Posted in My life

Help!

Those of you who have followed me for some time must have noticed that lately, my posts are less and farther between than ever in the past. It’s not that I am out of juice…just out of energy. My househelp had to leave suddenly and I haven’t found a replacement.

I am not sure how many of you can truly understand the place of househelp in an Indian household. Losing one is akin to losing a hand and both legs.

If her husband is ill, an Indian woman will be concerned. If you tell her that her maid is unwell, she will be hysterical. She will cry her eyes out and blame her husband for all her misery while washing utensils in the kitchen or kneeding the dough, as if he’s the only one who eats. And while washing clothes, she will pray for her sons (even six-months old…or rather, especially six-months old) to grow up quickly and get married so that there will be someone to help in washing their clothes. If it is a daughter, she will try to help, keep getting in the way and falling over the spilled detergent, increasing the size of laundry. Then, the woman will wish that she would grow up and stop helping.

A house without househelp is a complete chaos. Mountain of utensils keeps toppling over. The mop gathers dust and clothes gather in piles all over the house–piles of washed clothes, piles of dirty clothes, piles of clothes okay to be worn again and so on. The family winds its way around these hillocks, trying to find space enough to place their feet.

Visitors are returned from the door on the pretext of COVID to avoid potential embarrassment due to the lack of space to sit, since all chairs are covered with clothes of varied level of privacy. Husbands might have to sleep in a sitting posture if the clothes on the bed are not dealt with, until a replacement is found.

With my househelp gone for a month, I am now looking for a spot big enough to sit so that we can sleep. If not, one of the hillocks will do…

Posted in Random Thoughts, Writing Tips

Learn from the Masters: Sketching a Character

Author’s note: I have always loved To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I never tried to dissect the love to understand why until recently. When I was reading it for the nth time, I realised…

The book sketches innumerable characters from a small town, I am not into documentaries and the entire thing should have been absolutely boring and I shouldn’t have been able to distinguish between characters. But I love it. The character sketch is woven into story and narrator’s interactions with them. It brings out not just the physical traits but the entire personality. Here are couple of excerpts.

“We lived on the main residential street in town—Atticus, Jem and I, plus Calpurnia our cook. Jem and I found our father satisfactory: he played with us, read to us, and treated us with courteous detachment.

Calpurnia was something else again. She was all angles and bones; she was nearsighted; she squinted; her hand was wide as a bed slat and twice as hard. She was always ordering me out of the kitchen, asking me why I couldn’t behave as well as Jem when she knew he was older, and calling me home when I wasn’t ready to come. Our battles were epic and one-sided. Calpurnia always won, mainly because Atticus always took her side. She had been with us ever since Jem was born, and I had felt her tyrannical presence as long as I could remember.”

“Dill was a curiosity. He wore blue linen shorts that buttoned to his shirt, his hair was snow white and stuck to his head like duckfluff; he was a year my senior but I towered over him. As he told us the old tale his blue eyes would lighten and darken; his laugh was sudden and happy; he habitually pulled at a cowlick in the center of his forehead.

When Dill reduced Dracula to dust, and Jem said the show sounded better than the book, I asked Dill where his father was: “You ain’t said anything about him.”

“I haven’t got one.”

“Is he dead?”

“No…”

“Then if he’s not dead you’ve got one, haven’t you?”

Dill blushed and Jem told me to hush, a sure sign that Dill had been studied and found acceptable.”

Also, the author was not in a hurry to give away everything at the beginning. It is almost half way through the book when you realise that Calpurnia is black and Dill’s character sketch waits until we are a couple of pages through with him.

Let’s learn from the masters.

Posted in Blogging

Milestone Celebration

In middle of all the confusion that encompasses my life, I missed a very important milestone: 400+ followers! Also, 14K views! Wow…there was a time when I had 3 views for one year…all my own.

Thank you, dear followers, for reminding me everyday that my blog is there for a reason: You! It is meant to show an upside down view of life, give voice to beings who often go unheard and spark a conversation. I had stopped giving political opinion last month because it hurt some very important people in my life but I still write about everything else under the sun, as long as it has the potential to stir a healthy conversation.

