Wednesday, 5 December 2018

A questionnaire with Madhumita Bhattacharjee Nayyar

So, this month featuring Author 

Can you tell us a little about yourself? Your profession and your hobbies!!
I come from an army background my Dad being from the armed forces. I was born in Lucknow, spend my childhood in Jammu and Lucknow (mainly) and completed my college from Delhi. I hold a Masters Degree in English Literature, although till class twelfth I was a science student and Biology still remains my favourite subject. I also hold a Diploma in Child Psychology and in Electronic Media and Broadcasting. I had wanted to be a Medical practitioner but destiny willed it otherwise and made me pursue the subject academically, that till then was my hobby. As in reading and writing. I was a voracious reader, I still am 😊 

About my hobbies- I love to paint, I like cooking and hosting friends and family, love travelling, reading, crooning, and gardening. I guess the list can be endless as I love the various things that life presents to me and I willingly take them all up. I am an avid animal lover too and have been fostering pups and dogs since quite some time. I also dabble in some theatre too.
I started my career with Doordarshan, moving on to AIR and then FM. I worked as a host/presenter/ producer and also at the news desk. I had been editing for the MEA, a few Universities and some publications as a freelancer too. Then I made a transition to the perfumes and cosmetic sector, writing product stories, designing, working on fragrances and formulations, handling media etc. I had to just leave everything as my Mother in law was an Alzheimer's patient and she needed me.
By the way, I am a healer and a life skills counsellor too. I work with the underprivileged strata of the society, especially women and children. I have off late started work on spreading Alzheimer awareness and stressing on the role of caregivers and their support system.  
I have been published in various journals, publications, national and international anthologies, e-zines etc. and I have a solo “THE NIGHT JASMINE AND OTHER LOVE POEMS” to my credit.
My motto has always been “To Live and Love Life".

A questionnaire with Madhumita Bhattacharjee Nayyar 

1.     How did you first get involved in with writing, are you an imaginative person?
 I do not remember exactly when I started writing but I see certificates won for creative writing when I was in primary. Both my parents inculcated the habit of reading in us, that's me and my brother. I loved storytelling and they encouraged me further, especially my mother. She played a major role in honing up my talent by encouraging me. I cannot deny my Hindi and English teachers from school their due credit, for they too had a major effect in sharpening my language and writing skills.
I had been writing and editing as I told you before, but once when my friend Sonali Bose specially asked for a few poems of mine for her online publication, that's when the thought of publishing my book triggered I think.
Imaginative!  I guess every writer is, but it is mostly from whatever is happening around me, the people, nature, birds, animals, emotions, sentiments that I draw out my words and verses from.

2.     What do you find most challenging about your writing?
I love writing...and try to pen down my thoughts whenever possible. The challenge lies in being able to connect to my reader. But I have been fortunate enough to have got all love from my readers, probably because I write what my heart says and I am really thankful to all of them.
With so many things to do every day another challenge is of compiling my work. I do not stick to one subject and that makes it a wee bit difficult too.

3.     What do you do when you are not writing?
Ha ha ...a lot many things. Either playing with my four-legged friends, cooking for the family, touching base with relatives and friends, attending poetry reading sessions or a Lit Conference, delivering a talk on life skills or Alzheimer's, counselling either a child or a mother/ wife/ teenager and telling them the various ways to fall in  love with life;  at times just sitting quietly with a cup of coffee and admiring nature either at a hill station or near the sea somewhere, or hosting an event may be! I think twenty-four hours is too short a time to be able to do it all 😊😊

4.     Where do you see yourself in the next 6 months, and 5 years down the road?
To have created a place in the hearts of more people. Frankly speaking, I believe life is a learning process and one never ceases to be a learner/student. There is so much to learn from my fellow writers, so much to imbibe from my seniors and the legends in the field. Such a lot still remains to be done. So I cannot actually predict anything. But yes five years down the line I pray I have some more books/ titles to my credit and they find their place in thousands of bookshelves and a million hearts.

5.     How do you keep coming up with material/content for your story?
As I mentioned before that I get motivation and inspiration to write from things around me ...and there is no dearth of happenings, events or characters. One just has to be alert and receptive. I guess the army background has helped me shape into an alert, conscious and receptive person that I am today.

6.     Any specific tips you have for new writers who want to make it big in the world of published books?
I am still in the process of making it big...everyone the level always goes up. There is no set goes from big to the bigger 😊
All I can say is be natural. Do not ever try to copy someone. Choose your subject from the heart and express what your heart tells you. A good knowledge of the language is a must. Grammatical errors are a no-no. Talk to writers who have already been published, choose and compile your work intelligently. Next comes choosing a good publisher. There are many in the field, but one has to see how you can reach out to more people. Making money shouldn't be the first thing on your mind. It should be to make a mark instead.

