Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Things accomplished in 2014: A Recap

This was a post that has been lying in my draft for some time now. 2014 was not such a great year for me. It gave me a lot of highs and lows. But I guess it has made me who I', today. I'm not editing anything here. Just posting what I had scribbled.

Image courtesy: Google

2014 is almost over and what a year that turned out to be! Here are some of my top moments:

# Got published in 2 books
# Blogging (started blogging more frequently)
# Got some great friends in the blogosphere
# Gift of writing
# Reading 
# Closure
# Escaping a dreary desk job 
# Took part in blogging contests and won
# Made new friends who are now dearer than family
# Found out my passion 
# Lost weight
# Turned vegan
# Working out
# Gave up on junk (almost) & fizzy drinks

Goals for 2015

# Write a book (or at least start with one)
# Travel someplace new
# Learn swimming
# Get driving licence 
# Write more- get disciplined

P.S. Shitty post, I know. Hoping for a better 2015. Happy New Year, you guys!

Rediscovering Passion

This New Year's I have decided to rediscover my passion for writing. And that definitely means more on the blogging front too. We often get busy in our lives that we forget to discover the side of us that we love. 

The Micromax Canvas Tab P666 has something for everyone. No matter what your passion is. It is stylish, sleek and chic. Not to mention the lightening fast performance. I'm not a tech savy person, but having a tablet certainly comes in handy most of the times. What I noticed at first was how compact the tablet was. 

Not only does it help you in staying connected through social media, messaging and e-mailing, it also enables you to click high quality photographs with a 5 MP rear camera. Of course, in the age of selfies, it always helps that the tablet comes with a built in front camera of 2 MP as well. 

It also the ideal solution for game buffs too. The tablet also has an optimum storage capacity of 8 GB ROM which is expandable upto 32 GB. There are a lot of preloaded apps which is sure to help you in your daily needs. 

Being a writer, the tablet would be ideal to check your blog, reply to comments and even write posts while on the go. Not only is it much more convenient while travelling, it helps you stay connected through 3G and WiFi as well. 

The Android KitKat OS is yet another feature that helps in customizing your chat conversations. The other advantage is the lenghty battery life of this tablet. With up to 6 hours browsing time and 7 hours video playback time, the tablet is every tech gadget's dream come true. 

Due to the 20.32 cm wide screen the tablet offers, it enables you with a grand viewing experience for your eyes. Did I also mention that squinting at your mobile phones can give you headaches? A tablet certainly soothes a lot of eye tension. 

Built in with an Intel processor of 1.2GHz, , the lightening speed of the tablet is guarnteed. Yes, we all know how irritating it can be when it takes ages for a page to load. No matter what your profession, whether you are a student, a teacher, an IT professional, a doctor or a writer, technology has become an indispensable part of our lives. 

Using a tablet certainly helps in achieving a work-life balance and helps you stay connecgted to your loved ones at all times. It is in fact rare to see a person on the metro or on a bus who doesn't have his nose inside a mobile or a tablet. Though, like all things of technology, the usage has to be limited lest you spoil your health- both physical and mental. 

Technology can be a boon when used at the right time and in the right quantity. Use the Micromax Canvas Tab P666 and simplify your life today!

This post is written for Indiblogger in association with Micromax Canvas Tab P666

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

No Writing or Ghostwriting?

Images courtesy: Google

It was a few days back as I was browsing the internet aimlessly that I came to know about the book Girl Online by popular blogger and YouTube celebrity Zoe Sugg (aka Zoella). I was immediately intrigued when I found out that the sale of the book by this twenty-four year old had even crossed the sales of my beloved Harry Potter books! I mean, now that is no easy task to accomplish. 

Of course, I was hooked. I visited the author's blog, her YouTube channel and what not. What I found out was this- she was a celebrity in all her right. Her popular beauty blog and videos are fun to watch and I just loved her accent. But Zoella was recently in the limelight for her book which was published last month. 

When it was revealed that she apparently had 'help' in writing her book, there was a lot of hue and cry that was raised. According to Penguin, she did have some help in writing this novel. A lot of fans were enraged when the name of the ghostwriter was revealed, accusing her of trying to steal the limelight. 