Sometimes, I do feel out of juice though until I see a photo, hear a story, read a word that makes my brain do somersaults until something spills out that is worth telling a story.

So, if you have a topic or a word around which you want me to weave a story, just leave it in the comments. The offer is open to anybody and anytime. You can throw the word in, in the comment box of any of my posts. I’ll pick up and see if I can weave something. It might take a few days…or weeks…months even, because my brain does its own calculation while I sleep, and churns out something almost perfect at unexpected moments, but it will surface, eventually.

So, give me inspiration, dear readers. I write for you.

Thank you again for following me. Keep posting comments whenever you feel like it, even if to just say, Hello!

I love talking to you all. You keep me alight!

Posted in Blogging

500 posts, 350 followers

Some where in the middle of my back injury and, later, neck injury and, office work, I missed a couple of very important milestones: 500 posts and 350+ WP followers. YEEEEEEEEE!

I can also boast of 12 K views and nearly 5600 visitors. Thank you!

Your love has humbled me. I wish I had ways to allow everyone to comment on my blog and not just WP followers. As I always say, Every comment matters. It shows me ways to improve. So, let me know if you don’t like something. I don’t mind an open discussion. I am ready to be converted to your ways of thinking as long as your point can buy me in.

Just let me know. Keep following, keep reading so I can continue writing for you. 😀

Posted in Blogging

Publish Posts Through WP App on Mobile

This is a basic publishing aid meant to help people create posts while using WP app on their phone. I am sure, most of you have already figured out the process, but in case you haven’t just follow these steps to publish the post.

(Note: The screenshots were taken randomly from two different sites I own over a period of three months. So, you may find some inconsistencies. Please bear with me.) 😁

Your main WP App main screen will look something like below. I have covered the logo, site name and WordPress address here since the site is not ready to go live yet.

1. Click Posts (highlighted in orange).

2. Click the red + sign to add a new post.

(The tabs on the top contain the following items:

  • Published: List of your published posts in order of Chronology
  • Drafts: Drafts that you haven’t published, including anything you wrote and forgot to save before closing the application
  • Scheduled: Drafts you have scheduled to post in the future
  • Binned: Posts/Drafts you have deleted)

3. Type the Title of the post (you can change it later, if needed), and add content. If you have a block editor, which is now the default editor in WP, every time you click enter, you will get a new block.

4. To add various items to the post, like heading, quotes, images, videos, space and separators, click the highlighted + sign at the bottom of the screen. Then, select one.

5. Once you believe that post is ready to be published, click the three dots at the top right, and select Post settings.

6. Select Categories. It is not mandatory, but it helps your audience later when you have, say 30+ posts. You can simply add some major category names to your top menu and the audience can find your posts easily by clicking them. You can add/change category even years after publishing, if (God forbid 😁) you feel like it.

7. Select the category.

If you are new, the page is probably blank, or does not have the required category. 😎 To add a new category:

  1. Click the + sign at the top right.
  2. Add a category name. Keep it generic, short and easy to understand.
  3. If you wish to place them under one of your existing categories, click the down arrow next to Top level.
  4. Select the parent category from the existing list.

Once you have selected the category, click the back button at the top left.

8. Select Tags.

9. Select the tag. If you need a news one, type a new tag. You can separate two tags with a comma. Do not add space. (Feel free to disregard the advice of your editor for a change, as I have. 😎)

Once done, click the back button at the top left.

10. To select the publishing time:

  1. Click Publish.
  2. Click Time and Date.
  3. Either select Immediately; or select appropriate date, and click OK; then, select appropriate time, and click OK.

11. Click PUBLISH, and then, PUBLISH NOW.


Note: If at any point of time, you feel the need to stop writing and close the post, click the three dots on the top-right, and select Save. It will save your work on WP site online.

If you reopen the WP App and see Local changes message below a post, it is because you closed the application without saving it. Just open the post settings and click Save.

If you see the Version Conflict message below the draft/post, think of the last time you worked on the post.

  • If you worked via the mobile, click Remove Web Version.
  • If you worked directly on the website, click Remove Device Version.

