Friday, January 27, 2017

Five Apps I Thank Every Day

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In this age, apps have replaced everything. Apps help you with everything starting from paying your bill, hire a trainer, beautician or monitor your health. For writers, there are many apps that help you write better. For the artists, there are apps that can guide you to draw better. For the book lover, reading apps are godsend. Social media apps help the social butterfly connect and glitter.


For me, the app in need is the app indeed. I am listing here five of my favorite apps:



Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

Being a writer and reader, I am always using this app. I hunt for synonyms, antonyms, word origins and update my vocabulary with the word of the day. I don't think a day passes without this app helping me climb over another word hurdle.



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Youtube:

This is my favorite go-to app to relax. I watch music videos, cookery videos, inspirational videos, interviews, movies, and TED talks here. I watch channels of celebrity writers, bloggers looking for tips to better my writing skills. 

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Goodreads:

As a published author, I connect with my readers on Goodreads. Also, I look up books that I wish to read using this app. The reviews are sometimes helpful, sometimes deceiving. But still, I check the reviews before deciding to spend my time and money on any book.

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Amazon Kindle:

If you want to write better you have to read better. Nothing better than eBooks which arrive in your phone within seconds once you order them on Amazon. It helps you bookmark, highlight favorite passages, and also helps you post your review on Amazon. I have self-published three books on Amazon Kindle. You can check them out here.

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This is one eReader app any book lover should have on their phone. Juggernaut brings books at low cost to the Indian reader with short stories, fiction and non-fiction books added every day into its already rich book collection. You can buy books starting Rs 10. Their collection of free reads contains many classics from English literature like Animal farm, Catcher in the Rye, Pride and Prejudice. I get my daily dose of inspirational reading from here too. I have one of my short stories up there already. Search for 'Persephone' there. Another one will soon be published there.

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Uber

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Another app which has become a must have one for me is the Uber app. I can travel anywhere without the hassle of running behind autos and haggling with the drivers. The cab comes to me and is very cheap when compared to private taxis. I can monitor the route being taken by the cab, send updates to family and also use my credit card to pay. 

This post is a part of #ThankfulThursdays being hosted by Tina, AmritaMayuri and Deepa 



Tina Basu - Being Real Not Perfect

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Serein-The Malabar Hill of Thane

(Yeoor Hill, Thane) (Image Source

Recently after being listed as a smart city, Thane has emerged as a prime residential destination. Primarily because it offers efficient urban mobility, public transport, water and power supply systems, sanitation and solid waste management systems, IT connectivity and e-governance to its residents.

 Pokhran Road No.2, Thane west with its proximity to Sanjay Gandhi National park, and Upvan Lake is fast acquiring the tag as the Malabar Hill of Thane. The chirping of birds, hill view, open spaces, lakes, waterfronts, parks, and greenery greets the residents wherever they turn. Superior medical services, educational institutions, multiplexes, and malls that surround the area make it the most coveted, premium neighborhood in Thane, thus completely deserving its acquired name.

 Tata Consultancy Services, Raymond, Cadbury, Voltas, and many other businesses are situated along the Road No.2. Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar Natyagraha, Talao Pali, Upavan Lake, Cinemax, Inox theater and green offerings by the various parks and lakes cater to all your entertainment needs. The Singhania School, Vasant Vihar school, Billabong International school are located nearby. The presence of colleges like the KG Joshi college, Parshvanath College of engineering and pharmacy and Dnyanasadhana college ups the quality of the social infrastructure offered by the locality.

 It is located ten minutes from the railway station, which has direct connectivity to CST and Kalyan. Vashi and Nerul are also connected through the Thane-Harbour Line. By road, it can be reached via the eastern express highway, Ghobunder road, and Thane-Belapur road. 
Upvan Lake (Image source)

Tata housing thus has selected this dream location to suit the first Wellness themed project in India, at Serein, Pokhran road no.2 Thane. At this center of luxury in the best posh location in Thane, the outdoor living spaces allow the residents to rejoice in nature’s elements. If you are aiming to own a residential space with a pride in the address, live amidst affluence where safety and security are the top priorities, Serein is your best chance. 

Serein living area: Image Source

The project assures wellness by indexing the whole concept of wellness into on ground, inside the house, at your doorstep and sustainable wellness categories together with the best amenities on offer.It even has zip code similarities with Malabar hill. Malabar hill has its zip code as 400006 and that of Pokhran Road's is 400610. 

 Efficient lighting systems, natural ventilation, use of low VOC material, rainwater harvesting, solar hot water and centralized waste management systems are some of the products that will help you live a better life. Other wellness features on offer include Vitamin-C infused shower, air purifier in living rooms, EMF shield, high-performance glass in all windows, low VOC paint and RO filter.

 To know more about the project, to own a home that makes a legacy, visit its website HERE.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Keys

The prompt for this week’s Indispire is this:

Pick up the book you are reading and from the 12th page, choose a word and use it as a prompt to write your next post. Try to relate it in some way to the twelve months of the New Year. Don't forget to tell the name of the book to your readers. #TwelveMonths

The book I am currently reading is The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.  The book seeks to teach the right principles, the right language to understanding each other in a relationship. Gary Chapman says there are five specific languages of love: Quality time, Words of affirmation, Acts of service and physical touch.

Sharing these quote from the book.

“Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a commitment. It is a choice to show mercy, not to hold the offense up against the offender. Forgiveness is an expression of love.”
“We are trained to analyze problems and create solutions. We forget that marriage is a relationship, not a project to be completed or a problem to solve.” 

In a relationship, couples usually forgive each other’s mistakes frequently. But what happens when the threshold of tolerance is reached? The following story, which I am writing for #FridayFotoFiction tells what happens then.  The word I had selected from page 12 is marriage. This story talks about domestic abuse.

Keys:


Her mother-in-law had accidently given her the keys to her freedom when she had told details about her son’s food habits. A key, which she had been seeking desperately since the first day she had woken with swollen eyes and welts all over her body.

That day, she ordered his favorite chicken biriyani. While he pounced on the food, she stealthily threw away the bottle of unrefined peanut oil she had added into it out of the window.

Later, she wailed loudly when the doctor at the hospital pronounced him dead due to anaphylaxis, an extreme case of peanut allergy.

Word Count:100

I am combining two prompts for this post.
This  week’s Indispire and Friday Foto Fiction prompt being hosted by Tina Basu and Mayuri.


On Writing: Radhika Maira Tabrez

Today on 'On writing', we have the very talented writer Radhika Maira Tabrez.

Radhika is a hustling mother by day and a writer by night. Of all the years she had spent trying to muzzle the writer inside her; two were spent earning an MBA from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM), Pune; where she went on to become the first and only female President of the Students’ Council. She has over twelve years experience in Learning and Development.

 Her stories have been featured in many anthologies namely:
-          Sankaarak
-          UnBound
-          Defiant Dreams
-          When They Spoke
-          Mock, Stock and Quarrel

Her debut novel ‘In The Light Of Darkness’ was released in August 2016 and has been receiving critical acclaim and rave reviews ever since. It has recently won the Muse India – Satish Verma Young Writer Award (2016).
She is also a motivational speaker, columnist, a writing coach and an active member of the Kalam Library Project.

Let us welcome to ‘On Writing,’ Radhika Maira Tabrez.


Follow her on : Twitter (@RadhikaTabrez )

Was becoming an author always your dream or was it a particular event or incident that gave birth to the author in you?

Considering, that I have been writing on and off all my life, I did nurse a dream of becoming a published author one day. But the actual day, in a way sneaked up on me and surprised me. I had been working on a story for a while. I owe the genesis of that story to the birth of my son. In the days that followed, days that saw me transforming into a mother also saw the birth of a plot in my head- of a mother-son story. And from that, this novel was born. But I wasn’t sure it was worth being published. Just for the kicks, I sent it to Readomania. And it was only after they sent back a consent did I realize that I might be standing real close to an opportunity to fulfill my dream of becoming an author.
 
How important are the names of the characters in your books to you? Do you spend agonizing hours deciding on their names?

Some names were particularly important in ‘In The Light Of Darkness’. Because the story demanded that two of the main characters belong to a certain religion. And because I was placing the story on a fictional island, loosely modeled on Goa/Pondicherry, they also needed to have a certain ancestry in order to lend authenticity to the story. So I needed a common Indian name of Portuguese decent.

But otherwise, I rarely spend much time thinking about the names. I start with a name that deems fit at the moment and as the character develops, I am either proven right or a better name dawns on me.

What is your writing process like? Do you write every day? Is there a favorite place to write?

Having a four-year-old ruling my day means I do not have the luxury of a writing schedule or a fixed process. I write as and when I can, and I often go weeks without penning a single sentence. My favorite place too, is anywhere I can get a moment of peace and quiet but at the same time am not far away from my son, should he need me.
Sometimes when I am really stuck at a particular point in the story, oddly enough, going to a crowded place like a coffee shop or a park helps. I write as I watch people around me and more often than not, am able to break through the blockade in my mind.

What is special about ‘In the Light of Darkness’? How long did it take to complete writing it?

From a writer’s perspective – In The Light Of Darkness is the most honest piece of writing I have ever done. Since I wasn’t even sure that I would be finishing this story, let alone send it out to a publisher, so I wrote what I wanted to. And that honesty did wonders for this story. To be that disconnected with ‘what would someone think of this’ keeps getting more and more difficult as you get published more.
From a reader’s perspective - This is a story we don’t read often these days. I was told that there may not be an audience for a mother-son story in a world dominated with romance and thrillers. I am glad that isn’t the case; going by the reception this book has received. Perhaps, that is why it has won me the Muse India – Satish Verma Young Writer Award 2016.


Who is your favorite character in the book and why?

I’d have to say, Susan Pereira. Her love is so pure, so unconditional. It made me truly believe that her love would have the power of transcendence which it needs, to connect with her son.

Do share a snippet/ Quote from your book.

I’ll share one that also in a way carries the essence of the story.


“What they all considered to be the shattered pieces of their individual lives, came together to form a beautiful mosaic of their relationships. Their relationship, after all, was based on one of the strongest and most reliable reasons people come together and stay close for; their mutual need for succor. Which is precisely why, what this particular group of people shared, went far beyond the framework of social
contracts or friendships.
They were family.”


What is your method of writing? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I am a hardcore pantser. I start my stories with just a nebula of a plot. The only thing I am quite certain of, oddly, is how I want the story to end. In fact, in most cases, I am able to envision the last scene down to the last sentence or dialogue, absolutely clearly in my head. I know the feeling I want the readers to walk away with when they finish the book. That ‘feeling’ is my homing signal. From then on, whatever I write is targeted at that. But I write in a freewheeling manner – I write whatever scene or chapter comes to me when it does. Every few weeks, I try and place them in an order and identify the gaps if any. I know how weird it sounds, but strangely enough, this methodology is yet to fail me.  

  
Which do you prefer as a reader? EBook or Paperback?

I was very late to catch on to the EBook phenomena. And that was mostly because I was unwilling to. I felt it was blasphemous in a certain way. I was quite like my character Susan in ‘In The Light Of Darkness’. But ever since I took the plunge, I’d have to say, I see the merit of it all. I mean, there is only so much shelf space I have. And EBooks have made reading far easier for me. So while I still would prefer to have paparbacks, I do end up buying quite a few EBooks too.



What are the three tips you have for readers who are aspiring writers?

