The First Furry Bud – Eva

I’d been MIA from last year so much that a lot of people have started thinking that I have stopped blogging altogether. That is not true! I love this blog and this is the main one I have so I am never going to stop posting here, no matter what. Now that we have that out of the way, I’d like to share with all you guys, my beloved readers, the reason why I went MIA from last 12 months – our first furry baby, Eva.

Eva’s pic posted for the ad by the foster parents.

We decided to adopt a kitten in late August and exactly within a week, on 3rd September we brought this amazing kitten we found a posting about on the internet. We had planned to have a cat for a very long time, just as we planned to have a dog, and already knew what was going to be her name – Eva. She was such a munchkin that we fell in love with her at first sight!

She is one of the most amazing things to have happened to Vishal and me after our marriage and that’s one of the reasons we love her so much more than we could ever love anyone ever!! Eva is tremendously smart, extremely intelligent and an adorable fur-doll. We love her so much that we even didn’t leave the house while taking care of her for the first 3 months as she was just a little cuddle baby of 47 days when we got her.

She is almost a year old presently (her birthday is on 13th July) and has grown into a feisty and charming little girl that we always knew she would be. My Instagram is full of her pictures but here are some I truly adore:

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The Ticking Clock

The Ticking Clock

Lately, I’ve developed this (somewhat weird) obsession with keeping track of the time all the time… All. The. TIME.

And the weird part (even more so) is that it started out of nowhere!

I’d always been mildly time-conscious and have had an obsession about doing things on time, but never did I obsess over each and every hour of the day like this before. Now, I keep on checking the clock every 5-10 minutes while working on anything, unless I really get into doing something, like writing and reading, and forget to see the time. It’s very tiring and testing, to say the least.

If I get busy doing something and don’t notice the time for an hour or two, I start to feel disoriented, disconcerted and anxious. That may be strange to anyone who doesn’t understand how OCD works, but for someone who’s always had it, I know that this is the beginning of a very serious problem. If left unchecked, it might lead to a point where I’ll start wearing a watch at home trying to keep track of every single minute (if not second.) And that would be very stressful and would give me tons of unnecessary anxiety.

So before it gets out of hand, I’m trying to get rid of it altogether. For this I have started doing the following things:

  1. I am intentionally trying to lose track of time as much as I can by engrossing myself into whatever I’m doing at a particular time, even while putting Eva to sleep or listening to the radio.
  2. Practicing breathing exercises (2-2 minutes only) whenever I start getting anxious for losing the track of time (this is generally needed when I follow the above step.) It works well sometimes, but sometimes I start feeling low… talk about things that can stress out a person!
  3. I’m trying to stay away from clocks as much as I can. I’ve removed the ones on my desk (and I had two of them, right next to each other!) and the one on the wall in my study.

These steps sound simple, but are not, at least not for compulsive-obsessive person. So I’ll just try to be consistent with these practices and hopefully this OCD will surpass like the earlier ones I had.

I’ll post about my progress int he coming months to keep you guys updated.

Thank you for reading!

Ciao ❤

My First Bullet Journal – BuJo 2018

I fell in love with the idea of Bullet Journaling in December 2017 when I came across a couple of BuJo flip-through videos on YouTube. Before that, I did see a couple of posts on my Instagram feed on BuJos but they never really caught my attention the way some of these beautiful videos did.

So, once I was sure this was something I was interested in, I went on binge-watching 50 or so videos and made a list of pages I wanted in my BuJo and added the supplies needed for this in my Amazon cart. And the next thing I know, for my bday Vishal ordered my entire Amazon cart. So he gifted me everything that I needed for starting my own BuJo in December end.

Since then I’ve been obsessively doodling in my sketchbooks and figuring out hand lettering with brush pens and markers. Oh… I feel so alive brimming with the joy of drawing, colouring and painting again!

I made a practice BuJo too (a cheaper version of the real journal) just to make sure I don’t spoil my main BuJo that anyway arrived later than I thought. So as my January month is in the practice BuJo, I’m going to start the monthly logs from February in the new one.

Following is the glimpse inside the first few pages of my new BuJo 2018. Enjoy!

Pages 1 & 2: I did a minimalistic design (and a simple one too) for the main 2018 page (on the left). Page-2 is just a simple page with Happy New Year. This one seems a bit crude and unclean as I was just beginning to grasp hand-lettering and didn’t have enough practice.

