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Showing posts from 2016

The Year 2016 In Review and Goals For 2017

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HAPPY NEW YEAR 2K17
The Year 2016 was awesome. The first half was all struggles, embarrassments, disappointments and trouble for me. But the second half was unexpectedly better- that Pune trip with best buddies, that family trip in October, the Ultimate Blogging Challenge, the immense growth that I saw in my personality and all the life wisdom that I learned!!

I struck off many a wish-list this year. I did convert many a dream into reality this very year. Looking back, connecting the dots, I can see what a phenomenal year it was. I came across so many new people, established new friendships that do mean a lot to me, and I connected with the people who inspire me in one way or the other.



I do have some New Year Resolutions, well, let’s call them New Year Goals. I don’t really connect with the word ‘resolution’.

1.Be more visible- accept vulnerability, accept imperfection. Aim growth not perfection. Be                 more mindful about your emotions- don’t shut them out or hide them. A…

Christmas Has Changed Its Meaning Over The Years... #UnWrapChristmas

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I thank Richa to have passed the wand of festive cheer to me. So I here #UnWrapChristmas with the flavors that this day gave me over the years since childhood.


When in school, Christmas for me was winter vacation, making greeting cards with ‘Merry Christmas’ on the top in red, buying small to tiny cards from the roadside stalls costing something between two to five rupees each, visiting the church in the school, admiring the beautiful decorations and the big red star perched atop the church, and finally, and most importantly having that delicious piece of cake from Sister Margaret before leaving. It was no Christmas if there was no cake. In that transition between school and college, Christmas became just another holiday to pass my time home. Moving from the familiar surroundings of a small town like Keonjhar to the capital city of Bhubaneswar was nothing short of a tumultuous tectonic shift for me. It was a tough period and I had resisted the change as much as I could. Christmas did…

Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart

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Scarlet Heart has been one of the best romantic tales of the year in Asian Dramas, not just in Korean Drama. With an ensemble cast, it was sure to win hearts from the very beginning.
It was the first series that I didn’t binge watch, rather I chose to wait every week and watched only two episodes that were available the respective Mondays and Tuesdays. I had never ever waited for any episode so impatiently. I watched the episodes again and again during the wait, read forums on it, listened to the songs from the series, watched the cast’s interviews, and still missed it like hell. I missed the characters for the five days that I waited every week for the next episode to be broadcast and be available with subtitles.
The strategy used by the directors and writers of this phenomenal series is one of sheer torture for the fans. They introduce so many characters worth meeting- some so adorable, some hard on the exterior hiding a painful past, some charming and kind and some wicked and plott…

It's All In The Planets

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Preeti Shenoy has been breaking stereotypes through her writing since long. Her books have stories around tough female leads, unconventional themes and focused on breaking the prejudiced image that the society holds.
There are those characters who believe in breaking off a year old engagement with their fiancés when out of love, rather than carrying on with marriage as their parents or society would want. And there are those who believe that living-in is a multiple time better than marriage. You’ll find proposals where the girl proposes her beloved move in with her and he replies with a yes. There are unconventional characters and their happy lives which are away from the societal norms. ‘It happens for a reason’ had an unmarried single mother raising her son amidst tough circumstances away from family and all natural support systems. ‘The secret wishlist’ – it is bold when it says that housewives can have dreams and wishlists too. Wanting to do Salsa dance isn’t being an infidel.
Pre…

It’s a Wonderful Life

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George’s life is beautiful. We are introduced to a happy family, a loving younger brother, true friends, prospective lovers, friendly townsfolk and an average career in the Building and Loan. 
“I know what I’m gonna do tomorrow and the next day and the next year and the year after that. I’m shaking the dust of this crummy little town off my feet, and I’m gonna see the world. And then I’m gonna build things. I’m gonna build airfields. I’m gonna build sky-scrappers a hundred stories high. I’m gonna build a bridge a mile long.”
Such are George Bailey’s dreams- but he ends up living in the town Belford Falls running the small Building and Loans, helping the townsfolk have their own homes, giving up his higher study plans for that of his brother’s, living in an old dilapidated abandoned house with his wife, earning a meager income just to survive decently. A greater tragedy hits when he loses a large sum of money owed to the bank. He is devastated by the bankruptcy and probable prison. He …

Letter to a Broken Heart

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Dear Sugar,

I must urge you to get up now. Right now. Do as I say. Get up, brush your teeth, fill the water jugs up, sweep the floors with the new broom, and make yourself an omelette. I won't give you the vague advice of getting a hold on yourself and your situation. I will walk with you through it all. Trust me. This will soon be over.

