Posted in Random Thoughts

Making Up For Lost Time: a Soapy Head, a White Rabbit and a Black-hole Paradox

Thinking of the White Rabbit and his famous timepiece when “I’m late! I’m late! I’m late!”…

Getting On


My day began, as all my days begin, in the shower and it was not until after I had dressed that it became in any way different. You see, it was then, as I loaded my various pockets with pens, keys and loose change, that I realised that I had not rinsed the shampoo from my hair. A brief look in the mirror told me that much. My hair was sleek and shiny, like it had been steeped in a litre of cooking oil, with white lather gathering ahead of the comb like morons at the front of a bigot’s funeral. Anyway, at that point, I had three options as I saw it. Option one was the obvious one: ignore it – pretend that I had not noticed and simply get on with my day. The obvious choice, but rapidly dismissed. I cannot ignore stuff: stuff nags away at me…

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Posted in My life

Sailor, Ahoy!

I’ve never set foot on a ship, but I know how it feels for a sailor to wipe floorboards after a storm.


My house has a special feature–water harvesting. When it rains and the wind is in the right direction, which is at least once a year, (this year has been rather generous in this regard) the unique technique used in the windows allows maximum possible amount of water inside.

Since my room is the highest room of the tallest tower in the area, the amount of water it can intake can put a Civil engineer to shame (“Why didn’t I think of this? I could have saved riven Yamuna. I should drown myself in this pool.”) I think the architect who designed the house worked with King Akbar in Agra, since a similar water harvesting technique has been used throughout the Agra fort and Fatehpur Sikari fort. The only mistake he made was to forget creating a tank at the bottom to contain the water it collected–such a waste!

So, whenever it rains and the wind is in the ‘right’ direction, the I play the sailor, while my daughter sitting on the bed squeals with excitement and works as the lookout–“Look Maa! Water from that window too!”

I specially remember this night when my daughter was one and there was a storm. Lights went out, the inverter didn’t work, and we lighted a candle. Then the wind moved in the ‘right’ direction and water came in from all of the five huge windows covering two walls.

Suddenly we were sailors of the old times on His Majesty’s Ship in storm. One of my family members had run upstairs to help and together we bailed (wiped) water out of the room, while the Princess was sound asleep in the King’s arms. After five minutes, when it was clear that no amount of bailing/wiping could help, the King ordered us to abandon ship and we took the nearest escape route to the floor below.

Water came to us from all directions, raining down the stairs that led to the roof. It followed us down the stairs in torrents, trying to drown anyone en route. Wet from the water falling from the stairs above, we made it, somehow, to dry lands of the lower floor, leaving all our belongings to fate.

Three hours later, when the rain stopped for a while and the wind took a break, I returned to our room to find it water-logged. It took me three more hours to put out the beds on the roof to dry, and to clean and dry-up the room and the carpet…and get ready for work. No sleep for me that night!

For many years, we have looked for ways to make our room waterproof without sealing the windows (since sealing them will turn the room into an oven) but to no avail. It doesn’t stop me from loving it though.

I fell in love with those huge fancy castle-like windows the day I entered this home for the first time. They gave me the sense of living in a hotel with a spectacular view…mine is that of trees and a field across the road. Well, beyond that there is a water tank and houses, but it is as good as it can get while still living in a city. And then there are birds that knock on my windows so often…

Some inconveniences are worth it…

Posted in Random Thoughts

Answering Socrates: Part 2

It was Petra Jacobs who posed these questions to her fellow bloggers in her blog, Inkbiotic. I decided to ponder over….

Do your dreams ever give you inspiration for stories? If so can you describe one that has?

More often than I’d like to admit. Many pieces of my poetry are based in dreams/nightmares. I guess my subconscious is a better writer than my active brain. My vivid dreams of various breathtaking locales and very realistic nightmares create the base for a lot of my poetry.

