Art, Poetry And Conversations


Many of my readers asked me why I have stopped posting poems and short fiction on blog and if I was making this a food blog. The answer is, No. It is true that I post a lot of recipes these days and that is because I send most of my poems as submissions. Almost all magazines accept fresh work so I can not post them here. As for short fiction, I am not writing any these days.

I am trying to take charge of the life I left behind and really working hard to get out of the vicious circle of anxiety, depression, fear and worry. It is a hard task for me but I am making those lifestyle changes that I can to be emotionally and mentally well. We will soon talk about that in another post.

One of the things that I found really therapeutic is art. This is the first of the Warli art pieces I did. Warli painting is a form of folk art from Maharashtra. Traditionally drawn by the tribal women belonging to Warli and Malkhar koli tribes.

Warli Art

I did some digital art and a few acrylic on canvas but never seriously pursued it. Since last few months I began to draw, color, paint and experiment with various mediums and art forms. I have not shared them here but you can view them on my Instagram page  . It started when a very dear friend began to share her Madhubani art. I was fascinated and asked her how she did those. Then through a lot of research on line and after watching videos on YouTube I made some and shared with friends. I found the process very calming so looked further and discovered Warli. A new window opened for me and in those dark hours of desperation I would immerse myself in those intricate  patterns and figures but something was still waiting to be discovered. My elder son is a fantastic artist and he’s been doing water colors lately. Now, I painted with water colors in middle school so it’s been 35+ years or so but the thought of dipping my fingers in color again was too tempting that I bought myself some paint, sketchbook, micro pens and brushes.  Adi was very encouraging and it gave me real boost to launch forth and just do something that would make me happy.

Again a proper research on techniques etc began and this time on Instagram too. For days I just watched wonder eyes the images emerge on the white sheets of papers, canvases etc. I was thrilled.

After a few failed attempts I am now beginning to get the hang of it. There is nothing more therapeutic than doing something you love. Art like writing has made me stronger though I still slip down and get those panic attacks now and then.

I am very happy to have finally found my linchpin.

Meanwhile two poems got published it my favorite magazine Cafe Dissensus. Always happy to find a place in this fabulous magazine. This is my first submission after the release of Wayfaring.

Here’s an excerpt from one of  the poems :

“the river hears her hurried footsteps
with rapt attention, at its bend
under the shade of the mangroves,
a boat and a promise patiently wait
ready to carry her away.”

You can the poems HERE.

Wayfaring is very special to for many reasons and if you haven’t got your copy yet please do. I would love your feedback. The book is available with all online book vendors worldwide including Amazon.

Here is an excerpt from a recent review that got published in The Sunflower Collective .

Poet/Journalist Abhimanyu Kumar says,

” Organised in seven sections, the poems cover a wide range of emotions and experiences. The book opens with the section called Trains. The poems included in this section set the tone for the rest of the book, in a sense.”

Do read the full review.

Blogging is still my first love and many of you know that I won the Indian Blogger Award for poetry recently. I finally got my certificate from Indiblogger and here it is. Makes me so proud of my journey as a blogger/writer/poet. Now you can call me an award winning blogger 😀

The Indian Blogger Awards IBA2017 were announced at BNLF and Valley of Words International Literature and Art Festival, Dehradun in Nov, 2017

I won the special VOW award for poetry and got my certificate today. The Google Chromecast was received by an author friend on my behalf on the day of the ceremony.

I’m humbled by this recognition. Thank you team IndiBlogger, jury members and all those who appreciated my work and still do.

It’s been a great journey so far.  My second book is being read and appreciated world over. Some poems from the books were read by Poet Dominic Albanese in Open Mic in Florida where he stays. A much awaited review is coming up soon and some more publishing news is awaited.

I will be starting the Monday Memories series again and try to be regular here so keep visiting and do please leave your feedback in comments.

Let’s hope it rains soon till then I am watching the changing color palette of the sky.

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Celebrations With A Difference – A Wedding, An Award And Other News


I have been away from serious blogging since many months and I apologize for that. The thing is I have been preoccupied with health issues, my book release and two big events that brought absolute joy to me.

First was the wedding of my elder son Aditya   to his girl friend Snigdha. Beautiful, talented and compassionate this daughter of mine is like sunshine on a rainy day. I had loved her from the day we first met some years back. Something had told me that this was going to be a bond for life for these two. It is a beautiful feeling to see the strong threads of friendship in a marriage. Rest everything is superfluous.

I never liked the statement, “they complete each other”. I think both of them are complete and fractured in their own way and respect that. For me this is the basis of any good relationship.

It is a perfect match and I am very happy for these two young adults starting a new chapter in their life. I am sure with Snigdha on his side my son will continue to grow into a better version of himself each day. He is a sensitive, caring boy fiercely independent yet very giving and exceptionally talented. Just needed someone to rein his wild temperament a little and all is well 😉 . These kids deserve all the awesomeness in the world.

Did I tell you she’s an awesome poet apart from being a very fine journalist? Well, now you know. I have been nagging her to publish her poems. She is way better than me and needs to be read.

The wedding was nothing too ostentatious. I do not believe in pomp and show with people dressed up like Christmas trees exchanging pleasantries for the sake of it. The simple sobriety and intimacy of the occasion was what made it memorable. With the melodious sounds  of shabad floating in the air the whole atmosphere was beautiful beyond words. The reason I love Sikh weddings are many. It is a short ceremony, happens in daytime and there are no long dragging rituals.  The Anand Karaj ceremony is one of the most beautiful wedding ceremonies I have ever witnessed and I am glad we opted for that.