Thank you! I am such a genius! 😎

Posted in Blogging

Wooohoooo! 400 Post, 290 Followers

Thank you, WordPress! Thank you, Facebook! Thank you, Twitter!

After one year and three months of the rebirth of my blog, I can finally boast of worthy achievements. I am 400-Posts old. Most of them stories, in one way or other–love, hate, memories, nature, politics…things I stand up for.

And I can boast of 290 followers.

Well, in all honesty, I have 1 follower on Twitter (Thank you, Pete!), 38 on Facebook–family and friends who love me enough to support me even if I have an empty page, but still… And 246 on WordPress! Wow! I never thought so many people will deem me worthy. So, thank you! I hope I am living up to your expectations.

It have been trying to deliver a post a day. It is a difficult target considering I am considerably new at story writing and have a child who hasn’t started school yet. But I have crossed the one year mark and am still delivering, which means a lot to me. And you, my friend, are reading! Which means a lot more! Thank you for embarking on this quest with me.

I would like to remind you that I love sharing guest post. So, if you have something that you want to be read by my audience, please share with me and I will be happy to share. Please look at the guidelines to learn more.

Thank you! Looking forward to see your posts!

Cheers! 🍧 🍨 🍦 

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?)

YOU MAY LEAVE NOW AND NEED NOT COME BACK. (Shouting?)

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 Blogging

Invitation for Guest Posts

This is an invitation to all blog writers. If you love to write, or live to write, or write to live, or write for a living, please be my guest. If you’d like to publish a post on my site, please send it to me on my email ID: shailygrwl@gmail.com

Working alone can get lonely sometimes. Be my partner in crime.

Some facts about my site:

Fish in the Trees complete one year this June. It gets around 550 views per month and has 220+ followers as of now. I post around 3-4 short stories, poetry and random thoughts per week.

To publish your post on my blog, please note that the post should be:

  • In English or Hindi, since these are the only languages I understand. If in another language, please add translation in Hindi or English.
  • In 1000 words or less, and/or one picture.

Rules:

  • The piece must be something you wrote.
  • It could be fresh or already published on your site or another.
  • I will not edit it except if there is a grammatical issue.
  • Do not share a graphic post. Using obscene/violent language or theme is a strict “No”.
  • You hold the copyright.

Modus Operandi:

  • Do not send a link to the post (if already published)
  • Write/Paste it on the email and send it to shailygrwl@gmail.com
  • Attach pics separately. Do not send more than 1 image.
  • Send the link to your website.

Since I am a working mother, I may take around a week to respond. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.

So, put on your writing cap. See you around, Partner.

Posted in Blogging, Life and After, Love, My life, Nature, Twisted Tales

1st Re-birthday Celebration

Stats: 1 year, 300+ Posts, 5600+ Views, 186 Followers

WOOHOOOOOO!!!

Fish in the Trees is my alter ego. It stands for my unique position as a true Gemini. (Ever saw that horoscope picture with two people looking in different directions? That’s me.) I have always been looking in two directions or more–trying to see both sides of the coin, skewing my perspective like a fish-eye lens. I have a traditional small-town upbringing, but am plagued with question-itis (the habit of asking pain-in-the-ass questions) and conform-o-phobia (the fear of conforming with status quo). My blog follows suit.

It makes both of us forever misfits, like a shellfish in the trees.

Fish in the trees only had five posts till mid-last year, all of which I deleted. On the night of 15th June last year, I decided to rebirth this site and moved in stuff from my earlier site Fly on the Wall (that no one read). Since then, I have written every week, twice a week, daily… Yup! I’m that crazy!

Now after one year, here are 10 posts that I am proud of…okay 18…It is rather difficult to pick your favourite child, and I have over 300.

Enjoy!

Posted in Blogging

Free Pictures for Your Site

It has been around eleven months since I started this blog. At 290 posts, it is a little less than a post a day. Most of these posts are accompanied with amazing free pictures from Unsplash.com.

What I never tell is that nearly half the times, the stories are photo-prompt.

A lot of times when I am struggling for an idea, I go and check the website, save some pictures with photographer credits. And let the idea stew…After, say a few seconds or may be a couple of months, I reopen the photo and bingo! I have a new story!

