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.
I have been bestowed with the ICON OF THE YEAR-LIFE SKILLS COUNSELLOR 2015-2016 award, CREATIVE WRITER OF THE YEAR 2016 & INDIAN WOMEN ACHIEVERS AWARD 2016-FOR CREATIVE WRITING.
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 is...as the level always goes up. There is no set benchmark...it 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

Service:5/5

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

Ambience: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

 Food-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%.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

ख़ुमार...

ख़ुमार...

 हर नज़र में तेरी ही तलाश हैं...,हर धड़कन को तेरा ही इंतज़ार हैं..! हर फूल तेरे ही नाम हैं...,हर ख़ुशबू में तेरा ही ख़ुमार हैं...! गिरती बरसात की बूंदे जब भी...,खोले पिटारा तेरी ही यादों का...! ठंडी चलती पुरवाई में तेरा ही एहसास हैं...,उड़ता पंछी बहता बादल देता तेरा ही संदेश हैं...! हुआ मेरा ही दिल मुझ से ही बेगाना हैं...,फिर भी ना जाने क्यों हर पल तेरा ही एहसास हैं...! तेरे संग रहने की फिर चाहत हो जाती हैं...,अनजाने ही आ जाने वाली मुस्कान तेरा ख़्याल दे जाती हैं...! दिल फिर तेरे साथ का तलबगार हो जाता हैं...,दिल को मेरे तेरा ही एहसास हो जाता हैं...! दीपx

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Ice Cream from a Frozen Stone - Frozen Stone


A few weeks ago on my visit to GIP mall, after having my dinner in the food court on the 3rd floor, a loud sound of a something metallic hitting a stone constantly drew my attention towards it. When walked towards the direction from where the sound was coming it was Ice Cream counter named ‘Frozen Stone’. A man on the other side of the counter was making Ice Cream cups in a different manner and it was amazing to watch. I tried there Chocolate special flavour, which was indeed astonishing with lots of nuts and crunchy crunch in it.

Ambience - 3/5

Service- 4/5

 Food-4/5

Value for money: 4/5





Monday, 15 October 2018

Questionnaire with Authoress-Neelam Saxena Chandra



This month featuring authoress is ' Neelam Saxena Chandra'




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


I am an Engineer by profession. I cleared the Indian Engineering Services Exams and am a Class I officer with Indian Railways, presently, posted as General Manager (Electrical) at Mahametro, Pune.I am a very moody person, enjoying different things at different times. I paint, I anchor events, I act and I write.

1.       How did you first get involved in with writing, are you an imaginative person?I was a very coy and introvert person as a child. My classmates must have rarely heard my voice, except when it came to answering questions raised by teachers. However, I would listen to books and open up my heart to my diary. I used to write poems at that time.


Yes, I am a very imaginative person. After joining Railways, I began compering for events and I loved using short poems written by me. I also started writing short skits and would not only act in them, but I would also direct those skits. After my daughter was born, her craving for a story a day kept the imaginative person in me live till I finally wrote down those stories and sent them for publishing. That marked the beginning of my writing journey.


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

Writing is in itself a challenge, especially when my professional life is so very demanding. However, since I derive my satisfaction from it, I am able to find the energy to write every day.


3.       What do you do when you are not writing?As I said, I can never sit quietly. I keep trying various things. I may just cook a dish, go out for a walk, read a little or play table tennis.


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

I am not really very ambitious and I don’t have a fixed destination. I am enjoying my journey, all the time confident that there must be some place where I will go, for I can never stop.


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

There are so many stories happening in and around you every moment, every day. I just think of the possible outcomes and what would such a protagonist do in such a circumstance and what would make him/her do that. Mostly, a story is born out of my thought process.


6.       Any specific tips you have for new writers who want to make it big in the world of published books?
I would like to advise the new writers that you have to deserve every bit of your success. So, slog for it, read a lot, write well and then only can you be successful. After all, there is no short cut to success.



7.       What’s the best thing a writer can give to his/her readers?A good story/poem which makes his/her readers brood, either encouraging them or making them good human beings by being able to have different prospective in one situation.


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?


I would like to tell such writers that there is hardly any money in writing as such unless you expand your horizons and make your name by staying in the industry for years. These days, everybody is writing, and you have to be different to be able to become popular. There may be promotion campaigns, but none of that succeeds in the long run if you don’t write well.


9.       What motivates you most in life?Every breathes that I take motivates me. I am motivated by every ray of sun in the morning, I am enthused by the fact that I have yet another day to do what I want and I am inspired by the knowledge that there are so many others who do better than me just because of their willpower. If they can, so can I.


10.   The majority of the readers tend to take sides due to religion and such other considerations.Yes, that is an unfortunate fact. However, I’ve always propagated the fact that God is one and there is nothing more divine than true love. I too have a lot of steady followers and I am sure that others like me too must be having them.


11.   What is the story behind the name of your book?My latest book is titled “Tales from Venus” and is published by LiFi Publications. This is a collection of short stories related to women. A woman is a palette of hues and has various shades to her persona. She desires nothing, but love. If she feels loved, she shines, opens her wings and touches the sky; radiating the whole world. If she does not, she cribs for some time may get angry too; but then finds her own horizons in the space provided. She does not stop anywhere. She is always adapting to the situations and then also modifying herself accordingly and learning to grow in the worst of situations. Tales from Venus makes you aware of the various colours of a woman right from teens till she matures. There are tales that tickle your bones, tales that make you feel emotional, tales of courage, tales of treachery, tales that thrill you and tales that make you happy. Ultimately, you are bound to remain glued to the book because of the surprise element offered by each story.


