Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Bards of the Blogosphere- Week 2 Chapter 4- Trigger Happy


Read the previous part of the story here.

Jenny surveyed the crowd that had come to listen to the minister speak, with a photographer’s eye. She mentally composed shots, cropping stragglers neatly out of the frame. Although she was there to cover the event for a publication, she always had a weather eye out for that award winning shot.

She idly played with her butterfly earring as she cocked her head, trying to figure out which shot she should take first. Her large Nikon camera ensured people automatically posed for her, in this era of selfies.

She preferred clicking weather beaten faces, of old men and women, the ones who had lived full lives. Children were easy to shoot. Full of innocence, even an amateur could get good shots if she focused on them.

The noise was deafening. There must be a thousand persons here, she thought. The crowd moved forward, jostling for space and taking her with them. The smell of the great unwashed assaulted her nostrils. Couldn’t be helped. That was part of the job too.

Unbidden, a stray memory floated in her consciousness. Of a girl in her colony. The prettiest one by far, with full lips, flashing eyes and milky, smooth skin. She knew it too. She had dreams of becoming a Bollywood star.

So she was easy prey for that smooth talking man who promised to take her to Mumbai and put her in touch with filmmakers. She had run away from home, taking a little money. Of course, there were no meetings with filmmakers. The man and his friends had sold her to a brothel.

Jenny shuddered, scattered conversations bringing her back to where she was. Two plump aunties were gossiping about the atrocious prices of vegetables. “I sure hope this man can bring down the prices to earth,” said one to the other, who nodded solemnly. Jenny took a photo, startling the ladies, who smiled reflexively.

As she moved forward, taking care to keep to the sides, where there were less people, she kept taking photos. You never knew when you could end up with a great shot.

A baby a man was cradling reached out for her camera, grinning toothlessly. When Jenny took a photo, he squealed and hid his face on his father’s shoulder.

Just then, Jenny spotted a familiar face. She couldn’t remember the girl’s name, but knew they had met recently. She smiled vaguely and took a photo of Roohi, who was a blur in motion as she raced around, playing with the other children present.

Jenny looked around for her parents, who were keeping a watchful eye on their child. She managed to get a candid shot without them being aware of the camera.
The crowd was getting impatient. Where was the minister? Just as its mutterings threatened to become angry ones, the man appeared. Jenny took a photo of the crowd, as it craned its collective neck forward, for a better glimpse.


The minister was a showman, who took the stage as if it were his rightful domain. He raised his hand to acknowledge the crowd’s applause and also calm it. Jenny knew this trademark gesture and was ready to press the button. Click.

Read the next part of the story here.

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”



The team Bards of the Blogosphere comprises of Divyakshi, Priyanka Roy, Priyanka Victor, Arpita, Datta, Neeraj, Nupur, Sulekha, Maria and Roshan.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Bards of the Blogosphere- Chapter 7- Shadow play turns real

Read the previous part of the story here.


“Let’s order pizza to welcome Jennifer in our home,” announced Tara when she emerged from the bedroom.

“Oh! Is that the latest excuse to skip making dinner?” Shekhar teased.

As Tara grinned sheepishly, Jennifer cut in, “My treat!”

“Nonsense,” said Shekhar. “You’re outnumbered.”

After much argument over toppings, they finally ordered the pizzas. A laughter filled dinner followed. Shekhar let out a contented burp. His wife looked at him with disgust.

“What?” he retorted. “Jennifer, these are the less savoury parts of being a member of our household.”

Jennifer laughed as Tara threw a cushion at her husband.

“I’m bushed,” Tara yawned.

“I’ll put Roohi to bed,” said Jennifer quickly.

“Would you? That would be great! I’ll put myself to bed,” Tara said gratefully.

“Nooo! I don’t want to go to sleep!” wailed Roohi.

“I’ll show you how to make shadow puppets, Roohi,” said Jennifer, cutting Roohi off mid-wail.

Roohi watched open mouthed as Jennifer deftly used her hands to make a rabbit, deer, and many more animals.

“Come on now Roohi, the zoo will return tomorrow,” Jennifer urged Roohi, patting the bed invitingly. Roohi hopped into her bed obediently.

