Wednesday, September 30, 2020

A Jump In Joy

A jump, maybe a skip, 
slowly set in the motion.
But careful, don't you trip,
we don't want any commotion.

A sway and some slide,
and a big, carefree whirl.
But, beware as you glide-
the floor's slippery where you twirl.

But, what brings you such joy?
End of chores for the day?
Or a feeling that we enjoy
on a day without dismay?

No matter what, hold on to that song, 
and the jump, and the whirl-
for it, some days, you'll long
then you'll have some saved, my girl!

Through that careful, clever way
there'll be enough bundles of joy,
to be dancing through dismay,
the troughs, and all who annoy!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The 10 Most Viewed Posts In The last 6 Months

Here's a list of posts that were most viewed in the last six months! With some of them it was not really a surprise that they had so many views, but some others did catch me by sweet surprise! If you haven't checked out one of these posts, do check them out!

1. Three Men In A Boat : I have to mention this here- This post is also my all time highest viewed post with 19.9K views, and 50 comments, all thanks to Class IX CBSE non-detailed reading prescribed as this novel. I have the funniest relationship with the readers of this review- with more than half of them thanking me for saving them for their "Hitler" teachers! I wrote this review way back in 2011, and the review is as childish, simple, and sweet as I was back then! But, till today- it's my most viewed most on any given time frame!

2. Parthiban Kanavu : This book is a beauty. I love Kalki. And, I am so grateful for the translation by Dr. M. S.Venkatraman for bringing us this classic in a language we can comfortably read!

3. Normative, Positive, Others: In The Analysis Of Law : I was a little surprised by this one, because it was slightly more academic in contrast to the majority of art/literary based posts, or the fun posts, that I usually write! Also, it set me to thinking if I should write more of these small, concise academic posts. What do you think?

4. The Room On The Roof and The Vagrants In The Valley : Not surprised, this has also consistently been a top-viewed post on the blog since many years now.

5. Iah: A Musical Feature : I am so very, very happy this featured among the most-viewed posts in the last six months. I am really happy that a feature on my musician-friend met a wide audience!

6. Murder In Beltour : This story-series that I wrote has been so well-supported, well-received by all. So many people took out the time to comment and text me on what they liked. I am elated.

7. Gripped In Doubt : This short story that I wrote also received a lot of attention, and people came forward to tell me how much they enjoyed it. This post making a cut in the most-viewed definitely has put a smile on my face. 

8. From Doon With Death : One of my favorite reads this year!

9. Tanmay: A Poetic Feature : Another young, talented poet-friend I featured! I can only say, thank you readers for supporting all of us!

10. A Quick Reminder: When Did You Last Review Your Privacy Settings? : When was it? If it was way too far back in the past that you don't even remember- go check now!

Is there a post of mine that you enjoyed specifically? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, September 28, 2020

Blandings Castle on #WodehouseSeries

After exploring Jeeves, Mr. Mulliner, and Wodehouse's school stories, we're in for some family drama this week as I introduce you to Lord Emsworth and the Empress of Blandings. Do you want your brain to spin in a web of far-fetched relations and a big, royal family? Go for any book in the Blandings Castle series. 

Lord Emsworth is the master of Blandings Castle, and his most treasured being on Earth is the Empress of Blandings- a huge Blackshire sow who is known for winning in most categories of the "Fat Pigs" competition in the local agricultural show. Second to the pig, what Lord Emsworth adores happens to be the Castle (his home), his garden, and his pumpkins. And, absorbed entirely by his love for the pig and his pumpkins, Lord Emsworth lives a laid back, relaxed life oblivious to the highly dramatic events that take place in the castle. 

Who creates the drama? Well, there is no dearth of that- with Lord Emsworth's ten sisters, a brother, a daughter, two sons, the infinite in-laws, their nieces and nephews- all of them waiting to stir trouble and politics in the Blandings Castle as they come and go to visit old Lord Emsworth. 

Apart from the pig, his pumpkins, and the trouble-brewing host of relatives, the Castle is also home for the innumerable staff and servants to live that royal life, some of whom we get to know over several books. Sebastian Beach is the able butler without whom the Castle activities wouldn't last a day. And, as if these people weren't dramatic enough in themselves, the Blandings Castle also regularly hosted several other Lords and Dukes of the other neighbourhoods!

From 1915 till his death in 1977- Wodehouse held on to this all-time-favourite series of Blandings Castle, with his last book, Sunset at Blandings, being incomplete. In that period, Blandings Castle had 11 novels and 9 short shorties written on it by this classic author. 
"Sunshine, calling to all right-thinking men to come out and revel in its heartening warmth, poured in at the windows of the great library of Blandings Castle." - Summer Lightning

I have read Summer Lightning, Heavy Weather, Pigs Have Wings, Service With A Smile, and most of the short stories. I love Lord Emsworth, his dramatic family, and the treasured Empress of Blandings. Emsworth is the kind of old man who can charm you till no end with his stroll in the sunshine and his relaxed persona. If you need humour, or drama, or both- this series is your one-stop destination for all of it!

So, why don't you make some cool lemonade, settle down in a nice spot of warm sunshine, and pick Pigs Have Wings to a couple of hours of unputdownable entertainment?

Sunday, September 27, 2020

10 Most Favourite Authors (All-Time)

Picking favourite books is very difficult. No reader must be subjected to it. The "favourites" list keeps growing as we read more and more. And, this is not just for books- but also for their authors! But, there are some all-time favourites that we all have. Especially, the ones we have read extensively because we just love the tales they spin out for us! So, here's a list of my top 10- in no particular ranking/order. 


It's not a fair list, and it doesn't have some of the authors whose books might make it to my top 10. But, these ten have given me a wonderful world of fiction that I have consistently loved and looked forward to! Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl are unbeatable when it comes to their way with children and adults, alike! Once you read Kalki's Ponniyin Selvan, Parthiban Kanavu, Sivagamiyin Sabadham- the historical saga leaves you yearning for more! 

Who are your favourite authors- the ones whose book you could give on any given day and trust completely to be entertained? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Kidnap Poem by Nikki Giovanni

Authors, poets, artists- they have their own way of seeing the world. They can bring out the most mundane observations of daily chores to vibrant life, or can transport you to new, unknown worlds that bring you joy beyond measure- all through the sway of their words. They can get your feet back on the ground, or send you shooting into the stars. They can send you to the mountains or the sea, or sometimes both. They can make you laugh in delight, or weep in distress. They can make you fall utterly in love with the world they create for you. And, have you wondered how it would be when you get kidnapped by a poet? Read this beautiful 'Kidnap Poem' by Nikki Giovanni, to know how it is to be kidnapped by one!

ever been kidnapped
by a poet
if i were a poet
i’d kidnap you
put you in my phrases and meter
you to jones beach
or maybe coney island
or maybe just to my house
lyric you in lilacs
dash you in the rain
blend into the beach
to complement my see
play the lyre for you
ode you with my love song
anything to win you
wrap you in red Black green
show you off to mama
yeah if i were a poet 
i’d kidnap you

I loved this one since I read it a couple of days ago! Every story, every novel, every poem we read actually does send us to a whole new world, and that is the best part about reading books and poems! Hope you enjoyed it, too! Let me know in the comments!

