I won an Award!

So I should have posted this months ago but time is something that has slipped away faster than usual, lately.  My increased work-load and the mayhem of temporarily moving to another apartment (since our place will be getting revamped over the next few months) has barely given me time to blog. Anyway, enough of the prelude…let me dive straight into this –
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*drum roll* !!!!!!

So the rules are as follows

1. Add the award logo in your post

– Yup done that.

2. List all the rules.

– Okay this one’s pretty obvious.

3. Thank whoever nominated you and leave a link to their blog.

– Thank you Outside Perception for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award! It was quite unexpected to be honest.

4. Tell your readers three things about yourself

– I’ll mention stuff that I haven’t blogged about, yet. Plus, I don’t know if everyone who knows me personally is aware of this so here goes –

One – I do dabble in poetry and short stories occasionally, but I’m conscious of posting them on a social platform. I neither indulge in metaphors nor adhere to the rules of poetry writing. I think my skills definitely need some polishing.

Two – I love dancing and watching good choreographies. But then again, I’m really self- conscious whilst dancing before an audience. I don’t know if I’m good at it.

Three – I obsess over neat handwriting. I tend to have a good opinion of those who can write neatly and legibly.

5. Nominate readers and notify them.

I can’t nominate OP again but this is a good opportunity to mention some great blogs I stumbled upon during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. I hereby nominate

Simply Marquessa – Hands down, her theme won my heart. Marquessa’s theme “Hawaii” was based on Kate, the protagonist and her journey towards self-discovery post a fatal diagnosis. What appealed to me most about Marquessa’s style of writing was its lucidity and the elements of Hawaii cleverly stitched in the plot.

A few drops of ink – Cynthia’s theme “When Words make our Worlds” was an absolute delight to read. I have added quite a few non-English words  that don’t have an English equivalent to my arsenal. 100 points for an innovative and informative theme!

Milly’s Guide – Lauren’s theme was about mental health, and I found her posts to be comforting on days I felt gloomy and low. Thank you, Lauren.

A Journey to Courageous Living –  Andrea took the bold step of facing her fears, this April. I loved her theme for its individuality and positivity. More power to you, Andi!

My Random Ramblings    – Tiny tales that were lucid and impressive. Kudos to Shweta!

Keith’s ramblings – Light-hearted, quirky and endearing, Keith’s spin on “Amble Bay” made me feel as though I was a part of this quaint, coastal village with its diverse characters.

6. Link back to the creator of the award.

Thank you Okoto Oke Enigma! Awards are an impetus to writing stuff that has the power to connect with people.

7. Ask your nominees any 5 random questions of your choice!

Here’s what Outside Perception asked me

Tell us about something that you used to believe only to find out it was incorrect?
I used to believe that E.T. was real. Yep, I have a strange fascination for aliens.

If given the choice between Cake or Death… what would it be?
Cake of course! No two ways about that.

What was your imaginary friends name and what special skills did they have?
My imaginary friend was Rahul, except he was pretty normal. Rahul was my favourite patient when I played “Doctor Doctor” with my doctor set toys!

What is your all time most watched movie?
Queen
by Vikas Bahl, starring Kangana Ranaut. I have watched this movie a hundred thousand times and I know all the dialogues by heart!

When you have downtime… (Laugh.. yah I know) Ok, If you ever had downtime… What would you do? 
First of, I’m not too well-versed with American slang..so um I am assuming downtime refers to free time? Oops. So whenever I unwind, I usually play my guitar or read a book. Or watch canine videos on Instagram.

And that’s a wrap!

Here are some questions for my nominees

  • What’s the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?
  • Which songs feature in your “Guilty Pleasures” play list?
  • What is that one weird thing you are afraid of?
  • You are forced to spend a whole day with that one person you can’t tolerate. How will you spend it productively without losing your cool?
  • You have been asked to direct your favourite actor. Who will it be and what will be the plot-line?

I look forward to your response!

Cheers!

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Z is for Zufriedenheit

This is a word I stumbled upon while reading ‘The Book Thief’. It’s a German word which means happiness and satisfaction.

Is there anyone in this world who hates feeling happy? I think not.