Now look at the mirror while you brush. Look at what a mess you have made of yourself. Your eyes look bloated, yes, and ugly. It's ok- you just have to pamper your face now. Common now don't stop to think about last night's cry fest and heart break. You know you deserve better. Rinse that face and that self pity away.

Dear Honey, do you know that cleaning works wonders for the aching heart. Clean the floors thoroughly, every nook and corner. Yes, that's right. Arrange the clothes on the hanger neatly. Ya babe, that's right. You're good at this. Now throw all the garbage away- all the letters, greeting cards and movie ticket…

My Dear Wedding Photographer

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My Dear Wedding Photographer,

I wish to acquaint with you before my D-day. I wish to be familiar with you and break that ice as soon as possible so that I am not awkward when you click my pics throughout my wedding week. I want my pictures beautiful and natural, happy and full of glee, not reserved and stoic as they usually are.

I find myself smiling and looking at the camera when asked to pose for any click but I would like you to know that I  am cringing deep inside. I am fidgeting in my mind and wishing to vanish from the spot before the flash can light my face up. I am embarrassed at not knowing how to pose. I am awkward at not knowing how and where to look, how to tilt my head so that I don't look stoic or bored, and how to place my hair strands so my smile doesn't look forced. I don't know a thing about what to do with my hands and legs while posing- they seem to be extras sticking out of my body. I don't know a thing about makeup either. So you can imagine what…

Survived the #UBC

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I felt satisfied with certain posts this month and didn’t like certain poor ones. The ones that managed to make me happy were those written from the heart, soulfully, without any pretensions. I learned I needed to write intimately and as personally as possible to feel satisfied at the end of the day. I needed to bare my heart out for it to work. To make that vulnerability breathe! I also learned to be more mindful of things around me and write about them. It really made me feel full of life.
 I learned I needed to choose the topics from my own niche while slowing trying to grow that niche. I learned reading blog posts can be an idea gathering process too. I can read as many blogs and comment on most of them while building my own voice. It takes time to have that own genuine opinion, perspective, and feel of things, and it’s perfectly fine.
It’s the first time I took part in such a daily blogging marathon, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was my first time in #TheUltimateBloggingChalle…

Let's Talk About Wish Lists

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It is said that if you write it down, you get the motivation to do it. It has always proved to be right in my life. When I read the old journals I find many wishlists jotted down- half of it already fulfilled. The subconscious mind registers the attempts and leads you to find the right opportunities to realize your dreams. So here's my recent wishlist. I do have many:
I want to watch an opera.
Visit the theatre.
Learn a new language perfectly to be able to read books in that language.
I want to travel a lot. I also want to be able to travel alone. Cherry blossoms in Japan- the first thing that comes to my mind right now.
I want to read a lot. Read all the books in my wishlist. Currently, to name a few- Shame by Salman Rushdie, The Ghost Bride, Empress Orchid, Sita's Sister, A thousand splendid suns, Love in the time of Cholera, etc. etc.
I want to take many mini courses. On Art Journaling, clay modeling, pottery, creative writing, novel writing, mindful living, travelling, cook…

How about taking a detour?

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“Odd, how life makes twists and turns. I never would have guessed that I’d end up where I am now, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I wouldn’t trade this path I’m on for the whole solar system, for that matter. If I’ve learned anything these last several months, it’s that sometimes the most scenic roads in life are the detours you didn’t mean to take.” ― Angela N. BlountOnce Upon an Ever After


Detours are a longer or roundabout way to reach the destination. Taking a detour can be a choice or a compulsion. Road construction or blockage of the paths leading to the place leave no choice but to take a detour. You don’t know what this path would bring. You don’t know if you’ll enjoy it or not. You just know the end point that is fixed. Are you apprehensive of detours? Do you like them?
I have two experiences of beautiful detours. We were traveling to the Rohtang Pass which is about 50 km from Manali, at about 4 am in the morning. The roads were damp but good. We enjoyed the snow. Whil…

Blog Posts That Made My Day

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'The Fastest Way to Success isn't what you Think' reassured me that it's okay not to be 'faster, better and stronger' always. It's okay to be behind- as long as you are better than you were yesterday. It is fine to fail and accept it. You need to keep trying, and that is a creative and successful life. I got to know that Finland has a day for failure celebrated on 13th of October. Such an awesome endeavor to celebrate our mistakes, shortcomings, drawbacks, vulnerabilities, mistakes, awkward fails and all those embarrassing losses. I wish we would celebrate this day too, just to remind ourselves to feel the importance of these things in our lives.

