Thursday, November 19, 2015

Salute Thee Blogger!

When I started blogging in 2009, I was desperately seeking some form of communication with the outer world. After my first blog, there were a few technical glitches that dissuaded me from blogging. I returned after a couple of years in 2011 and took to this medium with passion. The more I explored reading fellow bloggers, the smaller I felt in stature in comparison with them. Nevertheless, I continued though at a snail's pace. Participating in contests, commenting on other blogs, it was an exciting journey. When I read inspiring stories of bloggers who had turned into sought after columnists in noted newspapers and magazines, I was motivated to try harder. I admit my ability to spontaneously spin out suitable articles is limited owing to minimal, irregular reading of books and magazines. But I managed to make a start.

Rosie the Blogger | by Mike Licht, 

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After almost 6 years, I have transformed from a part time trainer to a freelance content writer. Interestingly, my last content writing job was through a friend who had read my blog. Over the years, I have evolved more as a person partly due to the exposure availed through blogs.  People like Alka Gurha and Purba Ray are my inspirations as they stand out of the crowd through their quality driven content and unique individuality. At times, I had felt my presence at blogosphere was unwarranted for with brilliant writers like them. I had even taken a sabbatical and sat back to simply soak in the pleasure of reading their posts. Politics, Parenting, Homecare; I had everything on my platter whenever required.

Thankyou blogger for this wonderful platform. If not for you, I would have lost in the pages of a book seeking thumbs up for selfies and fake friendships. Looking forward to learn much more from you...

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Art of Giving

As I walk back home with my vegetable bag, I see many green tomatoes waiting to ripen in their balcony pots. Pigeons that once used to fly away at the slightest change in status quo, now boldly fight with one another to sit on the grill window. The crowded departmental store seems to seriously think of dedicating an exclusive row for organic cereals and pulses. Something is changing.

When I open Rediff news, all that captures my attention is this: 'X quits high paying corporate job to teach under privileged children'; 'Meet Y who is the reason behind the smile of tribal women in Assam'; 'Z returns to India to train youngsters of his village in entrepreneurship skills'. The Hindu daily features articles on people who have taken to reviving traditional art forms and engaging skilled local craftsmen. Something is changing.

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We have Chotta Bheem and Hanuman for cartoon watching (despite the poor spoken English with mother tongue influence) in the place of Dora and Superman. Bookstores have more of Indian writing on mythological characters instead of Harry Potter and the like. Awareness on the need to construct houses with local sustainable green materials has increased. We segregate waste based on biodegradability.  Handmade terra cotta or paper quilled jewellery is a fashion statement. Something is changing.

Our fast paced consumption pattern has slowed down as indicated by the vacant shops in empty malls. A sense of guilt has struck the masses. It's time to learn the art of giving to live peacefully. I know this is just the beginning and a long journey awaits us. Nevertheless, we have decided to start. Giving back to nature, country and mankind at large is a responsibility bestowed upon us. Learn to give so that your children live to give it back to theirs.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The month that passed by

April-May seems to be a tough time for mothers. Those 60 days that were our childhood desires throughout the year turned out to be dreadful dreams. I had to agree on a few honest attempts made to spend quality time with the girl initially. She too was excited. Interest waned for the two of us as time passed. Nevertheless, we lazied around and now are waiting for the academic schedule to keep us on our feet in the coming months. To the more serious segment of the post, here goes my 'points to ponder' from these days.

  • I was browsing through the Internet on April 25th as usual when I saw a birthday doodle. Least interested, I continued. Minutes before exiting, my pointer indicated to the doodle and guess what?! It read 'happy birthday Vaishnavi'. I was more perplexed than pleased as Google was the last person (?) I expected to wish me on my birthday. When I returned from my visit to Madurai, home town, Google+  mailed, " Vaishnavi, you have a story to share". The entire journey pictures were chronologically arranged and displayed in slides.  Now, I am not a very public person wanting to tell the world all I do. My Facebook account deletion 2 years ago justifies this (not considering the occasional logins through spouse account :). Are we becoming way too visible even without wanting to? Today's article in The Hindu titled 'The big data conundrum' throws more light on the topic. Right from the government's policies such as Aadhar card to internet requirements of personal details for every single transaction, validates the fact that  'you are being watched'. Beware folks, it's not just your dubsmash video that you upload in Fb that is seen, but also the secret birthday bash you celebrated in the pub with your chosen few.

  • "Whatsappening ?" I yelled of late.  Yes, too much of whatsapping left me laughing over a few funny things. Too many groups and you lose account of the conversation loop. 'Congrats SI, You have lost weight' messaged AA. ' Thanks dear' came the reply. I was wondering why SI didnot look so to me when I met her yesterday. Later did I realize that it was SI from college group who had lost weight and AAs were numerous to rememember. The prompt commentor no matter what is posted ( I wonder if she ever reads , for the emoticons appear nanoseconds after the post), the benign wellwisher ( happy bday to A's cousin's daughter who is my Fb friend), the reposter ( copy paste copy paste, oops that was not meant for this group), the who-knows-who non-participant ( dude, who the hell added me here), the gracious greeter (today is the day, gm; if not today tomorrow, gn), the list goes on. 
Not happy: Paula Cochrane has been hit with a staggering £1,200 phone bill after texting hundreds of smiley face emoticon symbols that weren't included in her 'unlimited' £31-a-month contract. Read full message from website.
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    • The power of advertising was seen again at home. An exclusive tamil message for those who understand.
            ஐந்து வயது மகள் இரண்டு ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முன்பு நேச்சர் பவர் சோப்பு விளம்பரம் பார்த்து வாங்க சொன்னாள்; சிரித்தேன். ஒரு வருடம் முன்பு டேபிள் மேட் விளம்பரம் பார்த்து வாங்க சொன்னாள்; சிந்தித்தேன். இந்த வருடம் சென்னை அமிர்தா காலேஜ் ஆப் ஹோட்டல் மேனேஜ்மென்ட் விளம்பரம் பார்த்துக் கொண்டிருக்கிறாள். ஷாக் ஆயிட்டேன் அவ்வ்வ்வ்வ்....

