Blogging with www.digitalnatives.in!

I came across this interesting ongoing project called ‘Digital Natives with a Cause’ which is a collaboration of youngsters and internet addicts from across the world and how they are using the online space to change their lives and the lives of those around them. Since I am a curious cat, I wanted in. After persuading Nishant and Hasina, I am in and blogging with the website! Check out my latest post on the blog www.digitalnatives.in.

Why I fell in love with this project

Submitted by redpixie on Wed, 10/13/2010 – 08:59

Hi Everyone!

I am a new entrant to this website, so thought will introduce myself and the reason I wanted to be here. So desperately that I bugged poor Hasina, pushing constantly at the closed doors of DN (more about tht later) till I could get an elbow or aleast a toe in.

So my toe’s in and I hope to squeeze in completely slow and steady 🙂

I am a writer and a journalist based in Bangalore, India. I got to know abt DN when I did a story of it for Time Out Bengaluru last year. Spoke to Nishant then and fell in love with the project. It was at the back of my mind till the workshops started to happen. I wanted to get in it with a passion that drives vague people who make up and listen to stories.

I dont know what DN still means. And I dont plan to find out. It’s such an academics term! What I plan to do here is hear, listen, talk, chat and learn. Internet and this kind of a get together is such a dynamic space. As a writer, I want to hear different voices, try out new things, new perspectives, different cultures…different ways people express emotions, connect to internet, the idea of their space…you get the drift.

Most of the times, all I get to hear are voices of elders, respectable adults, authority and people who know what they are saying and what they want us to do. It is in spaces like these where one can hear uncertainly, the feeling of getting lost, of searching or just ambling along sheer darkness, of inguenity, of illogical ideas which work.

To read the complete post, click here.

Bowled over by Bangalore

It was while showing another friend this city that I found out how deep I had fallen for it. I never knew it existed. I should have, but like any other relationship, it’s always the family and closer friends who get to know that you are hooked. You never do.

Self-realisation is like myopia. Closer you are to a feeling, the lesser you see.

Slowly but surely, I have formed a steady relationship with Bangalore. It all started with little references to the weather, the innocent expressions and the drunken walk of people in casual conversations. Then it was little things I would smile about when I was about to sleep.

Thoughts of a perfect day gone by. When I took a walk on Sankey Tank as the sun melted into floating clouds. Animated, passionate conversations with people over a cup of filter coffee and how to brew a perfect cup. The personality of people based on the style in which they had a dosa. How we would laugh while taking a U-turn to go straight on a road. How a lazy conversation with a cop and a shrug accompanied by a smile can get you out of a possible ticket. A small chat corner that manages to make people in a 50m radius salivate. The red flowers which fall as the yellow flowers spread across shady trees on the streets. A hearty conversation with a woman who I just met on the road. Turtles and petals floating lazily in a dirty pond of an ancient temple. The cool feel of stone. The heady smell of agarbati, colourful pooja flowers and yellow lights that physically bind you in a magical spell. A rare bout of writing when my hands would glide madly looking for the right keys to be pressed while I looked out of a balcony.

Maybe it was the people I met. Maybe it was the weather. Maybe it was the work I did when I came here. Does it matter? I fell for this city. Isn’t that what love is? Little by little it gets under your skin, everyday, every moment.

The (Anti) Salt March

Excessive salt intake can cause cardiovascular diseases and is especially harmful for those who have a sedentary lifestyle. It’s time to go easy on that pinch

Shweta Taneja

Kanwal Batra, 50, a Delhi-based businessman, was in a dilemma when his naturopathy doctor told him to avoid salt till the eczema eruptions on his body were controlled. “I didn’t know how to react. Salt is a basic taste, how can one leave it?” was his initial reaction. The first few weeks of a salt-less diet were tough. “I couldn’t swallow the food. It had no taste!”

Later, he was surprised by the taste of vegetables such as gourd and spinach. “All of them had natural levels of salt in them. In palak (spinach), for example, the salt content is high and soon enough it tasted fine when cooked without salt,” he says. In fact, he now feels that adding salt actually kills the intrinsic flavour in vegetables.

One level teaspoon of salt or 5g provides about 2,300mg of sodium. Most Indians consume more than this amount. “Usually Indians have around 8.5g of salt per day, which is much higher than the 5g recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO),” says K. Damayanti, a scientist at the National Institute of Nutrition in Hyderabad. Sodium and chloride, both available in salt, help to keep the level of fluids in the body balanced. Chloride is not too harmful to the body, but an overdose of sodium has been directly linked to an increase in blood pressure (hypertension) and cardiovascular diseases.

According to Dr Damayanti, “sedentary workers”, or people with desk jobs, need no more than 5g of salt per day. “This amount of salt gives 2,000mg of sodium to the body, which is more than enough for healthy Indian adults working in offices,” she says. The number changes, according to her, if you are sweating too much—either due to the environment or physical exercise. “For people working in rural areas in heat conditions or for athletes, 7-8g of salt every day is more than enough.”

According to a study conducted by WHO, higher salt intake (about 7-10g) leads to a 23% higher risk of stroke and 17% higher risk of cardiovascular diseases.

“When we eat more salt than the body needs, it gets accumulated in every cell in our body. This is similar to toxic waste,” explains Ramesh Hotchandani, consultant in nephrology at Moolchand Medcity, New Delhi. “The effect of this on your cells is similar to what happens when salt is sprinkled on to vegetables or fruits. They wilt because the salt draws out their water. The same thing happens inside your body to your organs and cells,” adds Vijaya Venkat, founder and director of the Health Awareness Centre in Mumbai, which has been doing research on nutrition for the last 20 years and helps people adopt healthier lifestyles.