The novel's blurb sounds interesting enough and I would love to read it as well. But what got me thinking was this- can you be really called a writer when someone else has done the writing for you? Admittedly, in Zoella's case it is evident that the basic characters and story line was what she had in mind. 

Ghostwriting is a practice that has been going on time and again. Even the popular 'Nancy Drew' and 'Hardy Boys' series have been written by a series of ghostwriters. True, writers often write simply because they have to and not just for the recognition. But would they feel alright knowing that their names would never be known?

Personally, I feel the credit for the original writer should be acknowledged and their names should be on the cover of the book as well. Don't they deserve some credit after all the hard work that they have put in? 

Ghostwriters are often employed by celebrities and other personalities to draft and edit their autobiographies. Publishers often seek ghostwriters when they want to publish more fiction of a well known writer after he/she has passed away. 

Almost all writers are known to have an editor who helps them in polishing off their drafts before it goes into print. However, it should not be confused with ghostwriting where it is is the ghostwriter who does all or most of the work.

So, tell me, what are your thoughts? Is it a matter of ethics? Or simply the issue of being read and gaining popularity? In the end, is it the writing that always win?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Nothing but the Truth

The most important and valuable lessons in life were taught to me right from childhood. But then, it's always one thing to preach and not always those who preached were the ones who practiced it. One incident which remains etched in memory is of one of my class teachers who taught me the very meaning of honesty. 

This incident happened many years back, when I was in Class 6, if my memory serves right. We had one of the best teachers in school as our Science teacher- Monzy Miss. She had given us a class test at the time and had distributed the answer sheets among the students after her correction. As we discussed answers in class, I realized that one of the answers I had written were incorrect, but she had rewarded marks for that particular question by mistake. 

I had two options- either to keep quiet and keep the extra marks or speak up and lose the couple of marks which would make a big difference as my score was quite good. Since she was such a great teacher and it didn't feel right to have those extra marks that I did not deserve, I spoke up and told her that my answer was in fact, wrong. Though she came and rectified my answer, she did not deduct those extra marks that meant so much to me. 

When I asked her why what she told me was this- those marks were a reward for my honesty and for speaking up. Since I decided to tell her the truth. The way she said that to me with a smile and made me feel that moment is something that I shall never forget in my entire life. The feeling was absolutely priceless. Thinking of that incident today, never ceases to amaze me at the greatness that my teacher is. 

It was a small class test and a couple of marks would have hardly mattered but for a eleven year old girl whose entire life revolved around her school and teachers and friends, it meant everything. And the most important lesson of all- one to speak up and not take things that you don't deserve, shall remain with me till the end of time. Thank you, Monzy Miss! 

Yes, there are a lot of incidents when we are forced to lie, or at least omit telling the truth. Simply because it's safe. Or confronting the truth may seem like a huge effort. But does that allow us to go to bed and sleep in peace? A prickling conscience is a heavy luggage to carry. Yes, there are people who are seemingly happy and content living a life based on lies. But is it the life that they want? The ones that they have dreamed of? 

Telling the truth is not always easy. As we grow older, so do the lies that we carry around. The older the lie gets, the harder it becomes to reveal. It slowly becomes a part of you, hardening over time. Sometimes we don't reveal it for we are scared of how much hurt we may cause others. But is it worth hanging an albatross around your neck at the cost of the lie? 

We may all have a person in our life who has taught us the meaning of what it means to speak the truth. In mine, it was Monzy Miss. Do tell me about yours. Who is that one person who changed your life for the better? 

To conclude, I quote from a beautiful poem I studied in school- The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge: 

         Ah ! well a-day ! what evil looks
         Had I from old and young !
         Instead of the cross, the Albatross
         About my neck was hung.

This post is written for Indiblogger in association with Kinley Mineral Water

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pre-Marital Sex- Still a Taboo?

Image Source

In a country which protests against public displays of affection, irrespective of the circumstances, sex is a topic which raises eyebrows. We live in a time when peeing publicly is considered perfectly normal but something like kissing or sharing a hug is a strict no-no. Hence, it comes as no surprise that pre-marital sex is a topic which is very rarely discussed. 

