The Power of Blogging

7 years.

200 posts.

As is wont, I forgot to commemorate my blog’s birthday (5th February, if you’re curious) this year too. But while I was going through past posts, I suddenly saw the small little ‘199’ next to the tab header.

So, for my 200th post, I decided to be contemplative.

I was an 18 year old girl, trying to find a momentary escape from exam-prep, when I started blogging. I don’t remember what I expected from it at the time, except that I was glad to have a place to write whatever I wished, and it could be potentially read by numerous people.

Now, going through all the posts over the years, I can see how I’ve evolved, how my writing style has evolved, how my interests have developed, and how blogging as a medium has fared.

All in all, I’m glad I took the plunge and I am still excited every time I press ‘Publish’…and that’s why I keep blogging…because even after 7 years, I still want to keep this blog up and going. It’s something I’ve become proud of.

As an exercise in better planning, I’ve decided to post at least twice a month, if not more (I’m hoping to make it weekly, but let’s take baby steps).

Thank you for sticking with me and for reading! I hope you’ve found your happy place in blogging too.

Late-night Musings: The Journey, not the Destination

“It’s the journey that matters more than the destination”

I couldn’t find a definite, verifiable source which knows who expressed this thought first. Says a lot to it’s popularity I guess (that it’s been used so many times that nobody actually knows who said it first).

This quote has probably been paraphrased countless times by numerous people. And the essence it conveys is still as important as ever.

Whenever there’s something to look forward to, or something we’re dreading, there’s so much significance in the time leading up to that event. And if we remember that, it becomes so much easier to follow the adage of ‘living in the present’.

When I’m eagerly awaiting something, I’ve found that the level of excitement that the planning stage holds, is almost always more than the excitement on the day itself, firstly because the waiting period is usually longer than the event is, and also because sometimes, by the time the event actually comes around, you’ve thought out everything in such detail and planned everything so meticulously, that time seems to pass a lot faster.

Point is, keeping in mind this saying has proved helpful for me, as I remember to enjoy the process, the journey, the quest, the research, or the chase, rather than just waiting around for the end result.

Okay. End of philosophical musing for tonight.

Kthnxbai

De-stressing shouldn’t be Distressing

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or you just detest social media, in which case, more power to you!), there is a 99.9% chance you know about the relatively new phenomenon of Colouring Books for Adults.

I’ve always loved colouring. When I was a child, it was an encouraged activity, but when I was a teenager and still wanted to colour, I sometimes thought whether I was just the most uncool kid on the block.

And now, as I obsessively look for good colouring books for adults, I am reminded why I liked it so much…you just have to follow a simple mantra – stay inside the lines – and you soon end up with something that looks great (most of the time) and which you can say has been made by you! Win win!

I realized a few things however…

  • The kind of spontaneity that we had as children (which helped us eschew all the norms and colour the sky purple for all we cared) is very hard to harness as an adult now. There are quite a few pictures of real life things decorated with abstract designs, and it’s taking me a lot of inner turmoil to stop worrying about how it “should be”, and just use colours which would look good. Take this owl for example…

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Believe me when I say it was not easy introducing the purple, blue, pink and red into an owl.

But then I reasoned that it was an owl which was already tattooed like a hairy biker, so I wasn’t deviating as much as the illustrator already had. I still ended up using a lot of browns and yellows to sort of balance the hippie-ish colours. And of course I adamantly made the leaves only green and the sky blue. LIKE IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE.

*repress anxiety on being deviant*

I think we should ponder upon the fact that society has prepared us so well, that most of us generally tend to scream in fear (exaggeration, yes) when faced with an opportunity to be a rebel. Let’s sit with that thought for a bit, shall we?

  • There are some pictures which have such ridiculously intricate designs that it’s giving me a headache just thinking about how much time and concentration it’s going to take me to finish those. Like, seriously…am I supposed to paint with those single-strand-of-animal-tail-hair brushes that Mughal miniature painters apparently used?! Look at this one…

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(blunt) Colour pencil for scale. Look at the detail in the wings! What’s the use of so many dots when I’ll have to just scrawl the same colour over them all? *stop from getting hysterical*

So basically, this de-stressing is sometimes a bit distressing too. Not all the pictures are my cup of tea.

  • This is still quite a novel idea, so it means that there are not as many of these books out there, and most of the ones that are available, are pretty pricey. Now, I didn’t want to spend a thousand bucks on something which I haven’t even tried yet, so I tried hard and found some relatively cheaper ones. They’re good too, and I’m hoping more of such books are released soon.

