Posted in Extras

Hand me my thorthu not the bathrobe!

Inspired to write this 😀

We in India mostly prefer cotton towels not the fluffy turkish towels given our tropical climate. The turkish towels do not absorb moisture and are heavy but they probably keep you warm after a shower.

The southern state of Kerala, also neighbouring one to my home state Tamil Nadu is famous for its ‘Thorthu’ or handwoven cotton towels that are richly absorbent. Kerala is a monsoon country. Entire India is known for seasonal rains but Kerala is too very popular even with foreign tourists who visit the state especially for its monsoon season (although in last two years the monsoons have wrecked havoc in the state triggering landslides and flooding). Tamil Nadu too has its share of woven white towels from Cooptex, Erotex and such handloom boards, yet the Kerala quality is unbeatable!

I have dozens of these thin weaves at home. I got a couple for my American daughter-in-law when she lived in India and asked her not to use a hairdryer but this towel. First hesitant, later on seeing its absorbent quality and quick drying nature with 100% cotton thread weave, she fell in love with this textile. I packed her over half a dozen when she left for US, urgently asking my Mallu friend to courier thorthus to me even in Covid conditions! When I visited US recently I had taken a few with me and my daughter wanted them. I have few more in Chennai. I must remember to courier her more when I visit India next. And I have to order online another batch straight from Kerala again!

Why do we need bathrobes or fluffy towels when we have our desi thorthu. It has to be experienced to be believed! And we can have a dozen and more to use at ease. Finally they come cheapest – from Rs. 60 for smallest size to max Rs.200 or 300 for those with widest dimensions. That is from under US$1 to 5 maximum.

So now I have decided to make our local thorthu world famous! For women, it can be as good as wraparound or sarong after our time in pool. A thorthu can be quite long and wide enough to go around us and cover our entire torso. For men too it can hang nicely on waist. So easy to maintain. For new born babies and young children who you want to wipe clean of moisture for fear of catching cold, nothing like thorthu to come to your aid. Especially for wrapping your head after a shower. There is hardly any work left for the hairdryer to do after you dry your hair with thorthu. You can rinse thorthu in the washbasin, as simple as that. Takes under an hour to dry in open air or just over an arm chair in our living! Space saving as well. You can stack two dozens in little space! Easy to pack and carry like hankie. Pristine white.

Economic and functionally best thorthu! Most authentic original Indian produce are this but then who wants anything ours? They all go for synthetic and toxic China stuff only 😦

Posted in Extras

PCR Test, American Style !

  • Drive-in PCR test for Covid 19 in the US for least contact
  • PCR test FREE in the US, not chargeable. Result in one day.
  • Rapid test (for antibody) for covid 19 gives result in one hour ) (not acceptable in some airlines and in some countries)
  • NO DOCUMENTARY PROOF requirement for the test

Had to undergo a PCR test to fly QA from America. This is now mandated by most countries these days as we know, even if we are fully vaccinated against Covid 19. For a fact, i had taken both my Covishield (Astrazeneca) doses in India. We googled and found the nearest lab testing for covid in Chantilly, Virginia where we were staying a few days before flying. CVS pharmacy did it and we had to book a prior appointment for the test which was a drive-in one. When booking the appointment, we were asked for personal details such as names and addresses, contact no and date of birth. We immediately got an email confirming appointment and giving us a registration number. At the appointed time when we drove through the single window serving the PCR test purpose in the pharmacy, we were cross-checked for details. When things tallied, we were handed down a transparent envelop with two compartments for a self-test to our surprise. I was half-expecting a lab tech to extend a hand from the window with a cotton swab to insert into my nostril! One compartment in the envelope contained a printed leaf with our personal details. It also had another sheet of instructions as to how to do the PCR self-test with illustrations. Thirdly there was a small single slim and long paper pouch of about 10 cms perhaps containing a cotton swab stick for insertion in our nostrils. Fourth, there was a small square of a paper towel to wipe nose on finishing. The second compartment merely had a small test-tube with a stopper. It contained fluid one quarter or perhaps one half.

As per the illustration, I verified the personal details first and ensured that the entries were correct along with registration number. I wanted mine to be spelt exactly like in my passport as i had to carry the certificate for my international travel purposes. Secondly, i studied carefully the self-test method and made sure i got it exactly. Thirdly i tore open the paper pouch and took out the swab stick with one inch or so of cotton at the other end. I took care to tear the pouch where it was mentioned, which was not the cotton end. I carefully placed the swab stick into my left nostril and saw to that the cotton part was fully within my nose as instructed. I rotated the stick (which can be compared to match stick for instance, only a little longer, say about 10-12 cm approx.) clockwise and anticlockwise thrice as it was directed, touching all the inner walls. For 45 seconds i retained the swab within my nostril and then pulled out. I repeated the procedure for my right nostril next with the same cotton swab. Then I carefully opened the test tube in the envelop and deposited the stick with the swab dipping into the liquid in there. The break-off point was clearly marked in the stick so it was easy for me to break the stick nicely for the swab portion to snug-fit into the test tube. I sealed the lid tightly and returned the tube to the second compartment of the envelope. I sealed next this inner compartment first.