Though times have changed in the recent past with a lot of live-in relationships on the rise, pre-marital sex is still considered a big sin by many. No matter how forward thinking some may claim to be, they are the ones who are usually there at the forefront to judge the decision of others. 

Pre-marital sex when it is between two consenting adults, meaning they are old enough to take responsibilities for their actions, should not be the cause of a hue and cry. Of course, this is simply my personal opinion. There may be people who may or may not agree. But don't you think that's an individual choice? Don't we all have the right to make choices? The freedom to make those choices? 

But when you act as a consenting adult, you are also responsible to face the consequences of your actions. Because, simply regretting your decisions later on is not going to help. Practice safe-sex. Make sure you know what you are getting into before making a life altering decision. 

Introducing a subject like sex education can help children at an early age to decide for themselves on what is wrong and right. My wrong may be your right. But like I said, it's purely an individual choice. But make children aware, especially adolescents. It would be better than them relying on half baked stories from the internet or their peer groups. 

Pre-marital sex can have a lot of downsides as well if you are not prepared for it. Are you ready to risk facing a heart break that is inevitable if things don't work out for you as a couple? Unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases which can end gravely are some of the obstacles that you may have to face. Yes, that's just the tip of the ice berg. You should be prepared to take full responsibility for your actions. 

There are a lot of women who 'save' themselves for marriage as most of our Indian movies have taught us. And heaven forbid if she isn't 'pure'! That would surely mean that she would remain unmarried throughout her life. But times are changing and what is the use of claiming to be a virgin by body when you have a filthy mind? And why is it that only women are subject to scrutiny before marriage? Why is not applicable to men? Why the double standards? 

In times where feminism is on the rise and equality is being preached, the same set of standards should be used before judging a person. Sex is a necessity for all living beings, much like breathing or eating. So yes, as long as you are very well aware of the risks and consequences, pre-marital sex is solely your decision. But it also means that you are liable to your own self. Make love and not war. 

This post is written for Indiblogger in association with the topic 'YES or NO to pre-marital sex' for Poonaam Uppal. 

Poonaam Uppal is the author of the book 'A Passionaate Gospel of True love: A Mystical True Love Story' which is a story of love, magic and passion. Click on the link to buy her book. 

A Fun-filled Vacation

Image Source: Escape Villas

My fondest memories of childhood are always linked to the two months of summer vacations that we enjoyed during our school days. What fun those times were! You could run about without a care in the world when there were always some elder around to take care of all your needs. Yes, no responsibilities other than making sure that you have as much fun as possible.

But sadly, one has to grow up. And growing up means now being that elder or parent who has to take extra care as to ensure your little one's safety and health. Be it family vacations when you travel with the kids or even times when you travel as a group of friends and family, it is absolutely necessary that the needs of these beings are taken into consideration. 

Children can be a curious bunch which is what having them around makes the trip entertaining. However, it can be quite taxing if you are constantly worried throughout the trip when the whole idea was to relax and have fun. For starters, a well planned journey in advance takes care of half the part. The destination can be a family oriented one when you are taking your children along. Not only does this give them something to look forward to, it gets them excited about the upcoming trip. 

Make sure that you pack some board games that you can play as a family. The games can be customized to suit the ages of the children involved. Carry some books around and spend time reading to them. We are living in a time where probably the only time the set of working parents get to spend time with their kids are on short vacations. 

Kindly avoid taking your mobile phones/ iPads/ laptops and other gadgets that keeps you hooked to technology. Yes, I can that it can be overwhelming at times to resist that urge to check your phone for emails every two minutes. But frankly, gadgets are a kill joy. Spend that time taking some pictures, reading a book, playing with the children, go sight-seeing with them. The possibilities are endless when you are on a vacation.

It is always a great idea to learn something new. So, take your kids fishing. It doesn't matter if you are as clueless as your little one. Who knows, he could end up beating you there for all you know! Learning a new sport together also means bonding time. It gives you uninterrupted time with your loved one. 

Ensure that the safety of children are not compromised. Allow them to play someplace where you can keep an eye on them. Take care to pack extra clothes for them as they are likely to need double the change of clothes from all that rolling and frolicking around. This will certainly help to reduce the number of hiccups that you would face while on your vacation. 