Journaling has been a subject very close to my heart. I have been keeping a diary jotting down my thoughts for about fifteen years. Now my blog records half of my thoughts, experiences, and emotions. So reading this article made me smile wide. My Therapy. My best listener. My best companion. I also discovered anothe…

The Mourning Castle

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#thinkingOfAPlot
#fiction

Mourning Castle was a hub of learning for girls of all region, religion, culture, caste and class. Ladies from around the world came here to learn art, culture, music, instrument and other vocational courses. Even royalties from different nations graced this humble institution with their presence. Some learned the Japanese tea ceremony and calligraphy; some opted for Indian garba dance and leaf painting- patta chitra; and some others learned the various languages and dance forms from around the world. Every new art once discovered was immediately included in the institution’s agenda. Other than this it was a coveted place for its fun and frolic, secret beauty enhancing rituals and for the most beautiful lady hosts.
Mourning Castle got its name from the waterfall nearby, the Mourning Fall. After the demise of the good old king, the castle was converted to an institution. An invitation was sent to the world’s eligible ladies to learn and add to the knowledge of …

She loves me, He loves me not

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Zeenat Mahal takes care of human emotions and it's intricacies in a relationship so well. We are a complex jumble of paradox. We can love and manage to hate at the same time. We can harbour a protective instinct and a deep sence of resentment for the same person. We do lash out at someone we love the most. Human beings are unsolved puzzles, every mind and heart works in a different frequency.

Zoella had her eyes for Fardeen, her best friend's brother, since she was ten. Fardeen hadn't even cared to spare a glance her way, in return for her decades of adoration. He had lived his life being the haughty, arrogantly dashing young man, with his arms around the waist of his gorgeous girlfriend. But with a tragic turn of events his dreamlike lifestyle came crashing down. A life-threatening accident permanently scarred half of his face. All that was left was melted skin and burned eyebrows. He was depressed and hopeless. His girlfriend broke off the engagement. He had to marry Zo…

Tea Tales

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It's strange how a cup of tea can forge bonds and improve relationships.

 I had found it hard to digest that the Odia household needed a girl to learn to make that proper, well shimmered, and optimally flavoured cup of tea. It was considered one of the mandatory talents every girl should possess. But my own love for the steaming hot tea pot grew with time and today I love making it. I love the adrak chai, the pepper powder wala chai, the masala chai, etc. Etc. I love the fragrance of tea, the wellness quotient, the look and the taste. Green tea is good too. Organic tea though is the least palatable. My favourite is the assam tea. It's dark red and has an awesome scent. It overwhelms the senses.

I am extremely fascinated by teas and tea leaves varieties these days. I want to try all types of teas and the combinations that are popular in the market like rose tea, Chrysanthemum tea, raspberry and etc etc. I fancy buying so many varieties every day from the Amazon website, but ha…

21 Random Facts About Me

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My mornings begin at 6.30 am. It's rarely later than that. I feel as if half of my day has passed if I wake up late, so I try to get up early. Moreover it is the quietest time. I try to do a bit of meditation or Pranayam, and then write or study with a cup of tea or Horlicks.I am a firm believer in early to bed and early to rise. So my day ends at about 10:30 pm. After that I can stay awake only on special occasions like a family or friends get together or a trip. I read almost every day. I am reading two novels right now- She loves me, He loves me not by Zeenat Mahal and It's all in the planets by Preeti Shenoy. I love watching short and sweet tele series, mini series, and short award winning films. I like watching different ads too in YouTube, as I rarely watch TV to be able to view those. I like watching trailers of movies of different languages- this is something I usually do. I love watching Korean series, and would promote those with all my heart. I think they are very s…

Dear S

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Dear S,

It's been long since I sat down to write a letter to you. I love writing long never ending string of words that could fill tens of pages. Hope this one too will be as myself and the mirror of my thoughts as I intend them to be. Hope you will read with as much enthusiasm and love as you always have. Hope this thing will never change about us.

I have downloaded a writing app from Google play store in my MotoG where I am typing this now. I am in office and am bored. Just me in my solitude. No, I don't have much work to do today, if you wonder. It's tough to get through a phase of free hours suddenly after months of hectic unending work. So I chose to write to you after having exhausted all my options of reading, browsing and studying.

I look forward to having coffee with you some day, or tea if you prefer that. Or we could take an evening stroll around your colony as we always did in the past, and talk and talk endlessly for hours. Topics would flow in and ceaselessl…

Benaras- the unexplored attachments

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The movie overwhelmed me.

I realize I have been using the word 'overwhelmed' for about everything that gives me goosebumps and leaves an imprint. I need to work on that.