I sealed the envelope with both the compartments next totally. There was a drop box for us to deposit the samples. We did just that. In the information sheet and in the email was listed the lab test results website. We only had to enter our registration number to check for updates. We could download the results after twenty four hours. It was stated that the results could arrive anytime from 24 hours to 76 hours but we got ours online in 48 hours as orally indicated by the pharmacist.

For the PCR test, the pharmacy did not bill us. PCR TEST IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is FREE! yayyy In India, it costs nothing less than 2k to my knowledge.

In last six months i have given four PCR tests already for my travels. I found the one in the US most user-friendly and hassle-free. It is a great service rendered by the US government, not charging a single penny for the test. Frequent travelers have to undergo PCR every now and then. Further, the working class people may benefit immensely because of waiving of the cost/charge for the test. Truly a wonderful humanitarian service. I wish Indian government could replicate this selfless service. India citizens spend heavily on PCR tests and our labour class especially have come to bear the brunt. Even for moving from state to state, India has necessitated PCR tests. It will go a long way in helping the lower middle class if PCR tests are available free of costs at least in government hospitals in India. I am well aware of the overhead cost run, just a thought. Any free service also must not dilute the quality of our PCR tests.

Thank you America, truly a big hearted and mature nation! How many refugees find a home with you even if you are derided and misquoted on immigrants. How many from around the world come to you to realize the great American dream. I find the US most user-friendly nation in my limited experience, with everything very well streamlined and hassle-free. Life just gets that much simpler and easier.

Posted in Extras

The Five Cleanliness & Personal Hygiene Indicators We Cannot Miss.

Typically i have devised that the following are checks or indicators of the cleanliness standards of our home as well as our personal hygiene. You may think i am too fussy, but not at all. It’s pretty regular standards, but there are those who think this is big deal.

  1. Kitchen cleanliness. Especially the sink area and the oil cans. Mixer jars and the blender. Hob (cooking stove top) and chimney. Indian kitchens hold more gadgets than western ones: with our wetgrinders (for idli batter), blender, traditional coffee filter of coffee maker, OTG/Microoven, at least mini stone chakkis for pouding, fruit/vegetable juicer, sandwich maker, toaster, chappathi maker, etc. Our kitchen is also essentially a wet kitchen as we grind wet, blend wet, deepfry in oil, toast in shallow pan etc., at highest temperatures. We use hundreds of spices literally and our cooking methods are elaborate. Yet, it is imperative for us to maintain kitchen cleanliness at any cost. Wiping with wet cloth on cleaning with soap every few hours is a must.
  2. Bathroom cleanliness: the water closets of course, the wash stand, the bathtub (if you have), the tooth brushes and the drain holes especially. Even the regular Indian bathrooms (in)famous for their water usage can afford to remain dry most of the day once we are done with our bathroom chores. There is no reason for the bathroom floor to remain wet. Pails and mugs and faucets also need a regular clean-up.
  3. Comb in your dresser is a dead give away. If that is accumulating grime, it means personal hygiene is lacking. The clean comb ensures a cleaner bedroom. Organizers in wardrobes optional. W
  4. Towels and undies. They can be old and very many times washed, but they have to be clean one hundred percent. Dry.
  5. Foot of course! It is the general indicator of one’s hygiene perception in my opinion. If someone cares for foot, it means she is doing well in all other fronts.

Not all of us live in swanky marbled homes, some of us live in very compact apartments almost like hole in the wall, yet I think it is well within our means to be able to maintain the minimum general standards of cleanliness and hygiene which is basic decency.

I decided to embark on such short crisp lifestyle posts inspired by a page on Minimalism.

Posted in Extras

Treat yourself to a good home pedicure :D

I thought i would break monotony and relieve myself of stress with a much deserved and relaxing home pedicure. Salons are closed, and even if open, may not be having upto-date beauty products. I suspect stocks with expiry dates fast approaching. So it is better to get things done at home.