As easy as it seems, happiness can’t be always sought easily. Once found, it slips away as quickly as a fistful of sand. Yet, the beauty of zufriednheit lies in its transience. It reminds me to not take it for granted. Moreover, were it not for darkness, one wouldn’t know what light is. Happiness holds no meaning without it’s counterpart. So make the most of it while it lasts.

I may not be happy in all aspects of my life, but I’m glad that I took it upon myself to finish the A to Z Blogging Challenge. I don’t regret having chosen this theme i.e. ‘The A to Z of some of my favorite things’. Writing about stuff that makes me happy, has indeed made me appreciate and love myself a little more. It has made me love my blog a little more. I have made new friends over the past one month (more of that in my next post). I am inspired to write more.

And that’s a wrap for April 2017, folks! See you next year!​

Z is for Zufriedenheit

P.S : I’ll be posting a Reflections post in the coming week and talk about the blogs and themes that appealed the most to me this year

Y is for saying “Yes I can do it!”

I know I fumbled right in the middle of the challenge, but my circumstances were unavoidable. I managed to catch up by cheating a little…no wait, A LOT. I combined multiple posts into one.  I apologize for that. But truth be told, I did it for a reason.

I was determined to not give up. Participating in the A to Z Challenge has been more about me rather than the former. Last week, after having skipped four letters at a stretch, I was overcome by an impulse to quit. What was the point, I thought to myself. But there was a point – quitting the challenge would have meant reverting to my old habits of leaving things half-done. I would have probably strayed from writing, yet again. And I’m glad I fought down this urge.

Having suffered from bouts of low-esteem in the past, I barely found myself saying “I can do it”. I was apprehensive about putting myself in the front and handling any sort of responsibility. Fortunately, several factors have helped me cope with this negativity, allowing me to trust my instincts and capabilities. I love sensing the gush of confidence.

I have one more post to write. And you know what I’m going to say..

I can do it! I’m almost there!

Y is for saying “Yes I can do it!”

 

W and X is for Walks and XO with Mom

My mother has been a working woman from as long as I can remember.  When I was a kid, I used to eagerly await spending our evenings together. We would go for strolls on the sidewalk outside our residential society, my tiny hand wrapped around her pinky finger. I would recount my activities for the day and bombard her with questions. She had the knack for making up stories that kept me engrossed until my father returned from work as well. This was our way of spending quality time with each other.

Walks with my mother are something I look forward to till date. It hasn’t only been about the walks; it’s about the conversations we’ve had whilst we walked, be it anywhere –  in and around our locality, on the beach, in a park, on MG road, down the quaint streets of Switzerland and the list goes on. Walks with my mother are about getting her undivided attention, updating her about the current happenings in my life, occasional complaints about an annoying friend, confessions, healthy debates, and rants about being stressed. Post a great session, I feel rejuvenated and refreshed. I love early morning walks as they set my mood for the day. When I walk in sunshine with my most favourite person in the entire world, my mood shines like the sun as well.

This brings me to the next thing I love about my mother. Amma has been the quintessential mommy, never holding back on physical affection. She showers us (my sister and I) with hugs (X) and kisses (O). I presumed XO was the motherly norm until the topic cropped up while conversing with a friend. He confessed that his mother didn’t indulge in hugs or kisses. I was incredulous. All you mothers out there, y’all know what the take-home message is.

I’d like to mention that I’ve never been embarrassed about openly hugging my mother. I love pulling her cheeks. Her hugs and kisses make me feel secure and loved. They ease all traces of tension and stress that burden my mind. No matter how dejected  I feel, a squeeze from my mother is all I need to lift my spirits. In fact, the earliest memories I have of her, is of the times she would hum a lullaby whilst tucking me into bed.

What is life without walks with Mom and her warm hugs and big kisses?

W and X is for Walks and XO with Mom

My theme for the A to Z Blogging Challenge is the A to Z of some of favourite things. I just have two posts remaining!

 

 

 

 

S is for Surprises followed by T, U and V

Yup, I’m stuck far behind. Ideally, I should be out of this challenge. But I promised myself I will complete it no matter what. So here goes –

I love good surprises, the birthday kind and otherwise. Plus, I also love surprising my favourite people and close ones.  The smiles and amazement writ on their faces are totally worth going that extra mile.

So here’s the surprise. I dedicate this post to my father who celebrated his birthday yesterday. Though my theme for the A-Z challenge is about some of my favourite things, I’m gonna tweak it a bit for the purpose of this post. This is going to be about some of our favourite things aka food items.