Pages 3 & 4: Year at a glance. I’ve highlighted (using colour codes) the various important dates, events and festivals. These I’ve noted down in detail in the Future Log.

Pages 5 & 6: Future Log on left (yet to be completed) and one of the sayings I really believe in on the right. The pen strokes are far better in this quote and I was quite happy with the outcome. I’m far from perfect (too far) but it’s definitely an improvement.

Pages 7 & 8: Ideal Day. This is one of the most important pages in my BuJo. This is what an ideal day looks like for me and I try to stick to it no matter how hard it gets or how late I sleep or wake up. I’ve also made sun and mood doodles to make the pages look more fun and colourful.

Pages 9 & 10: Again two very important pages and one of my personal favourites! On the left is Recipe Index, a page to maintain whatever recipe ideas come to my mind. I have a cook who comes to my home twice to cook meals and more often than not I run out of dish ideas. She’s an excellent cook and makes awesome food so this would help me remember all the different and not-so-common dishes I can ask her to make. Also, it would bring more variety to food, especially in the evenings when we have hard drinks, cocktails or wine.
If you’ve read any of my posts on any of my social media accounts then you’d know that Vishal and I are movie buffs. We watch 2-3 back to back new releases every alternate (if not every) week. And if we happen to miss some movie then we buy them from a contact Vishal has who sells amazing prints of movies (new or old.) So the right side page is dedicated to keeping a log of all the movies we watch and/or want to watch. At the bottom of the page, I’ve added a section for Series for all the series I’ll be completing or look forward to completing this year.

Pages 11 & 12: Left side page is dedicated to my yearly bucket list. Simply enough it’s a list of things I want to do this year. And on the right-hand side, I’ve done a Quote that I find quite inspiring.

Pages: 13 & 14: Vision Board, pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it. I’m a follower of The Universe and power of Attraction and Manifestation concept, so I’ve had a Vision Board on my wall from the last couple of years. This will be my first time having one in a notebook, so I’m really excited for this one!

Pages 15 & 16: Memory Lane is basically a kind of collection of every memorable thing that you want to remember. I’ll be adding memories next to the respective month’s board. The reason why I really liked the idea of Memory Lane page was that it is a way of being appreciative of good things and being appreciative means being grateful. And I’m big on being grateful. So this suits me perfectly.

Pages 17 & 18: On the left, I’ve done a Milestones page which is covered in various crystal doddles. I’ve made segments in these crystals and added numbers to them, the idea is to fill colour in the respective session as and when I reach the numbers. The first line of 3 crystals are for my personal Blog, Instagram and Twitter accounts and the second row is for those of TRB’s and the third one has only one big crystal for my Quora account that I have on my name (TRB is not on Quora and I’m planning to keep it that way.)
On the right side, I’ve made a Reading Progress page which is in sync with my Goodreads Challenge of reading 120 books. There are 12 boxes of 10 books each so I’ll be filling each box with colour as and when I’ll be completing 10 books.

Pages 19 & 20: On the left is my Earnings page to keep a track of all the work I do in the year. In case if I run out of place (which I’m pretty sure will happen considering last year’s work), I’ll be making another similar page in between the monthly logs. On the right side is my Investments page. This year I’m planning to invest money (however little I could spare) on a personal level. So this will help me keep track of my investments.

Page 21: And last, but not the least, a page that everyone needs. I need this page more than anything else because I manage more than 5 accounts for myself, my book blog and the publishing company I work for. I manage 7-8 email inboxes, can you believe it!? So this will help me keep a track of all the passcodes.
As you can see I messed up the passcodes spelling and had to add an ‘s’ in the little space between ‘s’ and ‘c’, but at least it’s better than spelling it wrong. Anyway, on the right-hand side, I’ve displayed the pens I used for making the left-hand side page. These are also the same pens that I’ve used throughout the entire BuJo, though there are several other black pens that I didn’t show here (maybe I can do a separate post on the supplies I used because I really did use a LOT of them…hmmm… maybe.)

So that’s it. I’ll be making the February monthly log after this so I’ll share it in my monthly round-up post. Hope you guys liked my BuJo. This was my first attempt at BuJo’ing so I’m sure that things will look better from here on 🙂

Ciao ❤

Thai Cuisine? Check!

Thai Cuisine? Check!

I’ve wanted to learn Thai cuisine for so long that I don’t even remember since when exactly… and finally, I did it!!