Why Pedicure:

  • because to some like me, foot is a measure of our general hygiene level
  • some husbands have foot fetish when it comes to their wives, and therefore it is best to keep our foot nice and clean, and groomed always
  • a good foot is a healthy foot of a healthy man/woman 😀
  • to avoid foot cracks, nail breaks etc and promote good blood circulation
  • if there is one thing i may visit salon for, it is always pedicure first and foremost. i luv the one i get (mechanized massage) (although it is 2 years since i got it done here) here and in chennai, it is vlcc

So let me post here how we can pamper ourselves with home spa for our foot. Remember, we can do this pedicure watching tv leisurely!

I am not an expert on anything and least of all on beauty routine. I don’t wear make-up but for a light lipstick when i go out (only here in middle east) apart from an eyebrow touch and a moisturizer (or SPF face cream). However i do good maintenance behind the scene. This is something i put together myself. It works for me. The investment cost: the bath salt scrub can last you 4 years, the moisturizer 3 years, the foot scraper is lifetime buy. Not really expensive that way.

  • file your toe nails first of all neat and nice, shape if you want and use a nailpolish remover to remove old polish with a tissue or cotton. I use an acetone free one.
  • then soak in coconut oil for 30 min both your feet. i use a mixture of coconut oil, olive oil and almond oil
  • with foot scraper gently scrape the dead cells. absolutely no rough treatment please. as gentle as a feather. first the top of your foot, then the underfoot. the dead cells and dry scales will fall out and fresh unbroken skin will emerge. regular foot scraping will prevent foot cracks
  • then squeeze a lemon into hot water in a bucket and soak your foot for 15 to 20 min. clean in between the toes with pubis stone very very gently. this is a bath stone. however i don’t use this. the lemon bleaches the hard tanned skin on upper foot and foreleg. this is the best detan i can think of. if you think that lemon is astringent, you can balance it with mixing honey.
  • use good bath salt or body scrub salt to scrub the foot upper, foreleg and down foot. do this gently. no rash strokes.
  • rinse your foot thoroughly in fresh warm water and towel gently
  • slather some moisturizer or foot cream (available for men) on both feet. and smoothen. or use liquid paraffin if you want with no aroma (if you are a fussy man)
  • you are ready now to apply nail enamel to your toe nails (optional 😀 ) apply one coat neat, wait for it to dry and then apply the second coat and then top it up with quick drier application.
  • you are now the owner of dazzling clean foot that you can show off now proudly!
  • gently down your amazing feet in sexy kohlapuri, don a fabindia kurta and strut and preen!

Benefits:

  • boosts your self confidence
  • relaxing and stress relieving
  • can give self massage if you do know massaging. this to be done when scrubbing with body salt on the foot. this massage i do miss at home
  • feel cleanest and on top of the world 😀

Do this home pedicure once in 15 days and notice visible results in under 3 months 😀 post pix 😀

Posted in Extras

Trespassers don’t now acquit yourselves of your crime of invading others privacy.

This is my last and final piece on online privacy. I won’t be doing it again.

What is this nonsense you see online advising others to take social media with a pinch of salt. And undercutting the (kneejerk) reaction or importance allegedly imparted by some of us to social media observances.

Let me make it clear who I consider eligible to save cookies or to study others’ browsing habits. These exemptions are the necessary ones in this digital age.

  • Mainstream media in social media platform
  • Apps such as You tube and those that have our explicit consent
  • Social media news and pages of recreational interests such as holiday homes, restaurants, theatres, public places, historical and architectural wonders, tourist spots, adventure tour companies etc., and other pursuers of hobbies like knitting, bathik for instance.
  • Anyone who sells their wares online
  • Commercial houses like banks, insurance etc.
  • Small and medium size business such as handicrafts, cookery, crockery, textiles and garments etc.
  • Large business houses such a clothing line or label, shoes, furniturewala etc.
  • Performing artistes including actors, singers, dancers, instrumentalists etc who may use social media for furthering their career
  • Visual artists who promote their art via social media such as painters etc.
  • Online games pages such as scrabble, etc.,
  • Authors of books, magazines, journals, consistent bloggers
  • Professionals selling their service via social media such as consultant physicians, astrologists, beauticians, chefs etc.
  • Sports persons and fitness enthusiasts with fan following
  • Institutions such as universities and schools
  • Those in active public life including in politics, social service
  • Genuine causes such as for wildlife, etc., and surveys and polls
  • The retired from all these categories.

In short, anyone making a living or benefiting economically furthering their career or profession or business or trade using social media platform earns the moral and legal right to seek internet traffic stats. NONE OTHER.

Anyone out of this list who is trying to justify prying on others’ privacy in the garb of ‘ethical hacking’ is committing not just a crime, but a horrendous sin. I only hope Karma will take care of you! Who knows in your next janam you will be born a pole dancer in a strip club who sleazy men may vie with each other to finger!!

