Book Review – The 23rd Girl


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Today’s post is special! I feel extremely proud when a fellow blogger takes the next step in this writing journey and decides to publish a book. Writing a book is no small feat. I can only imagine the effort, toil and struggle that the writer must have gone through while finishing his book. So, today’s post is special, as I review a book by a fellow blogger Rohan Kachalia. This is his first book and is co-authored with Divya Ratan, published by Half Baken Beans Publishing.

About the Author

Rohan is an avid reader and a writer and blogs at www.rohankachalia.com His short stories and poems have been published in various anthologies. His book, the 23rd Girl is his first co-authored book.

About the Book

It’s a nice easy read. The protagonist, Rashv character is well developed and is easily identifiable. You will know aleast one Rashv in your life, who is sweet, sauve, confident and has a never say die attitude. He is happy in his flaws but seems lost on the bigger picture. This book is about his obsession with the number 23, how he discovers the connection, how it becomes larger than his wishes and how he finally realizes his folly.

While the main character is Rashv, the other important character of the story is Roohi. Sadly Roohi comes in the frame a tad too late. A few characters that were there at the start of the novel like Rashv’s Mom aren’t found later on. The story gains pace after Roohi enters the story. Rashv’s character is well established and you know how he thinks, why he thinks and how will his reaction to things be, however the same is not true with Roohi. While we know about Rashv’s obsession with the number 23 and why he acts in a certain way, we do not know why Roohi is careful and guarded when it comes to love? I would have loved a more evolved character of Roohi. A bit more time spent on the ‘whirlwind’ romance that the two experience, would have been great.

The characters created are very relatable and it does give some semblance to the belief that few hold in this world for numbers or letters or the likes. There are some really cute lines interspersed in between which are sweet with a tinge of philosophy. My personal favorite is “There is a reason why you should always listen to your heart. They are like a non-complicated GPS. Hearts see a single road when mind sees two.” Beautiful isn’t it? Overall it’s a good read.

Wishing Rohan all the very best and hoping to see a book authored by him in the near future.

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge

House hunting and the journey of our first home


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Buying a home is a dream come true for every middle class family. Just like everyone else, after marriage and shifting from one rented home to other, we decided to look for a house of our own. The first thing to decide was place. We were living in Bangalore then and both of us had our job there, but our parents and extended family was in Pune so we were in two minds about buying a home in Bangalore or Pune. I am a very practical person when it comes to finances and living choices in general. Comfort and proper use of investment is extremely important for me. So I was clear that if I buy a house for investment, then it needs to earn me rent and if not then I should be staying in it and utilizing the invested amount.

Rent v/s Rate of sq.feet

As this was the first house hunting experience for both of us, we discussed this a lot with elders, friends who recently brought homes and online real estate sites. We even compared the average rent received in both the cities. After studying the rent received, expected expenses to be incurred and possible appreciation in the coming years, we decided to buy a house in Bangalore. I know this doesn’t sound very romantic, but this was practical and this experience taught us a lot of things when it comes to house hunting and background information collection.

Location

We were clear that we will be buying a home in our budget, but it also needed to be in a sensible location. We chose a home close to workplace as we wanted minimal commute time. We were also looking to start family, so we wanted a locality that was residential, child-friendly with pre-schools, gardens, basic shopping needs available close by. I like walking, so I wanted to stay away from highways, loud busy streets etc.

Builder Reputation

My parents had to undergo terrible stress and trauma during their home possession. Builder, his dealings and repute hence was extremely important for us. I had seen the pain, the suffering from close quarters and was extra cautious when it came to selecting the builder. We even took a lawyer’s help to cross check the docs before signing the dotted line.

Elders experience, online reads about house-hunting and advice from experts helped us in zeroing in on our dream home. It was a home which was made with a lot of thought, planning and love.

How was your house hunting experience? Had you thought on similar lines?

This was a post written on prompt by Amrita and Tina for Thankful Thursday’s, however I missed the deadline. Posting it for today.

I am participating in the Write Tribe Problogger Challenge this October.

Nostalgia #writebravely

It was a typical busy, dull day at office

The familiar ping on the phone made me look at the screen,

An FB friend request from a long lost friend blinked on the screen

A familiar rush of happiness surged through me as I saw the name

Nostalgia consumed me and the countless happy memories left me with a smile on my face

One accept and a messenger wave later, we were on a trip down the memory lane remembering the good old school days.

