Showing posts with label bloggers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bloggers. Show all posts

Apr 21, 2014

Reviews A to Z – R for Reviews

Hello Friends,

With this post we come to completion of two-third of A to Z challenge.

When I took up Reviews A to Z, I didn’t know what I will review. I had a title for Z and for couple of other letters.

In fact, on 31st of March, I sat clueless about the topic for A. My brother came to my rescue and did the first post. From that point on, I have only been discussing the A to Z challenge with friends, family and colleagues.

Therefore, today I decided to do a quick review of my performance in A to Z challenge.

¾     Well! It is not my first one month challenge. But it was toughest, since we were restricted by letters.
¾     However, this was one challenge where I well planned. I write every now and then and schedule.
¾     In terms of audience, I have received a versatile and highest number of audiences in this challenge.
¾     As a reader, I have begun to follow twelve new blogs and have read twenty posts a day on an average.
¾     I came across a few comments, which told me that my review helped them discover something great, which means my reviews weren’t a complete waste.
¾     And highlight of the month, I have had some wonderful bloggers doing a guest blog for my challenge this month.

With eight more posts remaining (some of them scheduled for this really busy week ahead) I think Reviews A to Z has been a thumbs up moment for me :)

Apr 2, 2014

Reviews A to Z - My experience with blogger

This April, I celebrate one year of my blogging. Also this May, my blog will complete seven years of existence in Blogosphere. In these seven years my blog has died and reborn thrice. At first it was called “scribbles”, which had info from college and other places, then it became “thoughts that matter not” and you know what it contained. Now the biggest and current avatar is called shades of life.

What is to be noted is my love for the blogger. I know that there are many who find other portals better but as the oldest blogging platform, blogger has its own advantages.

1. Constant updates and troubleshoots – in my seven years, I have seen this portal becoming more user friendly if anything else. The google team is constantly updating the system.

2. Easy manage – For a brief time, I tried to export my blog to another portal. Maybe my ignorance, but I found blogger easiest.

3. Wide range of tutorial – When I actively began blogging, for a phase I felt I was on my way to becoming techie. Blogger being one of the oldest platforms, there is a wide database of tutorial available.

4. Response time – Blogger gained my ultimate appreciation when I sent feedback once about my problem. My blog had become unlisted and it was sorted within hours.

Although there are few limitations with blogger, my overall experience with blogger is thumbs up.


Linking it to UBC and A to Z challenge.

Have you found Shades of Life on Facebook yet? Please check it out here

Please take out time to read more about the featured blogger for the month of March "Aditi Kaushiva" here.

Also, check out the post by a non-blogger who penned down her feeling.

Guests are always welcomed at Shades of Life. Drop me a line at and I would love to share your thoughts here.

Apr 1, 2014

And the blog features - Vishal Bheeroo

I am sure you all are geared up for A to Z challenge. But well! with a new month comes my new post where I feature another blogger friend whose writing I admire. This time I bring to you Vishal Bheeroo of who is a wonderful writer who writes about Mumbai, stories and more. Here is a short interview of Vishal, read and show your love!

Describe your blogging journey for us? How it all began and how has it been?     

I started blogging way back in 2007 after Dad passed away. At that time, I didn’t know exactly how blogs work, what hits are all about, never commented on someone’s blog. It was the extension of my  persona and happily venting out , writing in my personal space. It was some kinda online diary where I would write about almost everything and I’ve been such a mediocre and terrible blogger.
As I look back, I shiver at my bad command over the language and how badly I wrote. I remember stealing time to get in the cyber cafĂ© in Mumbai for an hour or so to put in a film review and write small stuffs ranging from my observations bout’ life in Maximum City, street urchins, trains, unrequited love and what’s not. I still remember that one of my first posts was about Mumbai and the first comment came from a former class mate.
The blog is an extension of my persona where I can be myself and it’s like my baby that I brought up with care. It’s only in 2011 I started commenting and getting good, positive feedbacks. I must also say that support to bloggers in form of write tribe steered by Corinne Rodrigues and others, have been a hugeboost that made me grow my tribe. I wouldn’t have been here without the support of write tribe. It’s a tremendous support. The year 2013 was a defining moment where I was able to grow my tribe and meet so many amazing & talented writers. It’s a learning curve and happy to be here.
I write about poems, political satire, movie and book reviews. It’s been a fulfilling journey and look forward to write more and more.

