of being a part of NaBloPoMo is to ingrain in you the writing habit. Write whatever you like on any topic that catches your fancy. You may even just publish some eye catching pictures of your travels or the blooming flowers in your garden with some small details. You can look for inspiration on ideas to write even on The Daily Post or BLOGHER. Once you have developed this habit your hands and brain will itch to write and slowly but surely NaBloPoMo becomes a prominent factor for your personal growth. So say good bye to procrastination forever and register for NaBloPoMo here, preferably before November 5. It will take you a giant step forward towards substantial blogging. Enjoy!!

 

 

Tomorrow If I Die

Sometimes I may be foolish

In what I speak or how I act,

As I don’t measure my words

Or think to act age appropriate.

I take merry go round rides

And jump on trampolines!

Sometimes I may love to dress up

and wear makeup,

And at other times, stay barefaced and plain

as per my wish.

Often, I follow my whims and fancies

And care not for critics.

For tomorrow if I die,

I have no regrets!

Book Review: The Lowland

When I picked up this book, The Lowland, by Jhumpa Lahiri, it was with a mixture of awe, apprehension and determination. This was because I was about to read a book by a Pulitzer Prize winning author for the first time.(Correction there- because actually this was the second. The first being Gone with the wind, which I had read long long ago, without being conscious of it being a Pulitzer Prize winning book at that time). The Lowland was also long listed for the Man Booker Prize and these awards to my mind gave the book a superior air.But surprisingly right from page 1 to the last page (page no. 340), I remained hooked to the book and so I was compelled to write its book review as soon as possible. It is a tale that begins in Calcutta (or Kolkata) and unfolds across continents and covers 4 generations. Primarily a story of two boys who live in Calcutta during the time of the Naxalite movement. They live along with their parents in the swampy lowlands. The author beautifully describes their growing up years from school days to youth and dwells deep into their similarities and differences. The bonding between the two brothers as well as their complexes is brought to life. You remain hooked to the tale of the different paths in life on which they eventually walk; in a narration that’s fluid, gripping, and a command over language that is nonpareil. There being absolutely no clue at all as to whats coming ahead, you are curious to quickly  find out and continue to flip page after page becoming a part of the whole scenario.

The characters are finely sketched to the minutest details. It is as if the lead characters, Subhash, Udayan and Gauri are living and breathing people whose lives are unfolding right before your eyes. They keep secrets from one another, but their individual thoughts, fantasies and feelings are laid thread before the reader in a brutally honest description. Revealing anything more of the story-line would in deed be a huge spoiler, so I wish to desist from that. Please read the book if my review inspires you enough.

Yes, there is some negativity in some of the characters etched. But towards the end of the book, we do see hope emerge and one character shines with his selfless and unconditional love. Needless to say , I’m now a fan of Jhumpa Lahiri ! And the next time I pick a Pulitzer Prize winning book, it will be not be with awe but a lot of excitement and expectation 🙂

P.S- My next pick is ‘To kill a mocking bird’ by Harper Lee, a 1961 Pulitzer prize winning book.

 

Musings (Tanka Poetry)

Musings to think that life is not really a struggle, the ‘Tanka’ way!

Life is boring?
Add spice,be mysterious.
Rise from the mundane,
Travel,capture and conquer.
Yet strive for peace with inner-self.

 

 

A tanka poem comprises 5 lines of 5,7,5,7,7 syllables each in that order. Write and read tanka to make life unboring!

Color Burst Again-Amaltas Aglow !!

“Come lets paint the town yellow!”; conspired all the Amaltas trees in City Beautiful Chandigarh. Sure enough the city is bathed in a vibrant yet very pleasant golden shower of flowers on rows and rows of the beautiful Golden shower trees, also called Amaltas or Cassia Fistula. A feast for the eyes and a balm for the senses, the beauty of the flowers is a talking point and a much desired distraction from the intense summer heat. Flowering is at its peak from mid May to the beginning of June. The ornamental amaltas flower is much revered in the Indian subcontinent, especially in Kerala, where it is the state flower. Also, its the national flower of Thailand. For me , I’m just content to have several of these trees landscaping the wide roads of Chandigarh, adding to its beauty and enhancing the green cover. Here I share with you some pictures, clicked on a lazy summer afternoon which got a new lease of life with this view! Its almost as if the city is in a jubilant mood.

Perspective- Is what you see always true?