Don't forget, your two weeks off from work will fly away. Cherish the time you get to spend with the people in your life who need you the most. Relax, make memories and live life a little less seriously. 

This post is written for Indiblogger in association with Club Mahindra's Teddy Travelogues

Monday, December 15, 2014

Pixie Dust

Image courtesy: Tumblr

Let me send some pixie dust your way
Filled with hope, happiness and all things good
I wish your pain to ease away
Let this pixie dust kiss your worries good bye
Adding a dash of magic when you need it the most...

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Conquering Fear

We spend our lives living in fear; fear of change, fear to break free from the stereotypes of our society, fear of losing out, of following our dreams. This past year has been a challenging one for me. I too, have lived in fear. Fear of a lot of things- the vague future which looks bleary at the moment. But I know for sure that this too shall pass. Life goes on.

The one thing that is constant in all our lives is change. And when the time comes, we try all that we can to resist it. After all, life is much more cosy and safe in our comfort zones. Of course, more than fear itself is the fear of failure. What if we don't succeed? What if we end up in worse circumstances?

And just when I thought life couldn't get any worse, it actually did. But you know what? I'm a stronger person today for it. I know that the worst is over. There shall always be people to point their fingers at you. People who will judge you no matter what you do. The only way to deal with such people is to avoid them. Or ignore them, if they are unavoidable. 

Following your passion may not be an easy task when there shall always be excuses like family, job, commitments. But passion is what keeps you going. The very reason to carry on. To wake up each day with a surge of adrenaline rush. For me, that passion is writing. What good would it be if you wake up in fear each day that you may not meet up to the standards set by society? You shall only know when you explore. 

I still remember how I overcame the fear of riding a bicycle many years back. I was around twelve years at the time and it scared me to death if I would lose my balance and fall down. And of course, I did fall down. I did get lose my skin in a great many places at first. But then I realized the sense of accomplishment when I finally made it a short distance without stopping. Yes, I conquered my fear that day. 

Speaking of cycling, it reminds me of how much I miss it. Maybe, I should take up cycling once more. It's a great way of staying healthy too. With the wind rushing right past you and listening to just the sounds of nature is something that I enjoyed immensely in my school days. 

I have also conquered my fear of being judged. Earlier, I was constantly worried about whether I would make a good impression on others. Whether I was walking in tune to that of the society and the public. But I realized that the only person I need to make happy is myself. Yes, your life should never come at a price of sacrificing your happiness or needs over others. Does that make me selfish? I don't think so. 

It is only when you love yourself and who you are, will you be able to appreciate and value the others in your life. It is only when you are content that you realize that it's always the little things that matter. Conquer your fears. Stand up for yourself. Be your own biggest critique and admirer. Believe that the fears that you once faced and overcame have made you who you are today. Above all, realize that fear is not just a thing to be dreaded; it is also a thing of beauty. All you need to do is peel out the fear to discover it. 

This post is written for Indiblogger in association with Mountain Dew. Join their Facebook page to know more. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Broken Trust

Image courtesy: Google

With each touch, you made music for my ears. Why was it that time spent apart from you always felt like torture? 

It was never meant to be easy; and that's what I loved about us. But no matter what, you took my breath away, each day; kept me grounded to the stark reality called life. 

I still believe destiny played a part, a cruel twist of fate when I broke your trust and you left, only to never return again. 

This post is written for Five sentence fiction for Trust at Lillie McFerrin Writes.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Another Winter

Image copyright: Janet Webb

It was the coldest of winters they had ever experienced in years. The garden was covered in snow and icicles had begun to form on her cherished flowers. 

But Sadie was secretly glad for that winter; her entire family was home under one roof once more. Her children and grandchildren, though disgruntled at being stuck indoors, made her house a home. 

That night as they all huddled together listening to her stories of a bygone era, Sadie smiled to herself. Tomorrow when the snow melts, they would all leave to resume their lives; but for now, she was truly content. 

This drabble is written for Friday Fictioneers- 5th December for the above photo prompt. 

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