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Ash. Spiritual. Happy in my own way. Writes Random Stuff. Ice Cream. Night owl. Ice Cream, again.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Of the days gone by!

It felt weird staring at the mirror. The person who stared back seemed a lot different from the person whom I originally knew. Though there wasn't any obvious difference, I could see certain changes. This person was slightly exhausted, but the fire was still burning in her eyes, if not brighter. This person was different from what she was a few years back. And how quickly she has changed. Has it been 3 years already?

Image Courtesy: Google
And that's how it struck me how fast things were moving. June 30th 2015. Half of 2015 is done and I was just getting started with my resolutions. I want to shout 'Wait' like how a small kid does when others start the game, before the kid is ready. I know it's a lost cause because time isn't going to wait. I remember 2013. That was a very happening year. Just when I kept convincing myself that 2013 was over and that I had to embrace 2014, that year was over too. And now we’re halfway through 2015. Sigh!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Will they or Won’t they?

I take pride in the fact that I can take decisions fairly quickly. Yes, I give it some thought and arrive at a conclusion just like most of you, only a lot quicker. A close friend of mine, on the other hand takes all the time in the world to decide (irrespective of whether it’s something trivial or important). I'm sure there are many who belong to that category. I'm usually not bothered by this as long as I'm not involved in the decision or if the decision doesn't impact me. But, if it involves me in some way, I can tolerate up to a certain threshold. Beyond that I get cranky. Allow me to give you a clearer picture. 

What do I eat today?

Every afternoon when my stomach signals that it's time to hog, I immediately lock my system and head to the cafeteria. I look at the menu board and wait in a queue to pay the bill (See, even when I'm hungry I follow rules). As luck would have it, the person before me in the queue would always have to take the most difficult decision ever. North Indian meals - Regular or Special. What's amazing is how these people take the liberty to contemplate the pros and cons of this decision during their turn to pay the bill. Interesting right? 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Article Published in 'The Hindu' Open Page

Hello there, 

After a really really long time (4 years), an article of mine has been published in the Hindu Open Page :-)

I had written this on my blog, and sent a slightly modified version to the Open Page. And with luck, the article got published in a week. I had no idea it was published, until a friend messaged saying she loved the article. It took me a few minutes to understand what might have happened.Since I was on my way to work I called up Mom and asked her to check, and lo it was there!

There is nothing more than the joy of seeing one's name in print, that too on The Hindu :-) It took some time for the feeling to sink in, and I'm still flying in the air :-)

You can read the article here - Choosing the right read.



Do let me know your thoughts on this. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

For the Love of Writing!

You know how you're doing something and suddenly you get an idea and then you realize life is not going to be the same forever. I'm sure many of us would've come across such life-changing ideas. That's precisely how writing happened to me. 

A few years back, all it took to start writing was my Dad's new laptop and an agenda-free home-alone Sunday. Almost close to a decade later I'm still writing (I'd give you the actual number of years, but decade sounds cooler). 

Image Courtesy : FreeDigitalPhotos

Creative Writing

I always had an interest in grammar. I liked the rules and loved the exceptions (rebels like me) to the rules so much that I used to read Wren and Martin when I could find time. One day we had a talent exam and there was creative writing, which I had attempted for the first time. I wrote something and remember giving a last minute twist. Imagine my surprise when I won a special mention for scoring the highest in creative writing. That's when I silently thanked my Grandma, the books that I'd been reading and Wren and Martin for all the story prompts.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Book Review: The Wedding Trousseau and Other Short Stories


This book is written by Ankita Sharma and published by Humming Words Publishers. Ankita is a well-known blogger, who blogs at Humming Words. The book is a collection of several short stories. The stories are normal everyday occurrences which everyone would be able to relate to. Of late I’ve been reading a lot of short stories and so I did not hesitate to review this when I was asked if I could.

What I liked most about this book was the variety it had to offer. Each story had a different backdrop and it felt nice to read plots which were fresh and which had not been done over and again. Ankita has taken pains to ensure that different aspects of human emotions and relationships were covered. With each story, you read something new (sometimes unexpected) and find interesting aspects of people.

What I felt could have been better was the way the story was written in a few places. The plots were good but at places it was difficult to keep track of what was going on. For me personally, a few stories that I came across had some negativity, which was a part of the plot. Though I’m not a fairy-tale fan, at certain places I was looking for things to get better, when they were actually going the other way. This is from a personal point of view, because I always prefer happy stories to stories where good people don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Overall, those who are fine to read any type of story, this would be an interesting read. For those who want the good guys to win, some of them may not be the way you expect it. Probably that was the author’s way of ensuring that the plots were not very predictable. 

I would rate this book a 3/5. 

You can buy this book from amazon. It is priced at Rs 170.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Writing Your Way to Happiness!

I read this wonderful article on Writing Your Way to Happiness in The New York Times blog and I couldn't stop thinking about it. Here is a little background before you read the article. 

I always believe in Abstract thoughts and Concrete words.

We have so many thoughts running in our minds that often, we find it difficult to focus on a specific task or to find a solution after some analysis.