But it does that exactly. Overwhelm me. Fills me with such a storm of emotions, the amalgamation of so many kinds of them, that I cannot contain them within myself. It bursts out of me through tears. Tears that do not state happiness or sadness, just the state of being overwhelmed. I wish I knew the word for it. It burst out again afterward in quiet recollection of the entire experience, in tranquil solitude, through the words I wrote.

What touched me most was the visual appeal; the earthly music that slowly reached its own crescendo, and fueled that burst I talked of; the subtle interpretation of love, relationships, and life through poetry; and that factor I still can't seem to point out. It is a surreal portrayal of the city of Benaras as a lady love. It's a pseudo-reality, almost magical.

I have t…

Cinderella and The Four Knights

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It is a South Korean drama series of 16 episodes based on a novel of the same title published in 2011. The fact that it has four male leads and one female lead makes it comparable to the likes of ‘Boys Over Flowers’ and ‘Heirs’. The drama is about four differently passionate young people, probable heirs to a conglomerate family of business men, who happen to live together in the Sky House but don’t get well with one another. Eun Ha-won, the Cinderella here, gets to stay with them in Sky House following certain rules set by the Chairman, working on missions to get these guys together as one family.

The characters are deep, emotional at the core. One is a kind hearted arrogant rebel, another a flamboyant playboy carrying deep wounds, another a gentle top singer-songwriter, and yet another a seemingly stoic yet sentimental bodyguard. The female lead is no damsel in distress, but she lets herself be protected by those who love her. I like the way they are deconstructed layer after layer,…

Remembering the year that went by

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It has been a year since I got posted in my hometown Bhubaneswar. A year since I left the Mysore campus and the hostel. Miss those days. We were trainees then. Four months of rigorous hard-work, fun and frolic, making of new friendships and discovering a new way of life away from home. It was the first time I had ever been to the hostel. My schooling and college was done in my hometown, so I could live with my family while studying. I haven't tasted much of the freedom that comes with hostel life.

When we were posted in Bhubaneswar, it was just a few of us, not all. Some of my best friends, including my roommate had to stay in Mysore for another month. It felt lonely in the new surroundings at first. I had no project for the first week and the lack of work felt horrible. It was boredom and an idle mind that gave me an almost depression. And over the top the new people everywhere. Some friends remained close in this phase, and some didn't. It was a turning point. I used to go …

Random Insights

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In real life the person’s appearance matters- you see the person physically and it’s the appearance that you first take note of. In reading a novel it is not so- the descriptions of the appearance don’t matter as much as the thoughts, the emotions and the core sentiments of the character. It is this that makes you root for the character. You see the person in the book with a new set of eyes- the ones that empathize more and are closer to your soul. How wonderful reality would be if we cared enough to see through those eyes that are perhaps often reserved for reading!
It is true that reading increases empathy in individuals. It enhances the power of those eyes that are hidden somewhere within your own consciousness. It makes you observe, not just see the surface. You learn to see the beauty in the fragility of human beings, in unevenness and imperfection. You see meaning in dents, flaws and shades of grey. You witness such beautiful minds who know not their own worth. You encounter so m…

Wanderlust, is it?

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I want to travel to Istanbul and witness the amalgamation of cultures of two religions. I want to travel to Japan and live in their histories. I want to travel to China and understand their tales, myths, and legends. I want to visit Bhutan and learn about the Buddhist way of life and happiness quotient there. I want to see the Nazca lines. I want to see the ruins of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. I want to experience the peaceful and soulful Balinese culture in Bali. I want to travel to Florence and see for myself the beauty described in novels. I want to visit Jordan and witness the enormous creations, the red sand, the canyons and feel the wonder.
I am not able to stay still, sit at one place without wondering and searching the details of these places. I have been searching for places that require no Visa for Indian citizens and the list is awesome. I also searched for those places that provided Visa on arrival. I think this is the first time I am feeling wanderlust at this scale. I feel …

The Beauty Inside

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‘The Beauty Inside’ is a 2015 South Korean movie based on a book named ‘Every Day’ by David Levithan. It’s a romantic comedy but talks at large of living a life of transition, alteration and inevitable change. It is a story of a man who wakes up every day in a different body. Some mornings he is a handsome young man; sometimes an old middle aged person with arthritis and poor vision and sometimes a woman. He wakes up as a child or a girl or a bald headed obese man at times. But no face or body ever repeats itself. He has to adjust to this 24 hour change that his entire system goes through. The story is how he becomes used to this change and finds love even in his unusual situation.
The protagonist Woo-jin is a furniture designer.  The bodies he finds himself in, every morning, is regardless of age, gender or nationality. There are times he wakes up as a foreigner. He experienced this for the first time on his 18th birthday, and his life was never the same. He withdrew from his friend…