The Bloggy Journey+ Blogging 101

It’s not like I’ve reached a massive milestone and there needs to be a post commemorating it but when I woke up this morning, this post was lurking about in my head and with there still being a bit of time left before I needed to dive into Monday, I thought why not!

I heard about blogs, blogging…the whole enchilada from my husband. Only he wasn’t my husband then. He was this still-kinda-new skinny, quiet guy who walked a bit too fast for me to keep up with him on the roads and who didn’t smile much. But he read books. Devoured them like me, but in his own way. After spending some great time in a bookstore he correctly surmised that I loved the written word and the previous night he had gotten to know how much I loved the spoken word. Especially my own.

I was leaving Bangalore the same day when he asked me if I blogged. And I have to admit…I didn’t know the word at all! I knew the word blob- the movie and the concept. But not blog. Seeing me look perplexed he elaborated…erm..weblog? Do you write?

I told him I wrote…journals; but they were private. And he told me about this blogging bit which could be as private as you wanted it to be or as public as well. It was like having your own online journal and you could write whatever took your fancy. Read stuff that other people had written and it was a great way of sharing ideas, knowing that others were thinking, reading good writing and it was as real-time as possible. I was intrigued. Seriously. When I asked him how I might go about it he told me (the same way he was going to end up telling me everything for the next 8+ years to come) to research it and look at the existing blog platforms but he was on Livejournal.

This man then put me on the train that would take me back to Hyderabad, gave me a book (that’ll be a different post and soon!) and told me to blog because I would like it and waved me off.

Back in Hyderabad work and a life of leisure consumed me. There wasn’t much room to think, much need either. Then one day I was a bit irked about something and didn’t have an outlet. I grumped about a bit and found no one at home paid me much heed. And suddenly the word blog popped into my head. And this is what passed for my first blog post on 16th May, 2005.

Since then I have blogged. Some times incessantly. Other times sporadically or not at all. But it’s been a constant in my life. I wake up with thoughts that seem like they were meant to be typed out and just unleashed on the Internet. And other times they serve as a outlet which I control with a valve maintain equilibrium in my life but they don’t see the light of day. They don’t languish in Drafts either. But their time to debut hasn’t yet come so there they shall remain.

I have a few things to say about blogging- Unless someone wants to be a professional blogger (and even then) writing about what comes naturally to you will always help more in getting the words out rather than writing on a trending issue just because more people are likely to read it.

Even if your blogs don’t get many/any comments doesn’t mean that it hasn’t reached people. Some are touched enough to leave a comment but it doesn’t showcase any enjoyment or smiles, food-for-thought moments that have been caused while it was read so… write regardless!

Formatting is good but if you are a long-winded person like me, trying to curb the flow of your words just so they are arranged better, look concise can be nothing short of a death knell in your inherent blogging form. Be true to yourself and your intrinsic style of blogging.

Add a picture. It *does* make the post look better but if you can’t find a picture that talks to you or seems to be tailor-made for the post, leave it be. Not everything needs to be pretty.

Speaking of pretty- write from your heart. To some extent screw grammar (Blasphemy!) and spellings (double blasphemy!). Mistakes are made when your thoughts flow faster than your fingers can keep up. But unless it changes the tone and intent of your blog post, don’t kill yourself over spell checks. Doing it does add accuracy but don’t get anal about it.

Write from the heart but try not to offend. There are SO many kinds of people out there. So many types of thought processes, life situations. An imperious tone can often come out like a judgement. Which we may or may not be qualified to make. If it’s a personal diary, make it personal to you…not personal for someone else necessarily.

It’s ok to not write posts from time to time. Just a tweet-like post will also be called a blog post. It’s still legitimate so don’t rack your brains trying to come up with paras.

At the end of it all, before hitting Publish, if you feel good, if you feel contented, fulfilled and happy…then you have blogged! Even if the followers are in single digits and yours isn’t in the first 3 search results on Google. You did it. Your thoughts and words count.

Happy Blogging People!

A Lazy Housewife’s Guide to Meals#1

I am QUITE lazy. I love non-elaborate things and don’t like to make a song and dance about anything. I like my food to be flavorful and fast to cook.

Am sharing a recipe for a chicken dish which can be used in wraps, with bread, rice or just hogged on cold. It’s not the most delicious thing you’ll ever eat but it’s a tasty dish which is fairly easy to make and the leftovers taste pretty good too so…making it almost aces in my book.

Here goes- Messy Wok-Fried Chicken with Veggies
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Take boneless chicken pieces-200 to 300 gms.

Dice up any veggies that go well with chicken. I used babycorn, capsicum and cherry tomatoes and onions.

Microwave chicken on medium high for about 12-15 mins with a pinch of salt and enough water to half submerge the chicken if it’s already at room temperature else defrost it for 15 mins.