Assume that you have 10 tabs of a browser opened. In one of those tabs you try to download a video, and in another tab you try to call someone through Skype. The other tabs are doing some trivial work. You realize that things are awfully slow and that you need some dedicated bandwidth for the most important issue at hand. You prioritize and close other tabs that might not necessarily be required at that point. You always have the option of coming back to it later. And voila, your work goes on smooth.

Do you think the human mind can operate in a similar way? Not at all!

We have so many thoughts (tabs) going on and the more we try to forget something to focus on something else, the more conspicuous it becomes. If I ask you to think of an elephant for a minute and then tell you not to think of the elephant, guess what you would be thinking of? ;-) (Yeah, I borrowed this from Inception).

When our mind is free, we can think a lot. That's great. But most of the time when we have many things to attend to and when we still need to think about something important, we do not have the option of shutting down other thoughts. (How we wish there was such an option!). That's when the 'Concrete Words' comes into picture. 

When you give your thoughts a certain shape, it becomes easy for you to make more sense of it. When you speak about it or write about it (a much better option), you can clearly see what's in front of you and focus on that.

This article (Writing Your Way to Happiness), justifies how writing can benefit you, at a more personal level. Read on.

 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

When Lord Shiva granted me a boon!

Last night I had a dream. I was standing somewhere in the Himalayas and doing some sort of a penance. When Lord Shiva (I think!) appeared before me satisfied with my performance, sorry penance (appraisal terms are hard to forget) and asked me for a boon, my happiness knew no bounds. The winds blew violently, the birds sang happily, the temple bells rang loudly to celebrate my happiness. Without missing a beat I said,

‘Thank you Lord Shiva! As for my boon, please make people respond to my mails.’

Lord Shiva was puzzled at something which he thought was too simple to be worthy of a boon. He repeated what I said and asked if I was sure about what I wanted. I reaffirmed and briefed him about my experiences.

Some people consider themselves way too important to respond to a mail immediately. It is considered good manners to respond to an email at the earliest possible. So naturally not many respond. It would take about 4 to 5 carefully timed reminders, luck and some black magic to get them to respond. And if they don't provide adequate updates, we need to mail them again and start praying.

Friday, May 1, 2015

People and their Bizarre Ways!

A few days back I had to interact with someone for some work that I had volunteered for. As luck would have it, we did not exactly get along well and both of us were clearly annoyed by what each had to say. I tried not to take it personally, but beyond a point it was getting over me. I kept myself in check because my priority was to get my work done and a many were dependent on me for this.

During one of our conversations (read arguments), the other person who couldn't tolerate my incessant questioning, tried to scare me (I guess that was his intention) by saying that he had the power to escalate the issue to some senior and left the sentence hanging abruptly. I gave a relaxed 'So, what do you want me to do?' reply. He repeated his words and waited for me to react. He had carefully told me that he had the power to do it and he did not say that he was actually going to escalate the issue. I calmly asked him to go ahead and told him that I wasn't going to be threatened by that. I also added that it might give me a chance to take it up with the seniors too and give them the complete picture as to what was happening.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Does 'Popularity' play a bigger role than 'Content' ?



I Google for the most random things. That’s how I stumbled upon an old blog post by someone who had ranted about how a popular blogger (a decade back) had been receiving a lot of attention for some badly written post. According to him, the post was one of the worst attempts by the blogger and he couldn’t understand how people (a lot!) were able to appreciate the blogger for the attempt.

What was interesting in the post was the Content vs Popularity that he spoke about. He argued that sometimes when a person is popular, either because of their blogs or because of some other reason, their posts are always a hit, irrespective of the quality of the content. That got me thinking and I paused for a while to see if I had witnessed something similar in the Blogosphere.

Despite what everyone says, ‘Is content always the ‘King/Queen?’

Not always, would be my answer. 

I'm not generalizing, but the more I thought about it the more I realized it was true in some ways.

Thanks to the many blogging forums, I try and read as many blogs as possible when I'm bored. There have been times when I've come across some wonderfully written poems or a well-balanced article and there would hardly be any comments appreciating their efforts. Or worse, it would just be a 'Good one' comment. You might probably say that the blogger wouldn't have promoted the post well (apart from blogging forums). I agree. But doesn't that stand testimony to the viewpoint that content isn't *always* the king/queen?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Celebrating 8 Years of Blogging!

My blog turns 8 this month.

With four years of random blogging and four years of regular blogging, my blog crosses another personal milestone. This was an equally remarkable year as my blog was featured in the Top Indian Blogs and among the Top Bloggers in Chennai and a weebly interviewed me (I loved answering their questions). And also, thanks to an internal forum at work where we’re allowed to write, a lot of people have been reading my blog and giving me their feedback. One random person at work (who had attended a session of mine) came up to me and said she read my blog. I’ve still no idea how she found out it was me. The highlight of all this was when someone I admire (a celebrity of sorts), happened to go through my blog and spoke with me for almost an hour when we happened to meet. My happiness knew no bounds and I’m sure that my blog was happy too :-)
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