Books or blogs? What do you prefer more?
Aha! You got me here!! Okay! It looks like the Rapid Fire Round and do I get a book as a compensation instead of! I feel nothing can beat the pleasure of reading a good book and by book, I mean the good ole’ print version and not the kindle type or PDF stuffs, though I started reading on I-Pad and lap top, quite recently. Give me a printed version any time.
It’s another thing that I love writing blogs and spend lotsa time reading some amazingly and talented bloggers. If I am allowed a second, choice, it’s definitely blogs as you get to discover some amazing stories of life.

Your favorite authors?
Ah! It’s an endless list but I’ll just spell out a few names, Salman Rushdie, JK Rowling, Chitra Banerjee, Jhumpa Lahiri, John Grisham,

Define your love for Mumbai?
Mumbai is a soulful city like they say, ‘You survive if you got the pace..yeh Mumbai hai Meri Jaan.’ I love everything about the city which is a world in itself, local trains, British architecture the Rajabhai Tower in SoBo, yellow-and-black cabs, iconic CST, Churchgate station, Bandra Bandstand, Marine Drive, Crawford Market, Chowpatty. I coud go on and on.
It’s a city that defines me which I can call my own and be myself. It’s an obsession where life is lived king size. The joy of celebrating life and be on your own in the city is a feeling that can’t be expressed in words. You cannot leave the city and, even if you do, it comes looking for you till you come back for good. I’m dying to be back in Mumbai.
I first landed in Mumbai in 2002 and hated the city. But, fate can be a bitch and when I came back in 2003, it was love at first sight. I love the rush, the local train, the crowd and the fact that you grow in leaps and bounds. I mean, Mumbai teaches us a lot. For the background, we are an Indian family settled outside our home land and now, I am outside India but miss Mumbai sorely. I have decided to be back in Mumbai in one year and a half to make new memories, fight new battles and celebrate life. In one word: Mumbai is an addiction where I find myself and carve an identity. I am in love with everything in the city.  I stayed at C Road in Churchgate for two years and made Marine Drive my abode and needless to say, how much Marine Drive means to me. I am dying to comeback for good and as I said earlier, Mumbai is my muse which is haunting me and till I don’t come back, it won’t leave me in peace. So better, don’t incur her wrath and come back to embrace it forever. I should stop on Mumbai here..or else, I keep boring you and your’s a fascinating city and I could write a book on my city.

Five things you cannot live without?
1.       Handset
2.      Glasses
3.      Books
4.      Coffee
5.      Smoking

If you could interview an author, dead or alive, who would it be and what?

That’s one tough question and you are not being fair to me…hehe..May be Khushwant Singh!! I’ll ask him about his fascination for sex and how on earth, he has lead such a disciplined routine of telling off guests at 8 p.m. I’ll ask him who does its obituary while living and how he dealt with controversy in life. I mean you need strength not to feel guilty in a world where every moron equates everything with morality and religion. I’d ask him how come he described raw sex in Train to Pakistan and still got away with it. How did he manage living alone after the death of his wife, why he supported the Emergency during Indira Gandhi rule, a black period, in the history of the world’s greatest democracy. I mean there is so much to ask the man whose mind was like a live wire when he lived and that too, till his last days. I would love to know whether there was a wickedness when he started the column, ‘To Malice Towards One& All’ and how the idea struck. Finally, I’ll ask whether he is planning to resurrect himself in a bid to make our life hell, us fellow Indians and the world who can’t ignore him and how hez spreading malice in his journey. For this atheist, I am sure he is troubling ‘Gods’ and they so wanna get rid of him, cursing Yama for bringing picking the wrong man.J

Mar 8, 2014

Women's day - Can I please celebrate?

