Monday, July 28, 2014

Blog marathon time again! Post 1: Organic terrace Gardening

Every year I do a blog-marathon. What this means is that there will be a new post every single day, for the next 30 days. It may be a poem, a picture, a recipe, a thought, a musing, an incident--just anything that strikes me as worth sharing, but a new post it shall be.

I started this in 2009 and so have completed five blog marathons so far! It is definitely not easy. Some days, one just doesn't want to post on the blog. But like all marathons---persistence and effort is what gets you to the end post---in my case, the end being 28th August 2014.

The challenge here is to post every single day, no matter what is happening in your life. For me, I have my mom and her sister visiting me soon and I really look forward to it. I also have my husband's side of the family visiting and so it's going to be a busy busy time. This is in between working on my 6th book (yes! It's nearly done!) and in between my newspaper columns.

Of course, as always, you--the ones who read my blog--have been very kind with your comments and interactions, and all that you have to say. So please do take a moment to leave me a comment---it makes me happy to write again, the next day and the next and the next next and...and.. Oh, you get the picture.

So for all of you who have written in and asked when i will be doing it--here you go!

Today's post is a picture for you, from my garden:


This is the first time in my life that I am growing vegetables. There are about 16 tomatoes on one single plant! And I have about 8 plants, like the above one. I just harvested my first ripe tomato yesterday.

 When I started off, I had absolutely no knowledge about organic terrace gardening. But it was something that attracted me. I got inspired after watching this short documentary.
It has English subtitles and those of you, who are interested, I would urge you to watch it.

Next, I went and bought the pots, the compost, the soil and manure (Horse dung and cow dung). I sowed the tomato seeds (I picked them up from lalbagh) in small containers, and once they sprouted, i transplanted them into bigger pots. After that it was tender loving care and watering regularly that did the trick. I also read up a lot on the ideal conditions for growing tomatoes and this blog-post by a veteran tomato grower gave me some invaluable tips, that I followed to a T.

Growing tomatoes isn't very hard. It needs constant care though--and plenty of sunshine and water. (do not over water). An online forum called Organic Terrace gardening, is a community that I joined, and I found the members really helpful.

Where there is a will, there is a way. This cliched and well known saying is true--I can vouch for it. My tomato plants are a witness.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

A wonderful afternoon with Cosmo and fellow authors.



A few months ago, Cosmopolitan conducted a poll to understand the Indian woman's career pursuits and choices. 

Regular readers may recall that I was featured in the March issue.


Based on the career choices of the above poll, they started a new career series in May 2014, called ‘So you want to be...’

The series aims to bring the biggest names from a particular field of work together each month, to understand from them on what it takes to make it big in that profession. Each month, they invite them for a working lunch, where they  ask them work related questions—what's a day in their work life like, perks of their job, challenges and problems they face, apart from their biggest tip and advice to someone who wants to make a career in that profession.

They had started the series by featuring the biggest female restaurateurs in the country, and followed it up with women brand managers from various fashion high-street brands. For the July issue, the theme was ‘So you want to work with a beauty brand’ where they invited successful brand managers from 10 beauty brands in the country.

For August their theme is ‘You want to be an author..?’
Last evening, I was in Delhi. Cosmopolitan flew me down  for the above story and I must say that they are brilliant, stylish and so darn classy in all their arrangements. A cab picked me up and took me to this wonderful restaurant, where we were all meeting for the photo-shoot and the discussions.

I had an amazing time, met some wonderful people and it was so intellectually stimulating, with lovely conversation, great discussions and of course being with so many women authors who understood exactly what the dillemas and problems we face, was to sum it up, a very memorable experience.
I had a terrific time catching up with Nikita Singh. 



We both wished we had got more exclusive time with each other! 




She and I get along so well—we are alike in our approaches to many things.

I also met up with Madhuri Banerjee. I always have a great time with her. She is a free spirit, fun, warm and there is never a dull moment when she is around.

There were a few more women authors---each one was so different, wrote about very different things and yet we were all united by our love of writing.

The editor of Comso India, Nandini Bhalla was warm, chic and it was wonderful talking to her--she has an amazing perspective on so many things. I so enjoyed the interactions I had with her and was full of admiration for her. Having seen her picture so many times in the Editorial in Cosmo, it was great to meet her finally.



Here is a selfie with Nikita, Nandini, Madhuri and me.





So what did we all  speak about? What are the tips? For that you will have to grab the August issue of Cosmopolitan!
These are small perks of being an author, and I feel fortunate to be a part of this world.
A big thank you to all of you who love to read what I write. 

Else I would have never had this career or this opportunity! :)
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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Candles in the wind

Pic clicked this morning, at Bangalore, India.


And this was how my day started this morning.

With hundreds of candles, swaying gently to the breeze.
Not a single one went out. They just danced in rhythm.

To say it was beautiful would be an understatement.

It was sheer bliss, peace and tranquility.
And a feeling of gratitude for every little blessing received.

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, it helps to remember that it shall soon pass. And it also helps to remember all that is going well in your life right now, and be grateful for the blessings.

Not everyone is as fortunate, you know.
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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Of sunsets and dead bats


The above is how I usually work. Right now too, as I type this, this is exactly where I am seated and my arm is resting on my dog, who is curled up, fast asleep, with maximum body contact with me, as is possible. The doberman is called a 'Velcro dog' because they love to stick really close to their owners. I can vouch that is true. She is like my shadow, and even if I move for a cup of tea, she has to follow me to make sure I am okay :)
 Click here to read a beautiful article on what it is like to live with a doberman.

Of all the really odd things that my dog has found, what she found today takes the cake. She found a dead baby bat today. And it was wedged between the glass and the ledge in my study---my usual working place.

She barked and tried to get it with her paws. I investigated, and sure enough the bat was there. She wanted to probably gobble it up--I don't know, but she sure was itching to get it. I quickly scopped it up with the nearest piece of paper lying around which happened to be a print-out of the periodic table, that belonged to my son.

The periodic table was put to good use today. I scooped up the dead baby-bat with it, and have safely given it a respectful send-off that does not involve a doberman with sharp teeth.


After that I made myself a cup of tea and  sat on my terrace for a long time, thinking about many things, as I watched the sun going down and the cloud making many shapes. Needless to say my dobie sat with me  and watched the clouds as well :)



It was mesmerizing.

Sometimes you have to learn to let dead bats and sunsets co-exist.

That is the beauty of life.
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