Friday, September 25, 2020

My First Cake


Today I tried baking a cake for the first time. It came out looking decent, though not very clean and sharp. I didn't bother to cut off or level the top portion- so that's on me. When I checked out some recipes, it seemed like: huh, not that tough, really. But, I think baking is something that definitely comes only by practice. Here's how I made the cake:

What you need:
Dry ingredients: maida/flour, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, Oreo biscuits
Wet ingredients: unsalted butter, milk, thick curd, cooking oil, vanilla essence

How to make:

1. Take 2 cups of maida, 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 cup of cocoa powder- sift them together and mix well. 
2. Take unsalted butter at room temperature, 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of thick curd, 2 tsp cooking oil, 1 tsp vanilla essence- whisk all the wet ingredients well and make sure there are no lumps. 
3. Slowly add the dry ingredients in the wet ingredients and whisk them till smooth batter consistency is reached. There should be no lumps. Add pieces of Oreo biscuit and gently fold it into the batter.
4. Take the pressure cooker, add some salt to the base. Keep a stand, and pre-heat the cooker for 15 minutes on medium flame. You should not put the weight on the cooker. Do not forget to remove it.
5. Meanwhile, coat the cake tray with cooking oil, line it with butter paper. Pour the batter, and tap the tray gently to make it even.
6. Bake for 40 minutes on low flame, and let the cake cool down completely. 

Your cake is basically ready!

How I made the frosting:

1. I made chocolate ganache by melting Dairy Milk chocolate, adding cocoa powder and milk to it until it reached a creamy consistency. I used this on the top of my cake. 
2. I took some Oreos, removed the cream, and powdered the biscuits. The cream can be whisked with cooking oil and some fresh cream milk to get a nice white frosting, which I used for the side of the cake.
3. I stuck some Oreo powder to the sides. 
4. I topped the chocolate ganache with gems!

My cake has turned out looking decent, and I am actually yet to taste it! This is the first time I am ever baking anything. The cake is far from anything perfect. Baking is after all an art that is mastered over time. But, by how it looks- it's not that bad for a first try! Also, with all the Oreos, I am wondering if it is going to be a little too sweet. I'll let you know soon, stay tuned!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

School Stories on #WodehouseSeries

After taking a look at the series of Jeeves and Mr. Mulliner novels in the past week, we go to Wodehouse's school stories, now. For a long time, I went about reading book after book of Wodehouse's Jeeves, Blandings Castle, and Mr. Mulliner, but didn't even know the existence of his series of school stories until the grand old man I mentioned in the introductory post gave me a copy of A Prefect's Uncle

"Sit down, Lorimer," he said.

There are many ways of inviting a person to seat himself. The genial ‘take a pew’ of one’s equal inspires confidence. The raucous ‘sit down in front’ of the frenzied pit, when you stand up to get a better view of the stage, is not so pleasant. But worst of all is the icy ‘sit down’ of the annoyed headmaster. In his mouth the words take to themselves new and sinister meanings. They seem to accuse you of nameless crimes, and to warn you that anything you may say will be used against you as evidence. -  A Prefect's Uncle

Only introduction was needed, and within no time I was too tempted to have not completed A Prefect's Uncle, The Head of Kay's, The Golden Bat, The Pothunters, and The White Feather. These five books were set in four different schools- Beckford, Eckleton, Wrykin, and St. Austin's. And, these were the early books that Wodehouse wrote for school children before he moved on to Jeeves and other series of novels, and they were published later on from 1901-1905.

The school stories give you the perfect picture of an all-boys, English boarding school. If you have read other English novels for children, you might be able to draw a very similar parallel with books like Tom Brown's Schooldays, which has a similar setting around school boys. Also, cricket is a staple in these books. Some of the best bits in the novels involve scenes of the loyalty that the boys show to their House team, triggering fond memories of our own schooldays.

My favourite of the lot is A Prefect's Uncle, partially because I got introduced to it first! The story involves Gethryn, a Head-prefect in Leicester's House of Beckford, and the tale takes you through the lives of Gethryn and his fellow boys as they wade through school life, ragging, house-fights, misunderstandings- all culminating in a cricket matches that seem more like two houses in war!

All these school stories are short novels that hover over or under a 150-page mark. These are an absolute pleasure to read, and would not take more than a couple of hours! Even if the setting is of an English boarding school for boys, I can guarantee that these books will kindle a warm fireplace of our memories that we can sit back, relax, and relish- with an involuntary laughter and a perpetual smile pinned to the face!

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Importance Of Being Earnest

Title:
The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People
Author: Oscar Wilde

Algernon Moncleiff goes to welcome his best friend Jack Worthing, alias 'Ernest', who comes all the way from countryside to propose to Gwendolen Fairfax, Algernon's cousin. Algernon gives consent to this proposal of Jack on the condition that he explain the inscription on Jack's cigarette case that says:
"From little Cecily, with her fondest love to her dear Uncle Jack."

Ernest confesses on living a life with two identities- the strict and disciplined guardian of young heiress Cecily Cardew through the name of Jack in the countryside, and as the carefree man Earnest in the city. After this confession, Algernon himself confesses to be living a double life. Gwendolen accepts the proposal of Ernest, and convinces him to rechristen himself as 'Ernest' as the name is a big part of why she loved him. Meanwhile, Gwen's mother Lady Bracknell disapproves of Ernest, and forbids any engagement between Gwen and Ernest.

In the meanwhile, Algernon visits Jack's countryside to meet the young, beautiful heiress Cecily Cardew to whom he had been attracted to when Ernest mentioned. He introduces himself to Cecily as 'Ernest', and Cecily presumes him to be the brother of her guardian 'Jack' Worthing. The two fall in love, and plan to get engaged. Since Cecily loved the name 'Ernest', Algernon decides to scrap off his dual identity and rechristen himself as Ernest. 

During this time, Gwendolen decides to run away from Lady Bracknell and come to the countryside to meet Ernest(Jack). She chances upon Cecily, and they both end up claiming that they love 'Ernest'. What ensues is a drama that sends you in fits of laughter, and entertains to ensure a smile is pinned on your face!

This is the first time I am reading a play of Wilde, though I have read his short stories before. I absolutely loved it! With other stories like The Canterville Ghost, one is already familiar the unbeatable humour of Wilde. But, this play is a gem! The fluidity and the spontaneity of the characters that has been captured in the script was mind-blowing. This is a short play, and you can read it in a couple of hours. The interplay of the characters, situations, and their hilarious impersonations left me literally laughing out loud, and enjoying every line of this play! 

