Finding priorities

Everyday, while performing mundane tasks, such as doing the dishes, I open the YouTube App on my phone, and allow it it show me videos that it has learned to curate for me. For the most part, the app gets it right — US-based late-night political comedies and TED talks.

Today, this talk popped up in my feed: “How to gain control of your free time.” I had watched this video before, but because my hands were engaged (and because this is a great talk), I allowed the smartphone to remind me of how wasteful I have been of my time.

Time management expert Laura Vanderkam says that when people say they don’t have time for something, what they mean is, that it’s not their priority.

When something is a priority for us, we make time for it, no matter how busy our lives are.

I have experienced this first hand, several times. Including, as recently as, last month, when I got around to digitise my mother’s art, in time for her 60th birthday. My previous attempt was way back in 2015. And after four years, with enough motivation to drive me, I finally opened shop on Society6 (This announcement should, and will be, a separate post) .

Under virtual dust

At the end of last year, one of my regrets was not having maintained this blog much. Two posts in a year was a dismal number, considering that the previous year saw me celebrate my 300th post during the NaBloPoMo.

I have several unfinished drafts and ideas — some that are many years old, and some only in want of a ‘featured image’ to go live.

As this video reminds me, somewhat harshly, blogging isn’t my priority anymore. And that is an unhappy thought. Why did I stop doing that which I absolutely loved?

The answer: The decline in my writing on the blog has coincided with my use of Instagram.

Most of my blog posts go through multiple iterations, with me reading, and re-reading them, to make sure it is something worth reading. There is this burden of responsibility, to do justice to the reader’s time. On Instagram, however, there is lesser pressure to write.

I do realise that this pressure about ‘quality of writing’ is pretentious. Clearly, I blog for very selfish reasons.

Another reason, is the decline in community participation — or more appropriately, the narcissism factor. Back when WordPress had ‘featured posts’ on its homepage, and ran Weekly Photo Challenges, there seemed to be a greater incentive to post (read, greater likelihood of ‘likes’). Blogging was chance to discover, and be discovered. (The Discover tab on WordPress now is rather uninspiring)

I found Instagram to be more engaging. Words are less appealing than pictures. Those who couldn’t be bothered to read, are happy seeing pictures (and that includes me). Today, Instagram is what WordPress used to be — fun.

And so, since that NaBloPoMo in 2017, when I gingerly opened my Instagram account, writing has moved to another platform.

Finding a way back

Over the past two years there have been so many exciting things I should have written about here — in my safe space — but didn’t get around to. (I published on four different platforms, travelled to new places, let go of toxic relationships and put myself on a path to heal myself).

Most nights, I lay awake simply because there are so many ideas jumping in my head, waiting to explode (here’s why).

This, rather impulsive post, is my attempt at making a comeback to blogging. Will it succeed? Only time will tell.


Thank you :)

Today is a special day. I hear it’s the Thanksgiving weekend around most places in the world. And while I have very little knowledge of this holiday, as it’s not something my family celebrates, I find it a lucky coincidence that it is today, that I am reaching a milestone.

This post, is number 300 in the lifetime of this blog.

Yes, it’s a small number compared to so many other bloggers around the world, but if you had told me a few months ago, that I’d be here, today, writing my three hundredth post, as part of a month-long blogging challenge, I would have probably called you insensitive.

Over the past twenty three days, I have been at the receiving end of much love, and a very dedicated readership. Many of you have told me how much you have enjoyed reading, and especially loved the pictures I have posted here. And it fills me with joy.

Knowing that someone out there, cares for the stories I have to tell, matters a lot to me. And so, I want to say, thank you.


This is post #23 in this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano

NaBloPoMo = National Blog Posting Month = Thirty straight days of blogging

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What’s your story?

You can lie all you want.
You can hide behind your mask.
You don’t need to tell me,
And I will not ask.

You may deny it,
And say all is fine.
But it’s written on your forehead,
Across every single line.

You must be patient,
Soldier on.
Let go of your worries,
It’s time to move on.
Explore the world,
Save your memories.
Be brave, be bold,
Tell the world
All your stories.

nanopoblano2015lightThis is post #4 in this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano

NaBloPoMo = National Blog Posting Month = Thirty straight days of blogging

Thanks a bunch to all the cheering peppers who have been tweeting and liking posts across WordPress 🙂


Ink-Stained Fingers

‘Hey you! Come over here,’ The teacher smiled and called the chubby girl to the front of the class. Addressing the other students, she pointed at her face and said, ‘Look at her! Doesn’t she look funny!’ The class of forty students began laughing. The girl stood there, clueless about what the joke was. The teacher told the girl to go and take a look in the mirror.

