Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Creativity and Inspiration - College Diary #4

      When I joined Engineering, I had hid safely behind a mask. Silent - that is how I had portrayed myself. I was happy inside the comfort zone and stepping out of it was out of question. I saw many of my friends join various activities, create a foothold and get recognition. But that never bothered me. Spotlight wasn't something I craved (I don't crave for it now either) I was happy sitting back and watching them grow. I spent the first 2 years of my Engineering life like this and then, it all changed.

       I was in the third year of Engineering. I would have continued with my sit-back-and-watch-them attitude if not for the COSMOS coordinator of that year. (COSMOS is the name of our branch fest) That year's coordinator is one of my favorite lecturers who inspire me a lot. Every Friday he used to come up with some or the other competitions. Yes, there were the common ones but that was not what caught my attention. There were many new things - 'What is your Name?' where we had to describe our name without saying it; 'Insituation' - where we were given a situation and an hour to prepare, after which we had to enact it in a group; 'Creme de la creme' where we had to take a theme and present all the talents of our class. The competitions were many but there was one thing that was the basis of all these activities - Creativity. 

(My Painting for 'What is your Name?' competition)

       Participating in these competitions, I underwent a huge change. I still detested spotlight, yet there was a burning desire in me to prove myself. I enjoyed participating in these creative events. I don't remember which event exactly led to this; probably it was 'What is your Name' and 'Creative Writing' but something in me changed. I shed the mask I so painstakingly had created for myself. I shed my inhibitions and fears which sometimes held me back and took one bold step. It was during that time this blog was created. And am I glad? I will be forever grateful for the encouragement I received from him (my lecturer) at that time. Knowingly or unknowingly, he had guided me towards my destiny. And even today, he continues to be a source of inspiration for me (Though probably, I will never find the courage to tell him this!)

       Since then, I have learnt one thing. Creativity requires you to step out of your comfort zone and probably try something new. You have to get rid of the fear of failure before trying new things. And the end result? It is totally worth it!

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

My Mom - My First Expert

       We all have so many dreams in life but there is only so much a person can do. We don't have time, we don't have patience, we don't like what we are doing; the reasons are endless. There is always a rat race to achieve perfection in life but perfection is not something that can be achieved easily. It requires so much effort. But there is one person, who despite everything, manages to fit all the roles in life perfectly - Mother.

       I was three when they first sent me to school. I was scared. I had cried continuously for the whole day and when I came back home, she was there to console me. The pattern continued for days. I had even once escaped from school and rushed home (The school was near to home) Teachers were worried sick and dad was furious when he came to know about this. I hid behind her, who shielded me from dad's anger and later told me not to do so again.

       I was five. I had a craze of writing. I would write the alphabets and tables again and again and I could never get tired of it. I used to get up early in the morning and sit at the foot board to write. Dad used to scold me, saying it would hurt my eyes, but my mom told me I could go and sit in the garden and do what I like. She understood my craze.

       I was seven. I had to attend a singing competition in a place which was far from home. Dad was working in another town. Mom had never went out much, an indoor person that she was. But she took me to the venue as she couldn't see me unhappy. She was beaming with pride when I bagged the prize and she couldn't stop talking about it till weeks!

       I was nine. I had my first fight with my best friend. I didn't take it well. I felt like it was the end of the world. Mom was there for me, telling me she would be my best friend, who would never make me cry. And she has stood true to the promise till now. I couldn't understand English. My grades dropped and so did my mood. She didn't know English either. She had read in Kannada medium. But she learnt it for me. Holding a Kannada text book in one hand and English in other, she learnt the lessons first and then taught them to me.

       I was eleven. I had slipped in the park while playing and broken my leg. My left leg was put in a cast for 21 days and I had annual exam at that time. She had stayed up day and night to nurse me, teach me, take me to school and help me around. I couldn't even walk on my own and she was the sole support I had.

       I was thirteen. I was a hyper active kid. I had to take part in each and everything and my grandparents were fed up of it. They had ordered me not to do so and focus just on studies. I was heart broken. It was her, who fought on my behalf, to keep my dreams alive and said I can do whatever I want.