This is a must- definitely must- read!

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

3 Fitness Pages For Fun Workouts

You remember the post where I talked about Chloe Ting workouts and how much I loved them? They are great, but I need variations in my workout. I think doing the same set of exercises everyday without a little bit of a shuffling can get pretty boring, and demotivate you from actually exercising. So, here are a few other people and channels who are pretty great to follow for an exercise routine. 

1. Fitness Blender

I think Fitness Blender is great, and they have workouts that range anywhere from 5 minutes to a hour- so they have a wide variety of workouts that can keep you not-bored! 

"We believe fitness should be accessible to everyone, everywhere, regardless of income level or access to a gym. That's why we offer hundreds of free, full-length workout videos, the most affordable and effective workout programs on the web, meal plans, and helpful health, nutrition and fitness information." - www.fitnessblender.com 

2. POPSUGAR Fitness 

Do you love the original, structured versions of Zumba and Strong Zumba? POPSUGAR Fitness is a great place to go for it. They also really interesting range of workouts that incorporates Dance, Zumba, Boxing Fitness, toning workouts, etc. I like them a lot!

3.  Fit Body by Ashley

If you want a 100% fun, sassy, absolutely energetic dance/Zumba workout that burns calories when you are just dancing away with Ashley's irrepressible stamina, energy, and zeal- go here! This is my absolute favourite. Discovering Fit Body by Ashley was the best thing that happened on the workout-side during this lockdown. The vibe is just so, so very good, and her smile and energy is so infectious that you see yourself smiling all the way through her sassy workouts!

You have to try these three- I absolutely love them. And, when you keep alternating between workouts, you feel much better and more enthusiastic about it, which is important to keep it going! Try them, and have fun!

Monday, September 21, 2020

Meet Mr. Mulliner on #WodehouseSeries

Last Thursday, we met Jeeves and Bertie Wooster. And today, let me introduce you to another classic character of Wodehouse- Mr. Mulliner. This character is one of the most liveliest creations of Wodehouse, and one of my favourites.

Mr. Mulliner is an old man famous in Angler's Rest, a lively pub, who has a story or an anecdote for every situation you talk about (but the stories are almost never about himself). He is an irrepressible storyteller, who brings anyone to rapt attention as his anecdote unfolds, one after another, amusing everyone who listens, including us readers. A raconteur is what they call him, and that is where I first learnt that word. In the Mulliner series, Wodehouse unleashes a riot of forty short stories as the narration of Mr. Mulliner.

The Mulliner stories ran from 1901 to 1910, and for ten years Mr. Mulliner goes on to narrate absolutely amusing stories at Angler's Rest.  When a man announces that his dog won a prize at a cat show, Mr. Mulliner has a story about his nephew Lancelot to show how what is expected never happens. When an American claims that California is perfect, old Mulliner is quick to dole out an anecdote involving his uncle, William Mulliner, experiencing an earthquake and its effects in California. Visiting his nanny reminds him of a story on another nephew Frederick Mulliner. And, even a picture in the weekly paper does not escape from teasing a memory and anecdote of our dear Mulliner, to narrate an entertain an audience!

Most of these short stories feature in the three main books of the Mulliner Series: Meet Mr. Mulliner, Mulliner Speaking, and Mulliner Nights. I have read Meet Mr. Mulliner, and other short stories of Mulliner that featured in Weekend Wodehouse. If I could guarantee a book that could entertain with the most hilarious characters and stories, it'd be one from the Mulliner series! As you read more of those stories, you become comfortably familiar with the regular visitors of  Angler's Rest, with a unique identity- what they drink. If you want me to break it: Mulliner is Hot Scotch and Lemon! All the forty stories of Mulliner are collated in the omnibus titled The World of Mr. Mulliner. 

I think the best part of these stories is their narrative pattern- with an incident or a situation in the pub that triggers the irrepressible Mr. Mulliner to tell a story that it reminds of, and then the story unfolds! The Mulliner series is one of the short ones of Wodehouse, but undeniably fond to the readers. The improbable stories entertainingly narrated by the raconteur involving an unending list of uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, and other acquaintances are such a charm! 

Most people know and get introduced to Wodehouse through Jeeves. But, there is much more to Wodehouse than just Jeeves, and Mr. Mulliner tops this list. I'd say try one story, or one chapter in one of the Mulliner series- you'd be left wanting more before you finish reading it!

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Milk Teeth

Title:
Milk Teeth
Author: Amrita Mahale

Irawati Kamat, and Kartik Kini are childhood best friends who meet again, after a gap of many years when they had stopped talking as Kartik went abroad to study, in the terrace of Asha Nivas to discuss an issue that is of the deepest concern to its inhabitants: the fate of this establishment and the possibility of a deal for a new flat from the owner and the builder. Ira is a journalist on the civic beat, and her job profile entails that she unearths moving stories of deep corruption, and whips up headlines that would bring out the satisfaction in people for re-affirming their own views on the corrupt nature of the BMC, conveniently shoving away the knowledge that corruption happens only when corruption is allowed by people in general. Kartik works in a corporate job with a big MNC, and is the pictured the perfect boy leading the perfect life his parents could ever hope for. What happens when the Kamats and the Kinis decide that the closeness and friendship of their children that existed several years ago could be extended as a marriage proposal in the present, when the two of them also have lives, past, and limitless dreams of their own, is what makes up the crux of this book.

The best part of this story is the description of Mumbai, and the very familiar set-up that we have even today all over India. The story opens in the locality of 1997 Matunga, when Ira is 28, but goes back to her childhood environment, and the  descriptions of erstwhile Bombay. The whole charm of the book was in how relatable many things were in relation to set-up or environment that we grow up in, without the author going overboard and making it sound artificial. 

Mahale paints a lucid, luminous picture of the 90s Bombay that genuinely brings the setting in front of your eyes. By the end of the first part of the book, I had the whole picture of Asha Nivas, and the street covered in old, green trees branching out benevolent shade, the temple bells ringing in regular intervals, and the walk down the street to the fast food serving dosas of all possible varieties. The beauty of Matunga and its residents have been captured with such beautiful and graceful narration. I loved it.

As for the main storyline: I am not at all a fan of romance. The story takes its time to introduce all the characters living in Asha Nivas, and also the two main characters in great detail. So, for the whole of the first part of the book- it didn't really reveal where the story was going. And, then the second and third parts reveal a lot of the romantic story it deals with in a steady pace. Since, I am not a great fan of this genre in general, I don't think I enjoyed the core story very much. It was good writing, but the genre just fails to interest me completely when it comes to novels. 

The book is much more than just about a love story. It has vivid and enthralling narrative on the post-liberalization era of Mumbai- and it wraps you in what seems like a visual treat when you read the descriptions of the author! But, it did not do anything to change my view on this genre. In fact, it reaffirmed my reasons for why I have consistently never read much from this genre.