Debone chicken and very lightly saute with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and gradually add the vegetables in once parts of the chicken start to brown. Add salt to taste and a pinch of paprika, ground pepper. Garlic powder is optional.

Fry or reduce flame to simmer and cover and cook chicken and veggies fod 5-7 minutes.

Suggested serving method- take a washed and dried lettuce leaf lightly dusted with pepper or garlic powder. Put chicken in the leaf and fold up like a pocket and secure with a toothpick if its not being eaten immediately. Else chomp down!

Bon appetit 🙂

Parenting Chronicles

We landed up at my parents’ place for a month (poor them) a few days ago. This was preceded by a mini family vacation to the Northern part of India, a nice, fun wedding, loads of pictures (no surprises there) and some amount of barfing- MLM.

But that’s not the crux of this post. I had another REALIZATION. I write it in caps since it’s no less than an epiphany and one I’ll need to heed in order to make things come together for me at a personal level and my child and the memories we can make together while he grows up and we try to be good parents.

A lot of children are adaptable. Flexible. A lot of kids are rather inflexible and have adjustment issues. My child falls rather squarely in the middle. He adapts and adjusts to brand new situations depending upon his comfort levels and a certain amount of identification with the issue. I guess he looks for that little spark of familiarity and then goes about his own way of learning something.

We had taken a trip to a lovely little city up in the hills, Shimla, and this child was fairly bored out of his skull. Now is it fair to want a proper break for Red and I? Yes! Is it fair to want to expose our child to new experiences? Yes! If it fair if he doesn’t take to them and wants his comfort food wherever we go and be a baby about being carried about and generally being a poopyhead? Sadly…yes. Kinda at least.

Forget the part about kids being creatures of habits. It’s not always about unleashing kids on a theme park that can ensure a successful holiday but taking them to places which require long periods of travel- I defy any parent of kids above 2 to tell me the last time their kid sat calmly on a road trip that extended beyond 2 hours and didn’t fidget or go down the “are we there yet” road!

My child can quite easily let go the gadgets. He sees me taking pictures and wants to emulate. Does a fairly decent job. Hands don’t shake too much. Pictures aren’t too hazy either. But given that it’s an expensive gadget and one that could take a tumble from small little paws, I put aside my dreams of him being a photography prodigy and become the kind of mother who lets him take one picture for his contentment and then promptly repos the camera for good. Well until next time anyway.

He ate what was put in front of him but only if it was familiar. He didn’t care much for the crowd at the events preceding the actual wedding or for the wedding itself. Totally understandable. We lugged around the last love of his life, an inflatable, nearly 4 ft tall T-Rex up and down hilly roads because he hadn’t been able to bring himself to stay away from Mr.Dinosaur. Again understandable. Not appreciated but you can tell when a kid’s in love.

But this holiday was so much more about me and what Red and I wanted to do that we kind of factored in our enjoyment and just brought him along gadgets in tow and thought he’d be able to wing it. At nearly 5 it’s not always viable and we should have known better. The wedding possibly, wasn’t something we could’ve avoided but everywhere else we took him that was aimed at his amusement, he enjoyed. Thoroughly. The boating, spotting ducks, chasing monkeys…all are aces in a child’s book of Fun Things To Do During Summer Vacations.

Sitting still and behaving while his mother chomps down momos in a tiny little restaurant wasn’t something that was designed to please him.

At while at my parents’ I find him bratty and trying on and off but he’s more relaxed. No more travelling to and fro from one place to the other. No more slathering of sunscreen and having caps jammed on his head or posing for pictures near places he doesn’t know, doesn’t care about and sure and hell won’t remember.

He wanted his Play Doh. Wanted to recreate the situations he saw in his cartoons and play with this dinosaur, swing, slide, jump, hop and have his everyday life. The interlude of a family holiday that took him from the plains to the hills and back again in the midst of unknown people whom he doesn’t know; did nothing for him at all.

But that being said, it was good on multiple levels for Red and I and next year we’ll try again but possibly keep it to a place that has more activities designed towards holding the attraction of a little boy. Because let’s be honest, if seeing fish swimming around is what gives him happiness, it’ll be sensible (and that much less stressful) to take him to a park with a pond, or a zoo rather than visit a world-famous pilgrimage place that boasts of a pool of water no child should get near, dip his fingers in or even peer into.

That kind of wasn’t fair. Of them that made the rules or us who made him try to follow it.

Summer holidays are what bring out the kid in everyone…now he’ll get a chance to do exactly what he’s meant to do. Because at the end of the day what a kid really wants is just a dinosaur to play with, isn’t it?

I just hope the rest of us survive till June when his school reopens 🙂

A Few More Candles On The Birthday Cake

I recently celebrated another birthday. Firmly ensconced into the 30s now. And having fun actually. Gravity has thrown down the gauntlet and challenged me to an out-and-out war but barring that life is pretty good. The little hiccups of home improvement, a child at home during summer holidays; getting bored but barring that I thought about it and life is pretty good.

