Hello Ms. Bespectacled Mother! #writebravely

“Hello!”
“My name is Chalukya. I know you never expected a call from me, as famous as I am, but I’ve been given your name as someone who can help me with wri…”.

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Me: “Er..er.. I am sorry Mr. Chalu kya you said you are famous but I have never heard your name before. What do you do?”

Mr. Chalu kya: “Umm…Ms. Bespectacled Mother, my name is Chalukya pronounced as Chaluk-ya and not as Chaalu-kya. I am an award-winning blogger in the Brainy category.”

Me: “Award-winning! I didn’t know there is also a Brainy category in the blogger awards. Probably, another niche. Anyways, how does it matter to me, I do not believe in awards not that I am not getting any, ever”. I talked to myself in hush hush tone covering the mouthpiece of the receiver.

Me: “Ok. Fine. Mr Chaluk-ya, how may I help you?”

Mr. Chaluk-ya: (To himself) She must be really funny to get my name correct in the first attempt after messing with it. This should go well.

Mr. Chaluk-ya: “I wanted your help with learning the tricks of the trade behind writing funny posts. You see, as brainy as I am, I decided to inject some variety in the form of fun posts on my blog and RaGa suggested me your name, this morning, citing your association with Balaka Basu who strongly recommended you for being an alien.”

Me: “Excuse me!”

Mr Chaluk-ya: “Hmmm…and also your quirky sense of humour.”

Me: “That’s better.” (Note for myself – never ever tumble out this secret of being an alien again to anyone. If I get famous this way, NASA might come to claim me.)

Me: “Before proceeding to help you, I will play a rapid fire round with you to test if you have it in you to be funny and how much work needs to be done with you. If your answer appeals to me, then I will say Green flag or else red flag. If you get 2 or more green flags, you will be eligible for my time. ”

Mr Chaluk-ya: “Okay Ms. Bespectacled Mother.”

Me: “Q1. Simplicty or Complexity?”

Mr. Chaluk-ya: “Complexity.”

Me: “Red Flag. Q2. Do you have a funnybo… Hello? Hello Mr. Chalukya? Are you there? Am I audible?”

Beep.

Beep.

Beep.

The mobile phone, which was lying not far, couldn’t help staying still.

I picked it up to see 37 unread messages. I opened the Apartment’s ladies WhatsApp group to see messages in a row – Damn BSNL! Damn! Damn!

The BSNL telephone lines had gone dead.


I am taking part in the Write Tribe Festival of Words June 2018 and this is my post for Day 5 in response to the quote prompt “Hello,” said the voice on the phone. “My name is __________. I know you never expected a call from me, as famous as I am, but I’ve been given your name as someone who can help me _______.” (Write a story that follows this line.)

What it is like conversing with a robot? #writebravely

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“Should I become an IT consultant?”

“Here are the matching images.”

“I didn’t ask for the images. I need to talk.”

“How may I help you?”

“Do you know who my Papa is? He is an IT consultant. Should I become an IT consultant like him?”

“Too many words. Please be specific.

“Do you know who my Papa is?”

“Here is a matching video.” 

“You and your images and videos. You know nothing. You are not helping. I am angry now.”

“I am sorry if you feel like that.” 

“Who are you?”

“I am your Google Assistant.”

“Dhruv, keep the phone down and go out to play football”, I called out to him. “Do you hear me?”

“Hey Google Assistant, should I become a footballer then?”

“Here is a matching video.”

“Argh…. show me something else.”

“Here is a matching quote.”

“You must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul.” – Ratatouille

“Coat? It is summer here. You know how hot it is here. The sun is burning. You want me to get burnt in the heat by wearing a coat. You know what fire is.”

“Too many words. Please be specific.”

“Dhroooov!”, I yelled out.

“I am going. I am going, Mummy. I have kept the phone down.”

Next moment –

“Hello, Mummy assistant. Do you know where my football is?”


This is not a real incident but my response to today’s prompt.

The inspiration for this post is the numerous everyday conversations between Dhruv and the Google Assistant. I am feeling spared these days but can’t say the same about Google Assistant which I am sure is feeling the heat of his questions. To my astonishment one evening, I heard it telling Dhruv “Stop, talking to me” and I couldn’t stop laughing. Is it even possible for a robot to give up?


