The week that was  #MondayMusings #chattyblogs

The week that was #MondayMusings #chattyblogs

As a working from home mother (a.k.a a working housewife for the womenfolk),  sometimes,  I tend to get too cut off from the rest of the world.  I spend hours working on the laptop just getting up for survival activities like eating,  bathing, etc.  And the only company I have got are the children who keep coming in and going out of the house as per their school, tuition, play schedules.  Isolation hits you like a brick.

So, it was a good change when I had to trek in the 4 hour to and fro commute to my office.  And the four hours is on a good day. Let me tell you,  when one gets into a Mumbai local,  you are entering a different city or country with its own rules and laws.  It is the big serpent that dashes through the city throughout the day,  north to south, south to north.

I start my journey from the extreme north of the city to the south and then,  when the twains meet,  I change to a train to take me to the north again. Someone finally thought of changing the north to south pattern and added some horizontal lines with a metro or subway or tube or whatever which finally made the twains meet at a more practical location. Continue reading

Resources for Readers  #WriteBravely #WTFOW

Resources for Readers #WriteBravely #WTFOW

The digital age has exploded the resources available for a reader.  A decade or so ago,  we had limited choices.  We would know about books through word of mouth,  or the small limited columns in newspapers.  Piracy was rampant.  Choices were limited to paperbacks only.  The Internet has been a great leveler here.  And so are the apps and websites.  A reader is never deprived of his read,  even if we forget to carry our paperbacks, or the Kindle.

Here are some of the Android apps/Websites I use as a reader.
  1. Kindle App – For reading all my Kindle books.  Also, the innumerable resources available online for Kindle readers like newspapers, magazines, free Kindle books.
  2. Wattpad – This is an app which is for the reader and also the writer.  It allows me to write my own stories.  We can read stories written by others.  They can vote for our stories.  It has a social media like feel with having followers, news updates from followers and even weekly and monthly writing contests.  It has some great reads for inspiration.
  3. Pocket – If you have no time to read or is not having sufficient net connection on the phone,  use Pocket to bookmark your reads.  You can get to it later.  Here also, you can follow other people and see what they are reading.  You can also recommend reads to your friends who follow you.
  4. Instapaper –  This one is similar to Pocket but with the whole social networking thing.  It lets you book mark and read it later.  I love this better than Pocket for its clean screen and no-nonsense interface.
  5. WordPress – WordPress needs no recommendation here.  I use it to do pretty much everything we can do on the WordPress website.  It is simple, easy to use.  It lets you see comments, respond to them, read new blogs.  It is a must have for a wordpress blogger.
  6. Feedly –  Feedly lets you follow blogs across WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr or anything else.  You can create groups for bloggers like we can do in Twitter.  It lets you see the unread blog posts of a blog.  You can surely not miss another entry from your blogger friends.  I have created groups for BookBloggers, MomBloggers, Writing, Prompts.  Easy to segregate and use with a neat interface.
  7. Bloglovin – This one is similar to Feedly but with slightly more social interaction wherein you can follow other bloggers and have followers for you.   The webpages open with a Bloglovin overlay.  It is good but I find it a bit complicated as it keeps reminding to follow others and the overlay is a turn off.  I love Feedly more.
  8. Audible / AudioBooks / Librivox – If you are a fan of audio books,  then these are some of the apps to use.  Audible is an Amazon entity and comes with the might of Amazon behind it.  Audiobooks is also good.  Librivox is free audiobook app with the reading done by volunteers.  It has mostly classic books whose copyrights have expired.  We can also download from Librivox and listen to the clips later.  It is my go to website/app for classics.  For Hindi audiobooks,  there is ‘Suno’.
  9. Goodreads – Another Amazon product.  I keep track of the books I read on the app.  It provides recommendations of similar books.  I can also see what others are reading and if they liked it or not.  It is the Facebook for readers.  The app is a bit on the heavy side, but useful to keep track of your reads.  I mostly access Goodreads website.
  10. Netgalley – This is one of the best websites I discovered through some other readers.  Netgalley gives you ARCs for free.  All you have to do is, read them and give your feedback.  The more consistent the feedback,  higher your chances of getting more ARCs.  It has the latest and some of the best books.  They give out Kindle, Nook, PDF copies.  Create an account on Netgalley, browse for books in the genre you like and apply for them.  The publisher may /may not allow you the ARC.  But using Netgalley,  I have read some famous books like Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi,  The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.  Currently, I am reading a Salman Rushdie book called ‘The Golden House’ whose publishing date is 5th September.