I shall leave things here.

I am trying not to take social media seriously, who says I am. Its not my fragile sensibility. It is your violation of friends’ privacy. It is shocking realization discovering what social media has reduced some of us to.

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I will cite an instance how this so called ethical hacking can hurt friendship and ruin relationships.

I am vociferous when it comes to expressing my critical views on the Abrahmics here in my BLOG ONLY AND NOWHERE ELSE. I don’t have charitable views on them. My friends groups in India are totally anti-christian and anti-islamic who keep sharing attacking posts in private. Yeah, all this we do behind closed doors only. As much as possible I refrain from posting anti-views even in whatsapp. However I am a defender of Hindu dharma and I am opposed to conversion mafia and terrorism openly and mince no words when it comes to condemning these. All of us friends including me retain respect for non-hindus and we are friendly with them in the real world. We recognize the need for peaceful co-existence and we are aware of our own pitfalls. We never fail to appreciate the good work of non Hindus either and we consider them our friends. This is how I am, we are in the public, in reality. The personality I present to the outside world only must count whereas, any intruder who may chance upon our exchange of views on religion perhaps may end up disliking us. Our friendship can never be the same again. We girls may get judged for what we share in privacy where we bare our hearts. What we stand for in public ceases to exist.

Honestly it reminds me of Vivek’s joke in a Tamil flick where he can hear the ‘mind voice!’

Posted in Extras

The many interpretations for ‘Privacy.’

Last few hours have been major hours for discovery of the many interpretations for a stark simple word ‘privacy’ for me.

Privacy seems to be to too very important to all of us that we think we cannot do without it. Our privacy is also very much vulnerable these days and is threatened. More so is the case of art and artists, if I am to go by the words of a(a) (vocal) artist (as I would like to put it simply). By privacy in this context I understand, what the artist means is the space the creative community from the art world deserves where there can be no jurisdiction or judgment or censorship. Absolutely no infringement in this very little private space of artists which is deemed essential for enabling the creative process.

In broader perspective, to use the artist’s own words, isn’t privacy an experience like none other for all of us? Privacy is also intimacy, discovery, security, happiness and lack of fear and total freedom for me and others. Privacy translates as liberty, dignity and choice for us women who are much exposed here online. We are judged for just being ourselves (behind closed doors) not because we throw the doors open, but because some men forcefully pry our doors open. I wonder how many men out there will be sensitive to how I feel about this very personal matter called my privacy.

Sometimes it angers me, it confuses me, bothers me and finally saddens me, but I come to terms with it all eventually. Like the author-singer avers, privacy has not got anything to with secrecy at all. It is not any place or something physical. Privacy is something soooo sacred, that when you learn it is compromised you feel slighted, stained. How much ever I think of dismissing such thoughts that is how I feel: of being sullied. You feel as if someone has physically touched you. Sometimes it even makes me cry.

Am I extraordinarily sensitive and over re-active or is this normal, the way I feel.

I am glad, I ironically found my voice in the writer-turned-vocalist who precisely put into words what I have been thinking about privacy but could not exactly lay down it all in proper form.

For all my concerns of privacy, I found another verbal attack in social media this morning that justified encroachment of online privacy of others. The new age author (as they all are) termed it his freedom and sense of liberty and he was not answerable to very fragile sensibilities of certain individuals who complained about it (in a different context). After all, these moaners were ‘advertising’ themselves (on online platform) when they could have been quiet not drawing attention. Our guy says he just could not deny himself his dose of adrenaline rush online to which he was entitled to! In short I understand, to maintain our privacy we have to stay offline. What a careless approach to a very sensitive issue.

I am at such a loss of words on learning the various interpretations of something very precious called ‘privacy’ but I thought I would share one more post on it to let know of my stance in the matter. I am not eloquent like these guys: just sharing a piece of my mind here. Finally it is upto the men to do what they please. But they have to remember, India and America are not one and the same. What is readily acceptable in western society cannot pass in sensitive Indian society. Many of us ladies would not even want our families to discover our wild side and we let our hair down only when we are in each other’s company within closed doors wherefrom men are one hundred percent kept away. It is realizing that someone may have access to the key of such an ‘insulated’ iron door that tears us apart.

I am questioning myself of late, so should I cut down my exploits with my buddies because now so many pairs of eyes are watching. Should we ladies stop being ourselves in our whatsapp groups. Should we cease sharing adult content or whatever. Or in other words should we stop being adventurous. Should we snuff out the spark in us, the warmth and glow of which we share with a limited understanding sharing, caring circle. How do we ladies share our stuff with each other. How do we exchange notes. Should we pretend to be who we are not to our own family and friends to maintain our ‘image’ that is so carefully cultivated. After all we were only using Whatsapp and such apps in closed circles. We are very tight and intimate bunch. We are not splashing our pictures and news to all and sundry in social media like Facebook. Limited info we do share in public space, but rest of whatever we do is for our own sweet private viewing pleasure only. I am in fix.