As Jennifer turned to switch the light off, Roohi caught sight of a dragonfly on her arm. She blinked. It couldn’t be. That was the tattoo she had seen on her kidnapper! A green, evil looking insect, with paper thin wings, that she fancied was about to poison her. It had seemed set to sting, ready to jump off that arm. Her eyes grew wide. She searched her memory desperately, wanting to be sure.

Yes, she would never forget that day. The pain as the would-be kidnapper had snatched her hand. She heard the children shrieking with fear and running about helter skelter, the bad man fighting with Ramesh in the school bus.

Roohi’s heart was beating so fast that she was afraid Jenny would hear it too. She shuddered. She hadn’t even known that she had registered the tattoo, until now. She opened her mouth to scream and then thought better of it. She shut her eyes tight instead.

“I must lie still and pretend to be asleep or she will hurt me, let her think I am sleeping and make her go away, please God,” she thought frantically.

Jennifer turned back to find a ‘sleeping’ Roohi. She looked down at the angelic face, smiled wistfully and noticed that Roohi had kicked the blanket off in her sleep. She picked it up and covered Roohi with it, making sure to tuck her in nice and proper. "This little girl has restless feet," Jennifer muttered to herself while walking towards the door.

“Well, that was a breeze,” she thought as she quietly latched the door behind her.

Roohi didn’t think so. The little girl had nightmares all night, but her subconscious kept her from screaming.


Jennifer slept peacefully, unaware of Roohi’s sleepless night.

Read the next part here.

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

The team Bards of the Blogosphere comprises of Divyakshi, Priyanka Roy, Priyanka Victor, Arpita, Datta, Neeraj, Nupur, Sulekha, Maria and Roshan.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Older, Angrier, Hairer- Radhika Vaz is Funnier

When I tweeted to Radhika that I couldn't wait to attend her show, she replied, "Me too. It's like losing my virginity again."

Although initially I was taken aback, I laughed later. Waiting is always going to remind me of this now.

Her show segued seamlessly from anger about hair and age to us women's obsession with being ladylike- cleaning floors to cleaning the evidence that even we take dumps.

Why do they say women need to do what men do to be successful? Radhika unashamedly made fun of womanly preoccupations- "Housework is the pinnacle of unskilled labour"- Amen to that!

For ladies without babies, she reminded us of what brats kids can be. "Those kids (her friend's, who put up a clumsy dance) were looking longingly at me for appreciation."

And how to deal with nosy people who want to know why you don't have kids? "We're trying."
"Hooray, they're trying!" I can't reproduce the tone- you just had to be there.

Women can't have it all. We should just settle for 63%. True that.

She reminded me of college classes on hegemony. We women take so many things for granted, we are the ones pressure ourselves the maximum sometimes, I feel.

So many truths came out in the show, it reminded me of the function of comedy- to mock, for a purpose. Like the fool in Shakespeare, who could say many true things just because no one took him seriously.

I wish self help books were bottled like this. They'd be much easier to swallow. Looking forward to her book coming out next year!

I'm not going to take myself so seriously now. Seriously.

"We're pals," she told the husband when she discovered I was nuttynupur from Twitter.

I'm going to try and live up to that.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

What would I do with the ASUS Transformer T 100?



I most appreciate technology when I’m on the move. While I’m waiting, have some time to kill, I can browse Twitter or Facebook on the ASUS Transformer T 100. Or play the next level of Plants vs. Zombies 2. For a break, I can go to Digg or Flipboard.

If I need to search for a shop that keeps what I want, I can google it on the T 100. And of course, directions. I would literally be lost without GPS and Google Maps.

On longer trips, like the one I took to Goa, the T 100 as a tablet’s handy for watching movies or serials. Couldn’t have used a laptop on a bus, which kept jolting me! Even when I take a flight to Bangalore, it can come in useful. Then it can be a laptop, as there aren’t any jolts there, usually.

On a shorter bus ride, to Mumbai from Pune, as a tablet it would be useful in reading novels and also for work. The battery would last much longer than my phone. I can just pop it in my bag and even in Mumbai’s frustrating traffic jams, I can work away!

I seriously feel incomplete without a device even within the house. I need a device within reach to take a photo, to capture that memory when I’m outside having dinner at a new place.

Or if I see a tree in full bloom, a gorgeous sunset, I need to click, check out the filters, and put it on Instagram. Technology helps me to stay connected and create.

