Category Archives: Blogging

Musings at Dawn

Something struck the lamp on the wall.

I know .That doesn’t make sense. But that’s what my hand just wrote of its own accord. Its 5.45 am, not too early, but early enough for me to be groggy to write. This is the first time I’ve attempted writing at this time of the morning right after waking up. It’s still dark. I’m writing in the dark in my dairy sitting in bed. Three reasons- 1 -I like writing in bed, 2-I don’t want to switch on the light as it will disturb the rest of the family; 3- writing on the PC/laptop in the dark with the light shining into my eyes gives me a headache.

I know I will be typing all this later into the laptop, but I don’t mind the effort, I mind the headaches. So, I write in the dark in the dairy.  In fact, I can even write with my eyes closed (another Arjuna in the making?); the hand familiar with the formation of letters doesn’t need light or guidance. The only challenge is to keep up with the thoughts running astray.

This is an exercise advised by an author for amateur writers. The exercise is to write down thoughts, anecdotes or stories, whatever it is that comes into one’s mind the first thing after waking up.  I wonder –can writing be taught or is it an inborn talent. I should hopefully know in the next few months. I spend all day long, writing, reading and dreaming up stories. The kids have been upset with me for not spending enough time with them, not giving them enough attention. What to do, sometimes in the midst of a board game, an idea strikes and I scamper off to find my laptop just like a child who’s just spotted the ice-cream truck on a hot summer day and doesn’t want to miss it. Perhaps, I should forget the ambitions, the aspirations and make the kids happy.

I hear the pitter-patter of unclipped paw-nails on the wooden floor. Skipper is up. She’ll be sitting at the foot of the stairs, waiting eagerly for one of us to come down when she’ll start wagging her tail that will go thup-thup on the wooden floor. This wooden floor is a funny thing. One can hear the squeak or shuffle of footsteps that is characteristic of each member of the house. So one knows exactly who is going in which direction and no-one can sneak up on another. That’s a good thing I suppose.

I hear a train hooting loud and persistent, perhaps warning some errant early morning walkers. An auto is spluttering the first specks of the day’s pollution, a lone crow is plaintively crying out to another non-existent one. It’s strange that we don’t hear any crows during the day, in fact no birds at all. There was a time when the Bangalore dawn was redolent with the chirping of birds, the heady fragrance of the Sampige flower. During the summer hols in slow lazy Bangalore, walking down sankey lake, we used to admire  the shaded tree-lined boulevards ,  sprawling houses and the cool soothing breeze carrying flowery perfumes . My cousin and I would pick a house and hope that there would be a handsome guy in there we could marry- just because we fell in love with the house. Now, of course I have my own ‘sprawling house’ with my own ‘handsome’ guy in it.

A breeze is whooshing causing some of the windows to creak (they badly need oiling- I‘ve spent many a night in disturbed sleep due to those creaking windows). I hear the clitter-clatter of vessels, the tic-tic –ticing of the automatic burner. The maid is here. She has turned on the gas to heat the milk. It’s time to end my little world of musings; time to get out of bed, get kids and their lunch-boxes ready. Another new day, another new attempt at finding voice.

An ordinary Quest!

“The real act of discovery lies not in finding new lands, but seeing with new eyes” – Marcel Proust

I recently came across this video where the speaker informs us that to be creative, we need to think like a traveller, since we tend to be hyper- aware of our environment while travelling.  So if we can keep our brains super active, as in travel-mode, and notice common and everyday things, we can capture fresh ideas to use in our lives and work.

But more than travelling, it’s blogging that helped me to look at the common and ordinary with new eyes, be more aware and curious of the happenings around me.  It made me feel like a hunter who tracks, pursues and captures, only in my case it was  ideas and knowledge.

Blogging is such an integral part of my life, that I’m now introduced to people as an avid blogger, just as I was recently at a women’s get-together.  But when the ladies heard my blog’s name, I had to quickly clarify that my blog actually has no aspects of home-making.

It then came to my mind that perhaps I should also put this disclaimer on my blog, so that it doesn’t confuse the readers who may expect to read about parenting or any other issues that concern a homemaker. Though to give myself some credit, I actually intended to share my life as an individual and a homemaker through this blog. But then I hit 2 roadblocks.

  1. My sons forbade me to write about them- especially what they said or did. (The only allowance I got was for the dengue dairies!!)
  2. Others like my mom didn’t want me to write about any member of the family –both immediate and extended, lest someone takes offence (as I seem to lack the artful skill of diplomacy!)