Tada…

2018 has really started out well for me and I’m really grateful for it. Last year Vishal wanted to learn Italian cuisine as he and I both love Italian food, and he loves cooking, so he was very interested in going to an Italian cooking workshop and giving me a surprise by making pasta at home for me. So he searched a contact who taught Italian, but unfortunately, whenever they had Italian workshop, Vishal was busy. So he waited for some time and then gave up and told me about his plan and asked me to do it instead and then teach him so that he can cook Italian for me. Isn’t that sweet!!
Well, I agreed because I love cooking too, though I have already learned Italian twice, so I wasn’t that keen. Still, I registered for the next Italian workshop, but as fate would have it Eva wasn’t well at the time and I had to miss the class. Since then I’ve been waiting for the Italian workshop but it hasn’t been planned since as it is an extensive 2-day course. Luckily the same studio teaches other things as well including Thai cuisine. And when I received their message saying that they have a Thai cooking class on Wednesday (17th Jan’18) I immediately registered. Thankfully I was free and everything worked out! I met some really great people and learned some amazing Thai recipes.

Here’s what all I learned:

  • Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad)
  • Tom Yum Soup
  • Nam Prik Pow Relish
  • Peanut Sauce
  • Tofu and Paneer Satay with Peanut Sauce
  • Pad Thai Noodles
  • Thai Green Curry
  • Thai Red Curry
  • Jasmine Steamed Rice
  • Thai Basil Fried Rice
  • Lemon Grass Coconut Milk Pudding With Tropical Fruits

I’ll be trying these dishes next week as I need to get all the proper vegetables (some are really hard to find like Kaffir Lime Leaves and Galangal) and hope it turns out as good as these.

Hope you guys liked the pictures!

Ciao ❤

Happy New Year – 2018

Happy New Year – 2018

I’ve been continuously blogging over at TRB since December and also in the first week of 2018, so it feels weird to do my first post here SO LATE. Still, I have to do it to get past the “first-post-of-the-year” thing and get on with a much defined regular schedule of posts.

Late 2017 proved to be a really busy time for me as we shifted our home and got a kitten, Eva (more on this in my next post!) and everything just got overwhelming. Finally, things have settled into a steady rhythm and now I’m able to think of my weekly schedules and planning things.

For this blog, I’m reviving WOW – Word Of the Week so that at least I’ll have something to post regularly on the blog and also because I’m working on my vocabulary this year. So like before, WOW is going to be a weekly thing. I’m planning to post this every Saturday as Saturdays for me are quite relaxed.

I’ll try and post some short fiction or poems every month and will try and do a monthly round-up post, though I’m not promising anything.

I’m already working on my 2018 BuJo setup, 3 new story ideas and a couple of other things. I’ll be posting about random stuff more this year as my planned and scheduled posts take a lot of time for preps and stuff. And plus, I’ve discovered lately that I love random posts more than the planned ones.

Anyway, so here’s hoping that this year proves to be the best one for all of us. Cheers!

Ciao ❤

TRB On WordPress.ORG

I’ve been meaning to redesign The Reading Bud – TRB, for a long time now. Ever since I laid eyes on the Tweak Me theme by NoseGrace 2 years back, I knew I HAD to get it. And finally, I did. It was a huge step as a blogger because shifting platforms is never easy especially if you have a lot of content. I had over 200 posts (mainly reviews) and it was important that it was done right.

It took a lot of research, some serious brain digging and tons of hours poured over tutorials and posts by other really awesome bloggers and finally, I was able to do it – all on my own! TRB website is now live and you can visit it here: http://www.thereadingbud.com

TRB’s new logo

I’ve also redesigned the logo and header and now I feel like TRB is completely settled.

I hope you guys like the new design and the interface of the website.

Ciao ❤

Writing Rituals Tag

Writing Rituals Tag

A few weeks ago, I was tagged for The Writing Rituals Tag by my dear friend Galit. Though it’s a bit late, I thought I’d do this tag as I, for one, have tons of small Writing Rituals that I am very fond of. If you haven’t visited Galit’s amazing blog, Coffee n’ Notes, then do it right away! She writes about her writing projects and reviews some really good books, and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to miss it!

Questions for the Writing Rituals Tag

1. When do you write? (time of day, day of week)

I love writing early in the morning between 5:00 to 7:00 am. This is the only time when I can lose myself in writing completely and get a lot of writing done.

2. How do you seclude yourself from the outside world?

I generally don’t need to do that as I stay in a villa alone with my husband and cat, and my contact with the outside world is next to zero, so no one really disturbs me.