 

Fact is, whatever  I might say against these books, they’re exciting, they bring you back in touch with things like crayons and sketch pens and colour pencils (unless you, like me, keep doing something which lets you use these things *shameless plug*), and they help you feel like a naughty kid again.

I’ve even been colouring a little outside the lines now. I think I can safely say I’m an absolute rebel now.

Have you been using colouring books for adults too? What’s your experience been?

Trust me, I’m an Ambivert.

I’ve found that most people do not fit into separate water-tight categories. Everyone lies somewhere on a scale, and it’s kind of meaningless trying to pass judgement by declaring a person to be just one thing.

I, for example, am an Ambivert.

On the scale between Introversion and Extroversion, I lie somewhere in the middle, if online personality tests are to be believed. And even if I don’t put much stock in such tests, I realize it myself too now.

In the past, I would have usually described myself as an Introvert, which would prompt my friends to stare and say, “Yeah, right”, because when I’m in the mood I can talk a lot and engage in witty repartee, much like a very social person. But it’s afterwards, when I need a while to be alone and wind down from all the interaction, that makes me realize that I’m really not an Extrovert, however decent I might be at engaging with new people or just chatting nineteen-to-a-dozen when I want to.

It’s only recently that I came across the term ‘ambivert’ (yes, thank you Psychology, for never mentioning the thing) and it was like fireworks and flowers in bloom as I read through the description and I finally felt like someone understands me (I might be exaggerating, but it was a pretty amazing find).

Lifehack talks about it, and so does Buzzfeed.

And if those don’t make the mark, there are more professional sites which talk about it too.It’s as easy as googling ‘ambivert’, and then you wonder how you didn’t know of it before, because ohmygod it’s everywhere.

Point is, I still feel like I have to provide an explanation whenever I say I’m an ambivert, almost as if I’m trying to refute the fact that I sound so hipster-ish when I say it. Also, I think other people find it hard to classify ambiverts, because we’re not always outgoing and not always in our shell.

Sorry about that.

But it’s a daily struggle…

 

Spring is here

Spring has always been my favourite season. And how can it not, when nature literally begins coming back to life suddenly, after months of dormancy? It’s like a naturally poetic time.

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First, I thought this photograph was too bleak and signified only thorns and and despair. But it’s so obvious that it actually shows that even the thorns can’t stop the delicate new leaves from coming out. Did I mention spring is an inherently poetic time?

I love how the bare trees begin sprouting out again, I love how a lot of the flowers which were planted ages back finally open their buds and start blooming.

I love how the weather becomes practically perfect in every single way.

I think I just love the fact that spring makes everything seem so hopeful and possible…like an acknowledgement of the fact that the few months of the new year which have gone by might not have given you everything you desired already, but there are still so many months left. There is still hope for wonderful things to happen.

Okay. I think I myself get hopelessly poetic during spring. And now I know why I loved reading P. B. Shelley’s ‘Ode to the West Wind’ – because though it is dedicated to the harsher wintery winds and talks mostly about despair and destruction, it talks a lot about what is to come, and how everything will bloom again in spring.

O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
– Percy Bysshe Shelley (Ode to the West Wind)
Happy Spring!

All you need is Banter, and Wodehouse

Banter
ˈ/’bantə/
noun
  1. 1. the playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks.
    “there was much good-natured banter”
    synonyms: repartee, raillery, ripostes, sallies, swordplay, quips, wisecracks, crosstalk, wordplay
verb
  1. 1. exchange remarks in a good-humoured teasing way.
    “the men bantered with the waitresses”
    synonyms: joke, jest, pun, sally, quip

 

Banter takes any regular day into the category of awesomeness.

I say so, because I personally love banter. In any and every form. Especially forms including sarcasm, because what is life without sarcasm? 

So, it’s an absolute delight to find people who are good at it. I’m so thankful I have some friends and family who are good at bantering. Because frankly, it makes life so much better.

Now your admirable patience may be finally cracking, and you might be asking, “Why on earth are we talking about banter of all things?! Is there a point. Proceed to reach somewhere near your point”. 

The thing is, I have been re-reading P.G. Wodehouse’s marvelous Jeeves books. And I don’t think anybody could beat Reginald Jeeves and Bertram Wooster when it comes to banter. 