It makes me very anxious at times to just think that the privacy of many of us ladies gets compromised so easily online. Intimate family moments are now under public glare. Girls cannot giggle without the world hearing our guffaws. I may expect the offenders to feel a bit apologetic at least. It won’t serve any purpose but it can make us women feel less guilty about exhibiting ourselves. Whereas one seems to define how privacy is so very important to him and his artiste community, the other is keen on justifying encroachment of online privacy. There seems to be not an iota of regret for invasion of others’ private territory.

Navigating the online space with the knowledge that we are forever open to the scrutiny of men is foreboding. I don’t mind the ladies looking. Some do I know but that doesn’t disconcert me. It is the men who are a big bother. Earlier it used to give me sleepless nights, but nowadays I think ‘what the hell.’

Recently I penned a few brief lines comparing women to volcano and not the usual femme flowers. A girl in the group remarked that she could not imagine the timid me coming out so expressive and fierce. So that is how most who have not discovered me online view me. To them I am that shy, soft flower still. So vulnerable and quiet. Nobody knows of the burning passion within me or the vocal me except for a handful of friends. It takes ages sculpting an image for ourselves that we present to the outer world. Isn’t it a work-in-progress for a lifetime. And it is only matter of minutes for someone insensitive to break it all to smithereens…

Virtual reality is here to stay I know. I have resigned myself to the brutal practicality. I would like to close the post with assertion that MY PRIVACY IS MY PRIVILEGE. None has the legal authority or licence to trespass into my much cherished and protected, intimate and personal and private turf with his so-called ‘right to nonsense.’

Posted in Extras

Hacking Into Others Online Privacy Is Online Pornography As Well

NOOO! Friends hacking friends is NOT Ethical Hacking. Period.

This is an old post of mine penned when I was upset that a friend was browsing through all my online stuff. Hacking. My heart plunged because my online avatar is not the same as what I present as myself to outer world. Something reminded me of this today.

Once you come to know that a friend in very known close circle is keeping tab on you, it hurts you deeply. Because we have this thing called respectability and distance always between even closest friends. I don’t want to add any more word. Once you discover who may be following you, you lose the interest or respect you reserved for the friend.

It suffices to say that I don’t even share my blog with closest people.

Rest is my old post with a couple of sentences edited.

**********************************

Nothing is private or personal or sacred in online Dunia. I have not done it, but hacking seems to be sickening pastime for some people. I can understand businesses doing it, but I am totally at loss when it comes to understanding the logic of friends hacking friends.

No ethics, no morals, so how can hacking into someone’s online privacy not be any different from online pornography. It takes on a whole new dimension when people known to you may be reading your private Whatsapp messages, scrolling through your Facebook homepage, scouring your Mail, listening to your Internet calls and in general keep tracking you with cookies or whatever. Remember, these are the very same people we may shake hands with and party with. We go out with them, shop with them, laugh with them, or just hang out with them, or simply have a good time together, and they know all our secrets. That’s the saddest part of all. They think we don’t know, but I just know who is doing it.

STOP is all I can say. I view my conversations with friends and family as most sacred. I hate third parties, even my own blood sibling or closest pal reading my family posts. Most of us prefer Whatsapp over Facebook when it comes to sharing family posts, because we think we can have the privacy and therefore share our most personal and intimate memories with our trusted circle in Whatsapp. But what a cruel joke that the Whatsapp is the first and no.1 casualty when we are hacked. I share dirty jokes with my girl friends and I take this liberty because I think we are insulated within four walls of our privacy. Imagine your friends for whom it is not intended browsing your stuff.

It is mostly those breaching into others’ privacy transcending ethical codes who preach the world about the rights and wrongs. How ironic. I insist, religion is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Whoever uses communal lines for any wrongful justification will mostly have sordid issues like these. I have my strong views when it comes to my race or religion, but i have never ‘preached’ or ‘judged’ people or situations on these grounds.

As a woman I cannot shop for my undies and most personal and basic things online because I doubt whether some prying eyes are watching, intruding into my most private space. Every time I log on to my Bank account and Insurances I feel uneasy that I have online company and I am not alone. Every time I listen to Music, I swipe my Cards, pay my Bills, I know I am spied upon.

The worst thing about hacking especially your friends is that, you may not be aware,  but you become JUDGMENTAL. Something very precious about the friendship is damaged for ever. Casualty of hacking.