Even when the lights go out, which happens frequently, I have no problems. I can just go for a walk, knowing that my mails will keep coming on the T 100. And, I can see how fast I’ve walked using RunKeeper :)

Since it’s tough typing on a tablet, the biggest advantage of the T 100 is that it can become a laptop when I want to. So when I want to chill it can be a tablet, and when it’s time to work, it can be a laptop.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

State.com- the new social network on the block


Just like the mind boggling number of TV channels, there are enough social networks to choke anyone’s bandwidth. Depending on your personality, you can be as social or unsocial as you want.

When you want to be in a social bubble, there’s Facebook. Twitter’s there if you want to learn about new things from strangers. State’s akin to Twitter. It frees you of the 140 character limit though.

Still, there’s no need to be wordy. You can state your opinion in three words. As the world speeds up, that could be enough. The social network version of the elevator pitch.

User interface
State looks stylish. It visualizes trending topics, according to categories. That makes it easier for a category of our interest to jump out at you.

Ease of Accessibility

I signed up using Twitter, so I was quite happy I didn’t have to fill out a lengthy form.

The share your sign up to your social networks option could have been clearer though. I clicked yes, but it didn’t get shared on Facebook or Twitter. Another prompt saying Click on the network you want to share with would have made things clearer.

Ease of sharing and finding content
Although State, like Asimov’s Univac has an encyclopediac list of topics that come up as soon as you search for something you have in mind, creating a new topic isn’t so easy.

You have to go to the red State button at the top middle of the webpage. I didn’t even know it was clickable! From then on, it’s pretty easy.

Stating your opinion on existing topics is a breeze. Since you are likely to be normal, what’s on your mind is likely to be on the mind of others too.  So whether it’s the UK dropping To Kill a Mockingbird from its curriculum, or the classic Friends, you’re likely to find someone who has already voiced an opinion on the topic.

Features

Trending Topics
These are category wise, so you can go straight to the category that interests you. Whether its Books, Tech, Sport,  you’re sure to learn something new.

Tuning In
You can tune in to categories you want to follow and also people. I picked the categories I was keen on, but I often found something of interest even in the categories I hadn’t picked. I though Technology would be well, technical, but it wasn’t. Instagram was a topic on the radar there, so I felt right at home.

Tuning in to people State suggested didn’t seem to work well for me. They weren’t my kind of people. One was into music, and I’m not too aware of what’s hot in that.

I did tune in to someone who commented on one of my opinions though. I was so happy someone had reached out! But again, the person didn’t seem like my kind of person, so I didn’t consciously click to see his opinions later.

Tuning in sounds miles better than following :)

Sentiment Range
Once you jump in with your take, if enough people have stated opinions on that topic, State will show you where you stand on the normal bell curve. Did most people think positively about feminism? What did the top opinion staters say? I came out normal on all my opinions.

Top Word Groups
When you state an opinion, popular words people have used to describe their opinion are suggested. Frankly, I found that distracting. It was too easy to just go with the flow and not think of the right word myself.

State Clip
You can drag State in your bookmarks, so that it’s there when you want to react to something online. The other day I was in the library and came across something that made me say to myself, “I must share my opinion on that on State.”

Verdict

I guess State is becoming part of me. Twitter’s getting too full of chatter. State’s a good place to go for the thinking person to hang out online. Long may it last.



This review is a product review programme by Blogadda.com and State.com

Friday, May 09, 2014

The Liebster Award

When I saw I have comments to moderate I thought they would be spam. When I saw the one that said I have been nominated for an award I still thought it was spam. Be still, my beating heart! Think this by bloggers award is a great idea :) Thank you Pages from Serendipity for nominating me!

The Rules of the Liebster Award
The Liebster Award is given to bloggers by other bloggers. It is a great way to connect with new bloggers, and to welcome them to the blogosphere. Here are the rules:
1. Link back to the blogger who nominated you.
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you by the blogger who nominated you.
3. Nominate 11 other bloggers with less than 200 followers.
4. Go to the blogs you nominated and notify them of your nomination.
5. Give your nominees 11 questions to answer.
The Liebster AwardHere are my answers to Pages from Serendipity's questions.
1. What is it that you would have missed if you hadn't started your blog?
Great question! Can't imagine life without my blog, although I have been neglecting the poor thng for life lately. Would have missed the lovely comments from strangers that I can still remember when I think of old posts.