       I was fifteen. I was learning about fake friendships and broken promises for the first time. It was a huge blow to see the illusion of the 'Happy Place' I had created shatter. It was frightening to see people back stab each other for their own selfish reasons. But she was there beside me, gently making me believe that there is good too in this world. She taught me not to give up hope and always stay true to myself.

       I was seventeen. I was struggling to get out of the complex I had developed. It wasn't easy. I used to detest crowds and I used to break down often. But yet again, she was there, helping me throughout. I would have given up on life, if it wasn't for her support.

       I was nineteen. I had to decide on a career path. I didn't know what to do. There were so many things to consider and dad was saying 'No' to all my choices. My fate seemed to be taking me towards an unknown destination. I was scared. 'Could I cope up?' I wondered. She told me I could. She had total faith in me and was confident that I could do anything that I set my mind on. I trusted in her and chose my path.

       I am twenty one now. At the verge of graduating. Sometimes things get so tiring, that I feel like giving up. It is again her, who keeps me sane, reminding me that I shouldn't give up. I recently found my calling in writing. I love to write and she loves to read what I write. She is my muse and it is for her that I write. 

       Sometimes she stays up with me, so that I can read. She learns new things, so that she can help me. From listening to my rants to lending a shoulder when I need to cry, she does it all without complaining. It is her with whom I share my secrets and it is her whom I seek when I need any advice. She is there for me whenever I need her. She always knows when I am happy or when I am sad just by seeing my face or hearing my voice. She has seen me at my best and my worst. I have lost my temper and I have threw numerous tantrums but she is an ocean of love and compassion. Her love always helps me get back to the right path. A teacher, a best friend, a doctor, a cook, an adviser, a muse, a soundboard and above all, a mother! I don't how she manages to play all the roles perfectly. It is her that I turn to whenever I have a problem or whenever I can't take a decision. She is the one who has answers to all my questions even before I ask them. She is my #FirstExpert.

PS: This post is written for Godrej Expert in association with IndiBlogger.

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Friday, 15 May 2015

Simplifying Life - @AirtelIndia

       People who know me well know how particular I am about things. I want everything to be in place and I always make sure that is how things are. But recently I have been so busy that I have stopped bothering about things and I am just going with the flow. Gone is the girl who used to crib about plans and discipline. I am just enjoying life as it comes. Yes, my schedule is all messed up and I hardly find free time on hand these days, but hey! I am not complaining.

       Few days back when I returned home late at night from college fest, dad asked me when I was going to recharge his net pack. I felt guilty because it was the third time he was asking in that week. I had been so busy that I had forgot about it completely! Of course he was angry that even after reminding repeatedly I had not done a small work and I was angry that he was blaming me when he knew how busy I was of late! That ensured a small fight and we both refused to budge. I slept without talking further that night but when I woke up, I felt bad. I shouldn't have shouted on him when the mistake was mine.

       The first thing I did after that was installing My Airtel App on both our cells. I taught him how to use it and now I don't have to feel guilty for forgetting things. It is one thing to forget your work and a totally different thing to forget others' work. Now the latter is taken care of, thanks to My Airtel App! It is not the only reason why I love this app. I have discovered few more features which I love to use.

       The first is obviously that it helps me take care of my Airtel Recharges easily. I don't have to take out separate time to make a trip to the recharge store or go online to do it. Recharging my cell is now just one click away. And it suits perfectly for my life style.

The second feature which I love is Airtel Surprises. With every recharge, you get a coupon. There are many apps which give away free coupons but what I like the most about Airtel Surprises is that it includes coupons of popular sites like Flipkart and Amazon. The shopaholic in me is definitely happy. 

       And the third feature that I liked is the Safe and secured payment of bills. I can easily pay my bills via credit card, debit card, net banking or Airtel money. The interface is user friendly too.

       There, those were the three features which I liked. Of course, I liked 'I want to' feature too! It lets you save the most frequent tasks on home screen under 'I Want To' tab. This app has definitely made my life easier. What about you? Have you used My Airtel App yet?

