Sunday, 31 March 2013

My blogging journey

Today my blog turned 5 years old. It has been such a roller coaster ride, these past 5 years. I changed from not being a writer to a writer, co-authored a book and started my own content writing and editing company. 

As prompted by Debajyoti, I thought of writing of my blogging journey today. It all started as an experiment, on a lazy weekend with nothing much to do. I was in the UK and was missing my dog and wanted to express it in some form. As a child, I had written a few stories complete with drawings of beggars and in hideous English. These got lost somewhere as I grew up. Later, as a teenager, I started writing a diary everyday describing the events that were happening in my life. It was mostly filled with how my soul was tortured and how difficult life was living with my parents and sisters. I had a laugh riot when I read those entries after a few years and realised that I was such a drama queen.


That was my only experience with writing, before I started the blog. I would give all the credit to my dog for turning me into a writer. The first year of blogging taught me to be patient and keep writing. I hardly got any comments and only a few friends read and commented out of loyalty. The second year was a bit better, I learnt of Indiblogger and Blogadda, discovered some great blogs and read them with fervour. I picked up tips and tricks on how to write blog posts, overcome writers block and find new topics for blog posts. 

In 2010, I had a good number of readers and blog friends who read my posts and I read theirs. I took part in Bloggers Premier League on Ginger Chai. It was an exciting time and I feel, I wrote some of my best posts during that time. I returned to India and  got the opportunity to co-author a book. And then, life happened. 

I stopped blogging entirely in 2011 and most of 2012. I took this hiatus for personal reasons, but I had this itch to write, the writing bug had bitten me badly. A friend encouraged me to start writing content for her website as she had read my posts and liked them. She gave me work and I gained a lot of experience. This encouraged me to start my own content writing and editing company.


I came back to blogging in 2012. When I returned, I realised that the blogging world is just not what it was any more. Now, there are too many bloggers vying for the same number of readers, competition is cut throat and egos get bruised easily. Many of my old blogging pals have gone on hiatus themselves and there are not too many familiar names. I do feel out of place many times and love it when I come across familiar bloggers. 

The bottom line is that I love writing and I will keep writing. My posts are from the heart, I write when I am inspired by a subject. One of my posts was inspired by a spider and another one talked only of my eyebrows. I guess you got the drift. I am not a crusader, I leave the slogans and the revolution to other bloggers, who actually do it much better. My posts talk of everyday things. Life inspires me. 

How has been your blogging journey?

image courtesy: Google

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

5th Blogiversary Giveaway

My blog is turning five years old this month. It seems like yesterday that I sat down and wrote my first ever post because I was missing my dog. My writing journey started on 31st March 2008, when I sat down and opened a blog on blogger and took my first step in the blogging world.

Little did I know that this space will not only become an extension of me, but will also be a means to step into the profession of writing. Though I was missing from the blogging world for nearly two years in between, because of personal commitments, something always prompted me to come back to this space and get back in touch with the wonderful friends, I have made over the years. 

When I started blogging, the blogging platforms were not very professional and there was not so much competition amongst the bloggers. All of us were writing for the pleasure of writing. In the beginning, my posts were read only by my friends and they were such a loyal bunch. 

After nearly a year of blogging, I made some bloggers friends.Even though many of them have now disappeared from the blogging world, I can never forget them as they motivated me to write.  

I digress and  guess this is enough senti talk for now. Let's move on. 

To celebrate the 5th blogiversary, I have planned on a give-away  But, there is a twist to this. There is a small competition which will have questions about the blog. People who have read my old posts will know the answers very easily. People who haven't, well you will have to go on a fact finding mission. 

Here are some rules before we start

1) The contest is open only to Indian residents
2) You can write your answers in the comment section, which will be kept hidden till the time the winner is announced.
3) The winner will be declared on 1st April 2013. You have time till midnight on 31st March to send me your answers.
4) Whoever answers all the questions correctly, will be declared the winner. If there is a tie between two people then the prize will be distributed between the two. If there are more than two people with correct answers, there will be a lucky draw.

Prize: The prize is a gift voucher of Rs. 500 from Flipkart. If two people get selected as winners then each will get a Voucher worth Rs.250.