One of my frequent dream destinations is an ancient temple on a mountain. Not sure what deity or what religion…but it calls to me. It is dark, mysterious and beyond time. I only get to see it from a distance though. Every time, I spend all my time trying to reach it–walking up the mountain road, sometimes trying to persuade my companions that it is worth it but failing, sometimes stuck in the small colorful market that falls in the way wasting precious hours, and sometimes climbing up and down a maze of overpopulated stairs.

I only reached it once. It was just as dark inside, so still don’t know if it has any deity, and it had a lift that took me to the underworld, where ‘life’ was…as usual. Just a little darker due to lack of the Sun.

Do you feel comfortable writing characters of other races/ genders or with extreme experiences you’ve never had? What are your no go areas for characters?

I mostly write stories that are unlike me and have experiences that I haven’t gone through. My characters do not belong to any particular race. I actively avoid describing my characters, so their stories are universal, since my readers come from 40 countries across 5 continents. (I think penguins don’t read WordPress yet).

I have written both from the point of view of Satan and God. So I don’t see any no-go area in Characters.

Have you ever written anything that you wouldn’t write now? What was it and what’s changed?

I never publish anything I cannot stand up for in the future. So nothing yet.

Do you ever work on a style? Or do you simply write and a style happens?

I simply write. I have no particular style in mind except keeping it simple.

How about a genre? Do you always stick to the same one? Is there a genre you’d like to work in, but don’t know how?

Earlier I always stuck to realism. I tried to make my stories as close to the present reality as possible. But later I tried my hand at horror, nature stories, science fiction and mythology. I loved them all. So I’m expanding my horizon. I would like to try classic poetry, but somehow it seems beyond me.

If you’ve written a novel, what was your method? did you plan it all out beforehand with flow charts and lists? Or did you have a vague idea of what would happen and just start writing?

I cannot stick to a story for more than two days in a row. Novel writing is for people with a stronger resolve than mine.

Thank you Petra, for giving me a chance to babble. Yet again.

Posted in Blogging

Writing Tip: How does that line sound?

As Instructional Designers, we design instructions. We create courses about how to do certain things, may be run a software, mobile phone, or a crane… To ensure that learners remember the said instructions, we make them easy, and at the same time, interesting and strong, and professional. Formatting words correctly plays an important role in the process. 

Have you ever wondered why a certain line you wrote sounds different than you intend? Somehow it sounds, sharper and angrier? Why the person you sent an email to never saw the link you shared? Or why they are suddenly avoiding talking to you?

Have you been using CAPITAL letters a lot? Or may be boldfaced it with an underline?

Read through the lines below to see the effect of each formatting.

You may leave now and need not come back. (Statement of fact?)

You may leave now and need not come back. (Order?)

You may leave now and need not come back. (Order?)

You may leave now and need not come back. (Angry order?)


The same sentence sounds different in our mind when formatted differently. While you may be using different formatting to bring certain actions to people’s notice, they may read it as an angry order or shouting. When not meeting a person face to face, people find it difficult to interpret their mood. Make it easier for your audience to understand, by following the formatting rules.

  • Use boldface only to highlight certain words not the entire line.
  • Use underline to show it is a link.
  • Avoid boldface and underline at the same time.
  • Use ALL CAPITAL letters where you want to sound like shouting. (I’d prefer it to be happy shouting, like YEEEEEE! But I leave it up to you.)
  • To bring certain actions to notice, just add a boldface ‘Note’. e.g. “Note: Get this done on priority.”

Please note that ALL CAPITAL is considered both unprofessional and difficult to read. I avoid it all the time, only resorting to it when the shouting out loud emotion cannot be captured otherwise. Even then, I use it only for certain words for emphasis.

I hope it helps. Let me know if you disagree through comments.

Posted in My life

Missed opportunity of being a sloth

An excerpt from Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) by Jerome K. Jerome (1889):

…I had the symptoms, beyond all mistake, the chief among them being a general disinclination to work of any kind.
What I suffer in that way no tongue can tell. From my earliest infancy I have been a martyr to it. As a boy, the disease hardly ever left me for a day. They did not know, then, that it was my liver. Medical science was in a far less advanced state than now, and they used to put it down to laziness.
Why, you skulking little devil, you, they would say, get up and do something for your living, cant you? not knowing, of course, that I was ill.
And they didn’t give me pills; they gave me clumps on the side of the head. And, strange as
it may appear, those clumps on the head often cured me for the time being. I have known one clump on the head have more effect upon my liver, and make me feel more anxious to go straight away then and there, and do what was wanted to be done, without further loss of time, than a whole box of pills does now.”