2.How do you connect with other bloggers? And how frequently?
I read blogs of old friends, I get notifications about new posts. I post when I write something new, on blogging networks. I look up the bloggers who like my posts and add them to my network if they're interesting :)

3. When was the last time you wrote a letter to somebody?
I remember writing to a friend in France in 2008?

4. Do you think man will build houses on the moon in the future?
Necessity will lead to that, I guess. Would be fun to bounce around up there though! Sure wish I boomerang as a moonling :)

5. What do you think about this award?
Great idea. Stumbling on interestingness is ironically getting tougher under the avalanche of uselessness, so this stands out.

6. Do you earn through your blog?
Nope. Maybe some cents, but they haven't added up to the amount Google will fork out. Maybe when I'm about to kick the bucket, they'll fill it with coins :-P

7. How do you want to spend the last days of your life?
Do you see how my last answer segues in this question? I swear I didn't read the question before. Serendipity, you live up to thy name :) I want to spend the last days of my life- hope they're not soon- travelling through Europe.

8. How much love and how much hatred is your heart made of?
Lot of love and a little bit of hatred. Just to keep life interesting. Your questions are deep, Serendipity!

9. If you are playing with sand now, what are you building?
Balls. I dunno why, it just popped in my head. How would I make them was my second thought. Wet, was the answer. And now I'll stop because I realise this is getting ickier...

10. What would be the fate of your blog after you die?
Death preoccupies you, Serendipity. It would still be there, I'd like to think, still useful to those who stumble on it, looking for play reviews and other random ravings of mine. Sorry, I HAVE to share this PJ I thought of- I'd ghostwrite it!

11. How are you going to choose your set of 11 bloggers now?
That's the first question that popped in my head. Will check whether that friend I read makes the criteria. Another friend I just remembered has started blogging, so will pick her too. Had come across good blogs recently via work, so will dig some of those up. Look at my networks, do some random hunting...

Kairos was nominated from http://pagesfromserendipity.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/the-liebster-award/

These are the blogs I nominate

http://blueglassvase.wordpress.com/
http://www.discoveringhappinessnow.com
http://mytakeoneverything9.wordpress.com/
http://www.janakinair.in/
http://karmicsoliloquy.blogspot.in/
http://chaitanyavs.wordpress.com/
http://www.womanatics.com
http://talkalittledo.wordpress.com/
http://bookwormetc.wordpress.com/
http://noenthuda.com/blog/
http://thousandoceansinside.blogspot.in/

Phew! I had a tough time finding some of you :) Glad I did, though.

Here are my 11 questions.

1. How do you find time for blogging?
2. Do you self censor in case someone will get offended?
3. Who do you support in the election?
4. Do you think writing is related to loneliness?
5. Are you a perfectionist?
6. Do you write to be read or do you write to write?
7. Tell us a secret about your city.
8. What's your favourite way to commute?
9. What do you feel about housework?
10. How do you keep yourself interested at work?
11. The TV show you like was watchable until...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Retail therapy

Sadly our retail therapy is mostly limited to sales, now that clothes are getting so expensive you might as well wear currency notes. Plus there's the not so little matter of the paunch- there are few tops which are forgiving enough- so then the constraints start tending towards becoming mutually exclusive.

Coupons- get a bargain deal- who doesn't like these? I have got some fantastic ones, before parlours caught on. 70% off on getting pampered- what bliss- unlikely that we would indulge at normal rates. Mani-pedi. facial, waxing, haircut, the works. So what if I signed up for a membership and then got crappy service for months to come?

Cashback's another catchy C. I so identified with Confessions of a Shopaholic. I've always wanted to buy whatever there's a cash back on, but luckily my needs set and the stuff that I'd get a cash back on set haven't intersected yet :)

Giveaways- now that's a magic word! Guaranteed to make me fill out a lucky draw coupon. I actually did come close to winning the grand prize of a Mercedes recently, in a shopping mall draw. If the winner would have declined, I would have got it. Sometimes they do, you know, gift tax and parking are nightmares. I did win a Phir bhi dil hai Hindustani cassette for writing a slogan in school.

My first prize was 3 Benetton tshirts- which were oversize- but I still wore them everywhere. Target, the children's magazine- asked why do Hindi film heroines move from short skirts to the kitchen after marriage? My answer- they move from sizzling to cooking sizzlers :P


This post is a part of the Shop, only to Save More! Activity by GoPaisa.com in association with BlogAdda.com.