Confused and embarrassed, she made her way to the girls’ bathroom and stared at the mirror. A small blue patch of ink had made its way to her face. She turned around a bit, acting out the scenario from a few moments ago, curious to know how she would have looked in front of the class.

The class was the fifth standard. The little girl was me. The patch of blue on my face had come from my ink-smeared fingers.

That teacher taught us Hindi. She was a good teacher, and probably the sole reason I actually know the Hindi alphabet better than most of my Hindi speaking peers. But for reasons I am still not sure of, she constantly picked on me. My Hindi was terrible. My handwriting even worse. Every page of my notebook bore scars from her red pen. Strangely, her remarks in my notebook were all written in English. I can vaguely recall one such remark, ‘Instead of improving, your handwriting is getting worse with every class!’

I was terrible with pens. We were only allowed to use fountain pens. Ball pens were a complete no. ‘It’s bad for your handwriting,’ that’s what they said. I had to change my pen frequently. I broke nibs. The refilling compartment would leak as I wrote — leaving blue fingerprints on my notebooks. I took it as a sign of achievement — proof of a great writer, or at least one that writes a lot. I could make the best pens leak. I began using different kinds of pens, and they leaked too. I even managed to break the nib of roller-ball pens.

For over three years, I have attempted to narrate this little incident from my childhood. And every time it ended up with me breaking down. I always imagined that I would write about having forgiven her and sound magnanimous. But I cannot bring myself to say that. Her insult was a personal one — one which no child should be subjected to, and most definitely not by a teacher.

One might say that hatred is another side of love, and that deep down inside I probably want her to like me and be nice to me. That may be true. And by not letting go of that incident and allowing it to torment me, I am more likely to harm myself more than anyone else.

But today, as I prepared to write this — my 200th post — I wanted to put to rest the whole issue. Having ink-smeared fingers is no crime, and my inability to take care of a pen has nothing to do with my ability to write.

This morning, I took out my fountain pen and washed the dust off it. I cleaned the nib and watched my fingers get soaked in ink. Then I sat down to type.

Now that I have written this, I realise why that incident refuses to leave me. As angry as her behaviour makes me today, my own reaction to it at that time never ceases to amaze me. For some reason it never hurt me. The little girl I saw in the mirror didn’t react – at all. She was different. She was indifferent.

Did she notice that? Was the teacher trying to get under my skin and make me feel something — love or hatred — towards her? I’ll probably never know. But it sure feels good to think about it!

nanopoblano2015lightThis is post #1 in this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano

NaBloPoMo = National Blog Posting Month = Thirty straight days of blogging

Thanks a bunch to all the cheering peppers who have been tweeting and liking posts across WordPress 🙂


Why Blog?

Power Of Words – Antonio Litterio CC-BY-SA-3.0

Some time back, I stumbled upon a video. And I liked it so much, I watched it again, and now I’m sharing it with you (for those who’re impatient, its at the bottom of the post!)

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of ‘Eat Pray Love’, talks about creativity as an external ‘genie’, and how creativity comes to an artist, instead of creativity coming from within an artist.

This video made me realise how many times an idea or thought came to me. My genie came in the form of little bursts of inspiration. And when she came, she gave me sleepless nights. At times I’ve woken up at unearthly hours* , unable to sleep, till I have written down something. And even afterwards, I have felt uneasy at not having published it. Sometimes I’m just too tired to listen to her, and I tell her to come another time. And of course she doesn’t.

This creati-genie has inspired quite a few posts on this blog. And clearly, right now, my genie is on vacation. Or perhaps I’m the one who isn’t sensing her.

Maybe she’s somewhere around me, reading this post. Maybe she’s screaming something, desperately trying to grab my attention. Or maybe she’s just smirking, enjoying the fact that I miss her.

Off late, as I haven’t been blogging, I’ve felt frustrated. Or perhaps my frustration is making me lose connection with my genie.

I’ve had to work hard on this post. It doesn’t help that I actually drove my genie away. But I shall try to answer the question The Daily Post asked bloggers.

Why do I blog?

There may not be just one single answer. And it is most likely a combination of several answers.