7.     What’s the best thing a writer can give to his readers?
Leaving an impression and bringing about a change in the reader for the good. Like I mainly talk about love in my poems and my stories mostly talk about society and life in various shades. If my words can occupy some space in the reader's heart, make the reader think, retrospect, then my work is done to some extent. But if a writer's words can bring about positive changes in an individual for the betterment of the society, that writer is blessed indeed!

8.     A lot of people are interested in writing for the money earning potential. What are some tips for people interesting in making money from writing? What are some realistic expectations in regards to what can be made?
For making money I guess the choice of subject should be apt along with a very good knowledge of it. Secondly a very good publishing platform. A whole lot of PR and marketing activities to both go hand in hand. Writing dedicatedly is also important if one wants to make money, without deviating into anything else. Keeping oneself focussed into just writing.
I guess one’s luck too plays a very important part. So being lucky is good too.

9.     What motivates you most in life?
Everything about life is beautiful and fresh. There is so much to learn from everything, each new day. Everything about life is motivating. I really am in love with life. In fact, everybody must fall and stay in love with life

10.            The majority of the readers tend to take sides due to religion and such other considerations.
It is the most unfortunate thing to happen. It is mostly due to the religious leaders and the political ones, who reap benefits by creating such divides. The media too fans such issues at times.  But I think this will not last till long. Art, literature, creativity in any form has always been a medium to bring about change. All this intolerance, irrational behaviour will vanish and good sense shall prevail. As they say – “Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry".
I believe a good writer/ good poet will always have a good readers base not because of any political or religious inclinations but because of his/her work.

11.            What is the story behind the name of your book?
There is hardly any story. I mostly write love poems. My maternal grandmother taught me about love, in fact,she instilled it in me(the emotion, the notion, the feel...whatever). A conversation about the night jasmine( a flower), a symbol of love, between a friend  and me motivated me to write three poems based on love, centred around the transient life of the flower, that loves and finishes off, still so much in love, although she knows that she isn't getting the one she loves. That is how was born “The Night Jasmine and Other Love Poems".

12.            What are your views on increasing plagiarism?
Scary...! Yes, it is.
I think plagiarism has thrived since long in the creative field, be it music, poetry, prose and is rampant nowadays ...
It has been there sometimes in a blatant form at times in the garb of “been inspired" and is here to stay, until and unless stricter rules and laws are made and enforced. We have to make use of the advanced technology too to keep plagiarism in check. Yes in check, for it cannot be done away with any soon. 

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Coffee house- Indian Coffee House

On my  recent official tour to gwalior, I happened to have food from ICH. Very very good food. You will not get this much tasty food from anywhere in gwalior even in star hotels. Very clean atmosphere, sufficient well educated staff ( unlike other hotels in this area where waiters are under aged poor children), and very very tasty food. It is run by well cultured people from Kerala. Kudos  to management and all team from ICH. Nice place to have south indian food. Well maintained, courteous staff. Enjoyed eating there. The place is very close to the Railway Station. It is air conditioned and adequently staffed unlike other restaurants in the town.

Food: 5/5

Ambiance: 4/5


Value for money


Sunday, 25 November 2018

Gaurav of Gwalior-Panchvati Gaurav

I scrolled through the trip advisor pages to check what all I can do in Gwalior city as I was alone there, hence on one of the Sunday afternoon I decide to check out the place for which I read a lot on trip advisor, being fascinated with Rajasthani food. I planned my visit on Sunday afternoon. The restaurant has a single daily menu, vegetarian Indian. As, I sat there, in a few minutes, the waiters started to serve an amazing tray with different dishes on my plates, from starters to dessert. The menu is 250 rupees. However, if do the comparison with the similar kind of restaurants which are serving similar kind of food in metropolitans, the dishes and the quantity served was not up to the mark. Considering the place and the city it seems not the right value for the money paid. Also, with the help of map it is difficult to locate the restaurant, so if plan to visit best is to call and ask for landmark or route, by the way, the restaurant is on the second floor of a small, modern mall.