The interesting fact is that this union was in line with the tradition of ‘love marriages’ my side of family has, beginning with my maternal grandparents. You choose your partner for life and are responsible for the consequences. 😀

We are also slowly becoming a very fine example of  cross culture family in the true sense, leaving behind the shackles of caste, creed, religion etc.  You get to know different cultures, eat different food, learn different languages and it is such a good cocktail of happiness even with the problems it brings at times.

In this case the ‘meeting the parents’ happened much later than ‘meeting the girl’. Like always the moment my son began dating her I was one of the first to meet. Not for so called’ approval’ but to break the ice and for us to know each other better. A fellow Mirandian, a poetess, a girl who loves to travel, read, is fun to be with and is highly balanced and focused in life, she can talk with just rolling her large eyes.. finally I have someone with whom I can gang up against the brats..oh the joy of having her as part of the family are many.

Meeting her parents extended my faith in ‘friends are the family you choose’ . By the time the couple were engaged to be married we were already partying hard. I was happy because my son was.  He had been through some of the hardest times a child has to go through for no fault of his and to see him beaming with happiness was the only thing that mattered. This coming together of two families gave me strength too but that is another story for another time.

Overall, it was a fun wedding where the close family and best friends spent the time of their life along with the gorgeous couple.

The newly wed had a great time and so did we. It was a celebration with a difference though like a true blue Punjabi wedding we had the dhol, bhangra and over loading of food and booze. 😀 And of course the DJ (a friend of my son in this case, the fact that he is a celebrity is a different matter all together) churning out the apt songs for the occasion.  We made the best memories together with so much love and craziness. The task force behind the entire celebration were the fantastic friends of the Snigdha, Adi and Shubhang, the kid brother. Without them rang pheeka reh jata. They made the fuctions come alive. Such energy and joy… irreplaceable.

Indian weddings are huge projects with a deadline one can not surpass and if there is no masala in an Indian wedding it didn’t happen. So, we debated, argued, threw tantrums and had bouts of emotionally charged episodes with tempers flaring and tears flowing.

I do not have much of an experience of wedding planning as my own marriage was a quick simple affair but this one was an overwhelming experience. Stepping away from the traditional, ritualistic customs and doing away with a lot of stuff that made no sense whatsoever except for an overload of expense and waste of time wasn’t easy.

At many points in this adventure I was convinced we’re going to screw up in a big way. Even the groom was certain there would be a disaster. We ranted, glowered, decided to part ways and all that. We were worried, tired, clueless about many things and behaved like jerks, myself included. There were long telephonic discussions, arguments over guest lists, outfits and unlimited shopping expeditions. The fact that we were based in three different places in the city wasn’t helping much and to top it I fell sick. But,  I am a sucker for emotions and to see my first born getting married was too much to joy to handle. On one hand I was jubilant and on the other his entire life flashed before my eyes like a movie, turning me into a sentimental wreak.

It was insane. The bride’s side had meticulously planned even the minutest detail and we were in disarray to the point of being hilarious but we survived.

For years I would be very scared and spent sleepless nights wondering if our broken home will bring the unfortunate stuff people said it would, would I fail in the end as a mother, as a friend, as a pillar of support I always tried to be but as it turned out there is a power in being true to oneself and doing what is right. In believing in oneself and one’s children, in listening to them and understanding them as individuals.

Even in the times of raging wars we are one and love each other unconditionally. The boys have outgrown my lap but not my love and that keeps us afloat even in the strongest of storms.

Kid 2 has started a new job and is living his life on his own terms. I wish him well for that he aspires for. Now, with his best friend, an elder brother who practically raised him up in the most crucial years of life when I was away, settled in his new phase of life, I know he will feel the void but that is what growing up is all about. Physically we may be away but there for each other always.

Unforgettable, irreplaceable magic of holding my first born and the crazy journey called Life that we share. Unmatched bond of friendship. 

 

#Adikishaadi #Snigdog

Don’t they look gorgeous? 🙂 #kalatikka These precious moments will stay with me forever.

The newly weds are back from their travels and already back to work. I wish them a life full of love and adventure.

Now,  let us get back to poetry, blogging and a very special award that I won.

2017 marked the tenth year of Indiblogger and my association with them entered its ninth year and what a fabulous journey it has been. Indiblogger is a credible platform for bloggers who wish to showcase their work and a recognition from them is highly cherished.

When they announced the nomination for Indian Blogger Awards #IBA2017 I was slightly hesitant to nominate my blog as I hadn’t been posting much of poetry lately but ten years of blogging nudged me to at least nominate, perhaps to get more readers if not anything else.

There were 3500 nominations across 117 categories. Not in my dreams I had thought that I will win the special #VOW award for poetry.

The awards were announced at a very interactive blogging conference #BNLF2017 at Dehradun in November and were judged and given in association with Valley Of Words Literature Festival.  

This award is very special to me not just because it validates my hard work but also because it came just two days before the release of my second book of poetry ‘Wayfaring‘.  I couldn’t be there at the ceremony so the team requested for a short acceptance video which I finally managed after hundreds of retakes, that’s how challenged I am technologically. 😀

Here’s the lovely poster indiblogger team made for the winners.  I would like to thank them for the commendable work they are doing by bringing the Indian bloggers at one platform from across the globe. Thank you to my readers, those who voted and the esteemed jury. We Blog. Therefore We Are. 

Winner of The Indian Blogger Awards 2017 - VOW Awards

I also received Google Chromecast as a gift from the Inditeam on winning the award. Now waiting for the certificate and trophy if that happens. 🙂

 

In another news, the praise for my poetry books is pouring in.

My debut book Collection Of Chaos reached a reader in France and she posted this beautiful message on FB. She is reading the second one too and I am eagerly waiting for her feedback. Thank you Anne for your kind words.