3. How do you review what you wrote the previous day?

I don’t review the previous day’s work unless it’s a blog post. I like to write and complete whatever draft I’m working on and then give it a couple of days or weeks or months’ time (depending upon the length of the project) and then review and revise it as one.

4. What song is your go-to when you’re feeling uninspired?

I generally avoid listening to songs as they tend to distract me. Though when I’m feeling uninspired, I play Blues (either on the international radio or from my 200 All-Time-Best-Blues playlist) to get in the right mood for writing.

5. What do you always do (i.e. listen to music, read, watch youtube, etc.) when you find yourself struggling with writer’s block?

I watch a lot of movies and try and catch up on all the books that have been sitting on my bookshelf or Kindle library for a while.

6. What tools do you use when you’re writing?

I use my MacBook, Sticky Notes for pointers, Index Cards for creating scene outlines, Pens (Blue, Black, Red and Green), Notebook for structuring and calculations, and White Board for chalking out timelines.

7. What’s the one thing you can’t live without during a writing session?

Something to drink – Green Tea, Coffee, Iced Tea, Soda or cold Water. I have OCD, so to keep my nerves in check while writing and to stop myself from fidgeting while writing a particular scene, I always keep something to drink. And some scented candles as they help me to keep my head calm and contain tension.

8. How do you fuel yourself during your writing session?

Green Tea, Coffee, Iced Tea, Soda, plain cold water or Wine.

9. How do you know when you’re done writing?

When I’ve gone through my work at least 4-5 times and it starts feeling like it is done.

This is such a fun tag that I’m leaving it open for everyone. So if you read this post, consider yourself tagged. Do leave your links in the comments below so I’ll know where to find your posts. Would love to know about your writing rituals!

Ciao ❤

Speak Up #domesticviolenceawareness

Speak Up #domesticviolenceawareness

I have seen domestic violence very closely and though not a victim, I do know how it is, what it feels like and how it affects everyone around, and its longterm consequences. I’ve been a helpless observer of domestic violence since the age of 3 and I, for one, have a very strong stand against it. The only piece of advice I’d like to share is SPEAK UP! Don’t take it and don’t let your loved ones take it. Just speak up!
No one, NO ONE, has the right to abuse anyone (physically, mentally or emotionally.) We are educated Human Beings and it is time that we act like one.
No, you cannot beat your wife. No, you cannot hit your sister. No you cannot use abusive language to any woman (or man for that matter) in your life. Because it is simply not acceptable!
I’m very fortunate that I have a husband who loves and respects women and always speaks up whenever someone needs help.
Let’s pledge to Speak Up everytime someone (and by that I mean ANYONE) needs help.

Downtime

Downtime

I’ve been feeling down from a long time and finally, after a lot of cloudy days and a ton of brooding and despair, I’ve finally started pulling myself out of depression. I’ve been suffering from depression since the age of 10, so it’s always on and off with me, but this time it really hit me hard. And the worst part is, I’m not even sure what caused it; maybe one thing in particular or the other, or maybe it was the sum of all or maybe it was just because of something someone said or did. In any case, I’m not even sure if that matters anymore because I’ve been trying to find the reason for months now only to find myself stumbling in a dark maze of not-so-good thoughts.

In the past few months I tried to get out of this dark spell a number of times, but surprisingly nothing worked at all and the vacations we took, the impromptu shopping sprees, all the expensive food and booze, nothing… absolutely nothing worked. I tried crying too, but that just made things worse and pulled me further down.

The thing that really pains me though is that I hate to do this to the one person who lives with me, the only person who actually loves me and cares for me – Vishal. My depression affects him, a lot more than he shows and I know this, and to be honest, that’s one of the reasons, or maybe it’s the only reason I try to not make things worse by doing stupid things like fighting, arguing, or attempting different ways of self-harming. It’s very frustrating at times; sometimes my suicidal tendencies get the best of me, sometimes anger does and sometimes hurt, but this time it was sadness. And trust me, sadness was the worst of them all.