Here are the questions:

1) A post about ridiculous things people say. 

2) A post where I talk about my hair woes.

3) A post where I just manage to make Paneer (Cottage Cheese).

4) A post where I talk about the birds and bees with someone.

5) A post where the Bollywood mother reigns supreme.

6) A post where I review an unintentionally funny Hindi movie.

7) According to me, what things should one not do in public? 

8) A post where I write a story about Kaveri ? Is she able to break out of the shackles of prostitution? 

9) A post where I talk about my errant eyebrows.

10)  What is the name of the book that I have co-authored and also the name of my Content writing company?


Now hurry and find the answers in my posts. Good Luck!

P.S: I changed the first question because many of you would not know that my blog was called "Musings of my mind" before "Lazy Pineapple" and it is not there in any of my posts. 

Monday, 25 March 2013

Winner of Caption Contest 18 "You think you are funny?"


Here is the winner of the Caption Contest 18, ‘You think you are funny?’  

Umashankar Pandey: "Captured in time"





Congratulations!!!

Drop me a mail at and I will mail you the trophy.

Hope to see you in another round of Caption Contest this Wednesday. 

Saturday, 23 March 2013

The joy of growing up in a small town

I was born in a small town called Nagpur in Maharashtra, India. Nearly 40 years back Nagpur was a small town as compared to its glamorous cousins Pune or Bombay. It still retains its small town charm in the lanes and by lanes that I frequented as a child and then as a grown woman. There is a certain kind of joy growing up in a small town, which is incomparable when you grow up in a big city. The hustle and bustle of a big city makes it impossible for a person to enjoy the relaxed life or even notice the changing seasons.

While growing up, most of the people I knew lived in Bungalows with a garden around the house. There were buildings but there were very few of these. Our house was surrounded by Papaya, Guava and Custard Apple trees. We also had a Lemon tree along with a variety of flowering plants such as Rose, Mogra, Hibiscus etc. For any Puja in the house, all we had to do was grab a basket and pluck the flowers and fruits. One of our neighbours had a Mango tree and all the kids would gather during the Summer months and throw rocks to break the raw mangoes from the tree. There was a certain thrill in that and any time someone got lucky, the raw Mango was cut in equal pieces and devoured along with some salt and red chilli powder.

Since everybody knew each other in the neighbourhood, it was a safe place to be. Our parents never had to worry or keep a tab of where we were or what we were up to. If we did something naughty, we knew that our parents would hear of it sooner or later. There was a certain kinship with the people I grew up with. We could go to anyone's house and spend an entire afternoon playing carom, Ludo, cards or chat without thinking twice. As a child, I think my parents hardly knew where I was, during my summer holidays. Such was the love and tolerance of our neighbours. Every festival was celebrated together. We had communal Ganesh Puja and Holi Puja in our neighbourhood. We exchanged sweets during Dushhera and Diwali and flew kites during Sankrant. 


Photo Courtesy : Google
I miss the familiarity of shopping at places I have been visiting since childhood. The moment I step in Nagpur, I feel like I have slipped back into worn but comfortable shoes and now can easily walk without worrying about a blister. When it comes to shopping, I don't like the cold and impersonal shopping experience we have when we shop in malls and big stores. In Nagpur, I know many of the shop owners as I have been visiting their shops with my father  and grandfather since when I was a itty bitty child. The warmth of their welcome and the personal attention is what makes shopping so much fun. I remember that as a child, many a times, I did not have sufficient cash to buy something and the shop owner would  not hesitate to hand over that item and I could pay them later. Even now, when I go home, many of them ask about my well being, where I stay now and how long is my visit. This makes me happy as I feel I am still connected with people in my home town.

Now, things have definitely changed in Nagpur and a few shopping malls have sprung up. Life has become faster and people now talk of stress and travelling far to reach their work place and there are more multi storied buildings than bungalows.

Anyone who has lived in a small town knows what I am saying and is probably missing it right now.

 Did you live in a small town? Do you come from a small town? Are you living in a small town? What has been your experience? 

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Caption Contest 18 "You think you are funny?


This is a caption contest ‘You think you are funny?’

Please Write a Caption for the picture below :

Pic courtesy: Fun2video.com


All the Best. 