Common Wealth Prize-Winning Author, film maker Siddhartha Gigoo. chose his most interesting reads of 2017 for a HT feature  and I was pleasantly surprised to find my new collection Wayfaring in the list. What a joy to find a media mention within a few weeks of the release.

He also reviewed it on amazon bringing the much needed cheer in my life.

Praise for Wayfaring

Thanks for appreciating Siddhartha.

 

Keep me updated if you buy any of my books. Reader’s feedback is very essential for the growth of a writer.

Here’s to poetry and other adventures of life. I will try to keep the blog afloat with regular posts. Keep visiting and do leave your comments.

Teaser Of ‘Wayfaring’ And Nine Years Of blogging With WordPress


Today Spinning A Yarn Of Life completed nine years on WordPress though I have been blogging for twelve years now.

It has been a beautiful journey of love, support, appreciation, milestones and interactions with hundreds of readers whom I have never met in life and those whom I have met and interacted at personal level too. A journey with fantastic Indiblogger and Blogadda, the two biggest platforms for Indian blogs.

I got featured in India’s Top Blog’s for five consecutive years and the stats show that during these nine years 2,797 good people began to follow my blog. The blog hits have crossed  715,062 hits which in itself is amazing. Yes, numbers do matter here.

I appreciate that out of millions of blogs you chose to come to mine and stayed. I express my gratitude and love to each one of you. Do keep leaving your views so I can know where to improve.

I guess everything happens at the right time.  Most of you now know how it all began and why I started this blog. I have come a long way from that stage. Time sure has flown by and there have been many new adventures and challenges along the way.

Blogging led to my poetic journey. It all started with the April Pad Challenge, 2009 by Robert Lee Brewer. From there I began to explore the world of poetry and seriously started polishing my craft. The student was ready and the teachers appeared, guiding me at all levels including the personal level. I gained courage and strength from some of the best in the field. Many of them have stayed and seen me evolve. What could be more joyful that that.

In the first blogging year itself Blogadda picked my post for their Spicy Saturday Pick. Blogging achievements are very encouraging. I also started attending the fantastic Indiblogger meets and came to know many excellent writers/ bloggers. Friendships formed, some for lifetime, and the virtual world gave me a hope to carry on with head held high.

I won the IndusLadies Mothers’ Day contest in the same year and discovered a whole new challenging world of contests. Though I do not participate in them now especially if they demand seeking public votes.

It was fun to do Tags and themed series but then I shifted to serious writing. Social issues like women’s right, VAW, child abuse etc. became my subjects. Through my personal stories I realized the power of raising the voice against wrong at all levels. People began to write to me personally how they found a different perspective to look at their lives. Some said that my personal battle and courage gave them strength. We are there to do just that. It is a common fight against all wrong.

Poetry continued and slowly I started getting published in online journals. The first break came with two poems getting published in Troubadour 21, then opportunities kept knocking the door and I never looked back.

2011 brought a pleasant surprise in the form of media mention in HT. It was a joy to find my blog listed by a national newspaper.

By now I was focusing more on my poetry. Some important publications took place, both in poetry and fiction, online and in print, that I am very proud of.  You can see the list in the pages at the top section of the blog. There were interviews and recognition for writing came from not just the blogger community but even outside it which meant a lot. (The pic is of Chennai bloggers though but then we are not divided by states. 🙂 )

The adventure continued till a major milestone in 2014. My debut poetry book got published from England. This was what I was waiting for. My hard work had paid finally. Each online publication led to this beautiful creation and I am so thankful to the editors, critics, poet friends who made this happen.

I have diversified the blog a lot during last five years  and the frequency of posts has become less but blogging still remains my first love and do plan to blog more now.

Suggestions are welcome from all my readers. Please feel free to write in.

Now we come to another milestone. My second book of poems is ready for release on 20, Nov, 2017 and here is the teaser of ‘Wayfaring’ by Leaky Boot Press.

This book is very different from the first one. In the Acknowledgement of the first book I had written. ” Out of chaos emerge new paths”. This is journey on that path, both physical and metaphysical.

I hope all of you will get a copy and write your views about how far I have come from that first step, or have I really made a mark, learned something. This book is for those who were right there  when it all begun.

The book is available to pre-order  

You can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, FB and write to me here too.

I look forward to notes from you. Keep in touch.

Support poetry. Pre-order now.

The blog is nominated for Indiblogger’s Indian Blogging awards. Do leave a note if you like my writing. Log in to Facebook to comment. Even non bloggers can show the love. 

Click Here To Comment 

Thank you everyone for being there for me.

Love and Light.

Book Release, Interview And Other Milestones


So much has been happening lately that I have lost count of things I needed to share with my readers though most of those who follow me on other social channels must be getting the micro updates.
I gave in to the temptation and joined Instagram. It is overwhelming and though a great platform I need to nip that desire to make it a focal point of living. Those of you who are there can follow me  @tikulli 

Can’t believe I have already shared more than 120 posts there. 😀

Now to the Good news that has kept me busy and happy.

My elder son Aditya is getting married to his lovely girl friend Snigdha. I don’t know how to explain the feeling of happiness. It is a new chapter in their lives and ours. As the big day gets closer I am becoming very nostalgic and emotional. (Not that I am not that most of the time lol)

I wish them friendship, love and joy. And Peace. I know I tried to do my best as a parent and I hope he starts now on a new note leaving behind the grief, sorrow and grudges of the past. Cherish the bond we share.

Sharing a box of rich dark ganache, dark chocolate from Fabelle chocolate boutique, ITC Maurya Sheraton. This delicious chocolate is made with exquisite Ghana Cocoa. I went there recently and got blown over by the range. Post coming up soon.