Overall, the book is a good read. But, a fair warning to those who do not enjoy this genre: it is likely that you may not enjoy every part of the novel.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Cleaning Our Phones (Once In A While)

We download a host of apps constantly, and most of them use a host of permissions like camera, microphone, location, storage, etc. In the phone that I had earlier, I used to discover how I have apps that I almost never used. They were just sitting there, occupying the space and accessing all permissions, even when I had no use for them. Since that day, I have made it a point to check now and then what I really use, and try to keep just them on my phone! This brings more space, and also saves a lot of battery, apart from ensuring that your settings are safe. So, here's a checklist for you, too!

1. Check what apps you have, and filter out the ones that you need.

2. Go to your phone settings once in a while to just check and learn which apps have access to what permissions. If something looks unnecessary, you can turn it off or uninstall.

3.  I have found that a lot of apps that I used sometimes had a default setting for running in the background irrespective of whether I used it or not. So, you can change these settings and turn it off for apps that you don't require to keep running. This definitely saves on your battery, especially if your phone is a couple of years old.

4. I am a person who likes only the most necessary, basic notifications on my phone. So, most of the apps have the notifications turned off, so I can see them only when I go into the app. If you get distracted constantly by the notification of any particular app, maybe going through the list of apps in your settings can push you to turn it off!

5. Clean caches, unwanted/spam messages- not everyday, but at least once in a while, maybe?

6. Use google photos, and backup all your device photos. I have found some people having ten thousand or more all on just their phones. I think apart from taking up all that space, your phone crashing can leave you with losing all of it! Just turn on auto backup! Google photos app also has a cool "free up space" option that can delete the photos on your device after safely backing it up on cloud. 

How you have your phone is definitely your choice, but these can help you be better ready in case your phone crashes, or you have important data on your phone. So, this is more from the perspective of the safety of you and your data!

Why don't you pick up your phone and look through it? Weed out those unnecessary apps!

Friday, September 18, 2020

Writing Short Stories

Writing anything in a short, meaningful manner is difficult. Writing meaningful short stories is probably one of the most difficult things. And, I mean stories. Not any essay, not a personal experience, not a short scene that can create an impact even stand-alone. Nope. I'm talking especially about fiction.  I have immense respect and awe for short story writers. 

Mark Twain once said something that has rung truer than anything else, and in fact only a writer as great as him could have said that in the way he did.

“I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” - Mark Twain

To be able to write a meaningful short story takes immense effort. It requires the author to have so much clarity and conviction. It's like a hard, short punch that can send people flat on the ground- but that which takes immense amount of energy to be generated by the deliverer. It's a fitting challenge to incorporate all that you want, and yet keep it short. 

If you are writing a novel, then you need to just have a basic idea, and you can develop it in your own pace and fancy- through hundreds of pages. But, a short story needs the clarity of how it is going to end. That is the catch. Most of the time, starting is never an issue, and you will have a core idea. But, a story needs a suitable, believable, cogent ending, too. That is where short stories need a lot of creativity. Within those thousand words you write- you need to introduce your characters, develop them enough so your readers understand how they behave, place something they need and lack, give a plot that takes them through the journey of experiencing an emotion/situation, solve the story's plot-knot and wrap it up convincingly!

I always write short stories when I know how I'm gonna wrap it up. When I wrote Gripped In Doubt, I had the basic idea of a man seeing himself on TV as an accused and being confused. That's how it started. But, though the idea seemed interesting enough to tempt me attempt writing it, I was also unsure how I'd actually solve that case- which I eventually figured and wrote. But, it took a lot of thinking and imagination, and extrapolation in the natural flow of my thoughts. The first thing my dad told me when he read it was that all the while he read it, he was thinking about how I would eventually conclude all that build-up convincingly!

And, I have another short story coming, in which again I had to spend a fair deal of time to make it a neat flow. And hence, I wanted to put up this thought that has been stuck in my head before I put up the story tomorrow!

What do you think? Doesn't Twain's words ring too true!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

My Man Jeeves on #WodehouseSeries

What better way to open the #WodehouseSeries than starting with ‘my man’ Jeeves! 

“Good Lord, Jeeves! Is there anything you don’t know?”
“I couldn’t say, sir.”
- The Inimitable Jeeves

Reginald Jeeves, but known for the most part as just Jeeves, is the perfection-personified valet of our favourite Bertram(Bertie) Wooster. Jeeves is probably the most famous character in all of Wodehouse’s creations. From Jeeves offering Bertie, an idle high-class Londoner, the perfect services of a valet to being Wooster’s all-purpose problem solver and undeclared guardian, the Jeeves series weaves a brilliant, classic relationship between these two. In the fondest terms that Jeeves, the perfect butler, would ever be seen to use, their relationship is “pleasant in every respect”.

Bertie Wooster and Jeeves go hand-in-hand in the series of Jeeves stories. It’s funny, it’s charming, and it becomes incredibly close to your heart. When the timid Wooster reluctantly gets engaged to woman after woman because he didn’t want to hurt their feelings, Jeeves always has a grand rescue plan. When Wooster is wallowing in doubt as to what advice he must give a friend, Jeeves always has an answer to sort it out. And, the whole charm of this series is that Wooster is blissfully unaware of Jeeves’ grand plan that saves him, until the end of the stories when he realizes that Jeeves had managed to maneuver him too, though it was only to safety!

So, does Bertie and Jeeves have a perfect relationship? Well, almost perfect. Jeeves was always first to record his disapproval for Bertie’s taste in purple socks and other such fashion choices, which he thought as abominable. But, Jeeves is as Bertie thinks of him: a sort of guide, philosopher, and friend.

           “It beats me sometimes why a man with his genius is satisfied to hang around pressing my clothes and what not.”
        -Carry on, Jeeves

Jeeves and Bertie were usually used as characters in short stories initially by Wodehouse from 1917 to 1930. The first two full length novels in the Jeeves series, which also happen to be in my favourites, are Thank you, Jeeves and Right ho, Jeeves- both in 1934. I absolutely loved Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen, which is the last novel that featured Jeeves. In this, the doctor advises Jeeves to lead a quiet, resting life for a while, so Jeeves and Wooster head to Maiden Eggesford, where Jeeves helps Bertie deal with the unexpected problem that comes in the form of Aunt Dahlia. Well, what we learn, and what Bertie observes:

“Whatever aunts are, aunts aren’t gentlemen.”

Open a Jeeves book, and you are sure to see an orchestrated grandness by Jeeves to save our Bertie from the most trivial of trivial issues that he manages to entangle himself in. Fueled by the classic English sarcasm and impeccable humour, the Jeeves series entertains you with the stories of young Wooster who is led through life by his perfect valet, whose respectful replies sometimes hide the biggest sarcasm! 