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(from the internet)

Like, seriously…

BERTIE: Touch of indigestion, Jeeves?
JEEVES: No, Sir.
BERTIE: Then why is your tummy rumbling?
JEEVES: Pardon me, Sir, the noise to which you allude does not emanate from my interior but from that of that animal that has just joined us.
BERTIE: Animal? What animal?
JEEVES: A bear, Sir. If you will turn your head, you will observe that a bear is standing in your immediate rear inspecting you in a somewhat menacing manner.
BERTIE (as narrator): I pivoted the loaf. The honest fellow was perfectly correct. It was a bear. And not a small bear, either. One of the large economy size. Its eye was bleak and it gnashed a tooth or two, and I could see at a g. that it was going to be difficult for me to find a formula. “Advise me, Jeeves,” I yipped. “What do I do for the best?”
JEEVES: I fancy it might be judicious if you were to make an exit, Sir.
BERTIE (narrator): No sooner s. than d. I streaked for the horizon, closely followed across country by the dumb chum. And that, boys and girls, is how your grandfather clipped six seconds off Roger Bannister’s mile.

Ever since my first foray into Wodehouse, I have been an absolute fan, and there is no other author I would recommend as heartily as I can recommend Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, because if there has ever been books which have made me literally laugh out loud, it would be Wodehouse.

If you’ve never read Wodehouse, go read some now.

Like, really. It’s time.  

And once you’re done reading, it would be wise to go see some clips featuring Stephen Fry as Jeeves, because there couldn’t be a more perfect Jeeves. Also, Hugh Laurie is fantastic as Wooster.

February 14th is the death anniversary of P. G. Wodehouse, something I realized recently. So it seemed like a fitting thing to write about him today. 

(If I sound particularly formal or British English-y in this post, I blame the overdose of Wodehousian literature)

 

Look Back. Move Forward.

Hello hello. I think I might be late to this party (by at least a month), but better late than never, right?

To begin my posts in the new year, I’m going to do something I haven’t done much (except for blogging awards) – tackle a Tag. The New Year’s Tag, to be precise. I think it’s actually a YouTube tag, but eh…let’s adapt.

So let’s begin the mock interview!

(Note : WordPress is somehow bungling up the formatting of the bullet points. No amount of checking and rechecking is working. Help!)

(Update : My friend helped fix it! Yay for friends who know HTML! Thanks Sahil)

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Just stealthily adding in my favourite photograph that I clicked in 2015

 

  • If you could look back on one memory from last year that you wish you could relive, what would it be?

This one’s tough…but I think I’d say my trip to Hyderabad for a friend’s brother’s wedding (because it was marvelous fun), AND some memorable family get-togethers

  • What was one New Year’s Resolution that you accomplished

New Year’s resolutions always remind me of Calvin (from Calvin and Hobbes) as he explains how he doesn’t need resolutions because he’s already perfect. Pity I don’t think I’m as perfect as Calvin does, but I’m still not a big proponent of NY resolutions, because of their inevitably short life. Because circumstances change, and the same resolution cannot always hold true.

But, even with my ‘I-don’t-need-resolutions’ approach, I think I subconsciously resolved to stop worrying so much about what others were saying. I accomplished that…a bit.

  • 3 words to describe last year?

Exciting. Changing. Steadying.

  • Best music related creation/inspiration last year by an artist in your opinion?

Adele’s 25 (because however bandwagon-ish that may sound…for Adele, I don’t care) and some of the stuff on Coke Studio.

  • Something you’re looking forward to this coming year?

A lot of things. Hoping for quite a lot too. Let’s not jinx anything.

  • What did last year teach you?

That growing up and being independant is freeing and frightening at the same time. And that’s fine; life doesn’t progress in black and white, and is in fact mostly grey.

  • What was your most worn clothing item of last year?

I think there would a list of things because once I like something, I hold onto it like Christopher Robin held onto Pooh. Same goes for clothes, so I’m sure people were forced to see some of the same stuff on me repeatedly (and they were too polite to say anything) because I was so delighted with it and loved it too much.

  • If you had to sum up your year in one word, what would it be?

Hey! I’ve already used 3 words to describe the year 5 questions back, and now just ONE word? Do you not know of my rambling verbosity?

If I have to pick a word…Transformative.

  • What are you hoping for more of this coming year?

More books, more meeting up with old friends, more communication, more belief in good things to come.

  • What are you hoping for less of this coming year?

Less of YouTube binges (just like me to give up Facebook, but fall into the whirlpool of YouTube), less of apprehensiveness, less anxiety.

  • Best book you read last year?

Tough! But I think I really enjoyed working my way through the Watchman Books from Discworld by Terry Pratchett. Also, finally read Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, which was pretty haunting.

  • What is your New Year’s resolution for the upcoming year?

Refer to second question above.

However, I guess I continue with the wish to be more confident about myself and being so apprehensive about my instincts.


 

And that’s it! Tag complete. This was more fun than I expected, and required a lot more contemplation than I had anticipated.

Happy New Year everyone! Thanks for sticking around, and hope you’re having a wonderful year so far. Keep being awesome \m/