So, I wanted to thank Unsplash for the awe-inspiring and story-inspiring images. I would encourage all of you to use this website to make your site look even more amazing.

  • No payment is required.
  • Crediting the photographer is not required, but still I’d do that to encourage photographers.
  • You can download low resolution pictures from the download option to save site space.

Please note that I get no money from the site to advertise for them. But I can never thank them enough.

Posted in Blogging

Invitation for Guest Posts

This is an invitation to all blog writers. If you love to write, or live to write, or write to live, or write for a living, please be my guest.

Working alone can get lonely sometimes.

I love company. Be my partner in crime.

My offer: My site gets 500+ views per month and a variety of readership from around 40+ countries, majorly from India, Australia, UK, Ireland, USA, Spain, Nigeria, Malta and Pakistan. The story with a link to your site is a chance to woo my 150+ followers to check and follow your site. 

Challenge: Write an engaging post:

  • In English.
  • In around 100 words (10 lines) and/or one picture.
  • In one of the following genres: Poetry; Story; Memoir; Random thought.

Rules:

  • The final verdict on whether the post will be published on my site lies with me. I am not very picky but I share only what I enjoy.
  • The piece must be something you wrote.
  • It could be fresh or already published on your site or another.
  • I will not edit it.
  • Do not share a graphic post. Using obscene language or theme is a strict “No”.

Modus Operandi:

  • Do not send a link to the post.
  • Write/Paste it on the email and send it to shailygrwl@gmail.com
  • Attach pics separately. Do not send more than 1 image.
  • Send the link to your website, if you wish.

Since I am a working mother, I may take around a week to respond. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.

So, put on your writing cap. See you around, Partner.

Posted in Random Thoughts

150+ Followers, 250+ Stories

I just wanted to celebrate a moment of small victories. Fish in the trees now has 150+ WordPress followers! 😁

Wooohoooooo!

I also crossed the mark of 250 stories a couple of weeks back. 😎 (My ‘poetry’ is simply ‘stories with rhytm’.)

To think that I had never written stories before, except for English language assignment, I would have considered this feat impossible 10 months back when I started this blog. 😊

It calls for a celebration. In the spirit of the worldwide lockdown, I am sharing food online (Vegetarian only). 😇

Take your pick.

🧀🍔🍟🍕🌮🌯🥙🥘🍲🥗🍿🍱

🍨🍩🎂🍰🍫🍬🍭🍧🍦🍮

Enjoy!

Posted in Random Thoughts

1000 Likes…Woohoo!

New Year just got better! I was just notified that this blog has received 1000 likes!

I had never dreamt of reaching this goal when I started off. I had just hoped that someone somewhere might read it someday.

The best part is that there is a small but steady stream of people who read it, which is beautiful in itself.

I have also found some great friends, on WordPress and outside because of this blog. We critique each other’s work, share daily tales. I thank Almighty for bringing it all to me.

Thank you all for making it possible.

Posted in Random Thoughts

100 WordPress Followers!

WOOHOOOOOO! 🥳

100 followers on WordPress! What a wonderful New Year present! I want to thank all my WordPress followers. 🤗

Our current stats stand at 2700+ views, 1100+ visitors, 197 posts, 19000+ words (average 97 words per post), 918 Likes, and 280 Comments—all in 7 months! Which is AWESOME! I bow down to you, O Mighty Reader! 🙇‍♂️

Why having you around means so much? Because you are not following me out of the obligation of being family or friends. You genuinely liked my post and decided that I was worth your time. So, thank you! 🤗

Just so that you know, my only follower at home is my two-year-old daughter. 😋

I also want to thank anyone who chose to read my posts, even if they decided that they were not good enough to follow. You give me a reason to improve. Feel free to critique my writing on comments section. You can challenge or discuss the issues I raise through my stories. Let me know if you don’t agree, and we can agree to disagree. 😉

I love hearing from you! 🥰

Thank God it’s Friday, so I am celebrating tonight! Wish to join? 🥂 There is Pizza 🍕, Tacos 🌮, Noodles 🍜, and Donuts 🍩 on the menu (so that I can cover several continents in one go, just like my readership 😉).