Left with no choice, I started rambling about things that had nothing to do with the blog title. Sometimes, I wondered if I should change it or even stop blogging, wondering if it made sense to post something just for sake of it. But I couldn’t stop – since what started out as a hobby soon became a passion. And added to it was the unexpected response from friends and family-   like the encouraging note I received a few days back from an old and special childhood friend whom I haven’t met in over 15 years.

So I continued writing and blogging soon became a quest – to find my voice, a niche for my blog; to learn about other cultures, experiences and especially about writing.

Since I’ve been reading about how important it is to have a niche , I hope that you, my readers, will bear with me as I venture on this quest (and continue with my ramblings) until I ‘m able find a niche . (Or maybe I never will :-)!)

Related :

FrizzText’s Story Challenge Letter Q

Blogging Awards!

Diana from dianajuvenille, a young talented writer nominated me for the above 3 awards, my first! Now, I have seen the awards go around, some accept them and some don’t. Each to his own, but I believe that one  should accept any gift or award, not because one deserves it but out of respect for the person awarding it. So, Diana, thanks very much! I feel truly honored.

One of the rules of the game is to tell 7 things about myself. So here goes:

  1. On my very first day of school in kindergarden, I was lost thanks to the school bus that dropped me off in a different part of the city . A Good Samaritan found me and reunited me with my mother!
  2. I’ve continued to have many more ‘mis-adventures’ in my life, which I think will make an interesting Bollywood potboiler!
  3. I’ve been fortunate to work in some of the best research institutes around the world – IISc , India ; Harvard Medical School, USA; and  MSZ, Germany. After 10 years, though I cherished the experience and loved the subject (Biology/Biotechnology), I realised it was not my calling. So, I quit and years later, I’m still trying to figure out  my purpose or calling .
  4. I love Italian food!
  5. I can speak 5 languages (4 Indian and English) fluently and a smattering of French and German.
  6. I’ve moved (changed residence) 9 times in the last 13 years!
  7. I rarely watch TV.

Next, I have to nominate 5 bloggers for the award. This is the difficult part. Most of the bloggers I follow/admire are veterans who have recieved every award there is! So, instead I’m going to name those who have been an inspiration to me in my blogging journey.

1. Madhu from The Urge to Wander – a huge inspiration and the reason I joined Wordpress.

2. Island Traveller,from thismansjourney whose inspiring posts I always look forward to!

3. The Wanderlust Gene, whose writing I admire!

4. Myra, from Gathering Books, who inspires me by her passion for books.

5. Francine in retirement   – who has some great photographs and perspective of life

6. Shaanthz from Healthcare updates who offers yummy healthy recipes.

7. Bottledworder, an amazing writer!

8. Frizztext, for his thought-provoking posts!

9. Ailsa from where’smybackpack , who has some great travel themes

10. Jake from SundayPost, who is amazing at Graphic artwork!

Those who haven’t recieved the awards before, please do pick it up!

Weekly Writing Challenge: The beautiful sound of silence

It was dark and eerie, a narrow alley that took me into a world of surreal. The only sounds were the   croaking of crickets and the screeching of bats on the lone tree at the far end. I’m nearing the end and expect to hear the familiar whooshing of the waves that will soon engulf me. But it doesn’t happen. Instead, I see a man, just his silhouette actually. I stop and wonder if I should turn back to the dystopian reality that awaits me. Suddenly, I hear a voice; the words at first seem muffled .Then a clear ringing intonation,

“It is your own consent that will lead you down the path to freedom and happiness. All you need is to find the power within you, to release the chains of confinement.”

Startled, I want to scream, but all that comes out is a whisper, “Who are you?” I can hear my heartbeat echoing through the alley.

The sonorous voice wafts back, “I’m a figment of your imagination. A passing memory.”

A gust of wind roars over, picking up some leaves, rustling, as it floats away. The stranger continues, “You can choose to be fettered or to let go like those leaves which are now on their way to freedom.”

“But the leaves didn’t choose to part”, I said as I found my voice. “They dried and fell and now they are carried by the wind.”

“That’s an illusion! They fall off only when they want to, just like everything else that is in harmony with nature.”

As if on cue, a falcon shrieks in the sky above and my eye catches the first rays of the morning sun sparkling over the placid waters.