Food: 3/5


Service: 4/5

Value for money: 3/5

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Brothers in Confectionery- Tewari Bros Confectioners

Tewari Bros Confectioners, as the name suggest it brothers so like many brothers, they have their outlets at many places, I have been to their Chandni Chowk and Connaught Place at both the places, and truly speaking I feel luckily enough for been both of them. The variety of sweets and taste they offer is amazing simply lip smacking. Their staff is also very courteous and kind, overall ambience seems very good but their prices seem to be little overpriced. Apart from sweets they also serve mouth-watering chaats like Gol Gappe, Bhalle Papri, Pav Bhaji and ice creams. Their Rasmalai, Kaju Barfi, Jalebi are definitely must try!

Ambience - 2/5

Service- 3/5


Value for money: 2/5

Sunday, 4 November 2018

A questionnaire with Gauri Dixit

So this month featuring authoress is ' Gauri Dixit'

Can you tell us a little about yourself?      Your profession and your hobbies!!

I was born in Nandurbar, Maharashtra and have been living in Pune for the last 30 years. A graduate in Microbiology and Masters in Computer Management, I am working for 25 years as a software professional.

I love to read, write, travel and have been bitten by the shutterbug recently. A couple of years back I also performed in a unique theatre show “99 Women” in Pune. The show endeavoured to bring 99 women from different walks of life together (most of them non-actors) to put up a professional theatre performance that told stories of 99 women, based on a concept by French writer Genevieve Flaven.

I write English poetry. My poems have been featured in multiple Indian and international anthologies. I am a regular contributor to many poetry pages and e-zines of repute such as Destiny Poets UK, Duane's Poetree, Glomag, Kubili Cafe, Learning & Creativity, Mind Creative, Spillwords and Stanzaic Stylings. I recently won the 'Reuel International Prize for the Most Promising Poet - 2018'.  My first poetry book 'In my skin, I find freedom' was recently released.

A questionnaire with Gauri Dixit 

1.  How did you first get involved with writing, are you an imaginative person?

I am an avid reader and Marathi was one of my favourite subjects. I loved to write essays during exams. MY essays would always be creative and different. That was as far as my writing goes during school days.

Five years ago, I encountered Friday poetry prompts to put in by one of the senior leaders in my organization and poems started flowing. After that, I met with this amazing group of friends online, called 'The Significant League' who helped me to appreciate, learn, read and refine poetry.  After poetry, I ventured into short stories and book reviews.

2.  What do you find most challenging about your writing?

With a busy schedule at work and home, finding quiet and focused time for writing is challenging. But for something that one is passionate about, one always finds the time. I have cut down on other things such as watching TV, to some extent reading as well.

3.  What do you do when you are not writing?

Climbing hills, clicking pictures, cleaning around the house, watching movies on Netflix, eating and many other things and of course my day job :-) 

4. Where do you see yourself in the next 6 months, and 5 years down the road?

I believe in taking life as it comes. I would love to spend time reading good literature, writing, travelling the world, exploring newer areas of work at the workplace to broaden my horizons and then see where life takes me.

5.  How do you keep coming up with material/content for your story?

It all comes from experiences that come with living, interacting with people, reading, new places.

6. Any specific tips you have for new writers who want to make it big in the world of published books?

I am new to writing and a first time published writer. So all I would say is that if you believe in your writing, go for it. Do thorough research for finding the right publisher and focus on marketing.

7.  What’s the best thing a writer can give to his readers?

Even if a writer is able to leave one single thought that will change lives with the reader, that is the best thing to happen.

8.   A lot of people are interested in writing for the money earning potential. What are some tips for people interesting in making money from writing? What are some realistic expectations in regards to what can be made?
For making money I believe that it would need some luck, a lot of research, excellent marketing and good platforms. I have just started to write so perhaps I am not the right person to answer this question in detail.  Writing well, writing consistently and reading good literature is the key.

9. What motivates you most in life?

Everything about life motivates me. It is such a pleasure to find the beauty around oneself and show it to the world be it through photography or poetry or stories.

10.The majority of the readers tend to take sides due to religion and such other considerations.

It is unfortunate how people have started relating religion to everything in the past few years and how they are taking it to extremes. The tolerance and acceptance seem to have vanished. Lot of it could be politics, media, stress etc. I just hope that it will change quickly through the efforts of writers, artists, human beings. Like Victor Pinchuk says "Art, Freedom and Creativity will change society faster than politics"

11.   What is the story behind the name of your book?

My book is titled 'In my skin, I find freedom'.

Poetry helped me to introspect, to understand myself, to get comfortable with who I am and to find the freedom within. It helped me to understand that freedom is not given, it is an attitude that one needs to wear with their skin.

12.  What are your views on increasing plagiarism?

It is a vast topic. Plagiarism has been there, is there and will be there as long as we create. With the technological advances and stricter rules/regulations it could be controlled but it is not possible to eradicate it 100%.