Jeeves was a series that Wodehouse continued to write through 60 years! And as you read, you get bits and pieces of these characters revealed to you through the most hilarious stories. The first book that I ever read of Wodehouse was Thank you, Jeeves. And, since then there has been no stopping me from devouring Jeeves novels with the utmost expectations, and they never fail!

If you are someone who has never read Jeeves, then I think you should start with Carry on, Jeeves- a set of ten short stories involving this hit pair, and the first story of which actually gives an insight into how Bertie and Jeeves met! Let me know your favourite Jeeves novel in the comments if you’ve read before! And, if you haven’t, why don’t you pick up Carry on, Jeeves

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

7 Favourite Animated Films

If you know me, you know how much I love animated movies. I have probably watched every DreamWorks/Disney movie out there, and I continue to watch anime and other new animated films that keep coming. From old movies like Bambi to Ralph Breaks the Internet, I love all of them! But, here are seven modern-day animated films that I absolutely love! 

1. Inside Out

One of the most brilliant movies ever, teeming with innovation and a fresh perspective on something that all of us know and experience every day. The importance and necessity to balance all emotions is something that we all struggle to do even as we grow up. It made me teary-eyed, and melted my heart. It is one of the most refreshing, thought-provoking, inventive feel-good film I've watched. The screenplay and the sequencing is brilliant, and the visuals and animation needs no more say than "Disney-Pixar".

2. Big Hero 6

I love the movie! It is F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C! Actually, none of the characters are evil, and there is no real villain in the whole story. I bet you could never ever find characters more lovable and huggable than my Baymax! Trust me and watch it.

3. How to Train Your Dragon

This is a film with some spectacular visuals, and Hiccup is such a warm character. As you are drawn into the world of dragons and Vikings, be prepared to be thrilled, entertained, and absolutely charmed!

4. Zootopia

My dad, brother, and I went to the theatres to see when this released. And, this is one of the fewest-of-few movies where my dad definitely didn't mind animals talking! If you need translation: that means it was crazy good! Also, tip: the credits roll, don't shut your laptop. There's a gazelle that'll thrill you with her voice! Probably the only movie where people stayed for the credits (apart from Marvel movies), thanks to Shakira! If you're still skeptical about watching this movie, I have one thing to say: try everything!

5. The Incredibles

Classic. Unforgettable. Heart-warming and kickass- all at the same time. I love Jack-Jack. I love the Incredibles!

6. Whisper of the Heart

Whisper Of The Wind is a romantic tale of self-realization of the protagonist's abilities, purpose, and dreams. It rides high on the small but vividly mesmerizing world of Shizuku as she travels through her adolescene in style- with love, confidence and a vision of spectacular dreams. The musicality of this anime film is captivating, and ensues a sense of calm and peace. From the creators of Spirited Away, this is another classic, and a must-watch for all age groups!

7. Minions  

This is probably the most favourite. I love everything about Minions. I love the idea, conception of the idea, the screenplay, the execution, the flawless masterpiece that enthralls you in a happy bubble. What's not to love about it! If I weren't a grown girl, I'd have probably run around the house screaming gelatooo after the film. Please do yourself a favour and watch it if you haven't!

There are so many more that I love, but a list of seven can only have seven! Which is your favourite animation film? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Acceptance and Rejections

Acceptance and rejections: there is a fun observation in both. Before you start reading, this post is in no way cribbing about internships or the rejections. Acceptance and rejections are both welcome in the same tone. As I have already mentioned in one of my previous posts on CV, I genuinely believe that there is nothing to feel bad about if you don't land an internship, and there is nothing to feel too great about if you do get one. So, this one is just about the funny way some things tend to happen in life- like the length of acceptances and rejections.

The most common aspect of applying to internships is the number of rejections you get. Sometimes we realize how many places we have actually applied to only when the rejections welcome themselves to your inbox. Usually, every rejection pans out somewhat like this:

        Dear Sandhya Varadharajan,
        We have received your internship application, and our recruitment cell has gone through your resume. 

That's good. At least they have seen the application. The CV has been amped-up as much as humanly possible. So, all that's left to do was pray for some magic to happen that makes the recruiters believe that the CV is impressive, in whatever way possible. 
Thank you for showing interest in our firm.
Of course! Why not? 
Unfortunately-
Ah, that's the reply. Usually, after this word there is a whole paragraph of blah blah blah, but the crux of the email is "unfortunately". There are a hundred reasons why we might not get an internship. Sometimes, the firms are not recruiting, sometimes the slots are filled, sometimes they are just unable to offer us one. Most of the rejections also come with- we thought you are a very deserving candidate, and we would love to have you apply with us again. A positive reply would hardly ever praise you even if you were the most deserving candidate that they accepted.

My dad keeps saying, that only when the reply is a negative there needs a lot of explaining. When the application is accepted, all they need to tell you is accepted! This is so true, and I literally got a confirmation mail once, from a partner of a firm I applied to, that said:
Sure. Let's do it. 

Acceptance emails also just get down to brass tacks. It would be with something like: 

Dear Sandhya,
Please provide XXX details in furtherance of your internship with us.
Best regards.

Somehow, observing this in every single acceptance or rejection makes it so very funny. And, either way, this is the first thing that does come into the mind. After all, we are bound by a code of how things happen normally, I guess! Next time you get an acceptance/rejection- maybe take a good look at it, and break a laugh! Good luck!

Monday, September 14, 2020

Welcoming the #WodehouseSeries

 

I am sure most of you know Wodehouse, even if you haven't read Wodehouse. But, for those who don't know: Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse was an English author, humorist, the fondest satirist of the foppish upper class in the English society, and one of the greatest comic writers ever. With over seventy books and plays to his name, Wodehouse is one of the most cherished and buoyant contributors in the expanse of humorist literature. 

Have I read all his works? Nope, and I really hope I do. But, when I sat to count how many Wodehouse books I have actually read, the number did make me smile. I had read all 6 books from his school series, 6 from Blandings Castle, 9 of Jeeves, Meet Mr. Mulliner, and Ukridge- making it a good 23 books across all of his popular series! And, out of 23, hardly 8 of them had a review on my blog. So, I decided to do a series of 6 posts, or what we could call #WodehouseSeries, featuring twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays. 

Today's illustration by me is a mix of inspiration from two things- the cover illustration styles of the Penguin editions of the Wodehouse novels by David Hitch, and an original photo of my dad and my grandfather's uncle discussing Wodehouse. The grand old man, my grandfather's uncle, was a big admirer and great fan of Wodehouse. He even had a beautiful collection that had some first edition novels. He never failed to entertain us with a narration of scenes and snippets from across Wodehouse stories! So, when I wanted to create a cover illustration for this series of posts, the first thing I could think of was to make an illustration in the style of Wodehouse book covers for that photograph. 