A friend had gifted me this book 10 years back. I’ve read it end number of times and often go back to it to ponder over the things in life that remain unchanged even after 130 years. This excerpt from the book clearly calls out my present state of mind.

I’ve been a sloth for most of my life. For those of you who are unaware who a sloth is, it is the slowest mammal ever. It spends its life hanging on the tree and eating leaves from the same branch forever, digesting one leaf in 30 days. It’s life is so slow that it grows algae on its coat.

I sometimes feel, while being programmed, my chip got swapped with that of a sloth, the same as Jerome. I could stay in the same spot undetected for hours, reading or painting quietly. I read around 50-100 storybooks/novels in an year, depending on the thickness of the book. Often, my parents didn’t know I was home. Unlike my brother, I wasn’t into sports, didn’t party, didn’t have a social life outside school, and moved my ass only when absolutely required, like when it came to clumps on the head. I didn’t grow algae, but only because my mother forced me into the bath once a day.

Now as a mother, I always have the company of my child who hasn’t started school, and the duties of a mother and homemaker. I enjoy her company, but often miss the opportunity of being a sloth.

Posted in Random Thoughts

Royal News Blackout — beetleypete

Update on the post: After some digging, one of our fellow bloggers found out that the video is two years old. The prince still refuses to present himself in front of the court. Royal disobedience, it seems!

Originally posted on REDFLAGFLYING: Unless you have seen it featured on Twitter, you will be unaware of a loud protest by a fair-sized crowd outside Buckingham Palace in London today. This is a protest against Prince Andrew’s involvement in the trafficking of underage girls for sex, part of the Epstein scandal in America. The…

Royal News Blackout — beetleypete
Posted in Random Thoughts

Song Lyric Sunday – Cyndi Lauper and Matthew Shepard

Why do we fear those who are unlike us? Unfamiliar face, unfamiliar race, unfamiliar gender…
What would be a garden with only one type of flowers? An orchestra with only one type of instrument?
How difficult could it be to accept others the way they are?

Welcome back to Song Lyric Sunday. Mine will be short and sweet this week!

This week we have some general words that are used to describe object placement, being Above/Below/Between and hopefully everyone will be able to find a song that utilizes one of these prompt words in the title or in the lyrics.

I wish I could tell you the circumstances surrounding the first time I heard this song, but I cannot. I just know it touched me the very first time I heard it.

”Above the Clouds” was written by Cyndia Lauper, Jeff Beck and Jed Leiner as a tribute song for Matthew Shepard. Matthew was an openly gay student at the University of Wyoming who was beaten, tortured, tied to a fence and left to die in 1998. He later succumbed to his wounds. It is a heartbreaking tragedy.

Cyndi Lauper is a long time advocate of the…

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Posted in Random Thoughts

The Bad Recruiter

My history is full of short jobs that I did for fun. Most of them never made it to my resume. It was only once I started working as a sourcing executive for an MNC, in the US process, that I actually stuck to the job. I liked it.

There is no other job that makes you feel both like a King and a beggar, all on the same day.

My work was to find suitable resume in job boards with the needed skills, call them to check if they were interested and share resume with the recruiter to take forward. It was the time of global economic meltdown. People were losing jobs left, right and centre. So, most people were glad for the call. Some left hate messages, but such instances were few and far between.

Since it was a night job, it took a toll on my health, and I moved to a day job in the same industry as a Recruiter–big mistake!

There is no other job that makes you feel both like a call centre employee and a beggar, both on the same day.

Recruitment is often advertised as Human Resources job. In reality, it is double marketing. You sell man to job and job to man. I was never a salesperson.