Now to writing and other things.

In July poet-editor-academe Seb Doubinsky featured me on TABAGO, his wonderful international page for writers. A great honor for me to share a platform with some of the finest writers.

“I think both fiction and poetry are socially relevant projects just like any other art, a form of protest.”

Let stories be told, poems be written and songs be sung without fear. Let there be tolerance, compassion and love for all. We are living in difficult times and there is a dire need for change for the good of future generations. 70 years of Independence mean nothing if we still live in fear, if human lives do not matter. Violence, apathy, intolerance, bigotry needs to go.

Here is the link to the interview.  TIKULI DOGRA  

Another fantastic new is selection of my short story in ‘Silence is White’ an exceptional anthology dedicated to my dear friend, author, editor, academe, Seb Doubinsky. Kudos to  Chris Kelso and James Goddard for making this happen and Manu Rich for the brilliant cover.  I am the only Indian writer in the anthology and very proud to be included. Thank you James for putting the soul in my story. Releasing Date – October, 19th. You can pre order the book here. Soon it will be available here too.

 

 

I have a very important announcement coming up in a few days. Stay tuned. 🙂 

Meanwhile, my blog has been nominated in five categories for Indian Blogger Awards. Even non bloggers can leave a comment through Facebook. If you enjoy my writing, photographs etc do leave a testimonial by clicking on the given link.  #IBA2017 

Show some love by leaving a comment here.  You can even click on the right side bar widget to reach the page. Indiblogger completed a decade this year and I have nine years of wonderful association with them as a blogger. A great platform to be part of.

In nine years of blogging with WordPress I have now 2,700+ followers and 704,608 blog hits.

The blog was listed in Top Blogs of India for the sixth consecutive year. This year was the seventh edition of the Directory of best Indian blogs. A great milestone for me. Thank you for being part of my journey.

We blog, therefore we are.  

Keep reading and do leave your comments on the posts so that I know your views.

Thank you for all the love and support. Blogging with WordPress has been a very satisfying journey. The stats show the encouragement I get from all of you. Stay connected.

Monday Memories 23 – Six Years Of Blogging And A Few Other Things


First of all Eid Mubarak to all my readers and thank you for the tremendous love and support you always give me.

Can’t believe I have blogged for almost eight years now.  A pretty anniversary message greeted me as I logged in today. Simple little things that make life what it is.

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1624 followers, 532,335 blog hits and Five years with Indiblogger. Incidently last year too the blog anniversary fell on a Monday.  🙂

tikuli banner 2

(Pic copyright The Book Club)

Today is a special day for many reasons.  The Book Club blog tour of my poetry book has begun and they posted their first review by Privytrifles . I will be sharing a post on the entire tour later.

This year’s highlight has been my book and you can read all about it Here .  Another good thing was the reading of Italian translations of my poems by Rachel Slade at the Cena Poetica di Samuele Editore  and another poem translated and displayed as part of the VerdArti festival in Italy.  New poems have been submitted to some cool online and print magazines and I am waiting.  Meanwhile there is a lot of reading and writing to be done. Both poetry and Fiction. I have not been too well and getting back my health is a priority right now. Reasons for less of blogging these days. Better days will come 🙂

This year also saw a change in my elder son’s life. He began working as a reporter with Hindustan Times (HT City) Aditya Dogra  .  A complete change from the Animation work he was doing. I am glad that he is following his passion and enjoying the new venture. Same with the younger one too who starts his winter training at the ITC Maurya, Delhi very soon. Nothing makes a mother proud than to see her children living their lives as independent adults. The boys are my strength and best friends. I wish them all the very best in life. We may not be living together but we are never too far away from each other.

It’s been four years now since I left my husband’s home in search of myself as a woman and as an individual. It has been an uphill ride but worth every obstacle, every heartbreak. These were just the tests, the build ups, so that I can go through to the next level of independence and self – control. I have realized that most of the times we are our own support system and the key is to never lose Focus. I still have a long way to go to accomplish what I wish, to have my place, to travel to the places I always longed to visit, to learn and write more, to completely shed all that is not me.  I believe the universe provides for us what we ask for. That our thoughts create our future. I am working on shedding the negative and visualizing all the good and abundance now in the present. I feel more centered. I have ‘reoriented’ myself and this has led to a more calmer me than before though I still panic at certain things. I also stopped mulling the old wine. I am not writing stuff full of angst and sorrow. At least I am making a conscious effort not to do it. I think it was acting as a block in my inner progress. Silencing the voices in my head was much-needed to feel the sense of well-being that is required to think right. I have begun to appreciate ‘little things’ that feed and nourish my soul and it has made a lot of difference in my life at many levels. I  have achieved a lot in last few years and I feel proud of it. There will come a time for me to talk about it more openly but for now one must just follow the heart and move on in the chosen direction. Keeping all the options open. Because I could not change the situation I was challenged to change myself.  It was a life saving technique  and it worked.

The universe has it all and I shall get my share. Thank you friends for standing by me in all the good times and bad.

I leave you with the serenity prayer that helped me chart my path,

“Dear universe, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.”

Monday Memories 16 – Five Years Of Blogging With Wordpress



WordPress.com

Five glorious years of blogging with WP and Four as Indiblogger – 1,378 followers, 484,310 hits, 892 posts and 5,293 comments.

A Big Thank You To All Of You 

 This has been a great learning experience for me. A platform that provided me space not just to showcase my writing but also to heal from the turmoil I was going through.  What began as a release, a catharsis later turned into passion. Today I feel that my rooting years are over and the real word journey has begun. Through my blog I met people who enriched me with their friendship and love, some of my poems  and short stories got published online and in print, I was interviewed and featured on some of the known blogging sites and networks.  Indiblogger connected me to hundreds of other bloggers, a thread unseen but very strongly connecting all the extended family members of this wonderful blogging network. Thanks Inditeam.