When it comes to International Women’s day, I can be called as a non-believer. However, now that I am part of the festival, I’d just put up my views and a few questions for you -

A text conversation -
Me: I am going for this women's day meet I told you about.
Him: K
Me: You are okay with it right?
No reply.
Me: you don't want me to go?
Him: no, go.
Me: it seems to me that you don't want.
Him: no it's okay. GO! I am busy.
Me: okay.
I go with a heavy heart.

How many women relate to similar experiences?

If I am not mistaken, many will. Why I ask?

Statistic shows that women are independent, confident as individuals, yet insecure and unsure they are in their relationships.

We might be CEO of multi-national, but we always unsure of our position in front of our partner.
If we miss a dinner, it is more guilt than sadness. If we forget an anniversary (which we rarely do) we go miles out of our way to apologize.

We seek his approval to meet new people, unsure how he'd react. We seek his permission to tattoo. We even seek his approval to get a new haircut.

We feel the need to justify our each action, even when we are not asked for explanation. We feel guilty if we spend some unexplainable time just with our selves.

Yet, we do it. We do it and justify and feel guilty and then again do it. Is it because in our hearts we know we are right but we are not assertive enough?

We gain a few pounds, we are insecure that he might fall out of love. He gains a few, we shower extra love. We make sure that he looses those kgs, but will be extremely careful to not mention it.

We do not say no to him. Literally. Be it in-bed, or out of it. We believe that there is no “no’s” in a relationship. We are pleasers and when it comes to men, we roll ourselves like a foot mat in front of his feet and take all his demands. With time some of us have learned to say “no” but then again we do it with guilt.

More often than not, I meet women who remind me of Julia Roberts of Runaway bride, whose taste in eggs changed as per her boyfriend’s taste.

There are many of us, who understand their position as an equal. There are some who do not live in that guilt. But a majority of us somewhere believe us to be “the weaker sex.”  Are we really one? Do we really need a women’s day?

This women’s day, I want to pose this question to all my female readers – “do you think of yourself as an equal in the relationship?” And to male readers – “do you think your partner is weaker than you?”

Before we go, I'd like to quote Mahatma Gandhi -


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

Have you found Shades of Life on Facebook yet? Please check it out here

Please take out time to read more about the featured blogger for the month of March "Aditi Kaushiva" here.

Also, check out the post by a non-blogger who penned down her feeling.

Guests are always welcomed at Shades of Life. Drop me a line at and I would love to share your thoughts here.

Mar 6, 2014

The search for inspiration

For last twelve hours I have racked all corners of my brain trying to search for inspiration, while the inspiration was right there in front of me.

I blog (ha! as if it is a secret) and I blog mostly based on prompts and inspiration from others. Did it ring a bell? Yes, inspirations.

While there are many who inspire me in my real world, there are many who inspire me blogosphere.

Corrine Rodrigues – We all know her. Her blog Write Tribe (this post is also for that na!) constantly keeps supplying us the prompts and other reasons to blog.

Jairam Mohan – His research behind his each post is impeccable. He is my inspiration when it comes to planning and organizing. 

Richa Agrawal – Talk about someone who is active at all fronts. She blogs, reads, travels, manages groups on social networking websites, tweets and keeps bringing new stuff to the table constantly. You can expect her to ping you on whatsapp and remind you about something that has been due for a while.

Sid Balachandran – Have you seen his blog? Quirky, witty, clever, variant and lively.  A person who can manage social networking as well as blog if not better. You can count on him to remind, reply, comment on all posts on blog as well as Facebook. At the moment he is feeling inspiro-confused ;)

Sakshi Nanda – Did you get a chance to read what I told her after she guest posted on my blog? Well read this and you will know why she is inspiring - Thought I should tell you that I am still overwhelmed by your efforts to write a guest post, actively reply, publicize and manage everything else around the post. It was great to have you on my blog :) guest blogger ho to aisa :)

Well there are a few more whose content inspires me (and actually makes me realize how much I need to work) by how well are they researched and formed. But that’s way too long to put it over here.

Lastly to the one whose post was my inspiration to write this post.