It was a head-hunting company. My job was to:

  1. hunt for suitable candidates who were best in the industry, AND
  2. make sure that they reached the interview venue, AND
  3. ensure they joined the job.

I hardly went beyond first base, and never beyond second.

First Base: Nearly everyone on the job board had been contacted and rejected. It required cold calling at least 80 people before I could get one good candidate ready to go for interview. My upper limit was 30 calls. I was never the one to pick phone calls at home. My possible suitors would call my home number only to find my parents on the line. That’s why I never had a boyfriend until I got my own mobile phone. It was against my inherent nature to call unsolicited.

W, who was doing well in the same industry told me a trick. It required extensive lying. You call a junior in the target company in the same department, offer them a position that does not exist. Once you have their confidence, you ask them for help to fill another position, which is really the one you are recruiting for. You ask them to refer seniors for the position, and once you have the details, you put the guy on back burner. A great trick for someone who could lie. I am a terrible liar. I have memory of a goldfish, and am afraid that I won’t remember what lie I told and to whom. I might stop mid-sentence to remember what I was saying.

Another way is creating a Linked In network, which may take months, and looking up people on Facebook. I hate Facebook AND Linked In.

So I hardly crossed the first base.

Second Base: I thought sending people for interview was just about sending a reminder message. Apparently, it was about judging whether the person was lying about being late.

I am a gullible person who believes in the universal goodness of human beings. I trusted people when they said they were interested in the job; that they are on their way for the interview; that they met an accident on the way; that they had a death in the family. I openly gave them second chances and third. But as the death toll rose and the accident numbers became higher than the city’s population, I had to admit, I was missing something.

Third base: After one year in one organisation and five months in another, not a single person joined the job. I reached the ocean floor of depression, where I stayed drowning in sorrow of my own making. I couldn’t believe another human being without questions. I was never into cigarettes, alcohol or drugs, else, the time was ripe for the next remake of Devdas*.

That’s when I quit the industry for good, and moved into Learning. It is one place where I help people by teaching essential job skills and, hence, delay their next interaction with the Good Recruiter.

Author’s note: This story is off the record. So, if you are my manager or had ever been one, this post never existed.

Posted in Guest post

Guest Post: Ngozi Awa

I’d like to present a guest post by Ngozi Awa. She is fellow blogger and friend who shares heartfelt pieces of her life and other stories on her blog

The Quiet and Reserved Ones

As an undergraduate, I wasn’t the boldest or the most eloquent in class. However, I knew I wanted to make a difference in the quality of studentship in the department. So, there came the decision to run for one of the supporting leadership positions in the department’s students’ association.

When I indicated interest to run for Treasurer of the Department of English and Literary Studies Students’ Association, I was laughed off. My classmates and seniors described me as withdrawn and shy. I was pained at the low levels of confidence I received from my classmates. I thought they could see past my quiet demeanour.

I didn’t let their disapproval stop me from pursuing my goal. I vied for the position, wrote and delivered a manifesto that sent the crowd to their feet with rounds of applause. I won the position.

It is okay to be reserved, quiet, or even withdrawn but you have to step out of your comfort zone once in a while.
Like Master Shifu of The Kung-fu Panda series says “If you do only what you can do, you will never be more than you are now.”

You can read more of her beautiful stories at

Posted in Love

The Prey

I was early today. My regular haunt, a local cafe’, had provided me with numerous conversations with different women in the past. Nearly each one led to fun-filled first dates and steamy nights. I never asked for a second date–do that and women begin planning the names of the babies.

I found her looking out of the window. A pretty face with a body to match. Her shoulder weren’t pulled back in haughty confidence. Approachable. Easy target. Perfect.

I approached her table and cleared my throat to get her attention but she was lost outside. Something about her ways felt serene–no fidgeting, no leg tapping.

I tapped on the table. That got her attention. But when I asked for permission to sit with her, she just shrugged in the universal sign of ‘suit yourself’ and returned to look out of the window.