I also thank BlogAdda for interviewing me and choosing many of my posts as their weekly picks.

I thank not just my readers but also those who recognized the spark in me and never let me slip back. My friends, mentors and my boys without whom my journey would have been devoid of some of the most amazing experiences. Growing up with them made me who I am.

Here are some of my most loved posts

Interview with Kris Saknussemm  If you are a budding writer then you MUST read this. Kris is my mentor and friend and although this is an old interview it is very good advice. I owe it all to him for helping me in those difficult teething years of writing.

I will one day introduce you to another fabulous mentor I have, Facebook has been a blessing for me. A post on that is overdue. Coming soon 🙂

Return  A very short fiction . Although dark and not much to the liking of many I absolutely enjoyed writing this. Do read.

Le petite Mort –  A 55r which is my all time favorite.

Temples of Khajuraho  –  A completely different take on the Temples of Khajuraho.  My best post in travel section so far.

There are a lot of issues close to my heart and I have very strongly written about them but these are the post I wish to share today. The inline link in it will take you to all the other posts.  On Being a Woman   and On being a mother

This is the first of the Monday Memories post and one of the two parenting posts i love  Bottomless Pits, Edible Weapons and more 

the other is Relationship Dysfunction  . AN old post which is based on a real experience Have it flaunt it  , I suck at humor but enjoyed writing it.

There are many more which I can link here but  won’t it be nice to explore and read on your own 😉 ? I will look forward to your comments, suggestions  and critique.  Please feel free to honestly express your views as each one will help me improve my writing.

Let me leave you with two short poems from a new collection not yet on blog

what once was entwined 
is now entangled 
masks shed
knots
cracks
bared 
love is many a splendorous thing

**

words
tangled up in knots
someone else has tied
part broken
part whole
– a poem
restless with hopes and fears

IndiBloggers Take Pledge to Ring The Bell – A Breakthrough Initiative


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On Woman’s Day I attended an event organised by Breakthrough a global human right organisation and IndiBlogger, the largest community of Indian bloggers. Breakthrough launched the #RingTheBell (Bell bajao) campaign  in 2008 .

The event for this year which was formally launched at British Council urges men to intervene and take a pledge to end violence against women with their Global campaign of  ‘One Million Men and One Million promises to end all forms of violence against women’.

Artists, NGOs, bloggers, entrepreneurs and people from all walks of life gathered to end #VAW  in whatever possible. Around 150 indibloggers participated as part of #indichange and renewed their pledge. I always thought we should have a “Bloggers writing for change” group and this initiative gives us a platform to join our voices against any kind of violence against women and children.

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I asked someone ” Were the men ever “gentle” ?” I have a problem with this poster. I think men are more sensitive to women’s issues now than ever before and yes, exceptions are always there and have been in the past too. The lady told me it is about  extending hands towards men who have that “gentle” side but just need a little nudge. Sonali rightly said that we should teach the girls not to laugh at the boys who cry. It is just about being sensitive to each other as humans beyond gender or  anything else.

“We need to tell our boys that they CAN cry.”

That brings me to other controversial statement. “Hang the rapists.” I am against capital punishment but do believe in strict law enforcement, sensitization, severe punishments even reforming the accused serving the sentences but taking a life whatever the case is something i do not agree with.The system need overhauling including the prisons. It is easier said than done but in any case my vote will always be against capital punishment. Sometime you need to forgive to stop the cycle. This is the sign of a civilized society. Why do we lose that humane touch and not give a chance to those perpetrators serving the sentences in jails of redeeming and actually doing something good with the rest of their lives if they have deep remorse and bring the change within. Is it not we want? A change from within in every man and woman in our society? Many won’t agree and have counter points so we can discuss  it later.

  Violence is not just physical, the other kinds – emotional and mental is more deep-rooted and seldom talked about for the lack of “evidence”. I have been there and know how difficult it is to take that one step in direction of finding yourself and reclaiming your dignity by stepping out of  relationship or a situation. The price sometimes is extremely high. Most of the time for many women it is not even possible. A deeper dialogue and engaging men to find new solutions and making them take the ownership of doing their bit to act against any kind of #VAW is a step I appreciate. I hope the campaign does not stay to the cities and reaches our villages and small towns too.

It was a thought-provoking evening with panel discussions based on two themes

1 Forms of responses & encouragement – social , legal and leadership taken by women

2 Portrayal of women in films, TV  and advertising

It was an enthralling experience to listen to listen to some of the women I admire Indira Jaisingh, Advaita Kala, Sonali Khan, , Priya Paul. Some of the other women panelists came from rural areas where they are doing groundbreaking work. They included Rahima Khatun and Pushpa Balmiki.

The men included Ryan Mendonca, Rajan Anandan who promised to who promises to invest in startups led by women, Rahul Bose and our very own Anoop Johnson from indiBlogger.

Topics like Objectification. Commodification. Hypersexuality, redefining ‘macho”, stereotyping in media, harassment of women on internet and many other important issues were discussed.