P.S: For those people who would like to know the rules, please check here

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Proud to be a Nagpurian

Nagpurians can be easily identified amongst a group of people, as they stand apart anywhere because of their unique personality. The food, the weather and the attitude makes us what we are and even if we no longer live in Nagpur, it is difficult to shake the Nagpuri out of us.

What makes us unique is our outlook to life and the never say die attitude. You can identify us very easily because of our language, taste in food and how zealously Nagpurians can prove to you that Nagpur is the best city in India.

Here is what makes us asli(true)  Nagpurians

1) The language we speak is like you have never heard anywhere. It is a mixture of Hindi and Marathi, where you will find words such as:

Hou (a combination of ho- yes in Marathi and haan- yes in Hindi).

Sahi (which in Hindi means right) which we use as an exclamation of joy or to say fantastic.

Mahol (in Hindi means atmosphere) again means fantastic or out of this world.

Ek number in Nagpur means very good.

Abey Yaar means what man. Every sentence has to start with "abey".

Words like Kuthe Jaoon Rahaila?  Kai karun Rahaila? (instead of Kuthe Jatois or Kai Kartois) can make a typical Puneri cringe, as we take immense liberties with the Marathi language and have created a dialect that is very typical of Nagpur.

For the women in Nagpur, any shopkeeper, Rickshawala, bhajiwala, postman, milkman, fellow on the road will always be "Bhaiyya" (brother). 

What sounds to others as a gruff and rowdy language, to a Nagpurian, it is sweet nectar which makes his day. The distinct Nagpuri tongue can melt our heart in minutes and we can become friends with a complete stranger when we hear him speak out tongue.

2) The food we like is as hot as the weather. Our love for Saoji cuisine is well known. We can give people from Kolhapur a run for their money, when it comes to hot and spicy food. 

Ask any Nagpurian and he will swear by Savji Mutton and Saoji Chicken after a round of drinks. Tarri Poha  is another dish which is a hot favourite.


When it come to food, how can Oranges be far behind. Nagpur has given the world one of the best varieties of Oranges. This citrus fruit has helped Nagpur to become famous on the world map. No wonder Nagpur is called the Orange city.

We feel that Dinshaws Icecream is the best in the world. Haagen Daz and Ben n Jerry's gaya tel lene. What to say about Haldiram's sweets and Namkeen. For us, making a stop at Haldiram's is as mandatory as going to the temple. The Samosa wala at Telangkhedi and Shanti Bhavan are out of this world. The Paani puri at Gujarat point is to die for and there is nothing like Idli sambar at South Indian Mess. Babbu ki Biryani at Mominpura is another hot favourite of Nagpurians. Bakery products from Ajit Bakery, Harry's Pastry and Cake and Cookies are an integral part of our lives.

3) The weather is another aspect that is discussed with a lot of passion. Come Summer or Winter, the meteorologist in each and every Nagpurian starts predicting the weather with fervour. Nagpurians don't believe in Air Conditioners. If you live in Nagpur, it is mandatory to have air coolers that use water and Khus ki tatti (curtains made from Vertvert). 

The Summers are blazing hot, which naturally makes us hot tempered and we are itching for a fight every chance we get. You will never find a true Nagpurian bow down from a fight. We enjoy a good brawl and love to "Haat Saaf Karna" during a skirmish. We take it as matter of pride to rectify the wrong.

4) Shopping at Dharampeth, Sitabuldi, Mahal and Sadar is like shopping at 5th avenue and Rodeo drive for us. The favourite pastime of the youth of Nagpur is to sit on parked bikes on West High court Road and ogle at every passing girl. They call it "Ladki Taadna" and "Aankh Sekna". LAD college is another hotspot for these young men. 

5) Nagpurians love to celebrate festivals. Be it Holi, Diwali or Ram Navmi, we know how to have a good time. People love gyrating to Sandal dance music. The beat of the dhols and the drums makes every nerve in our body quiver and we unknowingly start dancing.



To be a Nagpurian you have to be born as one. The water, the air and the culture all help to make you a  true Nagpurian. Wherever we go and anywhere we might live, our love for Nagpur is as strong as ever. 