    Happy digital living, readers!

    Friday, March 27, 2015

    Way to go, deary!

    Incident #1: I was busy helping my sister-in-law in Chennai to choreograph (if I can call that one) for a tamil song to be performed by the apartment boys on the occasion of new year's eve. There was a rap portion by Hard Kaur, and we were wondering who could be the right fit. I asked my daughter and she refused instantly. It's not easy to persuade her and I gave in. We kept practicing and my daughter kept watching. We decided to delete the rap portion but forgot to do so. The previous day I asked my daughter again and she agreed half-heartedly. The next evening, she took the stage by storm as she did it with much ease and natural style. I told her father who was in Bangalore. He asked her why she said no initially. Her answer stunned me. "Had I told mom that I would be doing it, she would have made me practice too hard and I didn't want to ruin my holidays dancing monotonously".

    Incident #2: Daughter got selected for Spell Bee contest and I was rummaging through all relevant materials to practice. She would also have to talk for a given topic on the spot. I thought of a few expected ones and asked her what she would say on those. The answer was an immediate "I don't know". Patience mommy, I told myself. " Well, let me see what I would have told if I were you" I said. She listened without questioning and fell asleep in a few minutes. The day before her competition, I told her father to help her with some common topics as he was putting her to bed. "Daddy, don't listen to mommy. If you are going to talk about it, I am not going to listen, OK?" She said firmly. He threw a helpless glance at me as I stared at her. Next day after the contest, we got to know that the topic was one I had discussed. " Hey, did you tell about R, your close friend as we discussed the other day?", I jumped. "No.I talked about M " came the reply. She was not going to tell me what she had said.

    Incident #3: Dance competition announced in school. I wanted to try. I downloaded 'Let it go' from the movie Frozen for it's inspiring lyrics. Although it was not a peppy dance number, I knew it suited my daughter best (I-me-myself type). As expected, she didn't like the song and the fact that she had to use props throughout the song made her frown. "Let's make a deal. You dance each line after I show you how to do it two times. Deal?" I asked. She nodded. As I danced, she lied down on the couch, legs stretched. I was getting irritated but had to do it. I dance twice, she does once and this was how it went on everyday. D-day arrived and she did it pretty well. Though she loves dancing, I know she isn't great. Surprisingly she won the first prize, more so because of the appropriate usage of props, song choice and timing, I felt.

    During these incidents, she disliked one thing a lot. It was the word 'competition'. Whenever I said it, she showed disinterest. One day, she spelled out her fear. "Mom, what if I lose? Wont I get anything? They wont clap for me?" she asked. And the question "what if I lose?" reappeared several times. I found it a little too much for I had thought kids never feared failure. I had to reassure her and make her understand that trying with all might mattered, nothing else. And she did.

    I know she isn't like me when I was young, trying to impress the one in the front. She does what she likes and never pretends. Many a times, I have felt sad for her carefree attitude. But sometimes I feel this is a better way to be happy. I wish she grows up with the right spirit and leads a life of her dreams. By the way, my daughter is 5 years now and is finishing her Jr.Kg.

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    Sunday, February 8, 2015

    What a comedy!

    To relax and refresh from the mundane routine, human beings could have resorted to comedy in the olden days. Irony, satire, self-deprecating humor, stand-up and now it has taken the form of a roast.
    The recent AIB knockout live show broadcast on YouTube featured Karan Johar as the roast master with a panel of stand-up comedians attempting to roast Bollywood actors Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor. It was known as insult comedy wherein the humor intended at the roastees was absolutely outrageous and outright adult insult. There were controversies and discussions as to the language used and overall decency of the content. As I had watched a few live stand-up comedies and this had a prior warning, it did not irk me as much as my initial tryst with such genres. In fact, I found some interesting details that needs to be shared.

     Yes. That is a prerequisite and the show did complete justice to it. Not only did the panelists make fun of each other, but also the roasters were given the opportunity to mock at the panelists and the roast master. I insult you, you call me names and we laugh together like a .... well, that's it.

    Criticize one in the front and praise him/her at the back goes an old adage. AIB Knockout ensured that most of the individuals who might get roasted along with the roastees like Deepika Padugone, Sonakshi Sinha, Alia Bhatt, occupied the front seats and were ridiculed generously. In doing so, you avoid being branded as backbiters.

    One of the panelists, Aditi Mittal has to be congratulated for being in the panel itself as the single lady and for trying out some serious humor. To know why it is so, you can see my post here. Having said that, a few that didn't go too well needs a mention too. Though one appreciates humor intended at oneself, none ROFL. Ranveer's overreacting with not-so-funny facial expressions and gestures accompanied by Arjun Kapoor copying him seriously acted as spoilers. And Ranveer, didn't you learn from your panelists that you are not supposed to laugh at your own jokes though you might, at jokes on you? A little less of humor on racism, appearance substituted with more on personality sans cussing and gestures might have lessened the trouble the show had to undergo. Nevertheless, it was a trial in a traditional Indian context and it was pretty well executed. As to the controversies, I second Karan's tweet. You always have a choice dude.

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