Some quotes from the speakers:

“People always say, we bring up our daughters like our sons.’ Why not bring up your sons like your daughters?” Advaita Kala

 “There can be no gender justice without the involvement of men,” he said. “The challenge is, how do we get men to stop seeing this as a ‘women’s issue’? We’ve completely ignored a ready constituency of men – every victim of rape, molestation and abuse has an angry father, a confused husband, a shamed brother. We can reach out to these men, counsel them, and turn them into the greatest gender warriors in this battle.” Rahul Bose 

“Boys don’t need to play with guns, there’s no need for guns in our lives. Patriarchy in staunchly patriarchal cultures reflects in the push for capital punishment, in an eye for an eye. Cultures that have moved past patriarchy have given up capital punishment, like some of the Scandinavian countries. So we must teach our men to give power, secede power, not assume it. Boys should be accustomed to telling their sisters, you stay out till 2am, I’ll come home at 1. This will form the basis of a unconditional change that can make the world a safer place for everybody.” Rahul Bose

“Women are not getting 33%reservation in parliament because there they will not be able to put us down.” Rahima

We had some brilliant video streaming of people working hard to bring the change at grassroot levels. I loved this quote from a woman activist.

Manzilen unko milti hain

 jinke sapno main jaan hoti hai

Sirf pankh hone se kuch nahin hota

 hoslon se udaan hoti hai

Performances by Swarathma , a folk- rock band from Bangalore. Sensitivity about the burning issues of our time and the power of good music can go a long way in touching human psyche.  Do we hear the sounds of change? I wish I had recorded some part of the electrifying performance.   Do listen to their music on You Tube. Their song on child sexual abuse ‘Ghum’ was heart wrenching.

Listening to Mahabanoo-Modi-Kotwal was something very close to heart and as a writer, as a woman it touched some deep chord inside. It was really a privilege. I would love to connect with her sometime. I loved the poem by Eve Ensler that she read out. Her readings from Vagina Monologue was thought provoking.

“Main Aazad hun. Aazad hun aur behad sexy . Koi problem hai ?”

kotwal

Thank you for letting me use this brilliant Photograph  IHM  . Do visit her awesome blog.

As more and more people pledged their support by ringing the bell the time came for the special guest to bewitch the gathering with her music. Watching Anoushka Shankar live on stage brought back fond memories of listening to her father. She has the same heartwarming smile and way of communicating with her team of musicians , same brilliance as she magically moves her fingers to produce the finest of Indian classical music. The raagas she chose to play were excellent.  The evening air was filled with the gorgeous music and her presence. It was simply breathtaking. She too extended her support to the cause. Some people question the role of  celebrities at such events but here was a woman who has been there done that just like me, you and many of us trying t make a difference and it takes courage to speak.. immense courage.

It is a feeling of pride  to be associated with IndiBlogger‘s  initiative #IndiChange and I thank each member of the IndiBlogger team for their unconditional support to me as woman, as a blogger. When you are rebelling against a system, defying age-old norms and breaking barriers every support counts. It made my struggle easier. I think we  as invited bloggers did not get time to express our point of views which would have been excellent because we are the voice of the internet and every voice counts. The new initiative  IndiChange is about “Harnessing the collective power of blogging to fight the evil.”

I hope more and more people Ring The Bell and there comes a time when we are able to completely wipe out VAW from the roots.

Let us aim to get 1 million men to pledge support through ‘Breakthough’ from 8th March 2013 to 8th March 2014. Spread the word and join the action.  

Here are some photographs of the event.

You can read some of my other related posts HERE 

A Peek into All Women’s IndiBlogger Meet


Sunday 10th June saw two mega back to back events at The Park, Delhi.  An all women’s Indiblogger meet sponsored by Dove  #hairaware attended by 100+ bloggers from Delhi/ NCR was the first one. A few bloggers specially came from gustation to be part of the grand event.

I had mixed feelings about the meet but the excitement to meet old friends and new was overpowering. It also meant relaxed fun time which I needed badly. My elder one, an indiblogger himself,  accompanied me as we had to attend the second meet by Spice Mobiles too.  A whole Sunday devoted to just sheer pampering.

The stage was already set when we registered and soon the introductions began.

As the introductions began I realized how large the women blogger community had become. Food, art, personal musings, poetry, fiction, technology, photography, fashion, you name it and there were women passionately blogging about it in the capital. A proud feeling to see women finding their voice and expressing themselves.

The Dove Girls

Lights Camera Action

After  60 seconds of fame the gorgeous bloggers talked about hair problems, real beauty  and other things.

We wrote about how meets can be made better. Exchanged views from other bloggers and discussed it.

I loved the spunk, the confidence, the spirit of life and the love for what she is,  in this young blogger. “What is real Beauty?” They asked.  “I am” , she said. Without make up, designer wear and any of the beauty products and accessories. .. Real beauty is with in.  YES . It Is. .. Proud of you girl. Would love to connect with her. Shout out for you dear girl..

Happy smiling faces .. It is all about being oneself .

Friendships are made here .

Lights camera Action

Love Dove smile :p

The gorgeous Inditeam with Dove T shirts. These girls worked hard to make it all a grand event. Cheers to all the team members. You rock. 😀

The kids had a blast. Yes, they were all there , from toddlers to big boys :p

😀 The big kid who along with his mom won a gift voucher of 5,000 bucks. Proud moment for me. Adi has been a pillar of strength to me in all those difficult years. Love you my boy.

Engrossed in one thing or the other. I met some of my twitter friends here. What a joy it is to meet people who were just names some time ago.

How can we have better blogger meet? Some very interesting suggestions came up and I hope they will be implemented. Blogger meets MUST have discussion on various topics that people write about, their experiences, tips to new bloggers, any other topics related to blogging , personal experiences and much more .

Indian by Birth . Blogger by choice .

The gift hamper we all got.

And the Tea/ coffee and lunch was on the house 😀

The stand up comedy act which was a tad boring for some of us.

Anoop , a gracious compare . He never left an opportunity to make us laugh.

And who had the longest most beautiful hair ? Rapunzel ?

Loveliness all around

 

 

Am waiting for the official picture to be released. The group photographs of all the gorgeous women bloggers.

