Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Thank You A to Z

Well as they say, all good things come to an end.

April was a month of madness for me, a month where I am totally blogged out. It has been challenging in more ways than one - firstly because I undertook two challenges at once albeit unknowingly. But what I learnt about this was that YES I CAN DO IT.

The A to Z challenge also taught me that it is far easier to plan and have an actual theme. I thought it would be easy to just wing it - wake up in the morning and write about the first word that comes to mind. Well, let me confess that this was far difficult. But I didn't have a theme to start with because I didn't exactly know how the road would take me. I discovered that I have a natural tendency to veer towards food so quite obviously my next year's theme would be food related. So that's one thing sorted out for next year's challenge.

The A to Z challenge has a wide reach - over oceans and continents and spanning several generations. This amazing community is creative and I couldn't get over how some letters inspired exactly or almost similar thoughts ( J had many bloggers write about Judgement) while at other times the same letter evoked so many varied responses.

 I met some very interesting bloggers on the blogosphere which was both revealing and depressing. Revealing because several bloggers who have a large number of followers are not really good writers and I was astonished that despite their several grammatical mistakes they have a huge following. Consequently, this left me depressed at times and made me wonder about continuing blogging at all.

Finding my voice - Now that was something I was finding rather elusive. What exactly is my voice? I must confess that I kind of found it during this challenge.

But I also realised that despite my years of blogging there are several things I still need to address -

How to link back to other blogs
How to engage readers and other bloggers
How to grow my network
How to add graphics and pictures to my blog

These are areas which I am still grappling with. When I see other blogs with pictures I wonder how they manage to source them. Which search engine are they using? What sites do they use?

How much time do they spend on their blogs? 

But all in all I enjoyed this challenge. I came across some lovely bloggers like Suzy, ( whose unique narration of the Ramayan leaves one spellbound),  Athira, (whose wandering mind blew me away), Swati, (whose unique theme of writing a novella linked to a Novel got me hooked) Vineetha (whose void thoughts often made my hair stand), Shalzz (whose 26 hours before marriage really got my heart beating) and Inderpreet. (whose theme of Indian Writers introduced me to some new Indian authors) I got encouraging comments from Debbie (whose blog I enjoyed reading!) and got prompt support from Arlee (the Bird who started it all in the first place!) when I needed some help. And of course I can't thank Corinne (you need a special hug for your everyday gyaan I can't do without) and Vidya who truly smiles in an inspiring way) for their enthusiasm and encouragement. 

So thank you all and thanks to those who I've forgotten to thank too! Thank you readers and fellow bloggers for your comments. 

And thank you A to Z for this Challenge. I look forward to meeting you all next year! 

Thanks also to Write Tribe that introduced me to this in the first place.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

When the ground shakes

The last few days have been horrific for the people of Nepal. They've been horrific for several people all over the world too, those who've had their loved ones stuck in Nepal: with no news of their whereabouts and with no way to contact them. Even if Arnav thunders "the Nation wants to know, how a tragedy of this magnitude has occurred? " no one can give an answer for when the ground shakes, all you can do is just pray that you stay grounded. Just pray that the fan swinging wildly over your head doesn't fall down. Just pray that the walls around you don't crumble and just pray that it all stays still.

I must have been hardly 3-4 years old when I remember the ground shaking. We were luckily out in the open, sleeping on the rope khatiyas out in the courtyard with the other families staying in our building. My memory is very vague as to why we were out there underneath the stars. Perhaps that was the way everyone slept in a Delhi summer but I distinctly remember being shaken like a rag doll. I was scared and couldn't understand why everything seemed to be moving but luckily it stopped before anything could fall.

It was around seven years later when I felt the next tremors. This time we were in Pune and the Koyna river had just been dammed. The earth around was angry, furious at this violation and showed it one night. We woke up to the rumble of the beds moving beneath us and somehow made our way to my parents' room. There the dog lay quivering and my father tried to open the bolt to get us out doors. He didn't have his spectacles and tried to feel the bolt. The dog began to bark and we didn't know whether to scream or laugh. My brother and I just clutched on to each other and then the trembling stopped.

Then in 2001 while the whole country was watching the Republic Day parade, I felt the fan overhead swing crazily and the ground beneath my feet shake. For a minute I wondered if I had lost my balance then my husband shouted out " Did you feel the earth move?" That's when I knew it was an earthquake.

Image result for Earthquake picture

There's nothing really one can do when the ground beneath your feet begins to shake and frankly no amount of preparedness will every prepare you for such a tragedy.

With Nepal being the focus of a tragedy, my school WhatsApp group has been sending messages about what should be done in the event of an earthquake but from my first hand experience, when tragedy strikes your blood literally runs cold. All you work on is instinct and the only thing that helps is prayer.

The damage they say is enormous; it will take years for things to get back to normal again. But human beings are resilient and will slowly get there.

I'm also linking this to Write Tribe ProBlogger

Friday, 1 May 2015

Order in when Bai is Out.

Well today is May Day and if you are in  Bombay it is quite likely that your trusty Bai or maid is wishing you "bye for the holidays" or will wish you so shortly.

May is when the whole city of Mumbai is on vacation....not surprising since it is supposed to be a city of migrants who have come to seek their fortunes in the city of gold. But there are many who are native to this city and others who don't want to leave in the summer. I, particularly love being in Mumbai in May. Yes it is hot, but so are many other places in the world. And besides, Mumbai without school children is quite the dream city. The roads are pretty much clear of traffic and on days like today, driving is sheer bliss.

But May can get tedious if you have to cook and clean so I've been on the look out for some takeaways that don't cost an arm and a leg. I particularly haven't tried this joint but it comes recommended by Zomato and Burrp..... Cafe Free India. So do call 02232274363 and give it a try. According to the menu they have soups, salads ( 3 varieties each)  and appetizers both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. There is a good range of Pizzas and burgers for which the original Cafe Free India is famous and some Asian and Continental takeaways. The outlet is located just behind Rukiya Manzil in the Sophia College lane and should be a better option than Under The Banyan Tree just up the road.

I had visited UTBT when it had just opened and was quite impressed with their Garlic Butter Pizza but today sadly, it didn't measure up. What was a real disappointment was the Broccoli Almond soup which didn't have any traces of either ingredient.

There are lots of options to order in when Bai is out so watch this space when I scope it out.

But if you are really feeling hot and tired and want a day out why don't you try this on Chowpatty Beach:

I'm linking this to Write Tribe ProBlogger. Do check out some of the amazing blogs you will find there.

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