The other day I saw a pretty woman at a party. Although she looked quite gentle, her behavior was somewhat odd. She sat bossily on a chair, with her husband in attendance. He kept offering her drinks and took care that she was served with all the snacks. Of-course some of them she declined, perhaps the secret to her slim trim figure. Many other people too seemed to be hovering around her,but the woman did not budge an inch from her place.( You must be thinking whether I had nothing better to do! Well that’s my favourite pastime- observing people. And no, I was not envious).

Later in the evening I saw my husband talking to that couple- he is really good at making friends. He signaled to me to join them. I walked up towards their seat and my husband introduced us. “How arrogant she is, did not even bother to stand up,” I thought. As soon as the thought crossed my mind, she spoke apologetically. Actually just as she and her husband were entering the party hall, she had tripped over a loose wire left by a careless decorator and fell flat on the floor; with the result that now there was a slight sprain in her foot and a rip in her dress. Her husband had immediately decided to leave, but she was a real sport and did not wish to spoil his evening and insisted that they stay on for some time. She had cleverly hidden the tear in her dress with her scarf. Immediately I realized that there is always more than meets the eye and one should not judge people and situations in a jiffy. People behave differently in different circumstances. It is all a matter of perception. I eyed the mystery woman with a new found respect. She had decided to bear the slight pain and discomfort with a smile for the sake of the people she loved.

Lets look at this in a slightly different way. Can you guess what’s depicted in the picture featured above?
A bench perhaps? A railing with some beautiful shadow play! Monochrome image!

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Monochrome- Shadow play

Really?

Now look at the actual picture–

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Monochrome

Its an iron railing alright, clicked in Scotland (my brother jokes that there are better things to see in Scotland than iron railings- but I’m like that only). So what changed the perspective? Modern editing tools. Just some cropping and rotation through 270 degrees give you a totally new and amazing result!

This post has been inspired by photo101 by WordPress. I have tried to incorporate different elements of photography in the post along with some philosophy 🙂
I hope you enjoyed reading.

Color Burst (Golden Trumpet)

Come end of March, the trees in the green belts of Chandigarh begin to flower. The first among these is the beautiful Golden trumpet ( Tabebuia chrysotricha).

Golden yellow flowers, like bellowing trumpets give the tree a befitting name. It loses most of its leaves during flowering as its a deciduous tree. The brilliant yellow of the flowers on almost bare branches makes for a striking burst of color against the clear blue sky!

Bhang Pakoras For Holi ! (Marijuana Fritters)

Holi Hai! Time for some masti and some fun. Its good to let your inner child awaken during a festival such as holi and indulge in some fried goodies such as Bhang pakoras. It will make you happy ‘guaranteed'( but of course eat responsibly- for your senses and waistline alike).

Recipe for Bhang Pakoras 

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Bhang (marijuana leaves)

Ingredients:

2 cups besan (chick pea flour)
2 large onions finely sliced or cubed.
one big bunch of bhang leaves,chopped.
one small bunch of methi (fenugreek) leaves.
2 large potatoes peeled and chopped.
3/4 cup or more water (can be adjusted).
7 or 8 coves of garlic peeled and mashed.
1/2 tsp ajwain (carom seeds).
1 tsp red chilli powder.
1/2 tsp anardana powder (optional).
salt to taste.
oil for frying (vegetable oil or groundnut oil is suitable).

Method:

Wash and chop the bhang leaves and methi. If fresh methi is not available, you may use dry leaves (kasturi methi). The purpose is just to add flavour to the dish. Make a thick paste of the besan with water, ensuring that there are no lumps. Add water gradually. The paste should not be too thick or too thin. It must not be a runny batter. Add all the ingredients to this paste and mix well. If need be add more water and again mix. If by chance mixture becomes too thin add some more besan. Heat the oil to a high temperature in a deep pan or wok. Drop small dumplings of the mixture into the hot oil with the help of your fingers and thumb.If you find this difficult you can also fill up the mixture in one table spoon and use another table spoon to slide it into the wok. Reduce heat to medium. Let fry to lightly golden brown but not fully done. Remove from the wok with the help of a strainer. Continue in small batches till all the pakoras are made. Now press each pakora lightly with a small cup (katori) to flatten it slightly and again deep fry till crisp and golden. Serve hot with mint chutney and tomato sauce.

The idea for second time fry is to make the pakoras nice and crisp. The health conscious people can also use the air fryer very effectively for the second time fry. The pakoras can be made a few hours in advance (only once fried) before your guests start coming for Holi.  Pop them in your wok or air fryer , when your guests arrive, and surprise them with the crispy delight!

Be responsible, be safe. Have a Happy Holi!! 

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Bhang Pakoras with Thandai