The credits  for All these pictures goes to IHM and Aabha Midha . Thank you ladies for sharing them.

Still longing for more ..  Hop over to IHM’s blog .. There is more in store for you  there

What the Paparazzi captured at the Indiblogger Meet

‘beauty is as beauty does’  😀

I hope there will be more official and unofficial meet now. More women will step out of  their cocoon and share their views  with the world.  It changed my course of life, changed me as a woman, as a person. It helped me unfold my resilient petals. Hope it does the same for many others.

Thank you Indiblogger team for standing by me.  Means a lot.

Cheers !!!!!

The biggest ever Blogger meet  took place just an hour after  this one .. check out the Spice Mobiles #secureandroid  Meet  Here

Delhi  Get’s a taste of Spic(y) Makhni blog curry 

Delhi Gets a taste of Spice(y) Makhni Blog Curry


Indiblogger’s date with Delhi was nothing less than sheer adrenaline rush.  After the Dove sponsored All Women’ Blogger meet , Delhi had a taste of Spic(y} Makhni  power packed meet at The Park on Sunday, 10th of June. It was the  biggest event so far, attended by 300+ bloggers from Delhi/ NCR and even nearby Uttarpradesh .

The event was sponsored by Spice Mobiles with Tech Guru Rajiv Makhni conducting a debate on the myths and true facts about mobile security, as well as hosting a  fun quiz on the spot. Latest Spice mobiles as prizes, on the house snacks, dinner added to the excitement. For me, it was yet another chance to have fun-filled time with old blogger buddies and interact with the new ones. The family seems to have grown tremendously since the last HP meet in Dec 2011. I met some of the twitter friends and it was great to meet those people who were just names till now 🙂

It was amazing to find kids as young as nine and fourteen years expressing their thoughts via blog with such confidence on subjects they are passionate about.  Kudos to those who are not scared to give themselves to the rush and try something new. Internet has sure made a huge impact in our lives, no age bar.

I have yet to witness the kind of energy that flowed all through the event .  Rajiv and Anoop kept the pulse racing by their wit , humor and charm. Hur Hur became the cheer chat and the decibel kept increasing with the time. The fantastic thing was the feeling of  oneness and the ease with which everyone related to each other , even the first timers.

Introductions are routine unless you add a  pinch of humor to them and Rajiv had us in splits most of the time.  Some exchanges between the bloggers and Rajiv were hilarious. Never have I laughed so much in my life. Oh boy , what a day it was. A woman blogger sang Celine Dion song and yet another recited a poem dedicated to the scintillating Rajeev. ( He won many female admirers that day :p.. well deserved I must say. A very humble and charming person ).

We had ‘Catch the Thief ” game ( our team Yellow won 😀 ), an interesting debate on mobile security, privacy – myths and truths conducted by Rajiv . It is always a pleasure when learning and fun are blended nicely.

Then the most awaited on the spot quiz with coveted prizes like FLO, Stellar and Horizon phones began. Not only we came to know some very interesting facts but the joy of winning made some of the bloggers break into victory dance. 😀  Between Aditya (my son and a fellow indiblogger) and me , we won two smart phones and three pen drives. I think almost everyone got at least one  pen drive.

The mind-blowing  mind reading  show by Karan Singh was simply out of the world. The young man was so full of life and brilliant performer. We were all awestruck by the accuracy with he revealed the answers. A genius in my opinion. He freaked us out by his confidence and skills. Here is the link to his FB page KaranSingh Magic   for those who love magic in their lives. I certainly do. 🙂

Unfortunately the presentation by the product manager from Spice Mobiles was a let down ( he used an Apple iPad  :P) and most of the bloggers moved on to the tea/coffee counter ignoring the poor chap.

Apart from all the discussions, quiz , debates and games there was a huge spread of  mouth-watering dishes for dinner and desserts, though the Tiramisu was Yuck . 😦

The breaks in between gave us an opportunity to talk to other bloggers and a small group gathered to discuss about gadgets with the tech guru Rajiv. In the midst of camera flashes and people posing for photographs , laughter and fun , the Indiblogger team of Renie , Karthik, Vineet ,Anoop and the others worked relentlessly to make the Blogger meet a grand event. It was a hard task to hold two back to back meets at such a large-scale at the same venue on the same day. Hats off to the Indi Team. Very well done. We sure are proud to be part of the family.

Not just these guys but the girls worked hard. From registration, answering queries to managing both the events, they did a stupendous job.  Three Cheers for the women Indi Team of Diana, Nafisa and others.

The highlight of the meets were two ever smiling toddlers. The youngest of the Indibloggers 😀

Am sharing Some of the photographs taken by Arvind Khanna and my son Aditya . Thanks  Arvind for letting me share the joy. I hope I am able to pass on some of the fun and excitement through them. There will be many more videos and photos as the members upload them. We will have some from the Indiblogger team also. I will add them here as they come.

Enjoy !

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Cheers to all the Delhi/ NCR bloggers, Rajiv and Indiblogger team for the Spic(y) Makhni blog curry meet .. ! If this was BIG  watch us in action next time. Many friends were missed. Make sure you join us in the next meet. 

Media mentions 

NDTV Gadgets 

IBNlive 

Real beauty is an ecstasy, a hunger, a perfume as simple as that



Dove Real Beauty on Yahoo! India

This is my second  post as part of the contest by indiblogger.in, Yahoo India and Dove “I believe in Real Beauty ” . Under the topic ” what does real beauty mean to you ? ”  (Do check their official page by clicking the Badge. )

Do read the first post : Real Beauty is – A flame lit from the inside out   .  