To say I was surprised was an understatement. I’m what people call as tall, dark and handsome, so I’m not used to being ignored by women. I sat down and looked out to understand what held her attention–a conversation between a child and a man, probably his father. The child was using signs and the man was having difficulty in understanding.

The way her lips were turned up at the sight, she seemed to find it all amusing–not in the sneering, jeering, judgemental way, but the way you’d witness a bird’s baby learning to fly.

I coughed to get her attention. Nothing.

Trying another tactic, I sent myself a message. My message ringtone is a custom-made guitar tone and always gets women’s attention. Not this time though.

The waiter came with her order and glared at me with a ‘do not mess with her’ look. I was surprised! He had been quite cordial for so many months. Was she his girl?

He placed her order on the table. She looked up and, with a large friendly smile, she thanked him…in signs. He smiled back with a no-problem gesture and left the table, giving me a last glare.

I got up to get my order from the counter, and sat back down on the farthest table, awaiting another prey…

Photo by Ammpryt ART

Posted in Nature

My Neighbours: The Rebel

The lockdown has shown us weird things, but this is weirdest of all. If you have have read the Minions, you probably already know the context of this war.

Our house is under attack.

Ever since the recent house cleaning during Bakrid holidays, we had sighted increased activity close to our borders. While the reaction from the Arachne clan was expected who lost several lives in the process, their alliance with the neighbouring Wasp and Bee clans is rather surprising.

For the past five years, we had refrained from open hostilities on either sides. Our relationship had been rather cordial. We’d allowed free passage to the visiting bees and wasps, and had traversed outside our house and beneath their trees without an incident. But lately, we have seen a change in the pattern on their side.

Suicide attacker bees have been entering our borders stinging unassuming and unprepared civilians. While it is rather crippling experience for some time, it seems to be a ruse to hide the unauthorised infiltration by wasps.

There have been unofficial sightings of wasps entering our borders and lingering longer than needed, in spite of clear laws against outstaying their welcome. We have also found several bunkers hiding young soldiers along with food supplies. All this has forced us to revisit our rules regarding our dealings with foreign personnel.

  • Amendment 1: Don’t pay heed Swipe with a broom if they enter.
  • Amendment 2: Escort to window Hit with shoes if they do not leave immediately.

Some residents have also noticed unusual activities on the outer railings and windows of our house that are becoming full of spider webs overnight. While it was a usual occurrence overtime, the duration has decreased twenty times and the impacted area has increased ten folds, making it look like a well-planned strategy.

Considering that spider webs are three times stronger than steel wires, and the doors are being guarded by wasps and bees, it seems that the three clans–Arachne, Wasp and Bee–plan to trap us inside the house by cutting off all avenues of retreat, to be slayed by the hidden wasp, bee and spider soldiers.

Unprepared, we are trying to fight back with whatever comes to hand–brooms, mops, shoes–but, clearly, we are fighting a losing battle, like Lord Voldemort’s men dealing with an army of house elves, not sure how to fight back their magic.

The future looks bleak. We might have to flee through the hidden tunnel that Matthew built earlier this year (that is, if it is not already sealed by the spiders)–and leave the house to the rebels.

God save us!

Posted in Nature

My Neighbours: The Minions

Not sure what went wrong that day. We had never seen the Giantess in such a rage before.

We have lived in the castle in harmony with the Giantess for many generations. She’s a mage–she sits in front of her magic crystal box, and as moves her fingers across, moving pictures of far and beyond appear showing what, clearly, is the future. Sometimes, she chants in languages unknown and moves her hands and feet (she has only two each) in a ritual dance. But in spite of all her eccentricities, mostly, she’d been gentle and unobtrusive for centuries.

My grandma often told us stories about her opening windows to let out the trespassing bees and wasps rather than crushing them under foot, as is the usual practice among giants. Hence, yesterday, her actions came as unexpected.

She came to us with her face covered and swiped with a long sword with a big round top. Scared, we all moved back until our backs hit the wall and there was nowhere to hide. We ran in all directions. But she kept following one or the other, cursing and panting and puffing. Most of us took refuge in the various caves in the walls. Those who couldn’t were murdered in cold blood. When her sword couldn’t reach those of us in the caves, she became frustrated and broke our little houses.