Vishal’s been so patient with me and it is his patience that makes it possible for me to even come out of my depression. It is his love for me that makes me believe in myself and my capabilities to deal with it all. God only knows how exhausting it might be for him to be in a relationship with me. I am so fucking grateful to have him in my life. It is his and only his presence that keeps me sane and functional… and even alive. And so I’ve decided that I’ve spent enough time in the dark abyss and have pulled him down enough too. It stops here. I feel like I’ve wasted enough time already worrying about things that I shouldn’t have even thought about in the first place, that don’t even matter and that can’t even touch me. So, I’m just going to pull myself together and start my normal daily routine. I need to start practising gratitude again because it is the one thing that makes me feel sane and calm. Why? I have no idea. It just does, just like meditation, so I’m gonna do these two things and try to get back into the swing of things at work and at home.

Eva is such a blessing in our lives and now that I have almost finished the 2 critique projects I’ve been working on, I have all the time in the world to be with her and Vishal. I’m just going to be grateful for the beautiful life I have and for the most amazing husband and the most adorable fur-baby and be happy. And when Vishal gets some time off from work, we’ll hunt for a GSD pup. I’ve bounced back from depression so many times now that I’ve practically lost the count, so I’m just going to do it again. I am just going to take this all slow and steady till I get back to where I was emotionally a few months back to promote Deceived and write Sinister Town.

I am just going to take this all slow and steady till I get back to where I was emotionally before and resume promoting Deceived and writing Sinister Town.

BTW, if you ever feel down or low, listen to Nothing Else Matters by Metallica and everything will start to feel unreal and I bet you’ll start to get high just by listening to this beautiful, beautiful song. And a lot of things will start to make sense.

I am not going to apologise for my emotional rant because this post is really important to me – first, it helped me unload my emotional burden and really made me feel a lot better and second, this post helped me Freewrite. So, peace out! 🙂

Ciao ❤

Happy 71st Independence Day!

Happy 71st Independence Day!

Happy 71st Independence Day to all my Indian brothers and sisters. Today is the day of pride for our nation and on this beautiful and honourable day, I am happy to share with you all something about India’s Independence Day:

Independence Day is annually observed on 15 August, as a national holiday in India commemorating the nation’s independence from the United Kingdom on 15 August 1947, the UK Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act 1947 transferring legislative sovereignty to the Indian Constituent Assembly. India still retained King George VI as head of state until its transition to full republican constitution. India attained independence following the Independence Movement noted for largely nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience led by the Indian National Congress (INC). Independence coincided with the partition of India, in which the British India was divided along religious lines into the Dominions of India and Pakistan. On 16 August 1947 (not 15th), Jawaharlal Nehru, who had become the first Prime Minister of India the day before, raised the Indian national flag above the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi. On each subsequent Independence Day, the prime minister customarily raises the flag and gives an address to the nation.

The holiday is observed throughout India with flag-hoisting ceremonies, parades and cultural events. There is a national holiday, and schools and government offices distribute sweets and hosts various cultural programmes, but no official work is done.

Independence Day, one of the three National holidays in India (the other two being the Republic Day on 26 January and Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday on 2 October), is observed in all Indian states and union territories. On the eve of Independence Day, the President of India delivers the “Address to the Nation”. On 15 August, the prime minister hoists the Indian flag on the ramparts of the historical site Red Fort in Delhi. Twenty-one gun shots are fired in honour of the solemn occasion. In his speech, the prime minister highlights the past year’s achievements, raises important issues and calls for further development. He pays tribute to the leaders of the Indian independence movement. The Indian national anthem, “Jana Gana Mana”, is sung. The speech is followed by march past of divisions of the Indian Armed Forces and paramilitary forces. Parades and pageants showcase scenes from the independence struggle and India’s diverse cultural traditions. Similar events take place in state capitals where the Chief Ministers of individual states unfurl the national flag, followed by parades and pageants.

Captured by VJ’s Travelling Camera – https://www.facebook.com/travellingcamera

Flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural programmes take place in governmental and non-governmental institutions throughout the country. Schools and colleges conduct flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural events. Major government buildings are often adorned with strings of lights. In Delhi and some other cities, kite flying adds to the occasion. National flags of different sizes are used abundantly to symbolise allegiance to the country. Citizens adorn their clothing, wristbands, cars, household accessories with replicas of the tricolour. Over a period of time, the celebration has changed the emphasis from nationalism to a broader celebration of all things India.

The Indian diaspora celebrates Independence Day around the world with parades and pageants, particularly in regions with higher concentrations of Indian immigrants. In some locations, such as New York and other US cities, 15 August has become “India Day” among the diaspora and the local populace. Pageants celebrate “India Day” either on 15 August or an adjoining weekend day.

Content Source: Wikipedia