After the chat I feverishly started searching for other school friends and adding them

Just then Facebook suggested his name! My first crush and a dear friend

We lost touch after school, and now there on facebook his name popped!

I kept the phone aside and was trying to focus on work,

Did he ever know I liked him? Would he accept my friend request? Would it be awkward?

While my brain and heart debated on such endless questions

Another ping on the phone drew me towards it

He had sent a friend request with a message

“Hi! It’s been so long, remember the last time we met…”

We shared a bit of past, a bit of present, a bit of what was unsaid, had a hearty laugh and a promise to catch up soon.

And just like that an old friendship was renewed.

prose poetry about nostalgia

A bit of tech a bit of heart

I know this isn’t the theme for today, but I wanted to write on this theme and I have a series running on Friday, so couldn’t post then, hence posting now.

Write Tribe

Making money from Food Blogging – Guest Blog for #FreelancerFriday


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Making money with food blogging

My Journey as a food blogger started somewhere in 2012 when I had already left the corporate world and started full-fledged consultancy. Friends who came over on weekends to taste the new dishes which I curated with my own twists often appreciated it and asked me to start food blogging. This brought in the idea of starting Fashionablefoodz. I initially started Fashionablefoodz.net and switched over to fashionablefoodz.com in the last 2 years or so.

To be honest, nothing comes free or easy. So I had this difficult patch for the first two years. I wondered often if there was ever going to be any income which I would generate from my Blog? Now when I sit back and see the journey, I feel that content plays a major role in selling your blog. The initial period was when IU only populated content on my site and wrote guest posts. This got me a good amount of back-links. I also started socializing a bit at events and ceremonies revolving around blogging. Since I am more of a Lifestyle blogger than a pure Food blogger, I tried my hands at other things too like a bit of fashion posts, Movie reviews and Travel posts apart from my niche of Food, fitness and Nutrition.

My Experience as food blogger

Two years down the line after starting the blog and with some dense content, I got my first break when a company approached me to put up a Food related post which required using and describing their product and offered me money for the services. I think that was the beginning of commercial returns on my Blog. I in turn stuck to my honesty and have been upfront with all my clients telling them clearly that I will write an honest review of their product. 99% of my clients have not just appreciated this but in fact welcomed this. They offer me extra money for consultancy on improvising the nutrition quotient, I advise them on enhancing the taste and the flavors by adjust the proportion of certain ingredients and spices. So it is more like a well woven story which I have with my clients.

I take pride to tell that I have been associated with my client for over 2 years now and they trust my judgments on putting up posts.  Barring a few occasions where the clients have wanted to introduce a freshly made tagline or something, never have any of them actually interfered in my work and given me complete freedom. This bonding is needed to leave a mark in the Industry. Today, I blog full time and make decent money to run a household.

 

Trends in food blogging

Food Industry has got diluted in last couple of years.  There are so many aspiring, directionless new comers who have come in. They write for free or for peanuts. They do free food reviews just for some free food. Their reviews on Zomato and other platform speak about their knowledge of food (“Wow, the food was awesome, Wonderful experience at Hotel XYZ, I was there and the food was good with beautiful ambiance and sincere staff who served well”) Surprisingly some restaurants who are wanting shortcut to success often try these bloggers making them give a 5 Star rating for a free meal. Eventually when customers taste the food and write the reality their ratings drop down drastically.

Hence a class difference has been created. One is the Blogger class who has developed skills of writing, giving in depth feedback keeping Nutrition and other aspects in mind when it comes to food blogging. The other is just generic class. The choice is up to us, as to how we wish to pitch ourselves.

Advice by Baba UK

My Tips for the people who want to join Blogging Industry are these:

  • Make content rich blog. This may take time but original and good content will always attract masses.
  • Always use Hashtags and keywords. This will help your blog ranking climb up faster.
  • Visit other blogs, read their content to get a fair idea where you stand. Comment if you like their posts. They too will come back some day to check yours.
  • Never work for Free for any client. Remember, you are taking this up as a profession, not a hobby.
  • Always follow senior bloggers on social media. You may get lucky to tie up with them on some projects soon.
  • Never copy paste content just for populating your site. Readers are smart and clients are smarter.
  • Be honest and patient. Both Honesty and patience pays. I say this by experience.
  • Last but not the least, stay away from fake limelight which gives momentary glamour but no money.