PS: This post is written for Airtel India.

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

And Some Fun - College Diary #3

       The best kind of fun happens in the class when the lecturers and students are on the same wavelength. In first year, freshers of all branch were herded in one building - STEP. It was our own world without any seniors. Some lecturers even stood outside the STEP building during break time to ensure ragging didn't take place. It was all fun and exciting. But the first real fun happened inside the class.

       It was time for Mechanical class. The lecturer knew how to create a lively atmosphere in class. We used to call him 'Chatur' because he looked exactly like Chatur from 3 idiots and even had a similar accent! Those were the days when me and my friends used to sit in the front row (Now that I think of it, it was the only year in my entire student life where I sat in the front row. For the rest, I have been a proud Back Bencher :P) There was a window near our row and a staircase opposite to it, on the other end. 

       We were a group of four and one of my friends was a popular target for ragging. That day, during the Mechanical class, 2 BBM boys were sitting on those staircase and staring at us (or at my friend in particular) My friend started fidgeting in her seat when she noticed it. It was an irritating situation but soon turned into an amusing one when our lecturer noticed them. He ignored them for the first few minutes but when they didn't move from that spot, he decided that it was time to teach them a lesson. He went out and called them inside. They half turned to run away but then realized it was of no use. He would catch them anyhow. So they walked inside with their head held high, like they were some kind of celebrities. And what happened next was probably beyond their expectation.

       "I don't like disturbance during my class" he started. We all thought he was going to scold them and then let them go. Even the guys thought the same and were smirking. But Chatur was cool. He went on. "Now that you have disturbed my class just because you wanted to gain the attention of girls, I will give you exactly that. The stage is all yours. Go on, lets see what you have got" There was pin drop silence for few seconds and then we burst out laughing. Now it was the boys' turn to fidget. They looked at each other and then at Chatur to see if he was kidding but he wasn't! "You can either sing or you can dance too" he went on quoting the options. The next 10 minutes were hilarious. Those 2 boys were given the taste of their own medicine. They were regretting coming near our class!

       After they said sorry for the hundredth time, Sir finally let them go with a warning not to repeat the same mistake. And they never did! We never saw them hanging around our class, which used to be their favorite pastime before. And as for us, well we had enjoyed this little session a lot :D Probably more than we should!

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

A New Beginning - College Diary #2

       I stepped into the world of engineering without knowing what to expect. It was never my choice - at least the stream I had entered was not! I always wanted to go for Aerospace Engineering but my dad wouldn't listen. He wouldn't send me out of my hometown. Whatever it is, I had to read staying in Shimoga only. I had went on hunger strikes too to convince him but nothing worked. So I had settled on the next best thing - Basic Science. Chemistry was my favorite and I decided to read basic science and enter research field. It sounded exciting but again, it wasn't a 'good' career option according to dad. So in the end, I ended up taking 'Computer Science' in 'Jawaharlal Nehru National College of Engineering'. I certainly had no idea about how I was going to cope up!

       First day of college is always special. There is a feeling which resembles to the one you get when you are going on an adventure. And then there is the fear. It is always a mixed feeling. I too had somewhat similar experience. While I was all set for the adventure, I wasn't sure if I would be able to handle it all on my own. My best friends were miles away, in different colleges. I wondered if I would fit in! Finally I decided there was no use in fretting; I had to get used to the new environment.

       A smile creeps up whenever I read the diary entry of the first day - I was scared and excited at the same time. I had lost my way while finding classroom and had entered the branch where only seniors were present. Thank God I realized it before anyone started ragging! After that, I was scared to leave class room and go to canteen. The seniors were all excited - waiting to have some fun and as for us, juniors, well we were comfortable inside the class. On that very first day, I made a new friend without realizing how close we will grow over time. She had been my classmate from 5 years. Still, we had never really talked much with each other but the new surrounding had brought us closer. 

       I had embarked on this journey without knowing it would change me forever - in a good way. And now if I look back, I am so glad that I listened to dad and took this path.