Perhaps it is the want of attention, the emotional high of being heard.

Perhaps it is to share our world with others.

Perhaps it is a journal, a memory bank, should we need to refresh our own memories.

Perhaps it is to vent out the frustration within.

Perhaps it is to discover a few things about our own selves.

Or perhaps it is to allow the genies sitting on the window-sill next to us, to take the spotlight for a while.

And maybe, just maybe, it is to sleep more peacefully at night.

I’d hoped to celebrate my 100th post with my genie. But, I suppose she deserves a little break!

I hope you like this TED Talk as much as I did. Is your genie with you? How has your genie helped/troubled you? Let me know in comments…

* unearthly hours here refers to what I term as unearthly – which is not necessarily beyond midnight, but likely at the hour when you are busy relishing your dinner!

And now I wonder… Why does WordPress Blog??


In Search Of A Voice

At the beginning of the week, I thought I would try my hand at this week’s writing challenge… I’ve been wanting to write about my favourite author for such a long time. But it’s been a rather busy week… Perhaps I’ll write about that some other time. For now, I present to you… Mr Bond, Ruskin Bond.

The Night Train At Deoli

I read short stories by Ruskin Bond as a child. A collection of such stories, was the very first book that I asked my parents to buy for me.

Even when I was well into my adolescence, and adulthood, I continued to read, and re-read his stories. This of course makes me wonder if I’ve really grown up… But that is a different matter.

Ruskin Bond’s stories, at least the ones I have read, have often been about personal experiences. My favourite ones are those where the author writes as the main protagonist, and narrates events in first person. Filled with nostalgia, the stories portray a wide range of emotions. The author weaves such beautiful stories around everyday events.

‘The Night Train At Deoli and other stories’ is my all time favourite – which is one of the books that I exchanged  with my friend. I’ve always wondered if I inadvertently write in a similar manner. But even though Ruskin Bond’s stories have left a huge impact on me, I will not dare say that I write in a similar style – no one can.

Most of what I have written, is based on my experiences.  Strictly speaking, I do not write fiction, and I know that I do not write factual accounts of everything. In fact, this blog was never intended for writing! I had a few images that I wanted to post on-line – so that I could share them with people more easily. I’m not an artist or a photographer. I’m not a dedicated writer, and I have no specific topic on which I write.

As I write this post, I am left wondering what my blog is really about. Perhaps one day, I will figure out what exactly I’m trying to do. Then, perhaps the blog will be a lot more organised than it is right now.

Until then, I will continue searching for my voice.

Dear reader, if you have any thoughts regarding what it is that I write about, please help me organise this little space. What do you think this blog is all about?


A Whimsical Post

24 June 2012

After spending an evening at my aunt’s house, I thought I had an idea for another blog post. I didn’t know what I would actually write – I had just one line.

When we were about to leave, my aunt asked me if I needed a diary. “I have a plain unruled diary. If you want, you can take it”, she offered. It was kept on a coffee table near a wall. I picked it up, and flipped through it. It had a quotation on each page, and there were no lines. I kept it back.

“I do need a diary, but I need it for taking down class notes. I wouldn’t want to use such a good diary for that!”

“Oh you want one for taking notes? I have just the thing, then!”

I came away holding a thick, black spiral bound book. After reaching home, I placed it over the cupboard. And I just stared at it. What would I do with this?

The pages had such a smooth texture. There was absolutely nothing written inside. No days, or months, or quotations, or fancy designs. Just thin lines. To add to it, there were colour coded tabs running along the sides. It was so beautiful.

It was not meant to be filled with random notes that I wouldn’t bother to look at. It was not supposed to be sold to the scrap dealer once the pages were filled. It was meant to be preserved.

I was scared to open it. To write on it. What if I made a mistake? I had three such books, lying unused, inside the cup board, for the exact same reason!

After spending hours wondering what to do, I told myself, “That’s enough! It is just a bunch of pages. Break out of it!”

I picked up my black pen, and started writing. I didn’t bother about the subject. I wanted to just write. To feel the pen slide on the paper, for no reason. I wrote random sentences. The more I wrote, the more I wanted to write. It seemed as if water was trying to burst through a small hole in a dam.

What I wrote, didn’t matter. But the sight of the beautiful paper, being written on, thrilled me!

After several minutes of writing, I forced myself to stop.

I had filled a few pages with words, I would not even bother to read again. But it looked beautiful!