Come to Nagpur as only a Nagpurian can show you how to have the time of your life. 

Courtesy: Pagalguy.com


Monday, 18 March 2013

Winners of Caption contest 17 "You think you are funny?"


Here are the winners of the Caption Contest 17, ‘You think you are funny?’  

Roshan Radhakrishnan - Black is for pansies, real men wear pink

Corinne Rodrigues - I'm too sexy for my tutu


Congratulations!!!

Drop me a mail at and I will mail you the trophy.

Hope to see you in another round of Caption Contest this Wednesday. 

Friday, 15 March 2013

Google Reader is dying, how does it affect bloggers like us?

All of you must have heard the news that Google is phasing out Google Reader by July. When I heard the news, I was a bit worried as it meant that I will lose out out on reading blogs that I follow very diligently.
                                                       
                                                        RIP Google Reader
Photo Courtesy: Freedigitalphotos.net

After checking online for various options to Google Reader, I finally signed up with Feedly. All of you who want to move from Google reader to Feedly , you can find the guidelines here. To know about various options for Google Reader, go to Mashable website

Since I use Chrome as my browser, I just had to add the Feedly plugin for Google Chrome and all the feeds that I follow were smoothly transferred from Google Reader to Feedly. No fuss, no mess. It does take time to get used to the layout of Feedly, but am quickly catching on.

With Google Reader dying, I am also worried about the readership of my blog (I know the numbers  are not huge). All those wonderful people out there, who read my blog through Google Reader will not  get the content I generate in the future.

I checked my feedburner account and found out that most of my readers read my blog through Google Reader. This means that there are chances of my readership going down once Google Reader is phased out, unless of course my readers either subscribe to my blog through email or transition from Google Reader to another RSS feed reader.

All you readers mean a world to me, I write because you read me.
Why not subscribe to my blog through email? 

Just type in your email address and press the subscribe button. To activate the subscription, you have to go the inbox and click on the link sent to you on your email id. That's it. Don't forget to do the second part.



Enter your email address:


Delivered by FeedBurner

Not only will you get my blog updates directly to your email, you can easily share the posts you like with your friends. 

What does Google Reader dying mean to you as a blogger and a reader?

Will you switch to a new reader or prefer email subscriptions?

Do you think Google reader dying will affect your blog readership?

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Caption Contest 17 "You think you are funny?"


This is a caption contest ‘You think you are funny?’

Please Write a Caption for the picture below :




All the Best. 

P.S: For those people who would like to know the rules, please check here

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The Caption Contest 'You think you are funny?' is back

People who have been reading my blog for many years, are already familiar with the caption contest, "You think you are funny?" which I had started some years back. Due to personal reasons, I was unable to update my blog regularly and had to discontinue the contest. Starting from tomorrow, the contest is back. 

You can hop over to my blog every Wednesday and take part in the contest. 

Anyone who is new to my blog or the contest, please read the following rules:

RULES OF THE CONTEST

1) You can send as many entries as you want.
2) Please post your caption in the comment section of this post.
3) The winner will be declared by Monday of the following week.
4) No plagiarism, no racial slurs or insults will be tolerated. That entry will be rejected outright.
5) The decision of the judge (Me) is final :)
6) The winner will receive the Golden Trophy below as a prize, which he/she can proudly display on their websites.




Hope to see you all tomorrow for some funny and hilarious captions. 

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Do you believe in BFF's?

In my life, friends' have always played a major role. From the time I was a child, I was always surrounded by hordes of friends and my family had to tolerate them as all my friendships were sacred to me. My post Death of a friendship talks about it. I also got into numerous fights with my older sister, when she called some of them wacky. Such was my devotion to my friends.

The idea of friendship was firmly ingrained in my mind. Being a good friend meant that, I was always there for that person come rain or shine, through thick and thin, day or night and I expected the same in return. There were many books I read and the TV series I saw, such as "Friends" and "Sex and the City" that further influenced my thought process. I was fully convinced that such friendships existed in the read world, where friends called each other at 3 in the morning or rushed to help each other without a second thought.

The Movie Sholay's Jai and Veeru epitomised friendship for me. The eternal bond of camaraderie, which only death can break. I guess you must have got the picture by now. I lived with this concept of friendship for many years, believing in it wholeheartedly and even dragging my better half to help out many of my friends in need.