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Sunday, 10 May 2015

The Goodbyes - College Diary #1

       I came home today with tears in my eyes. I just couldn't stop crying. My mom was shocked, given that I had been to branch fest happily and while she expected me to come back and tell her about how good it was, I had come back crying. Her mind was already working out 1000 different things that could have gone wrong. Did the magazine release go bad? (I will write about it in another post) Did you mess up while hosting? Did anyone say something to you? Her questions were endless but I couldn't speak other than shaking my head. I could see her panicking. I didn't want to worry her on Mother's Day like this. Finally, I managed to say what was bothering me. "It's all over... college... I am feeling bad" I said between sobs and broke down again. And what did she do? Burst out laughing!!

        Well, I can't blame her. Till now I was waiting for this day. Whenever I saw someone getting emotional about the end approaching soon, I would pull out a poker face not wanting to show them how happy I was with the fact. Of course I was happy! No more classes, no more going to college, no more assignments and no more reading for internals. Sounded too good for me. But today these same words which used to make me happy all these days, are making me emotional. No more classes - I would miss sitting in the last bench, passing comments, doodling and bunking class to go to canteen. No more going to college - I would miss roaming in campus, clicking random pics, enjoying with friends, fighting over petty issues and then forgetting them sooner than it happened. No more assignments - I would miss fighting over who will write it, copying it from friends and coming up with creative excuses when we failed to complete it. No more reading for internals - no more worrying over average, no more dividing the portions between friends and no more mugging up minutes before internals. 

       I still can't believe its been four years already! It still feels like yesterday that I joined engineering, not because I wanted to but because I was forced to. I was hoping these 4 years would end soon and it did! Then why am I feeling so bad now when this is what I wanted all along?

       Every word holds a different meaning today. When I look back, I can only see moments that make me smile because they were so good and cry because they are coming to an end. Oh, how I wish I can stop time right at this moment and thus stop the goodbyes that will follow in few days. But wish as I might, I know life has to go on. So while there is still few days left, I want to make the most of it and collect as many memories I can to cherish them for the rest of my life. 

         Starting from today, for the rest of the month, I am going to share stories of my college life. It is my way of coping up with the overflowing emotions and cherishing the memories forever. This 'College Diary' series is dedicated to all my friends and lecturers (Yes!) who made these 4 years a memorable one :)

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Monday, 4 May 2015

Writing a Novella - A to Z Reflections

       When I did the theme reveal for this year's A to Z blogging challenge, I was sure of one thing - I wanted to write a serial story. I had always wanted to write a full length novel but when I decided to write a novella, I suddenly wasn't sure if I could churn out a novella of 26 chapters amidst my busy schedule. So I decided to write 4 serial stories in the course of A to Z challenge.

        I confess - I am never the one who writes posts well before the challenge starts. I am a student and I stand true to the rule of students - Always go for last minute preparations. That is what I did this time too. I didn't know what the novella was about, I didn't know what the next chapter would be. Sometimes the confusion was too much that I wanted to give up but the positive response and encouragement I got kept me going. And before I knew, I had finished the challenge, that too by writing a single novella with 26 chapters! I had even surprised myself.

       There are a few things I learnt during this challenge - never ever do last minute preparations. Yeah yeah I know I stick to the golden rule of students but still I have learnt the lesson. I was religiously writing and posting till 'T' post but then I had college fest to attend and I couldn't concentrate on blogging. It was the last fest of college life and I wanted to enjoy completely. As a result, my novella suffered. When I didn't post for 2 days, I got many messages asking if everything was okay. Trust me, those messages were what encouraged me to make time for writing posts even when I couldn't. A big thanks to all of you for showering me with so much love :)