Do you use these resources?  Which is your favourite resource?  Is there a resource if you want to share?


I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words #6.

 

Memories I treasure    #WTFOW #writebravely

Memories I treasure #WTFOW #writebravely

At the beginning of this year,  I had chosen the word ‘discover’ as the word of the year for me.  One of the concepts I wanted to discover more was the Joy of minimalism.  I have been consciously inculcating it in day-to-day life leading to many subtle changes.  I discovered there is no joy in possessing more materials.  I no longer feel the urge to rush to sales or the home decor shops.  The real joy is in treasuring our relationships, our memories and our time.

I believe in using my time to make more memories.  As that is what will remain with us throughout our lives.  Tell me, do you feel happy when the bank sends you an SMS saying ‘Salary is credited’.  Of course, you do.  But, how does it compare with an SMS/Whatsapp from a friend, or that phone call from someone in the past.

“One day, your life will flash before your eyes.  Make sure it’s worth watching.”

I do not want to be on my death bed to think about a cherished life.  I want to think about it now.  It has to be the face of my sons when I saw them for the first time, the heady days of an innocent love, the crazy outings with friends. Everything to do with a rush of emotions,  a moment to treasure forever.

As we grow older,  we become more practical and cynical.  And we wonder will we ever feel the same heady rush of our teenage years.   Our outlook on life is now tinged with our life experiences.  We hear of exhausted or divorced friends who will make jokes about relationships and forward them on Whatsapp.  The friends who try to look younger with each passing year,  competing with their children.  Friends going on fabulous vacations around the world.

But,  what I really treasure are memories.  Some are downright silly.  On Sundays,  I like to wake up before the family.  I like to simply watch them sleeping peacefully.  I tip-toe onto my children’s bedroom,  pull the curtains closer, watch them for a while. My elder son with his one hand on the ubiquitous mobile.  The younger one with the blanket covering his head.  Sometimes, running my fingers on their hair.   I know this will change soon,  in a not too distant future.  Then  I tip-toe back to my bedroom to see the husband snoring away to glory with hair sticking out on the pillow.  I know this will not change.  It is the loveliest sight and my most treasured one.


I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words #6.  Today’s prompt is to write about a treasure. 

When vada pavs came to the rescue

When vada pavs came to the rescue

The vada pav was born in the 1960s in the textile mill areas of Mumbai.  It is a quick grab and bite snack, easy on the pocket, fulfilling on the stomach.  Vada Pavs are sold in the millions every day.  During recession times,  we used to joke that if we ever become jobless,  we will start our own vada pav stall. Source : Wikipedia

But someone, really followed it.  A few years ago,  a Vada pav shop opened in my neighborhood.  It is no roadside eatery.  It is a proper shop which sold only vada pavs.  It is managed by a homely middle aged lady and two middle aged men.  One is the husband and the other is a relative.  My inquisitive friend informed me that the husband lost his job due to his factory shutting down and so they have started this shop.  The shop owners would come in the mornings and evenings and sell vada pavs.  Over the years,  they have made up their own brand due to the distinct taste of their vadas,  chutneys and softer pav.  The taste is the only identifier.  There is no fancy packaging, tissues and all that snazz.  Just unadulterated vada pav packed in newspaper or a paper plate or sometimes hand.  Hygiene is high priority.  We have to queue up outside the shop to get our share of vada pavs.  The queues are long and monsoon queues are longer,  but we do not want to miss out on our favorite local vada pav.  They further expanded the menu to include samosas and bhajjis,  too.  Everything is managed by these three people.

They are just one of the few nameless souls who add flavor to my small locality.  Wouldn’t it be fun to discover such quaint places which only cater a niche food?

Source : Zomato.com I can think of the ice cream shop at Churchgate at Wankhede stadium who serve handmade ice-cream sandwiched between two wafers.  The place is packed (maybe they should do the queue thing) with families waiting for their orders.  They insist they have no branches.  They use only natural ingredients and the ice-cream is out of the world.  Try  it out.  Any more can you think of.