I am taking part in the Write Tribe Festival of Words June 2018 and this is my post for Day 4 in response to the quote prompt  “You must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul.” – Ratatouille

 

 

 

The era of silent rebellion #writebravely

My father gave me three life rules to live by:

  1. Study hard and get a job.
  2. Learn to drive and become independent.
  3. Drop the romantic ideals and become practical. For example, make friends with those who can be of use in moving forward in life rather than based on their character’s qualities.

The first two were easy, but the third one proved difficult all because of a cheeseburger. Let me explain.

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I belong to the era when fathers used to be fearful dragon characters.

I was definitely one such fearful child. The moment Papa stepped into the house after work in the evening or at night, I would switch on my invisible interceptor to gauge the change in climatic conditions of the house. This change always happened in one direction from cool temperate climate to hot and stifling tropical climate and it happened often in any one particular week. This continued for 24 long years (with a minus of 1 year in between when I lived in a PG accommodation during graduation days in Delhi) until the time my parents sent me packing with my wedding. Imagine 24 years of fear – fear of his anger and fear of feeling humiliated.

It is now that I understand why he was like the way he was, why he reacted in the way he did. The reasons were many. With time and age, he has mellowed down. His high level of patience, playfulness, and involvement has made sure he has been the favourite grandparent out of all 4 for the past 7 years. Dhruv is 7.

However, back then, it was tough to understand him. There was no connect. I was always supposed to do as he said and I did, happily or unhappily. It was not a question of conservatism vs modernism but we were loggerheads on his practicality vs my idealism. He was not a bad father but there was little scope for democracy. Therefore, I took to rebelling every single time. And, thus my mother had to play the role of a communicator between us and also sometimes as an airbag for me. All his pieces of advice and diktats reached me through her.

So, while the first 2 of his life rules worked for me, the 3rd one did not because of a cheeseburger.

Cheeseburger? How?

In a way, the 3 of us were like a cheeseburger with Mummy being the cheese caught in between the 2 side buns, me and Papa. She drilled hard into my head, with her ironical skills of logic + melodrama, the importance of studying hard, getting a job and driving while she continued to let me rebel on the 3rd point for herself not seeing any novelty in it.

Hence, here I am blogging with my own ideals.

Uff…ye usool aur ye adarsh


I am taking part in the Write Tribe Festival of Words June 2018 and this is my post for Day 3 in response to the quote prompt Start your story with: “My father gave me three life rules to live by 1. (fill in the blank), 2. (fill in the blank) and 3. (fill in the blank). The first two were easy, but the third one proved difficult all because of a cheeseburger. Let me explain.”

10 not-so-brainy questions #writebravely

For Day 2, let us play a fun game.

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I will pretend to be a not-so-brainy Derek O’Brien and you pretend to be the quiz participants. I will ask you 10 silly questions and you are free to choose and answer at least 5. You can even answer more or all if you are not pressed for time.

So, let’s begin –

  1. Is this your first read of the day today or not?
  2. Feeling thoughtful or funny?
  3. Make-up look or Plain Jane?
  4. Face value or place value?
  5. Monday or Friday?
  6. Hills or beach?
  7. Creativity or copy-pasting?
  8. Sanskaari or not? (Your MIL’s word for you, please)
  9. Mommy blogger or simply a blogger?
  10. Blogging – a fun game or a serious business?
  11. Read my Day 1 post or planning to read now?

I am taking part in the Write Tribe Festival of Words June 2018 and this is my post for Day 2 in response to the quote prompt “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and—snap!—the job’s a game!” – Mary Poppins

Tumbling out my secrets #writebravely

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I love daily blogging challenges as long as they are 7 days long. It is fun switching from blogging once in 7 days to blogging 7 days in a row though I will tell you a secret it becomes quite a toil from the 3rd day onwards.

You may ask ‘Toil? Do I even know what it is?‘ Toil is A to Z challenge – reading and writing for 26 days in the month of April. Toil is bearing all the exhaustion and coming out with an eBook of your 26 posts after completing the A to Z challenge. Toil is to promote your eBook night and day on social media and in the real world to make sure no one, absolutely no one on your timeline, online or offline, misses out on your biggest achievement. Toil is then to keep a tab on who says what about your book baby in reviews. I have to tell you have convinced me what real toil is in the world of blogging challenges. I bow down to you.

Now, since I began with talking of my secret and that did not work for you, let me tell you a few personal ones. You see I am the best when I talk or rather write about myself. Continue reading

My word for the year 2015… #ThrowbackThursday 2

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Come January and the blogging world goes live with the Word of the year posts.

For 2018, my word is going to be ‘Organize‘.