WOOHOO again!

Posted in Blogging

Free images on Unsplash

I wanted to thank the team of Unsplash.com for the free images I have been using recently. They have turned the look of my posts around and I am forever grateful.

For all bloggers out there, please check out the site. It is free, effective and easy to use. Crediting is also not mandatory but helps show your appreciation for the wonderful photo artists out there.


Disclaimer: I am not getting anything for promoting this website except satisfaction.


Photo made available freely @unsplash by Fuu J 

Posted in Life and After

150 Posts Old!

Yeeeeeeeee! When I started, I wondered if I will hit the 50 stories mark. My only hope was that if I can create one crazy story a day for my daughter, I can do the same for my blog too. Now I have 150+ posts! And I have 15 stories lined up in the drafts! Whew!

Thank you all for reading!

Thank you all for liking and commenting!

I would invite you to provide more comments to let me know what could have been better. If you want to read something specific or provide any blog-related advice, write to me at shailygrwl@gmail.com.

Let’s party! Well… I am on healthy veggie diet this month, so… dig in!

Menu

Fruit salad: 🍎 🍐 🍊  🍌 🍉 🍇 🍓 🍈 🍒 🍑 🍍 🥭 🥝 with a sprinkling of 🍋

Baked vegetable: 🍅 🥦 🥒 🥬 🌶 🌽 🥕 with a sprinkling of 🍋

Two flavor of soups: 🍵 🥣

Bread: 🍕 🥪 🥙 🌮 🌯 🥗 (because if a Pizza, sandwich, burritto, taco, roll or noodles are loaded with veggies, I consider it healthy too) 

Icecreams, cake, pastries and muffins: 🍧 🍨 🍦 🍰 🎂 🍮 (Come on! What’s a party without desserts?)

Again, let’s dig in! 😋

Posted in Life and After

Hurrrray! 500+ Likes

It feels good to be liked for what I believe.

Thank you to all of you reading my posts. According to WordPress stats, I have 500+ Likes, 592 Visitors, 1600+ Views and 74 Followers.

Thank you to each one of you. Trust me, the fact that you visited my post is enough to make me happy. And letting me know that you liked it is a big deal for me.

I am unashamed to say that some of my posts did not get any Likes. But, it is all a process of learning. Honestly, until the month of June this year, I had 3 Likes in 8+ months and 0 Followers. So… The learning curve is definitely improving in the correct direction.

Let me know if there is anything I could do to improve further.

Now, where is that Pizza again! Cheers! 🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕

Posted in Life and After

The Autumn Tag

I have taken it up on me to take up this challenge suggested by my favourite fiction serial writer, Pete at beetleypete.com. He didn’t name anyone but I love a chance to blabber.

1. Hot Chocolate — what is your comfort book?
Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome: The jokes are still so relevant that whenever I am down, I just open any page and laugh my pain away.

2. Pumpkin Carving– what is your favorite creative outlet? 🎃
My blog: It reminds me that I am more than what meets the eye.

3. Falling leaves– changes that appear bad but you secretly love? 🍁
My duties as a mother of a 2-year old have me cribbing non-stop but, secretly, I love the job!

4. Pumpkin Spiced Latte– something you love that others tend to judge? 🍹
My time on blog is something my family complains about as a waste of time (Seriously?!) but I love it.

5. Bonfire Night– what makes you explode with joy? 🎆
When my daughter gives me a random kiss

6. Friday Night– favorite scary book or film?💗
I am not a scary story person… I would rather curl up with a romantic or comedy.

7. Halloween candy– favourite thing to eat? 🍭
Rasgulla and Choorma laddoo 🍪, not sure any of you had tried it though.

8. Scarves– your autumn must-have accessory?

My laptop and a book, nothing else is necessary.

9. Fire– a book or film that burns your soul? 💥
To Kill a Mockingbird: it talks about how people lower in social ladder are treated by higher ups, and unfortunately, how we all get used to it.

10. Toffee apples– a book or film that seems one thing but has a different inside?
The Lord of Flies: It seems like a survival story at first but turns out to be a political drama in an unrestrained society.

My question to you all, who will try this challenge next? I will love to know more about you.