12.   What are your views on increasing plagiarism?
Plagiarism is not new and has been taking place since long. However, it has become all the more rampant because of easy availability due to the internet. Several times, material written by me was sent to me as a forward without my name. There are certain tools like “your quotes” which quickly show when the poem was first published. I suppose other solutions will also come up due to technological innovations. 


Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Worst Cafe for south Indian Food- Cafe Udupi Ruchi-Noida


I am an extreme lover for south Indian food, hence I keep trying the different restaurant for good south Indian food. This place was on my list since some time. This month, first time on 23 Sep'18, I placed an online order with them for their combo meal, initially the restaurant accepted the order and while I was waiting for my food, restaurant themselves canceled my order. I was left with no option but to starve that night. Then today on 29 Sep'18 once again I placer order for same combo meal which has( idli+upma+pongal+dosa+kesri bath). 


But, when I received the delivery it was the biggest shock, as what I got was only 2 idli+dosa+small portion of sweet vermicelli. Overall, I would say this restaurant is the biggest cheat and don't know why they are in business. Won't recommend this place to anyone ever. 


Food:0/5


Service:0/5


Ambiance:0/5


Value for money:0/5






Sunday, 7 October 2018

Kathuria Dairy and Sweets

 



It is just sweet and snacks shop, which has got a basic seating arrangement. Though mainly they are into dairy business for a long time, in this vicinity. Talking about food items they have all snacks items Samosa, bread pakora, paneer pakora, and chole bhature. Their samosas are best with green chutney. Being into dairy business even all of their milk-based sweets are very good compare many others in the trade. In summers you can also enjoy a refreshing glass of lassi here in sweet and salty both flavors. All in all a place is a good try. Service here is fine but from staff, we cannot expect much as they are more of all cook and helpers. 


Ambiance - 2/5

Service- 2/5

Food-3/5

Value for money: 3/5






Thursday, 4 October 2018

BOOK REVIEW - “AN UNSUITABLE BOY', KARAN JOHAR ”BY KARAN JOHAR & POONAM SAXENA


The unsuitable boy, with some chapters more engaging than others, is about coming of age and ‘coming out’. The chapter on where it is mentioned about Johar’s childhood will have strong resonances for those who are labeled with the tag of “effeminacy”. As a plump and non-masculine schoolboy, Johar is vexed but resilient while his parents are liberal, accepting and unconditionally loving. But the ‘normal’ world around him is persistently judgemental about any deviation from gender normativity.

In order to ‘pass’ better, the collegiate Johar secretly attends voice-training classes where he is taught to develop a baritone and speak without feminine gesticulations. “Imagine that you’re living in a box” the instructors would say, “now make sure that your hands don’t get out of the box”. They taught him social skills, of which being masculine was one? For non-normative people, embodying the ‘normal’ and ‘natural’ is the hardest precisely because it does not come naturally.

Johar had finished his college and was about to go to France for an internship linked to his father’s export business when, three days before he was to board the flight, his close friend Chopra persuaded him to stay back and help with the making of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. Chopra told him: “Why the hell don’t you realize that you were born to be in the movies? You’re overdramatic, you’re melodramatic, you’re funny. The only thing you don’t have is an interval because you have this non-stop mad energy. You’re meant for the movies…. You’ll be a filmmaker one day.” Chopra’s prediction came true and Johar went onto make urban romantic melodramas that defined the contours of the Bollywood moment in the 1990s.

Johar’s debut film Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was a sensational hit that revived the fortunes of both his family and his father’s company Dharma Productions. But his second film Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham opened to a less enthusiastic response. Critics slammed the extravagant multi-starter for its showy over the top-ness, cheesy jingoism and, if I may add, an audacious sense of cinematic geography where Chandni Chowk stood in close proximity to bucolic British estates.

To a despairing Johar, it felt as though the gains of his first film would stand reversed but the film picked up gradually and ended up creating box office history while overtaking the collections of that year’s most feted film Lagaan. Over the years, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham has been Dharma’s most successful film. It became, in the words of Johar, the “go-to Bollywood film” enjoying its “biggest brand value” in Germany, France, and Ireland. Johar is refreshingly clear-eyed about his repertoire. With wit, self-deprecating humor and the keen sensibility of a cinephile, Johar cheerfully performs autopsies of his own films.


Now my Positive viewpoints:

The positives of the story are the characters easily identifiable. Even though the narration is again easy to read and allows us to easily go through the entire story, the tale is spread over long years, but the novelist has chosen present tense all through, and the story is intertwined in the past and the present. This style provides a simultaneous telling of many stories happened at different times together. The reader is immersed between the layers of the internal as well as the external upheavals of various characters. There are many episodes that remain with you long after you keep the book back on the shelf.

Some suggestive points:

The book is clearly meant for Bollywood buffs because phonetically reproduced Hindi lines are often left untranslated and plot points are discussed without any reference to their context in the film. The downside of addressing this ‘knowing audience’ is that much of the book’s content is likely to be known to them. Yet, there is something here for everyone. In the age of proliferating digital media, celebrity biographies get written as life is lived. In adopting two children – a desire expressed in the last chapter of his book – and talking about it extensively to the media, Johar has already started authoring the sequel.

Final words:

Overall if asked I would say this is a good job done by the author, the book is interesting and a good read. The writer makes a storyline interesting with her narration abilities. I would give 4 stars to this book.