Lately, I have realised that the concept of BFF is too emotionally draining on me, as there is that constant pressure of "being there" for friends, doubting myself when friends disappear from my life, unnecessary expectations and losing my peace of mind sorting other people's problems. I think when people constantly need their friends to help them sort out their emotional and relationship issues, it is time they took help from a therapist.

I have been thinking of all my friendships for the past few months and have come to realize that the concept, that it is difficult to make friends as we grow older, is utter bull. The concept of old friends are the best friends, which has been fervently preached to us, is misleading and I for one have made many new friends along the way, as I grew older.

Why do we need to cling on to old friendships, even when that person has drifted away from us? Do we keep clinging to old friendships, just because we are loyal, or because we still have fond memories of the time spent together? 

Who said friendships had to be forever?



I made wonderful friends over the years, I have a great blogging friend  Shilpa Garg, and we know each other since past four years. Though I have never met her, I know her well because of her blog. We met each other through a writing competition and are in touch since then. An old NIIT friend, Prachi Pisolkar, who makes it a point to be in touch and inspires me with her encouraging words. My MBA classmates  Neeraj, Pushpak and Mihir, who brought so much laughter in my life, when I needed it. Kavita Tengshe, who introduced me to Yoga and the wonderful benefits of Pranayam. My better half, without whom every step of this journey would have been difficult.

These friendships are without the emotional baggage and each encounter leaves me with a positive attitude. I am revived and happy to face another challenging day, whenever I meet these people.

I have now decided to wipe my slate clean and start afresh. I feel, I am doing injustice to a lot of wonderful people, who spread joy in my life, by clinging on to friendships that have run their course. This does not mean that I will forget old friends, these people came into my life, when I needed them and each one of them have taught me something. I am thankful to my old friends for coming in my life and teaching me to have relationships without expectations.

Do you believe in relationships without expectations?

Friday, 8 March 2013

I'm too sexy for my shirt

This is not a post about the band "Fred said right" or about Govinda gyrating to the god awful Hindi song, "meri pant bhi sexy". I am talking about the emergence of a new eye candy in our Bollywood movies.

Move over Bipasha Basu, John Abraham has arrived. 

It is now the dawn of the era of the "female gaze" in Bollywood. The naked male body was never in the limelight, as it is now. Salman Khan set the precedent, when he discarded his shirt in each and every movie, whether it was hot or cold, raining or sunny. Mr. Khan never left a single opportunity to show his 6 packs and bulging biceps, which made several women swoon and gasp for breath.

Gone are the days, when heroines in drenched white sarees, gyrated seductively in the rain and made men's hearts race. Gone are the days, when raunchy lyrics and dhak dhak karne laga dil's were only the privilege of men.

Who can forget John Abraham in the movie 'Dostana', walking out of the ocean in yellow swimming trunks and giving us a peek of his bum. Priyanka Chopra looked lukewarm in front of him. The voyeuristic camera had lovingly shown us each and every muscle and curve on his body.

Hrithik Roshan had prominently displayed his body in Dhoom 2 and Zindagi na milegi Dobara.


In the recent movie 'Aiyaa', the hero Prithviraj is the object of desire for Rani Mukherjee. Throughput the movie, she undresses the hero with her eyes, which is shown in the form of songs, where the hero's body is on prominent display.


The yesteryear heroes showed their machismo by rescuing the girl from baddies and taking care of darling "Ma". They danced away into the heart of women or by saying dialogues such as "Pushpa, I hate tears". The Hindi film hero of fifties and sixties such as Devanand, Dilip Kumar, Shammi Kappor had fresh faces that reflected love, honesty, honour etc. Each one had their own style of acting and mannerisms that defined them from the other actors. The art of revealing was left to the vamp in the movie.

Then came the 70's and the 80's, where art films and commercial cinema grew hand in hand. The classic look of the Hindi film hero changed and some unusual faces came to fore, Amitabh Bacchachan, Naseeruddin Shah, Amol Palekar, Nana Palekar were a few of them. Still, the shirt remained buttoned and the focus was always on acting prowess. From 50's to the 90's, the female form was shown to be the most desired.