Srilakshmi – Her post on the inspiration that came in form of her mother and her sister inspired me to write about those who in their un known ways push me to do better and bigger in the blogosphere.

Dec 2, 2013

Signing up for NaBloPoMo

Today, on an impulse (actually after being inspired by Jyothi’s post) I signed up for NaBloPoMo for the first time.

It has taken me sometime to figure out how this works and I have come to realize that it is fairly simple. All I have to do is write a post a day.

Well! It isn’t all that simple. I mean, I don’t know why but I have a feeling that number of events and commitments in my real life are directly proportionate to my blogging commitments.

But December is the month when nothing can diminish my happiness. I love winters, marriage seasons, holidays, Christmas, planning for New Years and I am now going to love blogging in December.

I excitedly look forward to Write Tribe’s festival of words, which starts on the day I return from Goa and ends when I leave for Kolkata. Also, apart from them, I know I am going to get plenty of prompts and inspirations to blog.

Keeping my fingers crossed and looking forward to a month of daily blogging. Join me if you can, and if not, please drop by during the month to encourage and motivate.  

NaBloPoMo December 2013

Nov 14, 2013

Because books are our best friends

Children are like buds in a garden and should be carefully and lovingly nurtured, as they are the future of the nation and citizens of tomorrow. -  Jawahar Lal Nehru

When I was in school, I remember we would celebrate Nehru’s birthday with pomp and show and had big community lunch. Teachers and headmasters who were strict year round served us our meal and we would feel really special. Even today, we get SMS and messages wishing us Children’s day.

The idea of this celebration is to honor children and the first Prime Minister of India. This is the day to celebrate childhood. Celebrate those who are free spirited, loving, hopeful and the future.

It is extremely sad to know and acknowledge that there is a major group of children which is being pushed in darkness of slavery and child labor, missing their growth years due to poverty or illiteracy.

However, today isn’t the day to be gloomy and sad. There are many organizations, governmental or NGO, registered or non-registered groups that are working to re-kindle the light of education and hope in these children.

 I came across one such small group of volunteers through a Self Help Group, who help children continue their education after they have finished their primary schooling.

In the absence of mid-level schools (1st to 5th grade) in the village, these kids, especially girls are forced to discontinue their education because they are unable to go to a school which maybe two-five km away from their homes. These kids are eventually fed into the world of household chores or support parents as labor. Soon, these kids forget their dreams of being educated and start taking independent work as a labor or artisans. Worse case, they are forced into early marriages or become the unemployed uneducated unruly lot.

This is not to sham the government initiatives, but a bitter reality.

“Hands” a Self Help Group formed in the community of adda workers in a village called Faridpur in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, decided to not have their children the same fate as theirs. The members of the group, with support of a local NGO run a community school in villages so that the children can continue their schooling till 5th grade and then go back to a proper school nearby.

On 12th November, I got a chance to visit them and interact with the group. What I heard from them was wonderful. There are two schools in the region. They are run by volunteers and paid teachers. Volunteers, on their weekly off day collect funds from local society to purchase books, furniture or pay teacher’s salary. The education in these schools is free of cost and most of the children are ex-child workers.

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.” Ernest Hemingway.

Therefore, a group of Write Tribe members decided to donate books to the school in case we all agree.
We can also look at the possibility of donating some furniture for these children, since winter fast approaching it gets tough for them to sit on floor and study.

I am leaving you with a few pictures and an invitation to come forward and donate a small amount if you may please. Feel free to contact me for suggestion or inquiry. If nothing else, do drop a comment to let me know what your thoughts are

Nov 2, 2013

Ultimate Blog Challenge - October - Time to conclude :)

Phew! I am tired. I have managed to complete October UBC with 49 posts. It was a task. I know there are a few people who can generate two to three posts a day, day after day for months and still not feel tired. Hats off to them. Also, there are few who manage to really go precise and perfect in each their post. I envy your ability to be creative, attentive and wonderful each day.

These thirty one days have been difficult. Especially because of my thirty part story that I managed to complete just in time. I have dreamt of this story every single night (there were also plenty nightmares). I’ll be uploading the entire story soon.