Each post in the series will carry an illustration by me, as we discuss and dive into the fair share of Wodehouse that I have read. So, if you are a Wodehouse fan- I am sure you will enjoy the ride. And, if you have never read Wodehouse, you'll probably pick one up by the end of this series! These 6 posts will delve into Wodehouse's books and characters in his series with Jeeves, school stories, Blandings Castle, Psmith, Mr. Mulliner, and Ukridge- in that order.

I am very, very excited about this, and I hope we can enjoy Wodehouse together in the next couple of weeks! Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Candy Man by Roald Dahl

My brother and I love Roald Dahl. We have read all of his books ranging from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BGF, James and the Giant Peach to The Twits, Esio Trot, and many more! 

One phrase- we love Dahl. He is one of the best children's author, and I till today love and enjoy his books. Another thing I loved is the illustrations by Quentin Blake. But, what I love more is the poems by Dahl. I have already shared a poem 'Television' by him. Here's another fun one on the Candy-Man Willy Wonka from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it with dew
Cover it in chocolate and a miracle or two
The candy man, the candy man can
The candy man can 'cause he mixes it with love
And makes the world taste good

Who can take a rainbow, wrap it in a sigh
Soak it in the sun and make a strawberry–lemon pie
The candy man?
The candy man, the candy man can
The candy man can 'cause he mixes it with love
And makes the world taste good

Willy Wonka makes everything he bakes
Satisfying and delicious
Talk about your childhood wishes
You can even eat the dishes

Who can take tomorrow, dip it in a dream
Separate the sorrow and collect up all the cream
The candy man, Willy Wonka can, the candy man can
The candy man can 'cause he mixes it with love
And makes the world taste good

And the world tastes good'
Cause the candy man thinks it should!

Hope you enjoyed it! Which is your favourite book of Roald Dahl? Share it in the comments!

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Failing To Succeed

Title:
Failing To Succeed: The Story of India's First E-Commerce Company
Author: K. Vaitheeswaran

We all read success stories all the time, but rarely does anyone write the story of a failure. Yet, it is probably in the stories of failure that we can discover what can go wrong, what we should have done or not done, and what are the inherent risks in doing any activity. Business is definitely top on the list. Vaitheeswaran shares a detailed story of his company failing to succeed, which is also the story of India's first e-commerce company.  

What started as a fascination for the “brilliant business called e-commerce”, soon led to six entrepreneurs- Vaitheeswaran and his five friends- founding the first e-commerce company of India 'Fabmart' in 1999. As the American company Amazon.com was becoming increasingly popular outside India, India was still very new to the whole world of e-commerce. We were still in a stage when people were getting used to the idea of internet. Fabmart's founders, after a lot of deliberation, decided to stand out from other e-commerce industries of that time, and launched Fabmart with music instead of selling books which companies like Amazon and Rediff were doing. 

"In those days, 80 per cent of music sales in India were in cassettes, and only 20 per cent were in CDs. It is a reflection of the enormous changes over the past fifteen years that while India’s first e-commerce site launched with music cassettes, in less than twenty years, music has jumped through cassettes, CDs, iPods and now almost all music is free or streamed."

A big dream needed sound funding, and that was when Reliance opened up to invest in start-ups, and Fabmart was one of them. 
“We signed a simple agreement with Reliance Industries and got going with our dreams.”
When all seemed to go well, and the big dreams were getting bigger- everything went topsy-turvy for Fabmart. Fights in the company board that seemed to be too tough to put to rest, and a steady loss and eventual dry up of all funding for the company including the funding by Reliance, pushed India's first e-commerce company to the brink of collapse. Fabmart became Fabmall, and eventually became Indiaplaza- falling lower by every passing year. 

As the detailed analysis of all the wrong turns and wrong events are discussed by the author, the book feels like a lesson on the bitter struggles for funding, ever-changing scenarios that surround start-up culture, setting and developing the right metrics, and the importance of the rapport between the founders to ensure they are all equally invested in the company.

"It is very important that co-founders have sufficient stake in the business to keep them motivated, cover for the high risks through significant future upside and to also ensure they have control in running the business."

Vaitheeswaran mainly discusses the two confusing and difficult problems for entrepreneurs: profitability versus profits, and growth versus profits. He says that most companies usually push the idea of profits to the unpredictable future, though they all seem 'operationally profitable' and are slated to 'break even' in the next couple of years. Here's an excerpt that sums up the author's view on this conundrum.

"In several of these start-ups, the founders have sold part of their shares at high valuations and personally profited. This can unfortunately create a situation where a founder is no longer motivated to ensure that the company also profits as soon as possible and thereafter only the investors are concerned about where their investments are going. In extreme cases, the investors are forced to step in and directly take charge of the company affairs as has already happened in some Indian start-ups."

He quotes a popular tamil song "varavu yettana selavu pathana"  to explain profitability vs. profits: where profitability is an idea and profit is a solid metric. He emphasizes throughout on this clarity as an essential for success. 

Vaitheeswaran was the pioneer of e-commerce in India. Even more than 10-15 years ago, Fabmart implemented the things we know as normal today- including PIN-based payment gateway, e-wallets, electronic gift certificates, loyalty programmes, cross border gifting, cash on delivery systems, customized merchandise, and a unique business model that combined both offline and online stores.

Many such lessons are discussed in detail, and the book is a rare story of what can lead to failure. There is a treasure hoard of discussions and lessons that we can take away! This is a great read.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Paneer Burji Gravy

We had another packet of paneer after I made momos the other day. So, that called for another paneer dish. And, this time I made paneer burji gravy for dinner. This is a simple, creamy dish that can be had with rotis, and it takes only 20 minutes to make it. Here's the recipe that'll serve four people.

What you need: 1 tsp jeera, some chopped ginger, 4 medium sized tomatoes, 2 onions, 1 cup water, garam masala, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric, cashews, one cup thick curd, one packet of paneer, fresh coriander leaves

How to make:

1. Take a thick bottomed vessel and add some cooking oil. Let it heat up a little, then put the jeera and let it splutter. 

2. Add chopped ginger and onions, and saute for 2-3 minutes till the onions turn pinkish/transparent.

3. Cut up the tomatoes in big pieces and add them to the pan. Cook till the tomatoes start losing water and become squishy. It'll take around 3-4 minutes. Turn off the gas.

4. Take the mixer. Add the fried tomatoes, onions and ginger into it. Add 5-6 cashews to this. You can add red chillis as per taste if you want, I didn't. Grind into a smooth paste.

6. Put the paste back into the same thick bottomed vessel. Add a cup of water, and cook in low flame till the raw smell of the paste goes away for 4-5 minutes.

7. Add a pinch of turmeric, 1/2 tbsp garam masala, 1/2 tbsp coriander powder, and cumin powder as per taste. Also, add salt as required. Let the gravy cook for 5-6 minutes.