I have a slightly weird yardstick for gauging the “good” factor of life. I look at how efficient I have been in getting things done around the house (my 2nd primary responsibility), how often MLM has enjoyed good health vs having fallen sick, if we’ve been able to take a holiday as a family (even a mini getaway) and if I have had at least some uninterrupted face time with my parents and husband. The icing on the cake is how many books I’ve read (and reread) but then that’s me and my quirks.

Last Friday we all headed off to my BFF/sister’s place in Chennai. It’s hot and humid but she lives a stone’s throw away from the beach so what the heck! We try to catch up once a year given that we live in different cities but rarely do days go by when we don’t talk at least once a day on the phone. On a good day it’s either one long conversation or two depending upon how enthusiastic MLM is feeling about having my company or hungry for cookies.

We reached at night and both Red and MLM conked off pretty quickly. I changed into grungy home wear (what better attire for a midnight birthday party?) to find assorted pastries on a table, dim lighting, a poster/XL birthday card and a chilled bottle of Kahlua awaiting me. Am getting teary-eyed just thinking of it. A whole bottle…chillled. Sighs.

Anyhow, I’ve become pretty blase about my birthdays. I do like getting greetings but what I would rather do above anything else is just have a memorable day. And it was! Let me tell you, Korean food on your birthday is like nothing else, ever!

We headed to a cozy little Korean restaurant- InSeoul and just hunkered down in true Korean fashion and dug in. Bowls of everyday veggies with exotic aromas, unusual tangs and endless strands of noodles. It was an experience! And just what I wanted.

See it’s not always possible to seek out new experiences and be fulfilled while doing so. Every so often the new experiences come to you and sweep you up in them. Here, it was sharing food with loved ones I don’t see too often and everything was peppered with laughter and gastronomical delights. One of the reasons why food and music bring people closer together is that it allows you to share your journey with people around you while you’re riding the waves yourself, so to speak. And add coffee (tea) and conversation to the mix…well its a recipe for good times, good memories and in short, happiness.

So it was Bulgogi one day, while sitting on square mats on the floor while the food was cooked right on the table and delivered up into our plates and the next it was sharing bowls of pasta and pizza in a little villa down the road from the sea while a little fan whirled above our heads from the thatched roof.

This has largely turned into a glimpse of the food consumed rather than the birthday weekend but with my best friend, food plays a very large part in our interaction with each other. We’ve expanded considerably as a result of it as well but nonetheless, we have food milestones as well in our 16 year history with each other. Right from street food to fine dining to home cooked nourishing soul food, we have food as markers in our journey with each other. Over the years the families, spouses and children have been brought in to share the ride. And what a ride it’s been.

So here’s to turning a year older, in the presence of people you know, love and who love you back and most importantly…really know you.

 

Whom To Marry: Sense Vs Sensibility

I came across an article in this morning’s Times of India’s Sunday section- Did Hermione choose the wrong partner?

The article by itself has little to do with being in toto about Harry Potter but more about compatibility and similarities in couples or could-have, should-have, would-have been couples and the choices that they ultimately end up making.

In a country like India where alliances are usually fixed taking into account similarity of background, family finances, religion et al, people can still end up being very different from each other temperamentally. The commonalities are usually in place to help the newly weds and their immediate families adjust (in theory). The more similarities you find in getting to know each other, the ice breaking goes that much better and there’s less new ground to cover or less surprises I guess.

For the multitude of people who end up choosing their own partners (from diverse AND similar backgrounds); they are propelled by a lot of reasons, emotional and practical, but I believe that we take the step into matrimony/long-term relationships because being with a particular person seems to be the right thing to do at a particular juncture.

Sure, people talk about being able to envision a life time with whom they love and picket fences, or condos in a high-rise, but getting through the day-to-day is what’s real and what’s palpable therefore does end up guiding our steps more than we realize. Because what you think of the future is merely a projection of your hopes, dreams and wishes drawn out of what’s transpiring in the present.

I have seen people who I never thought would actually fit each other personality-wise or those who would never seek each other out, get together and manage to hack it over the years. And even if a relationship doesn’t last until death do them apart, for some having had companionship, affection, support, passion, laughter in their lives is often counted as a success too.

Bottom line? I believe that when people choose a partner, they go by what makes sense to them emotionally and practically at a particular time.  It’s circumstances which play a huge role in defining whom we deem fit, deem right or even essential to partner with in life. So…did Hermione choose the wrong partner? Well had she chosen Neville or even Draco it’d have been a series of jaws-dropping across the globe but she chose Ron for reasons known to her and J.K Rowling alone. And in some parallel universe where fictional characters exist long after the books have been written, read and put away, am sure she and Ron are going through their daily dance or skirmishes as a married couple.

Did you choose correctly? That answer can get refined over time. If it makes sense now…run with it. Life has many surprises up her sleeve and you don’t need all the answers right away 🙂