Saturday, May 16, 2020

Reflection #AtoZChallenge2020


Fourth time. In four years!

My fourth consecutive, successful year of this blogging challenge provides me a sense of accomplishment, like nothing else. Writing is such a self-sufficient pursuit. And I mostly love it, because I have no material expectations from this. 

The 'reflection' post is a tradition of A to Z Challenge. This post is to look back at the challenge and see what worked and what didn't. It is also to thank all those who supported and encouraged me throughout the challenge. 

In each year that I have participated in this challenge, there have been different obstacles, that I had to overcome to complete it. In 2017, I was new to the challenge and I wasn't mentally prepared to handle the grind of daily posts. In 2018, I was better prepared mentally, but I picked up a theme and narrative structure which was tough to execute. And, I was travelling a lot. In 2019, I chose a topic close to my heart (Bollywood cliches) and had all topics listed before hand. But I had to undergo a surgery, so several posts were written when I was bed-ridden. This year, due to lock-down, while I was working from home, working hours were crazy. Many times, I had to wake up early to write the posts. Also this was the first time, my theme (Lock-down blues) was unfolding in front of my eyes on a daily basis. The times were and are gloomy, but I mostly wanted to write positive stories. Though some dark ones slipped through. 

This year, I played with forms of my posts to a certain extent. I wrote few poems/free verses, one even in Hindi, titled Saare Kutte. But the poem I enjoyed writing the most is Obdurate God. I wrote few fictional stories too, this year. While all are very close to my heart and are based on my observations about human greed, depravity and kindness, the one which got maximum love and appreciation from my readers is Joker in the Pack. There was this fun post, I wrote, about a conversation between inanimate objects. I think it turned out decent. You can read 'Umbrella, A Pair of Formal Shoes & That Suitcase' here. From my regular posts, the one which got the highest number of readers was Marketing Communication during Lockdown

As always, there were few posts (out of  the twenty-six, I wrote in this April Challenge) of mine which I think didn't turn out well. Youth & Regret is a decent poem, but later I felt that it had a weak link with my theme. 

I would like to thank all my family members, friends and fellow bloggers who read the posts daily and commented on the blog posts. Many of you sent a word of appreciation or encouragement through Facebook comments and WhatsApp messages. Those messages really kept me going. 

I would also like to thank some of the fellow participants in this challenge, who regularly read my blog and posted their comments. Each of them has a really interesting and niche blog. Sharing links and details below.

Joy Weese Moll talked about "What to pack on your creative Journey" . Joy's comment on my T post was a really interesting insight. 

Janet scrapbooked 26 concerts on her blog during the month. Something which I would have found really tough to do. 

Frederique's blog is about artistic endeavors. Have a look. 

Vidya's blog is something I aspire to have. Her book stacks amaze me and her command over writing mesmerizes me. 

While my challenge on Lock-down blues was over 16 days ago, we are still not out of the fear and chaos the lockdown has caused. I hope by the time we return for the next challenge, our world is more open, beautiful and kind. 


My theme for 2017's #AtoZchallenge was Anecdotes & Stories from my Life. You can read all the posts from this challenge here.  

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Z : Zoom Calls and Other Stupid Stuff #AtoZChallenge2020

I came across this meme on internet. I found it hilarious, because I connect with it. With 'Work From Home' being one of the most used terms during lockdown, and Zoom calls / other video calls becoming the norm, people are misusing it. What should have been an email, becomes a meeting. 

Today, I wanted to share some good and bad aspects of Zoom calls / other video calls with you. 

Good Aspects of Video Calls: 

1. You see someone digging his/her nose during the video meeting. You are relieved, as you wouldn't be shaking hands with him/her at the end of the meeting. 

2. If you get ready on time, switch on the video. If you wake up late and don't get ready on time, switch on only audio. That's an amazing choice. 

3. Unlike real meetings, you can mute others at your will.

4. Not having a good internet connection is an excellent excuse to not attend the meetings. I mean who is going to verify! And no one is going to ask you to come by cab, if your car is broken.

Bad Aspects of Video Calls: 

1. As there is no infrastructure (meeting rooms) constraint, the number of random meetings shoot-up. As mentioned above, what should have been an email, becomes a meeting. 

2. Whether someone digs his / her nose or not, there will always be one person in the video call, whose nostrils you can look into with microscopic details. 

3. I thought all of us look ugliest in our Aadhaar Card pictures. I was so wrong. Some look uglier than that on Zoom calls.

4. Unlike real meetings, others can mute you at their will.

5. If internet is bad (car broken), you are expected to use mobile phones to connect (cab). Doing video calls on mobile phones is even more tiresome. So use 'bad internet' excuse sparingly.

I am sure you have experienced a lot of stupid things with video calls. Do share your experiences in the comments section. 

Like guffaws filled video calls, there is other stupid stuff that has become normal in this lockdown. As this is last post of the April challenge, I wanted to list few of those stupid things too. 

  • Baking cakes at home to post pictures on Instagram. However good it looks, there is no good cake without the creamy icing. Stop kidding me and wait for good bakeries to open. 
  • Workout videos. Stop playing with my mind. You were doing workouts before too. Why showing off now? Be kind and humble in this lockdown.
  • The guys who said, Netflix khatam ho gaya (Everything has been seen on Netflix) after 15 days of lockdown. You are idiots. That is Doordarshan, not Netflix. Netflix is like Akshaya Patra (inexhaustible)
  • The parents who claim on WhatsApp groups with an air of superiority that they are engaging their kids in a proper manner. Friends, I am saying this from my personal experience, that these parents are lying. It is our kid who is engaging us, entangling us, making us run around the whole day. And he is the one who makes all those Zoom calls, tad more tolerable, by pressing random buttons on my laptop, when these calls are on. 


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Y : Youth & Regret #AtoZChallenge2020

The dreams of the youth are the regrets of maturity 
~ Tim Curry, English Actor & Singer

Extended lockdown period is also about to get over on 3rd May 2020, and many of us in red zone districts are not sure about its further extension. While everyone in my social circle is making efforts to stay positive, some have faced few moments of anxiety and in some cases moments of regret too. Regrets which cloud our peaceful existence in idle moments! Regrets which we shouldn't carry into our old age / maturity! This led me to a poem, I had written on a whim in 2016, but never shared it with anyone. It is the job of a novice. But I didn't want to regret later, that I never shared it on my blog. 


Poem : Youth & Regret

I remember my harum-scarum youth,
When I kissed you in the school booth.

I remember the freckle on your face,
Getting you in my arms was no less than a chase.

I remember the day, when we took different routes,
You forgot me completely, but I missed you in bouts.

I remember the years where worth remembering happened nothing,
I got lot of action but stopped feeling a thing.

I remember getting married and having a grown up son,
It was too late when I realized, you were the one. 

Today, I am alone on my death bed,
Looking back on my life, some tears I just shed.

I wonder where you are and what you are doing,
I wish I hadn't slapped you that day, it was my undoing. 



Previous Challenges : Letter Y