In the past few decades, the hero has undergone a sea change. His image has changed drastically and he is no longer restricted to playing the knight in shining armour, who rescues the heroine and saves the day. He can now help to make a movie, a box office success, by stripping and showing his chiselled abs and bulked up physique. Yes, there are a still a few of them, who without removing their shirts, can still rock the box office.

Bollywood has finally realized that "Yes, Sex Sells and even the hero can sell it". It is no longer the job of the heroine to provide the oomph factor in a Movie. The hero has taken the mantle and is all ready to compete with the heroine.

Hold on my lovelies. Stop drooling and wipe that grin of your face. The era of "Adonis" has arrived.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

My guest post at Everyday Gyaan

When Corinne  asked me to do a post for her very popular blog "Everyday Gyaan", how could I refuse it.

As her blog tag line says "Keeping life simple, authentic and holistic", I have tried to write a post that was true to these words. Here is the excerpt of the post I have written. 

When I talk about finding positivity during chaos, I am actually talking about trying to be positive during the inner turmoil that happens within each one of us, when we go through stressful situations and are tackling our inner demons. 

Since the past five years, my life has been thrown into chaos for various reasons, some of which, I willingly chose to go through and some things that crash landed in my life and has a left a huge crater of confusion, depression and negativity strewn around.

Hop on to 'Everyday Gyaan' to read more.

Do let me know what you think.

Monday, 4 March 2013

PITARA - a boxful of wonders

Facebook has actually been a boon in disguise, where I was able reconnect with old friends and connect with like minded people through various groups. I have always been fascinated and in awe of people who are extremely talented and have the courage to start their own venture. They are just like me who started of with absolutely nothing and have slowly built up their business by hard work and determination.

 Today, I would like to introduce you to a wonderful artist and an entrepreneur, who creates magic with colours. Surabhi Mehrotra is the owner of "Surabhi ka Pitara", an online store for hand painted products. She lovingly crafts products using her own creativity and has a variety of products for everyone. I met her through Facebook, on of the groups and have always marvelled at her use of colours to create wonderful products.

I had the opportunity to get to know Surabhi and understand her passion for colours and painting.

Hand Painted Mug

How did you start "Surabhi ka Pitara?

Surabhi: The venture "Surabhi ka Pitara" was a natural next step for me, as I have always been dabbling in drawing and painting, since I was small. I knew that people liked my work and appreciated it, after I had five completely sold out exhibitions of hand painted sarees and dupattas. I took a sabbatical of two years after my marriage and was itching to do something different, when by chance a friend wanted me to hand paint a dinner set she had bought. This incident gave me the boost to start my own business.

Did you undergo any formal training?
Madhubani design on a Sari


Surabhi: Though I have completed a Postgraduate course in Textile designing and Painting, I always had a natural affinity towards colours. I have also completed my MBA and have worked as a Textile designer in a company called "Velveleen", where I worked for 5 years and handled their design development , sampling & international marketing department. 


When did you start Surabhi ka Pitara?

I started it in the year 2011.


What inspires you?

Colours inspire me. They help me to relax and I love playing around with colours and designs. I loved colours from my childhood. Nature and even people inspire me.

Name Board
    









What type of products do you create?

I create and sell a variety of products and have a wide range of kids products for decorating their room, as there are not many places that sell these products.

I also make customised products for clients who want something specific.

I make hand painted 

1) Mugs
2) Paintings for Kids
3) Home decor products
4) Sarees, dupattas and kurtis
5) Furniture (Laptop tables, chaurangi)

You give me any surface and I can paint on it.

Where do you sell your products?

My business started with word of mouth publicity. Later, I started a Facebook page and many people got in touch with me through that. Many online stores also contacted me asking me   sell the products through them.

You can buy my products through the following links:

I want to sell my products all over India and abroad.

It was lovely talking to such an inspiring artist. Folks, all those who want to buy these wonderful products, get in touch with Surabhi. All her stuff is super cute and of really high quality, as it is not factory manufactured. Each and every product is lovingly hand crafted by her. Hop on to "Pitara" on Facebook and check out the whole range. You can also contact her at pitarainfo@gmail.com