       And as always, A to Z helps you discover many blogs. I have stalked a lot of blogs this time. I met many new people and some old bonds strengthened too. I loved reading the blogs of following people - Prasanna Rao, Sundari Venkatraman, Devika Fernando, Ruchi Singh, Shailaja V, Shalini, Shilpa Garg, Aathira, Shantala Nayak, Janaki, Vinay Leo, Soumya Prasad, Amrit Sinha, The Little Princess, Nibha Gupta, Suzy, Rajlakshmi, Cynthia Rodrigues, Geetika Gupta, Parul Kashyap, Vinodini Iyer, Vidya Subramanian, Vinitha Dileep, Sulekha Rawat, Eli Ert, Elli Stornebrink, Sheethal Susan, Sanch, Ina Tales, Corinne, Vidya Sury, Sushree Dash, Vishal. Sorry if I have left out any names. You know I love your blog ;)

       I had so much fun this April - writing and reading. Yes, I have missed out the reading and commenting from 'U' post and though I want to catch up, I don't know if I can. But I will promise to stay in touch from now on and stalk your blogs forever :P After all, I didn't make friends just for one month! So, lets keep in touch people. Hoping to see you all around. Till then, Happy Blogging.

PS: Many of you asked me if I have plans of publishing 'Leave Me Never'. I would love to do that but I have so much to edit before I can think of publishing. I just have one month of college life left. After that, I will give this novella a serious thought ;)

Linking this to 2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge Reflections.

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Saturday, 2 May 2015

From Where I See - Book Review

Title: From Where I see 

Author: Dr. Ajay Yadav
Publisher: Li-fi Publications Pvt. Ltd.
ISBN: 978-93-82536-81-9
Number of Pages: 401
Price: 300 [INR]
Genre: Fiction/Religious

The Blurb:

Ajay meets his childhood friend Shruti on a social networking site. He finds her struggling with intrapersonal, interpersonal, inter-social and inter-religious conflicts. Eventually the conflicts killed her. Police could solve the case but will it prevent hundreds of Shrutis from getting killed? How long will we aim 'who' killed, more important is to find out 'what' killed. Till we don't address this issue many Shrutis will keep on getting killed. We need to cure the disease not only the symptoms.

This book is an effort of the author to find the root cause and probable remedies of these conflicts, exploration of hundreds if pertinent questions like "why in one religion it becomes so easy to get volunteers to blow themselves up and others for the sake of religion? Does the religion divide or unite? Have the immature and wrong interpretations of female emancipation led to 13 times rise in divorce rates in last 5 years?"

It's not only a book; it's the path to a revolution, it's a journey towards a Utopian world. If you are open minded, have courage to accept the truth and have a desire to change the world; then be a part of the change. Let's take our first step to build a road to this Utopian dreams.

My Review:

       When I read the blurb, I couldn't help but sign up for reviewing this book despite of the busy schedule. And to some extent, I am happy that I did. Without wasting much time, I will get to the review.

The Plot:

       The story starts with police interrogating Ajay regarding the death of his friend Shruti. The interrogation is of typical Bollywood style and the behavior of the police is a little irritating. From the interrogation, you get a slight idea about what has happened. As the chapter ends, the flash back starts. Ajay and Shruti were childhood best friends but lost contact later. Years later when they meet on the social networking site, Ajay finds out that Shruti has married Aslam and has changed her name to Nagma. She is struggling with social and religious conflicts. And one day, all of a sudden, Ajay receives a call from Aslam, telling him to Shruti has committed suicide. A shocked Ajay couldn't figure out if it was indeed suicide or did something else kill her. The story progresses illustrating a lot of things - romance, thrill, religious conflicts, trauma, philosophy and much more.

Things that worked:

       The story line was new and different. The facts put across make us ponder. The characters are plotted well. Some of the scenes were interesting and drew me right in.

Things that didn't work:

       The narration! A lot needs to be improved. A good story line was let down by the not so good narration. If the narration was good and few more rounds of editing was done, then this book would have definitely managed to keep the readers hooked. Nonetheless, I appreciate the effort taken to write on a new topic.

Favorite lines:

       When we want to be the first at every place in life, even on a traffic signal, then why last at honesty?

      If any social or religious dogma harms any human mentally, physically, emotionally and financially then it is the matter of shame not pride.

My Verdict:

       The blurb attracts the readers but the narration fails to do justice to it. Could have been a promising read!

My Rating: 3 / 5 Stars

PS: This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)