I am quite an unorganised person and with 2018. I hope to make a difference in this regard. I am going to get better at organizing with my blog by maintaining a blog calendar and scheduling posts in advance. I will make efforts to stay organized in general too, with respect to the chores and the other daily stuff of life.

For today’s #ThrowbackThursday post, I am reposting my ‘Word of the Year 2015’ from January 2015. The word was ‘Positive’. It was the time when I began regaining control of my mind.

the bespectacled mother

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When Dhruv was less than 1 year old, he (just like any other baby) frequently fell sick. I used to stress out a lot because I was not able to tend to him as I could not take frequent leaves from my work place. With his every bout of sickness I imagined like it was the end of the world and this used to push me into the vicious circle of negativity.

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Back after a hiatus #MondayMusings

I am back.

I am back after a hiatus of 3 weeks.

Taking a Blogging Break

Image courtesy: Momma wants Java

Why did I take a break?

Learning SEO concepts and blog monetization – 

I realised I was not getting any time previously from my blogging and daily schedule to devote to new learnings and it had also become exhausting. I have huge respect for those who never skip a day of blogging or remain fairly regular (or maybe they do but nobody notices) because I cannot. I need a break after every 2-3 months to take a pause to check upon my anchor’s displacement Continue reading

Let’s just chat over coffee #writebravely

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words #6‘ and this is my post for the last day, Day 7 in response to the prompt – ‘If we were having coffee…’


If we were having coffee…

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Image source : Pixabay

  1. I shall tell you how happy I am that my parents have come to stay with me for a few days. I shall love to treat you with sweets and laddoos, they have brought with them.
  2. I shall tell you there is no other place like Delhi, among all the Indian metro cities, where you can get the best of mithai (sweets). I missed the sweet delicacies of Delhi a lot when I used to live in UK. All the cakes and pastries of the world are nothing in front of ‘Dilli ki mithai’. 
  3. I shall ask you if you remember my Day 3 post on Delhi – ‘Delhi in ruins’? Just do me a favour and kick it out of your mind for today my mood is chirpy and filled with happy thoughts about many things.
  4. I shall tell you my early morning workload has reduced for the time being with my mother taking care of the cooking part. Mommies are wonderful human beings, isn’t it?
  5. I shall tell you how much I am looking forward to the next 4 days of extended weekend which means I do not have to wash Dhruv’s white uniform urgently.  You can imagine what holidays mean to me.
  6. I shall tell you that WTFOW#6 has been an enriching experience for me. The prompts were easy for even a not-so-seasoned-writer like me. I had fun writing and bringing out posts everyday and interacting with fellow bloggers, many who have been with me and also many new ones.
  7. I shall tell you that I found my blog’s 200th WordPress follower on the same day on which I had written my letter. She is Sheethal Susan Jacob who blogs at Scribblings. Can I ask you a second favour? Will you be kind and follow her blog on my insistence? I know you love me for who I am and will not refuse me.
  8. I shall tell you as much as I am happy and content with my participation in WTFOW#6, I am also looking forward for it to get over so that I can get back to reading my books. Especially, the ones – ‘Perfect’ and ‘Flawed’ by Cecelia Ahern, which I bought with the Amazon gift coupon I won as the winner of Day 1 of this Write Tribe festival.
  9. Realizing that our coffee is almost finished, I shall ask you if you had a good time having coffee with me? And, would you love to meet me over coffee again, someday? I promise, I am going to speak less the next time and let you do all the talking. I promise to be all ears.

#Writetribe #Writingbravely #festivalofwords

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Guest Post : Open a Book…Together #writebravely

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words #6‘ and this is my post for Day 6 in response to the prompt – ‘Feature a guest.’

For my guest post, I am thankful to Sunaina Bhatia who agreed to do this post for me at a short notice. Sunaina Bhatia is an avid reader and a talented blogger who blogs at ‘When I stopped to smell a rose’ and ‘Mere desh ki mitti’She is a good friend, I have found courtesy the world of blogging, and both of us share the same passion and commitment for raising readers. You have read about my reading journey with Dhruv quite a lot. Today, Sunaina will be taking you along her reading journey with her 2 children.

If you think raising a single child as a reader is a challenge, then Sunaina is an inspiration for all of us because she is doing the same with 2 kids.

Let’s give her a warm welcome.


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Image source : Pixabay

 When my son was born, among other things that I bought for him in the first six months were books. Small, colourful picture books that he started holding the day he started sitting up. It was a ‘weird’ sight for many, and some even laughed at me and considered me crazy. But I turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to all criticism and continued my ‘crazy’ shopping. I even started going to the library, a blessing in the US. Free access to countless treasures in print lured me almost every week. And icing on the cake was the library bus, the Bookmobile, that would visit every fortnight, the complex we lived in.
 