Then she continued this act in all the halls, killing quite a few of my kin within the hour.

Now that we are done with the mourning, we’ve decided to avenge our dead. We’ve spoken to the Queen Bee and various Wasps around the place and they agree that the Giants, as they spend most of their time at home planning and plotting, are slowly becoming unhinged, and cannot to be trusted; and that our Giantess is now in league with the Dragons who abound the castle.

Hence the Bees and Wasps are now our allies and we are planning a joint attack tonight with our full combined forces, and take over the castle.

Let the world see that minions shall not be belittled.

Free photo by DivyadarshiAch1 on Unsplash

Posted in Life and After

World on Fire

“From the hole in the box, I could see them beat Abba until he couldn’t move. Ammi begged them to spare him but they held her back by the hair and one of them tore her clothes and laughed.

Then they tied Abba in a sack and dragged him out. We couldn’t find him after that. I’m afraid they threw him in a nullah to drown, like Zameer bhaijaan next door and Imran bhaijaan who ran the bicycle shop.

They were crying ‘Jai Shri Ram!’ (Victory be with Ram). I wonder who this Ram is and how he could win by killing those who weren’t even fighting against him.”

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Posted in Life and After

Guest Post: Vaidehi

I’m pleased to present a short story by a fellow blogger, Vaidehi. In her story, she explores emotions rather than events. Her style is simple yet powerful. I loved the piece. I hope you do too.

I am old and frayed now.

Nevertheless, I am classy, one of substance and not like the new ones on the block. And yet, here I am, abandoned and lonely.
When I was young and in good company, I had many admirers and conversations in elegant circles revolved around me. Life was good.
Over the years, I was slowly relegated to the background. At first, to the back of the shelf and then to the trunk in the attic. But nobody can deny that I was and still am the best in deductive crime fiction. The characters that unfold as you turn my pages are still alive in the minds of people. I am told that they are still making films and serials with my main characters.
All this crowding and jostling in the trunk exasperate me. Even a trash can would be better than this! Soon, I was picked up with several others of my clan and shoved into, you guessed it right, the trash can. Talk to me about a self-fulfilling prophecy!
Abandoned and hurt, I had no faith in humankind. After a long and painful journey, I lay in the dump and resigned myself to being shred or burnt or just left to decay.
I woke up from my stupor when a gloved hand picked me up and crammed me into a coat pocket. “Now what?” I thought. I dimly remember that I passed through several hands over the next few days, none that is worth mentioning.
So, I was pleasantly surprised when the young woman looked at me with interest and I felt the care in her touch. She cleaned my red leather cover carefully, removing the smudges and stains of years of neglect and the rough and tumble of the last few days. My title glittered again and I shone like a new coin.
What does a book want? To be handled carefully, to be read with interest and to be valued. She did all this and much more.
I had been with her for quite some time when, one day, she picked me up, put me in her handbag and left for work. I was enjoying the snug ride when she took me out, put a paste-on note on my cover and placed me gently by her side on the metro train seat. I was quite happy to have a separate seat and looked around brimming with pride, to check if anyone had noticed. But I am sad to say that all of them were totally engrossed with a gadget held in their hands.
As my owner got up to alight, I looked up at her expectantly. To my dismay, she moved to the door, glanced back at me and got off. What? Abandoned again?
I sat there clueless and despondent. While several passed, an elderly man stopped in front of me, read the note and picked me up. Smiling, he flipped through the pages and put me in his bag. My stay with him was brief but wonderful as he too read and valued me. A few days later, I was left by him deliberately on one of the benches of a metro station.
So, here I am, lying abandoned on the metro for the umpteenth time and waiting for yet another eager reader to pick me up. I have learnt now that I am a part of a social project “book on the metro”. Books are left at prominent places on the metro trains and stations, to be picked by interested readers, who would leave the books again for others. Thus, the chain of readers continues.
Needless to say that I now love being abandoned.

For more such stories, visit Vaidehi’s blog at