I don’t ever want to snoop into others private online life, and most of all into my friends’ affairs. Serious violation of basic ethics. Those who have no qualms about violating online privacy of others especially friends have no locus standi to give opinion on any matter social or political or even philosophical.

I have done many posts on breaching of online privacy by Social Media, Media and Business Houses. Now through this post, I am making  my position clear on what I think about those resorting to eavesdropping on friends’ online privacy. No this is not Ethical Hacking. I and I alone reserve the right to share in public what I want others to know. The post NOT meant for you is NEVER MEANT FOR YOU.

Posted in Extras

यह मेरी प्रेम पत्र पढ़कर…

प्रिय नरेंद्र मोदी जीl धन्यवादl
आपकी मन की बात सुनी थीl बहुत सच्ची बात हैl

आप तमिल लोगों पर कितने प्यार करते हैंl और इस उम्र में तमिल भाषा भी सीकते हैंl तमिल परंपरा पर आप को कितना मर्यादा हैl आपने कहे आपका प्यार कभी दिमिनीश नहीं होगा तमिलों परl हम भी इधर केहने चाहते हैं कि हमको भी आप बहुत पसंद है और हमको आप पर जितना प्यार है की वह प्यार भी कभी दिमिनीश हो नहीं सकताl

मेरी आँखों में आसूं बहती है आपको देखके l आपकी सेंस ऑफ कमिटमेंट मुझे बहुत मूव करता हैl रोज आप बीस घंटे काम करते हैं हमारे लिएl और आप सोते भी नहीं हैंl छुट्टी नहीं लेतेl पार्टी कभी कहीं नहीं बनते हैंl सिर्फ काम, काम, काम पूरा दिन, हर एक रोज, हर एक महीना, हर एक सालl आप अपने के लिए अब तक क्या कमायेl स्वादिष्ट खाना काये? नया घर बनाये थे? स्विस बैंकअकाउंट है आपकाl आप के पास क्या जीl आप के पास हमारे जैसे आम आदमी है जी बसl

आप सौ साल जिए इस देश के लिएl आप हमारे मन में हमेशा हैं और आप के लिए यह पूरा देश प्रार्थना कर रही हैl आप अब तक क्या किया हम जानते हैं और आप बहुत कर चुके हैंl लेकिन अब समय तो अच्छा नहीं हैं किसी के लिए इसलिए किसी का मन नहीं लगता हैl कोविद कारण है और आप भी जानते हैl इस विनाश काल में हम कुछ स्ट्रांग होना चाहिएl आप तो स्ट्रॉन्ग ही हैंl आप पर हम सबको पूरा विश्वास हैl

आप की माँ क्या त्याग किये इस देश के लिएl हमारी नमस्कारम हैं उनकी चरण मेंl आप अपने ख़याल रकनाl आपकी तबियत की चिंता हैl आप की हाल कैसा हैl आप की सफ़ेद दाढ़ी EVR का जैसा हैl आप अच्छे लगते हैं इस रूप मेंl आप की आवाज़ सुनकर में यह पत्र लिख रहीं हूँl पब्लिकेशन के लिए नहींl सिर्फ आप को पता होना है कि आप हर एक दिन मेरी प्रार्थना में हैंl

आप से मिलना हैंl जब आप दोहा आये थे, मुझे शौक थी आपसे मिलने किl लेकिन भीड़ बहुत था. आपको डिस्टर्ब करना मै ने नहीं चाहती थीl दूसरा भार चेन्नई में देखूंl God willing. टेक केर जी और धन्यवाद आप की तमिल बात के लिएl

यह पत्र मै ने आप के लिए हिंदी में लिखी थीl किसी के मदद के बिनाl (सिर्फ गूगल ट्रांसलेट प्रयोगकी l मेरी ग़लत भाषा को क्षमा कीजियेl ) नमस्कार जीl

Posted in Extras

May your rich life spill over into your writing pages…

I do not know about others, but I make sure I don’t read other bloggers so that my ideas stay fresh and original and do not get influenced even inadvertently by their thinking ways. In other words, I do not want to mimic anyone or borrow words.

I started blogging amateurish during my Malaysian days. I didn’t know what it was and I could perhaps be one of India’s earliest bloggers who knows! India Times had a blogging portal in 1999 and it was then that my blogging journey began. My first reader was a young Pakistani. We met in an online chat room and I gave him the link to read me up. For me this was a life changing experience. I was interacting with someone who was from an enemy terrain, who was opposite sex (even if he was younger) and i was letting someone read my thoughts! First it was overwhelming but I trusted my first reader because I found him extremely decent. In fact I adopted him as my younger bro!