T is for ‘Thaiyar Sadam’

Most south-Indians are big on curd rice. Yup, ‘thaiyar’ is for curd and ‘sadam’ is for rice.  It may seem bland and lackluster at first glance, but it’s the perfect fix for upset stomachs, hot summer nights, and for them lazybones who can’t be bothered to cook something elaborate. However, when it comes to my dad and I, the sheer simplicity and goodness of thaiyar sadam beckons to us on any given day.  A small dollop of urrugai (pickle) usually complements it; the former could be substituted by morru molgai (dried chillies marinated in salted butter milk),  or sometimes a ladle of vathai kozhambu (a spicy tamarind gravy) poured into a small cavity that is smack dab in the middle of a mound of thaiyar sadam .  Our weekend lunches are punctuated with the sounds of us relishing this delightful dish. Thaiyar sadam defies the rules of fine dining. Bye forks and spoons. It’s finger-licking delicious. Mmmm.

U is for Upma

To be honest, I have acquired a taste for this dish over the years. My dad, however, is an upma loyalist. Upma has its variants – rice, rava (semolina), bread, chapati (Indian bread), idli  and semiyan (vermicelli). He loves the traditional preparation comprising roasted rava cooked to perfection, with or without additional vegetables. I, on the other hand, prefer vermicelli to semolina. I love the flavour of onions and peanuts in upma. And of course, coconut chutney is a must! Upma and chutney are worthy of MasterChef. My dad could eat upma all week without tiring of its taste. To me home is where my dad sits guzzling upma for breakfast with a look of intense contentment on his face.

V is for Vadaam

When I think of vadaams, the picture of my father hungrily munching on them, pops in my head. This is usually followed by my mother snatching the box away from him and scolding him for being unable to contain himself before lunch; there’s also some mumbling about cholesterol and high blood pressure. I can hardly blame him. The aroma of fried vadaams wafts into the nooks and crannies of our house, luring him (and me as well) into the kitchen. Vadaams are not an everyday thing, and hence take precedence over chips. Yes, I said it. That’s the power of crispy south-Indian rice fritters. Tamil weddings, Diwali celebrations and possibly any Tamilian family event are incomplete without vadaams.

And that’s a wrap.

There’s a reason why they say my father and I are similar.

Happy Birthday, Appa!

S is for Surprises followed by T, U and V

My theme for the A-Z Blogging Challenge is ‘The A to Z of some my favourite things’. Stay tuned for more posts, this April!

R is for Reminiscing

“Remember the time when N sprayed YOUR deodorant into her eyes? Rather than crying in pain, she was crying about getting yelled at, by you!”

“Remember the time we made a gigantic sixteenth birthday card for you? Well, we did do a poor job of hiding it from you but you loved it anyway. ”

“Do you remember our first day in the University? I thought I’d be sitting alone until I bumped into you! We trudged all the way to the cafeteria whilst it was raining cats and dogs. We had a great conversation on the way. It was as if we had known each other forever.”

“Back in fourth grade, you were the girl who kept making a beeline to the bathroom in the midst of our examination. It was hilarious. Little did I know, you were down with diarrhea. Oops!”

“Who would have thought that the pale girl with two braids would be a badass punk lover? That was some transition. Puberty is a good thing, after all. ”

“We didn’t complete our Biology journals that night before the exam. We spoke about boys.”

“I think you looked ridiculously cute and hot at the same time, that evening. Is that even possible?”

“Remember the time when you and N believed in aliens? You were obsessed with ‘Koi Mil Gaya’ .

“I was totally obsessed with your handwriting. How could a sixth-grader write so neatly?”

“That performance was a failure. We totally sucked as a band! I wonder how the audience tolerated us. Good times, nonetheless.”

Happy flashbacks are worth experiencing, time and again.

R is for Reminiscing.

My theme for the A-Z Blogging Challenge is ‘The A to Z of some my favourite things’. Stay tuned for more posts, this April!

P and Q are for Photographs and Quotes

Frozen memories – the phrase that comes to my head when I browse through a photo album.

Now mind you, when I talk about photographs and quotes, I don’t mean cookie-cutter selfies with captions that make no sense! FYI, I absolutely loathe those. I’m talking about pictures so complete in themselves that they can narrate stories.