8. Grate the paneer, and add the grated paneer to the gravy and gently mix the paneer and gravy. Do not break the paneer further by being too hard or too fast while mixing. Add a little more water after checking the consistency, only if needed. Let the mixture cook for 2-3 minutes.

9. Add a cup of fresh, thick curd to the gravy, and give it a good mix. Let it cook for a minute.

10. Check salt, and add as per taste. 

11. Add finely chopped fresh coriander leaves. Switch off the gas.

The dish is done. It is creamy, not very spicy, and has a fresh taste. It is extremely simple to make. One lesson that I have constantly learnt with such dishes is that if you want to increase the quantity, always increase the number of tomatoes and onions proportionately. Do not add water in hope of increasing the quantity as it always messes up the consistency.  So, increasing the amount of tomato-onion paste is what you should be focusing on while trying to increase quantity. 

I have always like paneer burji dishes, whether dry or with gravy, because you feel like there is no dearth of paneer! The best part is you can add more to it if you want- like chillies/chilli powder to make it spicier, or garlic if you like it. You can also add crushed methi to make this dish more rich in it's texture and flavour. Whatever you add or leave out, this dish comes out nice in all versions!

So, do give it a try!

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Why It Is Important To Maintain An Editorial

In my earlier post on 10 Things You Can Blog About, I had mentioned how keeping an editorial list ready to publish on your blog can take your writing a long way, because then you'd have something to go up anyway, and you would be stressing about what to write for what would go up on another day. Primarily, this will make sure you aren't writing for the sake of just putting up something. 

Keeping a running editorial also ensured that I have a post for every single day, especially since I have been blogging for almost the last 9 months in a row. There are some days when I have other things to do, or some other work has to be given priority, and I might not have the time to work on a post as much as I'd like to. So, I always had a set of well-written posts that that could go up even on those days. But, did I warn you of a challenge that comes up with it?

Having a nice set of posts that are ready to go up each day also requires maintaining such a line of posts so that you don't have trouble for content later. Imagine you have 10 posts, and you have been posting one each day without writing anything new. You wouldn't even realize 10 days pass by, and will be caught in surprise on the 11th day. Sometimes, you make do with random thoughts in your head, written in a hurry. And, that is precisely what you want to avoid by maintaining the editorial. 

Take an example- like today. My mind was off on a couple of other things for the past week, until I come to realize that I have exhausted all the happy, leisurely posts that I had written. I hadn't read anything new either. So, I write a post on the thing that is on the top of my mind right now- why it is important to keep up an editorial. 

 The key to a good blog is writing regularly. For daily bloggers and writers, and generally all content creators, I think having a set of ready content all the time is very important. It ensures both consistency and quality with no compromises. It is a lesson well learnt, and I am looking forward to this weekend when I rebuild this precious life-saving stream of content that helps me on the days I am truly busy.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Great Modern Lives: George Bernard Shaw

To me, my most favourite playwright will always be George Bernard Shaw. The conversations in the play, the musings, plot line, his unparalleled sense of humour, and the general philosophical trajectories that he takes his plays on- I love them all. A critic so well respected and loved, Shaw is a literary figure who is bound to be etched in the minds for time immemorial.

Shaw was born on 26 July, 1856 at 3, Upper Synge Street, Dublin. He was the third child of George Carr Shaw and his young wife. Bernard Shaw had two sisters. His family was poor. Carr Shaw carried on a business as a retail corn merchant. When Bernard Shaw was 10, he went to his first school called Wesleyan, Connectional school in Dublin. 

As a school boy he was a complete failure. Yet he had so much curiosity and would accept nothing he was told without trying to prove the truth of it. For some years, he experimented writing. In the next four years, he wrote five novels, all of which were rejected by every publisher in London. Though he was not a successful novelist the time and energy he spent on his novels was not lost. He made a reputation as a dramatist. 

One of his novels Cashel Bryon's Profession became a best seller. Bernard Shaw made his mark all over the literary and creative terrain- as a book critic, art critic, and a musical critic. All his criticism came from sound knowledge. He would not pronounce until he was certain of his facts, and when he did he poked fun in a way which often disguised, except from the most sensitively perceptive, the worth of his most considered judgments. 

Shaw rose to be the playwright of over fifty dramatic plays. The popular ones that I have read and enjoyed immensely among the dramatic plays of Shaw are Pygmalion, Man and Superman, Major Barbara, The Doctor's Dilemma, and Overruled. I absolutely love each of these works of Shaw that I have had the chance to read, and I look forward to reading the others! Shaw also has several politically based plays. He was a critic like no other. 

He lived up to the great age of 94. Whatever one may think of him, he greatly influenced the development of British political thought in the first half of twentieth century than any other. My first introduction to this brilliant man was through Pygmalion, and I immediately fell in love with the play.

If you have enjoyed any of his work in particular, do share it with all of us in the comments below!

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Paneer-Vegtable Momos (from Momowoman)

This pandemic has stopped the usual Momoman trips my friends and I used to take through the semesters, situated at a ten minute ride from the college campus. So, I decided to make paneer veg momos today, to which a friend promptly said 'Momowoman' when I sent a picture. So, all the credits of that part of the title goes to my friend!

Let me tell you how I made the momos today!

What you need for the dough: two cups of maida, oil, salt, water

1. Prepare the maida dough: take the required quantity of maida, add salt, add a spoon of oil, mix it well, and slowly knead it by adding small quantities of water every time until it becomes a dough. The dough should not be too soft or too hard. This is important because a dough that is too soft or too hard will make it difficult to seal the momos after stuffing the filling.

What you need for preparing the filling: onion, cabbage, ginger, capsicum, carrot, beans, one packet paneer

Other ingredients you can add(but I didn't today): chopped green chilli, ginger, soy sauce

2. Chop all the vegetables. You can chop ginger, capsicum, carrot, onion, and beans finely, while cabbage can be chopped wispy(like how it is inside spring rolls). Grate the paneer evenly.

3. Take a thick bottomed pan, pour a little bit of oil. You can use butter instead of oil if you prefer. 

4. Saute ginger and onions first, until they turn golden. Then put the rest of the vegetables and fry them well until all the wetness of the vegetables dry out. Let the vegetables cook well on low flame. Add paneer, and gently mix it well with the other vegetables. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes. 

5. Add salt and pepper powder as per taste. Mix them all well, and let it cook in simmer for 5 minutes. 

Your dough and filling is now ready. Time to make momos!

6. Take a really small ball of dough. Ideally it is the amount of dough you take to make a poori. Dust the ball of dough in maida, and flatten it to the thin sheet. Make it as thin as you can. The thinner they are, the better the momos!

7. take 1-2 spoons of the filling and heap it in the centre of the flattened dough. Start making frills in the edges and close the filling by bringing the frills to the centre. This is for a round momo, you can check out other shapes that can be given to momos, if you prefer otherwise.