Over to you

If you are planning to be a serious blogger, try and follow the tips which I gave above. If you are not, then ignore my post. 😀 It is definitely not easy to make money on your blog as soon as you start. Especially when it is a Food Blog, but the satisfaction which you get after writing genuine posts and giving genuine feedback for a review, is much above all. So sit down, make up your mind and if it says a big YES to Blogging, go for it. Success will follow.


About the Author

Utpal Krishna (UK)

I am born and brought up in Mumbai, graduated from the Mumbai University and worked in the corporate world for about 20 years. I quit the corporate world in 2012 and started Full time consultancy in Content management and Food. As a certified nutritionist I have helped many stay fit and also work with corporates from time to time for their Food related content requirements. I run a blog at http://fashionablefoodz.com which is well known by now. After doing voluntary social service for over 10 years, I decided to start a NGO and in April 2017, Being The Real Human came into existence (http://beingtherealhuman.com) 

I am participating in the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Challenge

Karva Chauth, a story of faith – #writebravely


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Karva-chauth a story of faith

She got up before sunrise and went  to meet her mom-in-law,

Hesitantly, her mom-in-law gave her the Sargi.

She had been fasting the whole day, like she did every year, but this year was different

While she went about her daily routine, her ears were glued to the radio set in the kitchen.

Every ring on the mobile, saw her rush towards the phone and a second later witness her crestfallen face.

She smiled as her toddler hugged her, but the worry lines never left her face,

She was decked up like a new bride, but the happiness was missing.

A look at her and her mother-in-law had no words,

She simply hugged her daughter-in-law who was now more than a daughter to her.

She prayed and begged in front of the Gods, but

This Air-force wife refused to lose hope

It had been more than 24 hours since the chopper crashed in the mountains, with no updates about the crew on board.

This Karva Chauth was more about faith than a ritual

My salute to the brave wives and families of  our armed forces.

Write Tribe

UBUNTU and the Patterns in Indian education system


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Today I saw a Marathi movie – UBUNTU. While I had planned another post today for writetribe the urge to write about the movie was such that I canceled the scheduled post and started writing this one. The movie is about a topic that I am passionate about – Education. I believe everyone should get some kind of education that will help them lead their life with dignity. I am not solely for bookish knowledge. Any work that can later get you a livelihood is education for me. But the choice to leave the school books and learn the skill should be the child’s choice and not a burden.

UBUNTU movie poster

The movie UBUNTU starts with a school in a really small village where getting a meager 35 children to attend school is a big problem. The teacher is shown striving hard to keep the school running. As per the government guidelines a school with low attendance points towards non-enthusiasm of students to learn and hence the school will be shut and those interested in learning should go to the nearby village. While someone from a city might think logistically this arrangement makes sense and if parents really want their children to learn they will send the students to nearby village. The reality is not that simple.

Just a month back I was a part of conversation relating to schools in rural India and those discussions coupled with the movie put forth a Pattern. A vicious circle that needs to be attended to now, to have a future generation that is inquisitive, educated and visionaries. I personally know atleast three villages which are facing this problem of having to shut down the local primary school for lack of students.

  1. Most rural primary schools teach in vernacular language. Parents who can afford to send their children to the close-by towns prefer sending children to English medium schools.
  2. The students who do go to these local schools are children of really poor backgrounds and the only reason bringing them to school is their will, free meals and a hope that they might be able to create a better future as compared to their parents.
  3. The parents of these children are least interested in education as they believe after primary they will have to shell out money to educate the children, which they don’t have. They prefer having another farm hand instead of an educated, but useless family member.
  4. The education of maths and science for them is limited to daily calculation and street smartness.
  5. The parents who do know the importance of education, cannot afford to send the children far off. My maid doesn’t want to go back to her village as there is no school and she can’t send her small children to far off schools.
  6. The government can’t afford to spend on schools where there are no children.

So while all the adults think about logistics and economics, the children miss out on an independent and respectful future. Is it really necessary that our children only read, get good marks and become engineers, doctors or mathematicians? Don’t we need clever farmers, specialists in animal husbandry, poultry or florists? Why can’t the rural schools have freedom to decide their curriculum or part of curriculum that will also teach children life skills? Everyone might not be a scientist or a doctor but every child will have some skill that can be crafted. This way the parents will relate the education, to immediate source of livelihood and not wonder if education is necessary. Is it time we looked at alternate education systems developed by people like Sonam Wangchuk to keep our rural children in school?

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge