Friday, December 30, 2016

Exploring Kayaking in India

Ever since I heard that there are options to Kayak in and around Bangalore, I am itching to try it. For all those who don’t know what a Kayak is, it is a long narrow boat that is fully covered except for a small opening in the center and propelled by a double-bladed paddle. Here is a picture for your reference.
I belong to a small village that is bordered by the Arabian Sea and I had once gone on a canoe paddling with my brother and friends. The power of the paddle propelling the canoe forward is an awesome feeling. The rhythmic sound of the paddles splashing onto the water, the calm waters, and the smooth, slightly undulating motion of the canoe, everything had felt mesmerizing. The only time I have seen a Kayak in action was while I was watching some water adventure sports. It seemed so amazing that a small boat could traverse such long distances and even rocky falls.

I typed ‘Kayaking India’ into Google and it threw many results at me. Some of the websites even had options for me to buy Kayaks in India. Isn’t that cool? Just yesterday, my husband was talking how adventure sports really makes us feel alive. We had checked out the various adventure sports options available in Bangalore on Google and he was interested in mountain biking and trekking whereas the Kayaking and other water adventure sports lured me.

It will all depend on whether we can free enough time to indulge in such activities in 2017. We are not adrenaline junkies by nature. But we do chase adventures occasionally. And when we do, we enjoy it completely. 2016 had seen us travel more. Hope 2017 will bring us more travel with an additional ingredient of adventure sports.

When I checked, I came across the website of Madras Funtools, where you can buy or rent the various Kayak essentials. Do check their website if you are dreaming about owning/ buy Kayak items in India and going surfing in the various water bodies in India. You can also check out stand up paddling or SUP options. If you want to learn Kayaking or SUP, they can guide you.

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Last week I had read about Tapashi Devchaudary, who holds the title of being the only SUP India (stand up paddling) surfer. It was heartening to know that this trailblazer is working hard to change that with her efforts. She has started India’s only SUP school where she teaches SUP surfing and SUP yoga to tourists and Indians alike. Way to go girl!

So are you ready for some new adventures in 2017?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Catapooolt Changemakers Challenge Season 2

Most of the youngsters these days dream of becoming the next Zuckerberg or Tata. They have just the idea to get them there. A million dollar idea, which is going to catapult them and their brand into a popular, money vending enterprise. They brainstorm with friends, make exhaustive and elaborate plans that will govern each step of their startup journey.

Yet, they begin facing roadblocks right from the moment they start. The first major hurdle is funding. They struggle to set up the funds and are often tempted to quit when funds don't materialize. Many startups hence face an early death. Crowdfunding is a popular choice for funding these days. Many startups have succeeded to raise money by crowdfunding. 

 Getting discovered by the customers is another major hurdle. Reaching out to customers call for clever marketing strategies which again requires investment. People find it easy to believe in their old trusted brands than invest their time and money in a startup, which is still in its toddler stage. It is an instinctive reaction. I might get distracted for a while by a new product that promises everything I wished for but eventually, I would go with my old favorite brand. But if a trusted person seconds the claims made by the new product, I might change my mind. That is where the media plays its role.

 You have begun something, which you strongly believe in, yet you have to face all the major roadblocks like every other new entrepreneur. That is a given. But, what if you get a chance to pitch your idea on a platform, which offers you exposure to early adopters, customers, media, and a possible angel investor? If you are a promising startup in an initial stage and you are getting lost in the crowd of early startups in India, here is your chance to chase your dreams of becoming a change maker.

 Enter the Catapooolt Changemakers Challenge Season 2 presented by the Economic times and reach for the stars. Get discovered in a major way. It is India's own unique crowd funding powered hunt for innovative early stage start-ups. Over eight hundred plus investors and more than fifty startup ecosystem partners support it.

 Here is a short video about it.


The first phase of the challenge where you can submit your ideas starts from 5th December 2016.

 In the second phase, which begins on 15th January 2017, there will be a live crowdfunding campaign engaging communities, getting market validation, and initial funding. 

In the third phase, on 28 February 2017, Expert Mentor board and Innovation Partners would announce the top 40 disruptive innovations based on crowdfunding amount raised and disruption potential. 

 In the fourth and final stage, the top 40 will be invited to pitch to marquee angel funds at an offline event, the Grand Finale on 31 March 2017. They get to meet some of the biggest start-up gurus. 

 So if you have a startup and is struggling to be discovered, this platform is for you.

 All the best in advance.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Three Favourite Blogs

I am a strong believer in synchronicity. Whatever happens to us happens at the right time for the right reason. Every person comes into our lives with a mission.

Even blogs. Every word we read gives a new meaning, a new dimension, which we may not have explored. For that very reason, I like searching for new ideas and tutorials online.

Some blogs inspire me, some guide me, and some help me unlearn accumulated bad habits.

Three blogs, which I am thankful for are:

Louise L Hay Blog:

I consider Louise L Hay as my guardian angel. Whenever I ask I receive messages via newsletters or social media updates tailor suited to my needs.

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Being a writer, I often turn to this website which has tons of information to help a writer in the various stages of writing and publishing. 

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If you are looking for tips to plot your novel, short story or that perfect blog post, you don't have to go anywhere else. Check out this website.

2000 free Amigurumi patterns
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One of my favorite hobbies is Crocheting. Creating small stuffed dolls using crochet is called Amigurumi. Amigurumi supposedly have a Japanese origin. I love making Amigurumi dolls. You can check out the ones I have created HERE. Crochet is a great stress reliever and you can also create mittens, dresses, shawls, blankets if you learn just a few crochet stitches. For Amigurumi, you need to learn only the single crochet stitch, which is the first one you learn.
Why not try it out?

As bloggers, I believe we have the capacity to influence and help others. Many of us use this amazing platform and bring about change into the lives of their readers. The power of the pen or the written word is mighty. It can leave wounds, which are very difficult to heal. So use it the right way.
On this blessed Thursday, I request all my fellow bloggers to use the power of blogging to spread the message of love and compassion. Love is the most powerful tool in the world. I have never tried to hurt anyone through my blog posts as I believe in Karma. When we hurt others through words, the hurt return to us manifold. It has this boomerang effect.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

This post is written for #ThankfulThursdays being hosted by Tina Basu and Amrita Misra

Tina Basu

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

12 Lessons from 2016

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January told me to hope.
 I was walking through new paths, where unknown fears and strangers lurked at every turn. Strangers who took your words and twisted it to suit their wicked ways, or used it as barbed tools to taunt you. Words once uttered were lost forever; it would never be yours again.

February taught  it was okay to make mistakes.
We make errors in judgment while selecting friends, trust the wrong persons and then suffer due to these errors.

March came with tough lessons and pain.
Yet, it also planted the seeds for a new dawn. I migrated my blog to my own domain. A new website in my name was born. It was also a month of darkness. People I trusted turned against me and shocked me with public vitriolic attacks.

April taught me that nothing lasts long, even pain.
I understood that even pain doesn’t last long. Only those who brave the waves survive to tell the tale. I was fortunate to have enormous support from family and friends.

May asked me to look ahead with courage; every night was followed by day.
 Lessons I have learned from my bellowed father helped me see pinpricks of light even amidst the darkness. I overcame my fears.

June came with drizzles of new hopes, new plans.
 Like the rain brings with itself the pleasant smell of wet earth, June brought with it new friends, inspirations, and lessons.

July came along and filled me with happiness.
I got selected to Anita's Attic, a longtime dream. It gave me a new courage.

August was the harbinger of new beginnings.
Classes at the Attic began and every Saturday instilled in me fresh ideas, a strong belief in the strength of the written word.

September was fun all along, new friends, new lessons, and new courage.
 Words became my friends yet again. They made me smile and taught me to have fun playing with them.

October brought new tidings, new beginnings and renewed some old vows.
I began writing earnestly again and rewards too came instilling in me with confidence.

November said it was time to forget and forgive.
In my birth month, I took an oath to forgive and forget. I concentrated more on self-healing and leaving the past behind. It was time to surge ahead and to conquer new horizons.

December as always brings with itself the hope.
This month always reminds me that even in cold winter, the warmth of a loving soul was the only essential thing required to keep our dreams thriving. Though it is one that brings the year to the end. it also brings the hope of Christmas, New Year and the prospect of a fresh beginning.

Dear 2017, I had a tough yet fruitful 2016.
Hope you will be kinder to me.

Indian Bloggers

Sunday, December 11, 2016

On their Wedding Day

The trees were green, the water sang as it rushed by and the birds chirped. Just like it had been years ago.

A little girl visiting her grandma’s house in the countryside had wandered towards this stream with its long wooden bridge where the villagers sat and fished. The little boy who had accompanied his father to the spot had looked up and smiled. And she had smiled back. They hadn’t known at that moment that they were laying the foundation for an eternity of love and friendship.

The newlyweds fondly reminisced how their friendship had blossomed steadily into love.

Word Count: 100

This post is a part of #FridayFotoFiction being hosted by Tina and Mayuri
Tina Basu

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Wonderful Seven in my Life

There are many people in my life I feel grateful for every day. To pick seven from them is tough. But here I go in no particular order:

My mentor Anita Nair:
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I was privileged to be part of the 4th season of Anita’s attic, where I had one to one interaction with my favorite writer. But for her, I might have stopped writing entirely. The insights, feedbacks, and the subtle hints that pushed us in the right direction were the main characteristics of Anita’s attic. I met some other wonderful writers, my tribe, there. She also introduced us to many established personalities from the publishing world like writers, editors, agents, and social media experts. What a writer needs most is constructive criticism, someone who can point out their strengths and weaknesses. How wonderful it is to be mentored by someone whose works have been translated into 30 languages already. Thank you, Anita, for entering my life at the right time.

My son and Husband

My son:

They say the best things come in the smallest of packages. Yes, this small packet of love, laughter, and naughtiness makes my life bright and merry every day. It is nice to be scolded at times by a tiny tot for being irresponsible. And best is when they turn into your Guru. He is my Kannada guru. I know I am a very slow learner. But I promise I will be a better student from now on.Thank you, Achu, for being my everything.

My husband Venugopala:

It is fun when the man of the house is one jolly person. He reads my moods, puts up with them, and encourages me to go after my dreams. And most importantly, he supports me when I need it the most. Over the years, he has become my best friend and confidante. There are no secrets between us. And yes, he is my alarm clock and disciplinarian when it comes to my sleeping habits. But for him, I might read throughout the night and sleep through the day. Thank you, Venugopala, for being my best buddy.

My best friend Aathira:


Years ago, if someone told me that my best friend would be someone I haven’t even met, I would have called him or her CRAZY. But that is my truth now. I met Aathira via blogging. After we were published in an anthology together, we began chatting occasionally, mostly about writing. We got published together twice again and then we began interacting via Whatsapp. Now there is nothing under the sun that we don’t talk about, though mostly they are centered on books, writers, and writing. She was with me when I was going through a very bad phase in my life early this year. I was down in the dumps. Insecurities and self-doubt plagued me. She sent N number of messages, consoled me and made me laugh with silly jokes. She was the one who told me about Anita’s Attic first, the best step ever for the writer in me. Being an amazing writer, she inspires me. We belong to God's own country. Jokes which only we mallus can understand, calling each other names in Malayalam are our favorite pastimes. Thank you, Aathira for being there always with a bucketful of smilies.

Me with my siblings Dr. Sunil Kannada and Dr. Mini Kannada

My sister Mini:

If there is one no-nonsense person in our family, it is my big sister. She will tell when and where I went wrong and offer the right solution. She is one person I first call for anything. She is my pillar of support. She is my personal doctor and Achu refuses to take any medicine other than what ‘unnuamma’ gives. And yes, he openly admits he loves her more than me. Alas, she is the better cook and mother. The hours spent on the phone with her are some of the best. Thank you, Miniachi for introducing me to many good things like Reiki, for lessons in grooming and discipline. What will I do but for you?

My brother Sunil:

Laughter is what I associate most with my brother. When he is around, laughter is never far. His friends, his anecdotes about college life, movie outings, travels, everything makes us laugh. He is the better writer. He is the better poet, humorist, and everything in between. I really wish he would take up writing seriously one day. With the experiences from his life as a doctor, I am sure he has tons of data already to spin out books after books. Thank you for being a happy presence in my life.

My mother Panchali:

My father and mother
There is no one who can be as wonderful like a mother. She led a very inspiring life being the first woman from our village who ended up working in a white-collar job outside our state. She is a no-nonsense person and scolds us mercilessly if we err. After we lost our father, she is one person who we all cling to. We used to tease her because of her name and ask where her other four husbands were! Panchali, after all, had five husbands. Thank you, Amma, for being who you are.  

So tell me about the people in your life you are grateful for.

This post is written for #ThankfulThursdays being hosted by Tina Basu and Amrita Misra

Tina Basu

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Letter to my (soon-to-be-ex) Smartphone

Dear (soon-to-be-ex) Smartphone,

I know you are wondering why I am erasing all the data from your memory. Unlike other times, when I used to create a backup, I have deleted everything. You must have guessed it by now. Our relationship is coming to an end.

You have been a faithful mate for years now. You were my best companion, my confidante. But as they say, every good thing should end one day. Don’t judge me. I have decided to replace you with a new, rather expensive but efficient newcomer.

Oh, I am surprised when you tell me that you were expecting this. You don’t begrudge my decision! So nice of you. As you say rightly, you were showing signs of old age. Hanging at odd times, taking ages to get charged, and losing it all in a flash. Your video and picture quality were tolerable but not extraordinary. You say it is time you went to that amazing place where old Smartphones go eventually. I am sure you will rule like a king there.

Before you go, let me introduce you to your nemesis. Okay, you prefer to call it your replacement. You are so magnanimous. I know you are concerned about me. But don’t worry, once you get to know who is taking your place, all your worries will vanish. I am getting the new #LGV20.

Image Source: LG

It has an Android v7.0 Nougat operating system with 2.15GHz + 1.6GHz Kryo Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor, Adreno 530 GPU, 4GB RAM, 64GB internal memory expandable up to 2TB and dual SIM (nano+nano) dual-standby (4G+4G).

I heard your whoop of delight. Yes, you now understand why I turned greedy and selfish. I confess I couldn’t resist the temptation.

Its sleek metal body and Si-PC material ensure durability. It has three high AOP (Acoustic Overload Point) mics, which would allow me to record loud scenes. Imagine being able to record sporting events without the disturbance created by cheering fans! There is also an option called Steady Record 2.0 that allows me to record even when I am on the move. It minimizes unintentional handshaking. Now my videos are going to be crisp and clear.

Did you know it has a wide-angle 5MP front camera? I can capture selfies with a wider background, which means I can include more friends or wider scenery. Isn’t that amazing? The back camera (16MP+8MP dual primary camera) comes with a wide-angle lens, an astonishing 135-degree, which would allow me to capture stunning landscapes or large group shots without much ado. It has the normal 75-degree angle option as well.

B&O PLAY collaboration tunes its audio and delivers it through its specially designed earphones making it perfect for a music lover like me.

I see you have turned dark green with envy. Okay, I will stop extolling the virtues of your nemesis.
But again, thank you for serving me even when you are going away. They inform me there is an upgrade option of up to Rs. 20,000 for a Smartphone exchange.

Image Source :LG

What! Now don’t die on me.

Let me rush you to the LG showroom before it is too late.

Rest in peace, dear.

Much Love,
Your ex-owner.


Friday, December 2, 2016

The Song

Pic Courtesy: Saumy Nagayach

The sponsors were beaming the concert live on national television. When the first note of the violin hit his ears, tears began to sting in his eyes.

Miles away, his wife watched him blink back the tears. She would trade her life for this one moment. Today the world would rediscover her Anand, the singer who had forgotten to sing, caught in the vagaries of life.

Perhaps this would be the last time she would hear him sing. When the last notes of the song died away, she nodded to the attendant who pushed her gurney into the operation theater.  

Word Count: 100

This post is a part of #FridayFotoFiction being hosted by Tina and Mayuri

Tina Basu

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Gracias Soul mates!

I know it has been long overdue. But I am not ungrateful. You knew it was coming, right? After all, you three understand me like no one else.
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Dearest Laptop,

I am thanking you first. No, not because you might get angry and just go blank if I shove you to the last position. But because you are my favorite. (Yes, why do you doubt it? I swear!) Also, you are a class apart. You are not a home appliance, you are my home. XO

You don’t mind my threats of throwing you into the dustbin whenever you show off your blue error screen. You don’t mind the expletives I shower on you when you suddenly shut off. I know it is my mistake that I overwork you!

I am thankful for all the digital memories that you create and store for me. Thank you for taking me on amazing trips via your screen. You are my genie who brings the world to me. I would have lost touch with my loved ones but for you.

Can I even begin to thank you for all the hours you have tolerated my tapping away on your keyboard while I wrote my books, my stories, and my blog posts? Thank you for the patience and magnanimity.

Lest I forget, you are the reason my toddler learned his alphabets and numbers. You are his best friend. You taught him languages, songs and had fun playing games with him. Thank you, dear.

I can go on listing your virtues the whole day, but see, there are some others I need to thank as well.
I will remain forever grateful to you.

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Dearest washing machine,

If there is one single discovery that I am thankful for every day, it is you! My magnificent, cute, lovely little machine. Thank you for serving me without any grudge or complaints. I do make you work so much.

What would we do if not for you? We would roam around smelling like rotten cabbages or onions! Eeew. Ever since you came into our lives, I don’t have to depend on that thankless maid who made such a fuss for washing the clothes. The clothes smell good now and dry faster.

All I need to do is throw in the clothes along with some detergent. You do all the dirty work elegantly. No noise, no tantrums. You even notify me when you are done. I am so thankful for all that you do.

Don’t mind that sometimes I forget to wipe you clean or empty the filters. It is just that I am so busy these days.

Thank you, dear.
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Dearest refrigerator,

I know you are angry with me. I haven’t cleaned you in weeks. I swear I will do it this weekend. Just for another two days, you have to bear with the stains left by my unruly little boy who loves banging your doors after taking out his treats. I know he sometimes leaves your doors open. He dislodges your beautiful octagonal ice-crystals, just to hear the tinkling sound of the ice falling into your ice-box. Do forgive him. He is just eight.

You tolerate everything without any complaint. Thank you for being such a magnanimous being. Thank you for keeping all the leftovers, vegetables, and beverages fresh. I know the man of the house doesn't like eating anything that has lived inside you for more than a few hours. That is just him. I love you. I am your big fan.

Thank you for being the coolest addition to our home.

Today's prompt
This post is written for #ThankfulThursdays being hosted by Tina Basu and Amrita Misra

Tina Basu