I blogged mostly what came to my mind then, consisting a series of new posts and my brief comments on them, nothing more. Blogging space used to limited in those days. Hardly a page was allowed for each post. Plus, my writing was still like a school composition.

Through this Paki friend of mine (with whom I quarreled over Kashmir (!)) I got interest in their media. It is here that I discovered my blogging Guru (!) so to speak of. My interest in blogging grew in leap and bounds because, I found someone writing from his heart. I also found that the blogger who stroked my interest in writing was arrogant to the core, rogue, rascal of first order and rowdy but highly intelligent and versatile. Beneath the veneer, I suspected a kind soul, a big heart. I thought I liked his style. He is the only blogger or columnist I read up regular until today. He has such a profound influence on my thought process. I guess I inherited even my rambling style from him!!! For years I read his blog posts based on his personal experiences and life that gave his words a legitimate touch. A rebel in everyway, first I was intimidated but gradually I came to appreciate his way of life and ideals. Coming from a terrorist country under military command, I was aware, he had to stick to boundaries. Nevertheless, I found his sarcastic and satirical pieces a very intelligent representation of his deepest thoughts and dismays. In last few years, the columnist has evolved into a researcher and author, but if you ask me, I like his past avatar the best over this his present sobered down self. That was what inspired me even if he was a lot repetitive in those days. I picked up my books based on his recommendations. There was a hitch: how do you tell anyone your mind guru was a Pakistani!! My husband noticed me reading him and said, I must log out! I tried telling my friends about him and they said, he must be a spy! Simply nobody liked the fact that I read a Pakistani journalist-author! Most were scared and the rest thought very lowly of the country. This is the first time I am writing about him openly in my blog. What a fine taste in everything, what a sense of humour, what a well camouflaged aching for the way things turned out, that was masked in satire and sarcasm. You can be an author/columnist/blogger, in short a journalist, easily in India. But to be one like him in his country needs utmost courage. I drew my own courage to write on sensitive subjects from my Maanaseega Guru. I have read his first book as well. Rambling as usual nevertheless, I loved it. I am touched by his life experiences that have molded him into the kind of guy he is today. I like his brand of music. Sense of dressing everything. Deepest respects and admiration here for my Guru, from a middle-age housewife from India whose thought process he has influenced. Charming. Of course, now he is watered down version of how he used to be. Currently my guru writes a lot on international media and on international news having well read the foreign publications and journals and research works, but in my memory are his cricket stories, jail protests, college days, campus politics etc. His India stories piqued my interest as well and mostly my comments to him were kind of like, ‘bast**d’ or ‘rascal’!

(My guru may have no idea he is my inspiration. May not even be aware of my existence in the first place).

After dwelling on my ideal blogger/columnist’s pieces for over ten years, I decided that I had to be honest like him in my writing and it is okay to draw from my life experiences. After all I have no secret to hide and I am nobody important. It is fine if I disclose certain personal things because they lend my blog an element of authenticity. Also in very different ways from his, my life is also conditioned by unique experiences. I thought these can be told without harm to a limited audience. I decided that I would never invite audience to my blog. Whoever comes here is an accidental visitor. Most return!

Today I find some of my friends blogging. They are excellent nostalgic bloggers/writers and I hope and wish they drink from the fountain of life too before they set out on their intended course.

Ahead lies this journey, a very interesting one full of vivid scenes and encounters that can be felt only by the mind. I am following such a road and I am enjoying this walk with my co-travelers. My life I feel is rich because of their intelligent and interesting company.

Most of us here are keyboard warriors quite like some armchair intellectuals out there. But the rewards we reap by way of hearty contentment is immense. You feel a sense of purpose. You feel a fulfillment.

At least this is my personal experience. Grateful to all who make this adventure of mine worthwhile.

No, absolutely no idea of going professional or public. Happy as I am. Amateurish. Appreciative of the handful select audience.

Posted in Extras

Social Media Etiquette …

Social media manners and ethics we need to adhere to, To my feeble knowledge :