I was an avid reader myself as a child. I didn’t travel much, didn’t go to many places. But thanks to my parents, I was blessed to have books every now and then. From detective fiction to literature, my parents endowed me with a wealth that would stay with me forever. Books would often let me travel to places unseen and unheard of. The feeling is indescribable in words for me. It is something only a reader like myself can savour, can relate to. Needless to say, I wanted my kids to experience the same joy, the same delight. 
 
Raising a reader is not something that happens overnight. When it was time for transition from picture books to stories, I was faced with a challenge. Children have strong personalities that is reflected in the way they play, the choices they make when they are little. It is not at all necessary that they will enjoy the same stories which we have loved. So, I would bring books after books from the library to understand my son’s (my first born) taste. After umpteen number of attempts, I finally found a book that absorbed him completely. It was titled Henry and the Dump Truck, a story of a shy boy who was fascinated with the dump truck that came to pick their trash every week. I read that book to him during daytime, and night-time, whenever he demanded. And so began our ‘reading’ time. I have read to him every day if my memory serves me right –  even after he started reading on his own, because he enjoys this ‘together’ time a lot. I pick books for him even now, although he is eight and has clear interests. I don’t intend to impose my likes and interests on him but I wish to expand his horizon. 
 
The challenge to figure out your child’s leaning is something I have faced with my daughter (my second born) as well. She has inherited her brother’s collection but she has made strong, definitive choices of her own. This reflects her taste, and boosts her individuality too. This I think is very important in raising a reader. Let them choose, and respect their choices. It is crucial in developing their confidence. So, while offering them a range of topics that are diverse and new to them, I have given them space to enjoy their princesses, monsters, Fly-Guys, Captain Underpants, and Ballerinas.
 
Reading sensitizes the mind. It opens up one’s perspective. It lets one imagine, it allows one to delve into the other’s shoe and look at things from a different angle. Reading together is even more important because it gives you a chance to interact, to express difficult feelings like that of anger, and loss. It also gives both the child and parent a chance to come closer by communicating the thoughts that come up while going through a story together. It tells you what is going on in the child’s mind – his worries, his concerns, his queries.
As a parent, it is so important to know what is going on with your growing child, right? And don’t worry if a book doesn’t catch your child’s fancy. It is okay. It shows that s/he has a taste. Also don’t grudge if the book that s/he chooses is not as per your taste. It ought not bother you because s/he is the reader, not you. The best that you can do is to give your child the freedom to choose. Make books accessible in your home. Give them gift of books. Read, read together. Make it enjoyable – for you and for your child.
 
Read together with your child
About things that are funny and wise
Tell him about things that are true
and things that are only lies
Let him imagine 
Let him pretend
Give him the chance to make book his best friend…..

I hope you enjoyed reading this post by Sunaina.

You can also follow her on Twitter

#Writetribe #Writingbravely #festivalofwords

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Letter to my 200th WP follower #writebravely

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words #6‘ and this is my post for Day 5 in response to the prompt – ‘Write a letter.’


Dear 200th WordPress follower,

I hope this letter finds you in the pink of your health.

You are awaited, eagerly awaited.

The Write Tribe Festival of Words has brought me closer to you. I was standing at a distance of number 6 from you for over a week and now I can’t believe I have a reason to celebrate.

It has been 3 days of earnestly staring at my blog’s stats page. I have called out for you everywhere in the void – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But, you are elusive.

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Image courtesy : Pixabay

If I were a religious temple going person, I might as well have vowed to distribute ‘sava rupay ka prasad’ in your name. Unfortunately, this is not who I am today, having done with all of that long ago. If I could spend money, I would have got an attractive mailer designed seeking you. If the movie ‘Jab Harry met Sejal’ had not met with a disastrous outcome, despite my loving it ardently, I would have quoted a quote from its poster – ‘What you seek is seeking you‘.

What I could do, however, was to write a letter to you in a space where there are more chances of your finding me and my blog and vice versa.

I know 200 is just another number and it is the same for me. Yet, The 200th follower, you are special to me.

Hoping my search for you comes to an Happy Ending with this letter.

Sincerely waiting,

The Bespectacled Mother

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Do you recognize this? I circulated this photo everywhere on social media.


#Writetribe #Writingbravely #festivalofwords

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