VOTE FOR POST ONE  ON INDIVINE  and  DO  FB LIKE 

If you are a blogger and like my views, do “FB Like”/vote for me for POST TWO
Waking up to the real beauty around us 

When on some gilded cloud, or flower,

My gazing soul would dwell an hour,

And in those weaker glories spy

Some shadows of eternity;

The Retreat by Henry Vaughan

The human life is saturated with beauty. Every moment of life is an irreplaceable miracle and to be awake to witness that miracle is the real beauty of living. Beauty is not always realized through a life changing moment or a great epiphany. It is not always hidden in a sunset or a rainbow, or found deep down in ocean or high up in sky real beauty is found though a child’s eyes. It could be anything from a blooming flower or a buzzing bumblebee or maybe just a sight of a sparrow sitting on the window sill. It can be a smile, a laugh, a touch. Real beauty is expression of joy.

Beauty is often found where you least expect it. In today’s world we are so bogged down by our schedules, obligations, everyday struggles that we have lost our sense of wonder and the joy and beauty found in the simplest things of life. During a visit to Nainital we went for a boat ride on a full moon night. The lake was shimmering silver and the hills were gilded with moonbeams, the sky deep shade of blue. I remarked to the boatman about how fortunate he was to live in such beauty. He replied that he was born here and earns his livelihood as boatmen. These are mundane sights for him and he is not affected by what I find enchanting.

I felt that in his relentless efforts to earn and feed a family he had closed himself to the beauty that renewed itself every day around him.

Beauty is all about opening your heart and mind and allowing yourself to appreciate what’s around you. Just a little quieting yourself internally and watching everything as if for the first time will bring you closer to what real beauty is. Real beauty is beyond mind. It is spontaneous.

Whenever you feel beauty — in the dewdrop clinging to the blade of grass, in the wild flowers, in the thunder and lightning or in a woman or a man – the moment grips you so deeply that you are cut off from the past. For that moment you are detached, everything ceases to exist and after a while even the visual dissolves and you are left with a beautiful feeling. That’s real beauty.  To become one, to immerse yourself completely, to surrender is to become really beautiful.

Whenever I listen to music, caress, hug or kiss, when I watch a riot of colors around me or savor a dish I think how beautiful it is to be blessed with all the five senses. Appreciation of whatever we do and doing it with utmost devotion is beautiful whether it is eating food, working on a project, painting a picture, cooking a meal, anything.

To be really beautiful and to experience the beauty all around is to be intimately connected to life. We overlook all the wealth of artistry around us by being disconnected as we go through the usual daily routine. We need to change our perception and slow down.

“I never saw an ugly thing in my life: for let the form of an object be what it may – light, shade, and perspective will always make it beautiful.” 
John Constable

We are continuously trying hard to fill the empty spaces but we forget that in these gaps real beauty is found. Spaces give birth to forms. It is through space that sound vibrates, our bodies move, the air fills the lungs and we breathe. It is these gaps between the letters that makes this piece of writing coherent. Real beauty moves silently between these spaces. Space is essential for a beautiful relationship to grow.

Satyanand says,” nothing is objectively impressive; things are impressive only when they succeed in touching the sensibility of the observer by finding avenues in heart and mind.”

Observation is not enough, appreciation is required. To spend quiet moments with oneself under a starlit sky is beautiful so is holding hands and feeling the warmth of someone you love. The energy that passes through in those moments is beautiful.

We develop an orgasmic relationship with life, it is when we surrender and flow into the infinite depth and marvel at the unknown and mysterious ways in which the universe works we discover real beauty. All this happens only if we have a child’s heart and an inquisitive mind when we are not biased and judgmental. Just as the sunlit peaks have their glory so do the deep dark valleys have their own depth, own silence and own coolness.

We can appreciate the beauty around us only when we remember that there is a beauty that lies within us that makes us unique we don’t have to travel to distant places for it. A really beautiful person is that who shares that inward beauty and encourages others to find what’s beautiful in them. Even a silent communion between a human and an animal can be beautiful.

Real beauty is also about creating. Whether you create a piece of music, a poem, a painting or build a machine, design something new. It is about evolving, nurturing, growing. It is taking your imagination beyond the “normal realms “, to set yourself free. Creating life by giving birth or tending the garden, painting a fence, working on a potter’s wheel or simply making the mundane an enjoyable experience is beautiful.

It is the balance and harmony with oneself and nature that makes us beautiful. It is in simplicity of life and living that one finds real beauty.

“In small proportions we just beauties see;

And in short measures, life may perfect be.”

Ben Johnson

Real Beauty of a Woman

Sensuousness also plays an important role when we speak of beauty of a woman. Not every woman who is physically attractive is sensuous and that is what makes some women really beautiful than others. This sensuousness comes from the inherent qualities we talked about in the previous post.

Sensuousness may differ with each woman but essentially it is that which makes her so fascinating and complex in her own way. It is celebration of a woman who is in full possession of her powers, warm, elegant, luminous with inner glow, whose persona lingers on long after she is gone. That is real beauty.

So when we talk of real physical beauty this is one inner factor that comes to play in a big way. It is more mental than just physical that counts after all. If her soul is ablaze with inner fire and passion she becomes beautiful not just momentarily but eternally.

Each woman across the globe is unique and there are beautiful differences and similarities between African, Caucasian, Asian, women from the Far East and Middle East and Latino women. Real beauty is celebration of this extraordinary uniqueness of beauty in them untouched by any outward “make up”.

I decided to do a second post for Real Beauty because I feel there is so much beauty of thoughts to share and each shared thought is a seed for a flowering tree where hundreds of new thoughts blossom enriching our lives and of others.

Beauty is an ecstasy; it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it. It is like the perfume of a rose: you can smell it and that is all.


W.Somerset Maugham