The Internet and social media is always abuzz with click-baits on  ‘good’ photography. Photography could be an art. To some, it’s a skill that can be honed. To some, it is intuitive.  And then there are some to whom the technicalities matter – composition, lighting, depth of field etc.

What does it mean to me?

Oftentimes, I have stumbled upon some beautiful photo-blogs, which make me pause and take notice of the details incorporated. These are the pictures that stir forgotten book quotes to my mind. The reverse holds true as well. I have lost count of the times I have perused through the pages of a novel, associating the imagery with a remarkable photograph I must have encountered somewhere.  In my opinion, that’s the power of good photography.

My tryst with photography began when I was eighteen. I am not a photographer by any means. I started off with a simple point-and-shoot camera, its maximum resolution being 2 MP. That’s right. That’s waaayy below today’s selfie standards. Though the pictures are cringe worthy, back then, my modest camera gave me the impetus to dabble with different subjects. Soon I upgraded to another point-and-shoot before finally settling on my very own DSLR.

I have had friends who appreciate the photographs I click whilst some who consider my skills to be mediocre. To start with, I don’t know if I’m blessed with an eye for detail or perspective. But one thing’s for sure, capturing a good shot makes me happy.

Here are some personal favourites (sources are provided in the captions).

 

“After the night meal with his head on his granny’s lap, nestling close to her, Swaminathan felt very snug and safe in the faint atmosphere of cardamom and cloves. ‘Oh, Granny!’ he cried ecstatically. ‘You don’t know what a great fellow Rajam is.’ He told her the story of the first enmity between Rajam and Mani and the subsequent friendship.”

-R.K Narayan (Swami and his Friends )

Screenshot from 2017-04-21 12:07:13

Photo by Abhishek Solanki

“The train would reach Deoli at about five in the morning when the station would be dimly lit with electric bulbs and oil lamps, and the jungle across the railway tracks would just be visible in the faint light of dawn.”

-Ruskin Bond (The Night Train at Deoli)

 

Photo by coffeeforthemoon

“I love walking in the rain because no one can see me crying”
― Rowan Atkinson

 

 

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Photo by Me!

“My grandmother, like everybody’s grandmother, was an old woman. She had been old and wrinkled for the twenty years I had known her.”
-Khushwant Singh (The Portrait of a Lady)

P and Q are for Photographs and Quotes

My theme for the A-Z Blogging Challenge is ‘The A to Z of some my favourite things’. Stay tuned for more posts, this April!

O is for Order

This post is a glimpse into the life of a control freak that’s me.

My dad loves tidying up the house to the extent of aggravating other members in his vicinity. The bed has to be immaculate, our cupboards uncluttered and the floor spotless. The word ‘filthy’ does not exist in his dictionary. My mother, unlike my dad, isn’t a stickler for cleanliness, but staunchly believes in orderliness. I have probably inherited both their traits; not only do I keep my room spic and span, but I’m also big on check-lists.

I’m quite particular when it comes to organizing my own stuff, right from my clothes and socks to my music play-lists and personal directories in my laptop. I cannot tolerate disarray or chaos. The satisfaction that sweeps over me after I clear up my study is unlike any other. I may hoard stuff, but I do know when to get rid of junk. Likewise, I don’t hold back when I’m in my best friend’s messy bedroom. That’s probably crossing the line, but okay, whatever. Talk about clutter sharpening one’s reflexes.

“Clutter is symptomatic of delayed decision making.”

– Cynthia Kyriazis

On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give my indecisiveness 6.  I deducted four points for my decent organizing capabilities that help me keep the former at bay.

I am also a lover of symmetry. These may seem like symptoms of OCD to you, but I can assure you I’m okay, you guys. I enjoy arranging items in order, my favorite being crayons and color pencils. The resulting color gradient is indeed quite gratifying! Besides this, I like sorting cutlery into sets. There’s nothing more pleasing than a table well-laid out with delicate glass bowls partnered with their corresponding plates. Sigh.

I have often wondered why I gravitate towards order and perfect proportions. Why does a photograph with good composition appeal to me so much? Why do I love henna designs with symmetrical motifs? Why am I always so hooked to well-arranged music?