  • First of all whether it is Instagram or Facebook, please DO NOT photobomb!!! One or two pictures will do. Once a while a batch of pictures when you go on tour will be fine. Even a series of tour albums must be fine if and when you hop from place to place. But no recollection and reposting of memories please unless they’re very special!
  • Do not talk too much about your kids’ success. Some over there aren’t even parents and may not become parents. And many of those parents out there may not have brightest kids like yours! One of the most sensitive issues is the kids stories parents post in social media. You can share the graduation picture, an instrumental recital or a competition prize or sports award for instance. Anything more than that like detailed academic achievements, contest/match wins etc., are irrelevant. I am surprised at kids who allow their parents to post their scuba diving and mountain trek pictures.
  • We all love our spouses, kids, who says no. Too many family pictures not welcome. How many broken families we have in our midst. Once a while cute family pics will look great!
  • Party pics once a while fine. Shopping pictures rarely. Outing with friends is something most can identify with. Must be okay in moderation.
  • Restaurant/eating out pics in moderation (preferably with friends)
  • Black & white or old family albums fine. Childhood/old wedding pics/school day pics win hearts.
  • Family weddings/birthday celebrations/anniversaries are fine without having to splash/photobomb. Moderation is the word.
  • Fitness routines must be double okay! We all love to hear the extra push you give.
  • Foodies most welcome to share mouthwatering recipes and pics!
  • Cute animal/babies stuff super duper okay!
  • Flowers/wildlife/anything beautiful and creative are like a breather.
  • Music and dance are appealing.
  • Let others tell their stories too. We can always host a private blog where we can detail our personal experiences. Let not social media become vehicles for our personal victory display. Or we can load everything to Google photos or similar platform and share link.
  • Politics can be minimal without inciting hatred. The purpose for being in social media is to connect with people, not disconnect. Again, all of us post sensitive political matters but let us make sure we do not infringe on anyone’s self-respect or dignity when we post anything online. This unwritten rule applies to me as well. One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist. World goes around on this principle.
  • Religion is fine but inciting hatred with religious stuff is not tolerable. Once a while even I enjoy reading verses from the Bible or the Koran so I hope even our Bhagwad Gita and other quotes and temple views will be tolerated in the same vein. Social media that way can be a great place to soak up on others’ culture. While we have every right to wear the badge of our faith on our social media sleeve, we do not have a right to express opinion on others. We have to stick to our guns, that’s all. We have no business with others. As simple as that.
  • Do not share cruelty pictures/rape stories/death and destruction/bloodbath videos or anything that has to do with violence or despair in social media. I find this extremely disturbing. I may write a thousand stories on this in my personal blog but even hearing a word such as rape from a male even in social media can be very upsetting to me. I do think my friends have a similar mindset. I don’t understand this psychology either.
  • Stay off super sensitive issues concerning safety and security of people or nations.
  • Stay off taboo subjects. Not all have appetite for this kind of info.
  • Do not provoke any individual/community via social media and contribute to escalating tension in a peaceful society. Harmony in an inter-dependent society more important than your stupid nonsense and arrogance.
  • Do not discuss controversial issues social/political/economic. A light sarcastic post must do. In-depth analysis is for mass media, not social media
  • Social media educated are the dumbest asses. Let us keep that in mind.
  • Do not post personal details for your own security.
  • Do not discuss your health in social media.
  • Do not vent in social media your anger, frustration, jealousy etc. This is not where we seek justice.
  • Do not share your sob stories with your social media friends. First of all they may have no clue. Secondly this is not a burden that they must share. Thirdly they do not know the other side. Finally who cares. So stop making a fool of yourself.
  • Do not preach too much by way of messages/quotes. One or two wisecracks are fine.
  • Small celebrations like a promotion in professional life can be shared in social media safely without inviting envy.
  • Little perks such a new automobile or an Apple phone can call for a social media celeb, no problem.
  • Daily civic issues of your corporation, village road, metro rail, water supply, power cable issue – all these can be dealt at Whatsapp group level. No need to discuss these trivial non-issue matters in social media as most of your buddies will have be having nothing to do with your local problems. There is no need to forcefully educate them on what is happening in your front.
  • Most importantly, when you read a book, please do not publish the story in Facebook the next day when you finish! When you watch a picture in TV/Netflix/Prime/Cinemas, please do not write a review in the Facebook. Reserve that to your blogpost where not every social media buddy of yours makes it a point to stop. This one single ethic that we may have/practice can go on to tell a lot on our character.
  • Unless yours is a business account, try not to sell Amway or LIC policies!
  • Sharing social causes is fine.
  • Share inspiring stories.
  • Share fun stories and games and puzzles.
  • Share positive stories and avoid negative vibes.
  • Do not tag someone without their permission.
  • Do not include pictures of others’ family or home without their permission.
  • It takes nothing not to hurt someone in social media, not to dent others’ pride. Let proud people stay proud.
  • Do not get into arguments with friends in social media. It is not worth it. I have done that mistake but I am wary of repeating it in future.
  • Most of us use social media for diversion mainly. We come here to relax, not to get worked up. Please let us all remember that.
  • Complement others generously. Be a giver not always a taker. It costs nothing to put a smile on someone’s face.

I am not sure if I adhere to these unwritten social media rules myself but I try to follow as much as I can.