8. Repeat the steps until you are done with all the dough and filling. 

Time to steam the momos!

9. Take steaming deck/steaming plates. I used our idli plates today because they are the perfect steaming decks for this that we already have at home. Crease the plate well with oil. This is very important. Otherwise, the momos will stick to the plate after they are done, and it would be difficult to remove them without tearing the momo.

10. Arrange all the momos on the steaming deck. Take your pressure cooker, and fill the base with water. Take a bowl, fill it up with water and place it in the cooker. On top of this arrangement, place your steaming deck. Close the cooker, and steam for 20 minutes. 

11. After 20 minutes, switch of the gas and wait fro 5 minutes before you open and serve hot!

Time to eat!

The momos today came so well! The shape was slightly bigger and flatter than the ones that we get in the restaurant. But, the taste came out very well. We had it with spicy tomato pickle! It is really simple, and the process may seem elaborate, but I think it is just a matter of getting used to it. It makes for a simple and satisfying dish!

Remember that doing all the small steps like making the dough in the right consistency, creasing the steaming plates, flattening as thin as possible, and other such small tips truly change how the momos might turn out. Do try it out and let me know how it comes!

Monday, September 7, 2020

Being Active

MU Extension
My dad showed me a tweet thread today where a cardiologist has discussed the increasing number of heart conditions that prop up even amongst those who are pretty young, and not too old. The thread talked of various possible factors, one of which was lack of an active life. We are all so busy today that we hardly have any time to move around. How ironic is that! While busy is supposed to be associated with a lot of activity, nowadays it's almost never a physical activity. We sit through the whole day, our eyes glued to the screen in front of us, most of the time in postures so horrid that the body screams for help through backaches at the end of the day.

Some of us do take the time out to make a slot for exercise- maybe running, walking, dancing, hitting the gym, cycling, or whatever. But, that is for a maximum of one hour. One hour of movement and calorie-burning does not compensate in any way for the rest 23 hours of sedentary lifestyle! My mom keeps saying that even if she doesn't exercise regularly, she is still highly active- and that is so true. She is not sitting all day long. I see her walking around in the house, and cooking (you essentially have to stand), and sitting down on the floor, and then up in chairs, and there is some movement every once in a while (unlike me). 

Have you probably wondered how your grandma would not exactly have done an hour of dedicated cardio, but could still be fit and fab at 70? I think that's because they didn't have a sedentary lifestyle. Moving around is important, but also becomes increasingly difficult nowadays. So, what we can do is:

1. Get up to go drink water regularly. (Now, don't skip drinking water just because you have to get up and go).
2. Walk a bit, stretch a bit before and after meals when you get up for them. Please don't have your meals brought to you where you have been sitting all day anyway!
3. Those of us who aren't even sitting, but are laid out all day lazing on the bed- maybe, get a chair and table? Lazing is okay for a day, or even a week, I'll say even a month! But, that may not be the best lifestyle to lead on a long term basis. It can also be a really bad posture. 

My dad was telling me how, in the set up of an office where work demands that you sit in front of your screen and get the job done, water breaks and loo breaks are probably a good time to move a bit, instead of being in the same chair for ten hours every day. We have our constraints in today's world. But, we can do what best can be done. I have seen some office spaces becoming more sensitive to these aspects, and have started allowing an open work space where employees can move around and shift spots as they work through the day. Though this is not very common yet, it is still a good initiative by some!

Even if we can't really move around much, we should at least be aware that we need to. It's not just about I-can't-do-a-desk-job feeling. It's about the actual movement that our body needs. And, I am not just talking about a workout activity at a scheduled time. What we need is to 'be active'. Being aware is a great first step that will help us find our way!

The image is a great pointer on the what makes the basics of being healthy- "lifestyle activities" are extremely important. This is actually a 36- by 24-inch poster by an extension of University of Missouri, designed to help children ages 6 to 11 understand. But I think, we all need it too!
Let's be aware, and be healthy!

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Where Do You Stream Music?

I have been using YouTube Music recently, instead of Spotify, and that is so much better. If you have a free Spotify account, then you basically spend listening to two minutes of ads for every three or four songs that you listen, and that is terrible. The worst part is, it literally counts the number of songs before it throws up the ads again, so it's not like ads pop-up every few minutes you listen to those songs. So, even if you are just shifting through songs on a radio, the ads are bound to hit you up. I have been listening a lot on my laptop during this lockdown period, and YouTube Music has definitely been better. Though, there are ads here too, these ads are literally just 5 seconds. Also, you have the option to skip to another song without having to compulsorily go through the ad!

Free Spotify also does not have half the good songs that you want to listen to. This hurdle is mostly overruled in YouTube Music. It has pretty much had every song that I have looked up for, and so far so good! There seems to be a disadvantage on the phone that if you come out of the app, the YouTube music stops playing/gets paused. This is not so on my laptop that supports android apps! It keeps playing on as I do my other things, and that is really convenient for me!

Free Spotify does not allow you to download songs offline. But YouTube music allows a certain number of downloads for free. It just makes it easier if you want music on the plane or on a train, or generally while travelling because that is when network is an actual problem.

I used to use Saavn, and I genuinely think it was much better than the free Spotify, though less appealing in how it looked. I have also heard that Amazon Prime Music is good, but I have never really tried it. But I think I am starting to like YouTube Music, and might just forget about Spotify in a while. 

Which streaming platform do you use? Do you have better suggestions or a playlist for us? Share it in the comments below!

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Why You Should Use A Earphones-Case

I bought a earphone case a year ago, and that's probably one of the best things I have ever bought. I have a cute case with Baymax eagerly calling out a hi to me, and I love it. Here's 3 reasons why you should really get a earphone case if you don't have one.

1. You stop losing your earphones. I say you stop, because I know that majority of us lose it. It just happens. Earphones have become such an integral part of us that we literally carry it around everywhere. So, it's just easier to keep it safe when you have a case.

2. No more tangles. I know some people pride themselves over their tangled earphones. It just comes out like: oh god, my earphone is always tangled up, you know! Total feign. But, those who want it to be straight and clean (and usable), then use a case. It actually works. And, earphones that are not tangled up all the time actually lasts much better. 

3. You can carry it easily. You want to keep them in your pockets, throw them into your bag, carry it in your hand- the case makes everything easier. It may look like a event in itself to take it out and put it back in the case, but that's really not how it feels once you get used to it. I am so used to putting my earphones back in it now, that it's almost impossible for me to keep my earphones without the case!

Finally a brownie point- the cases are really cute. I love mine! I have a case with a metallic top, so it kinda sticks to the magnetic part of my laptop, so even the case doesn't get lost!

My dad's first comment when he looked at my case was why I didn't get more of them for all of them in the house! It's cute, it's protects your earphones, and saves you a lot of money. 

If you don't use it, take it from me that you should definitely think about buying one the next time you spot it!