When I look again, the stranger of the night has vanished and I wake up from my reverie to the beautiful and comforting sound of silence.

My first attempt at writing fiction, thanks to the Daily Posts’s Writing Challenge

Mundane to Meaningful: Blogging Experiences

I can’t seem to get over the fact that I’ve been on WP for over a month now!

Ever since I joined WordPress, my life has changed. I begin the day reading interesting, informative and creative blogs; then spend a few more hours formulating thoughts and ideas for my own blog.  The amount of time I spent on the computer caused:

–          My mother-in-law to think that I have a new job.

–           My son to remark,” Ma, Can you leave your blog for at least an hour?”

Point taken! Now, I try not to sit at the computer when the kids are at home (and some days I do manage!)

Yet, surprisingly, my family has been very supportive. My son expressed interest in reading my blogs and he does so from time to time. My hubby is an avid follower and the good husband that he is, offers his valuable feedback only when I ask him to. He even commended me in front of his cousins the other day.

We met them over the weekend for lunch when they asked me, “So, what have you been doing since you quit your job?”  To which my hubby proudly replied, “She’s a full-time blogger”. (A status I’ve now been elevated to from full-time homemaker!) They were intrigued and asked me what my blog was about and what I wrote about. When I told them the name of my blog, they were mighty impressed.  I couldn’t help feeling grand!

But there was one thing that had been nagging me for a while now; The Site Stats. I’d read and heard about blogs that get over a 1000 hits a day and over a 100 ‘likes’  a post.   The maximum ‘views’ I ever managed was a measly 34. And I wondered how I could garner more traffic. Yes, I am one of the Stats junkies who keep a hawk-eye on the Stats every day, noting how many hits are logged every day; where, when and why are they coming from.

Where are they coming from? My Site Stats tell me that the majority of hits (audience?) come from across the seas on the other side of the world. When and Why? I haven’t figured out that yet. But knowing that my audience (?) lay on the other side, I tried experimenting with the time of posting to generate more hits. I posted early in the morning (‘their’ time!) hoping ‘they’ would log in as soon as the sun rose. I posted late at night (‘their’ time again) hoping ‘they’ would log in before going to bed.

Nothing worked.  So, last week, I decided to throw the ‘time experiment’ out of the window. Instead, I posted my blog when my audience was fast asleep in the middle of the night. And the site views breached the 60+ mark! Eureka! But the scientist in me knows that an experiment can be deemed a success only if the results can be reproduced at least 5 times, if possible in a row. So, I decided to test the ‘success’ by posting at the same time again the next day. The needle stuck at 34. And the day after, it dropped to an all-time low of 12!

But then I had an epiphany and I remembered why I started blogging in the first place. For the joy of writing! Yes, it’s wonderful to have great support and feedback, but that shouldn’t be the purpose of blogging. So, I’ve decided to stay away from the Site Stats (maybe steal a glance occasionally!) and stay on track to write and share thoughts and perceptions of life as I know it.

This post is in response to Daily Post Writing Challenge: Mundane to Meaningful

(Blogging) Excitement and Memories!

It’s exactly a month today since I joined WordPress. It’s been an exciting, enriching and reflective month.

Exciting as it helped me connect and converse with people around the world.

Enriching as I got to read great pieces of writing and see wonderful work of art and photography.

Reflective as I realised that I need to work really hard on my writing.

I managed to put up 20 posts  this past month. Quite prolific I thought! Perhaps it’s the novelty of it all. Perhaps, as the novelty dies, I may not be so prolific. Whatever the reason, it has been a great and memorable experience.

And it would not have been possible without the support and feedback of my dear fellow bloggers and followers. Every time I post a blog, I sit, like a child anticipating  gifts, with my I pad, checking every two minutes how many ‘likes’ and comments my post has garnered.

It brought back memories of the time when, as a child, I had penpals. Strangers from exotic countries became my friends. I would wait eagerly for their letters through which I learnt about them and their countries and proudly showed off their pictures at school.

It feels like déjà vu again. Only this time, I don’t have to wait for weeks, just minutes or hours for a reply. It is this that keeps me going, posting blog after blog , day after day. And I was pleasantly surprised when I recently received my ‘100 likes’ badge. I read a blog the other day about the value of ‘likes’ and people luring us to their site with’ likes’. But I’m going to turn a blind eye to that warning and celebrate!

Here’s to many more months of blogging , excitement and wonderful memories!