The following quote probably attempts to answer my questions –

“I discovered that my obsession for having each thing in the right place, each subject at the right time, each word in the right style, was not the well-deserved reward of an ordered mind, but just the opposite: a complete system of pretense invented by me to hide the disorder of my nature.”

– Gabriel García Márquez

O is for Order

My theme for the A-Z Blogging Challenge is ‘The A to Z of some my favourite things’. Stay tuned for more posts, this April!

N is for New Notebooks

If you’ve read my previous post, you must be aware that I hoard stuff.

The miscellany of items I have accumulated over the years also includes notebooks. Notebooks in all sizes and shapes, hard or soft-bound.

When I was a kid, I used to eagerly anticipate the arrival of new school books. In India, most schools provide textbooks and notebooks prior to the commencement of the upcoming academic year. I used to turn each page delicately and run my hand across it to get a feel of its smooth texture. The rustling sound of them fresh crispy pages was music to my ears. Old-book smell is already a thing, but in my opinion, the ‘new-book’ smell is equally heady!  Obviously some things never change, and I repeat this ritual each time I buy a book!

Call it another one of my idiosyncratic tendencies, but I leave new notebooks untouched for a few days before filling up their pages. I make sure I write neatly. Yup, I add the date and page number as well. Though I resolve to keep my handwriting consistent until the very last page, my ambitious plans never materialize. The result is a disastrous scrawl towards the end of the book, followed by the urge to start afresh. But I hate wasting pages.

Here’s a page from my notebook/journal

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I wrote this on Christmas. (I have cropped the photo, because um..what I’ve written later is embarrassing). See what tops the list?

N is for New Notebooks

P.S : I am really lagging behind but I’m not going to give up. I should hopefully catch up by the end of this week!

My theme for the A-Z Blogging Challenge is ‘The A to Z of some my favourite things’. Stay tuned for more posts, this April!

K,  L and M are for Keepsakes, Letters with Memories attached.

Aaaaand I’m lagging behind. The past two days have been hectic. So I thought of something innovative (err..not really). Today’s post will be a combination of the letters ‘K’ and ‘L’ and ‘M’

I’m a number one hoarder. By this I don’t imply compulsive tendencies. It also doesn’t mean that I’m a tight-wad. I like to keep some of my memories tangible in the form of miscellaneous items, however jaded they may be – almost empty perfume bottles, broken bracelets, frayed diaries, a Math book with yellowing pages, remnant crayons from a once lavish colouring-set, coffee mugs, unpaired earrings, keychains, movie tickets, vacation checklists, fountain pens,  worn out tee-shirts and sweaters, defunct earphones and wrist watches, shoes I have outgrown and the list goes on. Most of the stuff I’ve mentioned is associated with people I know; these are keepsakes that I’ll cherish forever.

Not everything worth keeping has to be useful

-Cynthia Lord

I have a box full of letters, notes and postcards that I have collected over the years.  No electronic mail can match up to receiving handwritten thoughts, confessions, or greetings from your close ones. Opening the box is akin to taking a trip down memory lane.

I have treasured some Inland letters from my great grandmother. Her words fill me with warmth to this day, despite her tiny scrawl running across the pages. They always end with “I miss you”.  I used to write back to her excitedly, inquiring about Raja, our German Shepherd. I reminisce walking to the postbox with my grandfather to post my letters.

I have notes from my school mates that I received on the last day of school. Back then, it was a ritual to exchange memo sheets before parting ways. I was happy to be leaving school because I’d been a nobody for the most part (or rather, I felt like one) . I recall the gush of emotions on reading some of those notes. It was unexpected. I hadn’t been invisible to everyone after all.

Amidst the assortment, there are some beautiful yet quirky handmade birthday cards from my best friends and sister.  I feel a twinge of nostalgia on revisiting them every now and then. The cards aren’t just about the wishes and greetings, but also about the efforts underlying their very existence. I feel loved.

It’s been a while since I unearthed this box. On a bad day, these written keepsakes have the power to lift my mood.

I’ll write to you. A super-long letter, like in an old-fashioned novel

-Murakami

Seldom will I forget someone who has written me a note. And likewise, I make it a point to write one back.

K,  L and M are for Keepsakes, Letters, with Memories attached

My theme for the A-Z Blogging Challenge is ‘The A to Z of some my favourite things’. Stay tuned for more posts, this April!