I can now look them up on the Nouns App available on Google Playstore.  It is an app for foodies, by foodies where people share their food experiences.  Spread the word of your favorite food eateries and find new ones through the app.


Disclaimer : This is a sponsored post.  Views are my own.  

Images source : Vada Pav – Wikipedia.com,  Ice Cream – Zomato.com 

Anything but books Tag

Anything but books Tag

I am loving this tag doing the rounds introduced to us by Shantala.  It has been fun reading other’s responses.  For a change, this one is not about books but a little more about me.  Read through and pick up the #AnythingButBooks tag.  I would love to read yours too.

Name a cartoon(s) that you love.

I grew up at a time when there was just one hour of cartoon shown on Sunday mornings at 9 called Mickey and Donald which I loved.  Then there were the video cassettes of Tom and Jerry we used to watch for endless hours.  Among the recent cartoons,  I love binge-watching Shinchan.  I have to watch it,  I have 2 boys.

What is your favorite song right now?

It is a not so current song.  But, I have been listening to this on endless loop as I discovered it recently.

Kehte hain khuda ne is jahan mein sabhi ke liye
Kisi na kisi ko hai banaya har kisi ke liye
Tera milna hai us rab ka ishara maano
Mujhko banaya tere jaise hi kisi ke liye

For the non-Hindi speaking,  here is the translation –

“It says God has created someone for everyone,

Finding you is a sign from Him,

That I am made for someone like you.”

I love the way the music goes around in circles. If you loved the lyrics,  the music is even better. Here is the link

What could you do for hours (that isn’t reading)?

I can spend hours walking.  I love to go for long walks,  walk in a market, shopping, walking to anywhere.  All I need is a pair of comfortable and strong shoes.

What is something you love to do that your followers would be surprised by?

I love to spend time in Museums and in ruins.  I can spend hours and hours going through each and every exhibit and reading all the notes written below it and I can remember them too.  On my last weekend in London,  I spent the whole day,  yes the whole day, at the Victoria and Albert Museum and at the Natural History Museum.  It was pure bliss.

As for the ruins,  I stay near Bassein fort and I love to walk around the ruins of the fort.  The fort is used for movie, music videos, ads and TV serial shootings too.  It helps to maintain this historical monument.  But, it could also damage the original features of the fort.  I wish our Archeological department does more to protect this fort.  You can see the fort in this famous song from Heropanti.  Ignore the foreground dancers,  just see the beautiful fort in the background.

What is your favorite unnecessarily specific thing to learn about (this can do with books, I guess)?

I want to learn about editing videos. Why? To create book reviews with videos.  I don’t want to be staring into a camera and showing people book hauls.  But, more like an edited video which will show what the book is about.  Anyone help me with where can I start?

What is something unusual you know how to do?

There really is nothing unusual I know that the rest of us doesn’t know.  In fact,  there are too many things I do not know to do.

Name something you’ve made in the last year (and show us, if you can).

Well, last year I made this website.  I used tutorials on Youtube to understand how to customise the themes, how to add code and lot of nitty-gritties.  I am a techie and code loves me.  It was pure bliss to seep through endless code after ages.

What is your most recent personal project?

It has to be growing capsicums.  It did grow, I posted the pictures on Instagram.  But,  now I want to create a fairy garden or a miniature garden.  All my time is now spent in watching their videos and Pinterest is full of ideas.

Tell us something you think about often (maybe while staring out of windows).

When I look out of my window,  it is to a main road which is 100 feet wide.  So,  loads to think about like cars, clothes, signals. Just before the road is a peepul tree inhabited with birds of all kinds.  Their morning activities are fun to watch.  There is also crow’s nest and I love watching their antics.  Beyond the road is an unkempt open ground.  It is green now due to the first rains and a delight to watch.

Give us something that’s your favorite, but make it something oddly specific, not like your favorite food, but like your favorite food when you’ve been studying for hours and forgot to eat. Or, you know, something like that.

I am not really a foodie but I love to listen to music when studying or working very hard. If it needs me to concentrate and stay awake,  music is the best.  It helps me focus.

Now that you know me a little more,  tell me about yourself.