October has been a fun month too. I have had too much fun playing “Where is the A” with all of you.

Last day of October came with a surprise. I got Liebster Award from Nikhil and Poonam. My answers to their question are due. I’ll do that in my next post.

Also, I guess I have been most active on facebook in this month. Thanks to constant chat between the members of write tribe, I have felt alive on my social media profile for the first time.

Well, it has come to an end. And no matter how tempted I feel to participate in NaNoWrMo I can’t think of it. November is a month full of activities and travel and my dear blog is going to get some breathing space.

However, there are still going to be a bit more of rant, 55 fictions, 100 words, nonets, haiku and WOW posts.

See you :)

Happy Diwali.

Oct 26, 2013

wondering words - a nonet

Wondering about inner feelings,
I sit to write them over here.
While I maintain to wonder,
Count and recounts under.
Almost missed the point,
Confessed in time.
What love is,
To write,

Above is my first nonet, thanks to the tutorial I received from Preetilatha Sarkar on write tribe. I hope it makes sense. 

Photo courtesy - Google

Oct 16, 2013

Are you denied of your Human rights?

I am taking part in Blog action Day and theme for this year is Human Rights

I thought at length about what exactly I can write on this topic. I have been advocate of human rights at workplace in my career and I choose to work in the same field. Each day we train and educate workers about their basic rights as human being. We actively campaign against any form of slavery, bondage, harassment, torture, child labor, etc.

I wanted to write something about workers, so I started with the same, but could never finish it. There has been so much said and done about what should be done to protect human rights, I had nothing more to add.

As per UN Declaration of human rights there are thirty human rights. These thirty rights are translated into seven fundamental rights of India. You can read more about each right at blogs of my blogger friends - Shilpa and Kajal.

Just in the time when I was giving up, I got into a discussion about why human rights? Do we need them? If no, why we have them? Someone argued that they are so basic that it doesn’t make sense to have them; any free willing society will anyway support such rights of human being, therefore no need to have them declared and built into the constitutions. I argued back that since we have always had these rights, we probably don’t know why each of them needs to be legalized moreover even now many rights are denied to many citizens either by ignorance or by will, which in both cases is an offence.

There started a conversation on denial of human rights. In what form it may exist and where?

When a girl child is treated badly because her brother is more important, it is denying the right of equality.
At workplace, when a boss picks up a colleague and promotes him not on merit but because he belongs to same religion, it is discrimination.
When a female fetus is aborted, it is refusal of life.
When a worker is made to work under worst conditions, against no pay, its slavery.
When women are abused or raped, it is torture.
Murder in name of honor killing is denial of right to recognition.
When an offender can be saved on the basis of bribe, it is inequality and lack of protection by law.
When in name of protocol, when members of a particular faith are detained without proof, it is unfair detainment.
When the same man is charged penalty without a trial, it is denial of his right to fair trial.
When an MMS on a person’s private life is circulated without his knowledge it is denial to his privacy.
When an employer keeps the passport of an employee under custody, it is denial of his right to move.
When citizens of a country cannot seek refuge in another, it is denial to his right to choose a safe place.
When an author is denied citizenship on the basis of his views offensive to a particular community, it is denial of his right to nationality.
When a woman is forced into marriage she is not willing for, it denial of her right to marriage and family.
Theft or robbery is denial of right to own things.
When a journalist is abducted for making an offensive cartoon it is denial of his right to think and express.
When silent protesters are charged with tear gas and baton, it is denial of their right to assemble.
When a ballot is counted unfairly, it is denial of democracy.
When a person is denied is his pension, it is denial of his social security.
When a worker is continuously denied his weekly rest days, it is denial of his right to leisure.
When a man dies of hunger, it is denial of his right to food and shelter.
When a child is made to labor, it is denial of his right to education.
Plagiarism is a denial of right to copyright.
When a person is denied any of his basic rights, it is denial of his right to fair world.

I don’t think these issues are extinct or never heard of. In our world, where most people are aware of our rights, every now and then someone is denied of his/her human rights and when we talk of human right we talk as if we are above them and we no longer need these as laws.

What do you think of human rights?