1) There is no substitute for voracious and expansive reading when it comes to laying the foundation of a good writer.
2) Write for yourself. Forget about the readers’ reactions or expectations. That is how you stay most honest to your story.
3) Edit for others and objectively. At that point consider all the feedback you have generated and use it to the best of your abilities. But at the same time, don’t forget to be true to the story. If your gut tells you something is right for the story, even if everyone else disagrees, stick with it anyway. It’s your story, your prerogative.

Thank you, Radhika! All the best to all your future endeavors. Folks, go get her book. It has been winning the hearts of readers from day one. Get it here:


Buy it from Amazon 


Book Blurb: Twenty years ago, Susan Pereira had to send her only child Matthew, to a faraway boarding school. That one decision brought their relationship to a cul de sac, which she still hasn't been able to break out of. Matthew is too distant and too angry to relent. Meera Vashisht's misguided love left her bruised, shattered, and abandoned, only to be found and healed by Susan. Set on a fictional Indian island paradise called Bydore, In The Light of Darkness is a journey of broken souls looking for closures and new beginnings. Does Susan manage to win back her son? Does Matthew find the future his mother hoped he would? Does Meera finally get away from her past?




Friday, January 6, 2017

10 reasons Why I am Grateful that I Blog


Years ago, I read a blog post by a fellow college mate and thought he was so brave to put his writing up there on his blog for strangers to read. Then I didn’t have the time, courage, or patience to experiment with a blog myself. I was neck deep in work, had daily deadlines to meet, and had no interest whatsoever to spend even a few extra minutes in front of the laptop. Its screen only reminded me of spreadsheets that needed to be filled, emails that waited to be answered or construction drawings that were to be handed out to site engineers.  
Then came that much needed sabbatical from work after becoming a mother. Again, I didn’t have time to devote to writing or blogging. My little master was one big troublemaker. I couldn’t afford to even go and pee unless there was someone to keep an eye on him. Forget blogging or even journaling.
Once he started playschool, I began to get restless, now so used to being busy. I experimented with everything from crocheting, painting , portraiture and quilling. Initially, I began a blog to display my crafts and artworks. But when I joined Indiblogger and Blogadda, a new world opened up for me. Blog hopping got me in touch with many blogger-turned writers like Preeti Shenoy, Kiran Manral, and Bhavya Kaushik. It was through Bhavya’s blog that I came upon the writing contest for an anthology, which eventually became my launch pad. The same publisher published my debut novel as well. I realize now that I have many reasons to thank this habit of blogging.

Here are my ten reasons:

1)      Thank you blogging for being my stepping-stone to becoming a published author. 6 Degrees: the game of blogs book by Blogadda and Love Minuets spent many of their formative hours on this blog.

2)      Thank you blogging for giving regular work to my writing muscles. I have not faced writer’s block thanks to you.

3)      Thank you blogging for giving me a platform for my creativity. My art, poems, fiction, and non-fiction writings found a home on this blog.

4)      Thank you blogging for helping me find my tribe. I have met writers whose passion for the written word matches mine thanks to this fine habit called blogging.

5)      Thank you blogging for teaching me some lessons I needed to learn about people in general.

6)      Thank you blogging for helping me see the true faces of people I used to admire. However much you try, words reveal your true personality.

7)      Thank you blogging for helping me to realize that my words were capable of touching hearts. One of my articles ‘Love, Rotis and a pinch of wisdom from a mother’ went viral on Whatsapp and Facebook. It was a letter written by a mother to her son asking him to treat his wife better.

8)      Thank you blogging for giving me a platform to help others through my writing. To appreciate others. To inspire others.

9)      Thank you blogging for giving me many open books to read. There are blogs that I visit when I need a dollop of inspiration. There are blogs, which clear my doubts.

10)   Lastly but not the least, thank you blogging for helping me earn. I earn a decent amount of pin money writing sponsored posts on my blog. I have also won many writing contests that gave me goodies, vouchers, and money.


So what are your 10 reasons to thank blogging? 


Tina Basu


This blog post is a part of
#ThankfulThursday with Amrita &  Tina

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