Usually our body is efficient and can get rid of this toxic waste. Drinking a lot of water helps rid the body of excess salt accumulation. “The salts accumulated in the body come out in the form of urine and sweat,” says Dr Hotchandani. In the long term, a habit of excessive salt intake causes blood pressure to rise, leading to hypertension and eventually, to heart-related problems. “Your body retains water within its system to neutralize the salt’s acidic effect,” explains Venkat. “An ounce of salt can hold three quarts of water within the system. This increases the pressure in your arteries, leading to an increase in blood pressure.”

BLOCK HIDDEN SOURCES

Stop excess salt from entering your body on the sly

Kick the salt shaker

Table salt contains the highest levels of sodium. Once it’s off the table, you will resist the tendency to sprinkle salt on cooked food as well as fresh ones such as curd, salads and fruits.

Limit use while cooking

“Don’t use more than 2-3g of salt in your daily cooking,” says Taru Agarwal, researcher, Nutri-Health Systems, in Delhi. “Start by reducing salt in cooking and in recipes to half the amount,” says nutritionist Ishi Khosla, Whole Foods, Delhi. To keep a measure, create a 3g pouch for your daily needs. “Use salt only from this pouch, whether in cooked or uncooked food,” says Ramesh Hotchandani, consultant in nephrology at Moolchand Medcity, New Delhi, who uses this technique to help hypertensive patients limit their intake of salt content. Sprinkle salt on food after it is cooked. You will find you are using less salt if you cook this way.

Avoid processed foods and condiments

Today, almost all processed foods contain salt; the question is how much. “Considering that we consume salt in everything from baby food to invisible additives found in all processed food, our ‘disguised’ consumption of salt is really very high,” says Vijaya Venkat, founder and director of the Health Awareness Centre in Mumbai. Processed foods such as bread, chips, ‘khakra’, ‘papad’, breakfast cereals, salty snacks, ready-to-eat meals, canned soups, biscuits, salted butter, cheese—all have high salt and sodium content. A tablespoon of regular ketchup, for example, has a whopping 160-190mg of sodium.

Avoid processed foods wherever you can and replace them with easy-to-make recipes using raw food materials. Make your own sauces using your favourite salt substitute or herb/spice blend. “Use low salt soy sauce diluted with lemon juice,” suggests Khosla. Balsamic vinegar or olive oil are also good replacements. Anything that has been pickled, packed in brine or canned contains a high amount of sodium. Avoid it.

Use spices instead of salt

Salt is a kind of flavour that our taste buds have got used to. Condition yourself to enjoy other flavours such as spices, lemon, lime, vinegar, or salt-free seasoning blends of herbs such as oregano, basil, dill, rosemary or thyme. Garlic is another strong flavour that can replace the need for salt with practice. Fresh lime, mango, tamarind, ‘kokum’, celery and seaweed can be used as substitute condiments instead of salt, suggests Venkat.

Also see properties of various types of salt, here

Fortify your online avatar

At a time when you’re under constant threat from viruses, malware and phishing, these simple precautions can help you browse the Net securely

Shweta Taneja

On receiving an email about a lucrative moneymaking scheme, Sri Kumara registered as a member for free on the website www.legend-mails.com. The idea was simple—get paid to receive emails. To maximize his profits, within a month he upgraded himself to a diamond membership on the site by paying $269 (Rs. 12,110). After the payment, he got no response to his emails. He also never received any of the money promised by the site.

Stay alert: Use different passwords for various online activities. Raajan/Mint

If you think you will never fall for a cyber trap like Kumara, think again. Seventy-six per cent of digital Indians have experienced some form of cyber crime, according to a Norton Cybercrime Report published last month. The world average is 65%.

Though viruses and malware top the list in online crime, such phishing emails are fast catching up. If you haven’t faced a virus threat, a password attack or a genuine-looking phishing email, count yourself lucky. But there is no harm in being prepared. Here are simple tips to browse securely.

Give out information only on secure sites

Any site which asks for your personal information (login ID, password, bank account details, credit card information), be it bank sites, shopping sites or email accounts, should have secure network indicators. First, check if the site has https written before its address. “Most websites are http only. An https site means it’s secure and encrypted,” says Ankit Fadia, an ethical hacker who works with the Union government on cyber crime, is the host of MTV What the Hack and has written 14 books on computer security.

An alternative symbol for a secure site is a small yellow padlock on the bottom left of your browser. Another one is when your URL bar goes green. “These symbols mean that other people in the same network cannot tie up into your communication or conversation. One of these pointers needs to be there before you enter any personal details online,” says Fadia.

“The most common mistake people make online is yielding to greed,” says G. Sivakumar, professor, department of computer science and engineering, IIT Bombay. “Expecting to win prizes, lotteries or receive handsome amounts of money, many users give away valuable personal information and also infect their computers with malware.” There are no free lunches, he stresses. If an email, especially by a stranger, makes an offer which is too good to be true, one should simply delete it.

Stay vigilant on your browser

Tab napping, a phishing scam, targets users who open lots of tabs on their browser at the same time. It replaces an inactive browser tab with a fake page set up specifically to obtain your personal data, such as a bank site. “You won’t even realize that it’s happening,” says Fadia. So if the bank site is open on a particular tab while you are working on another one, when you return to it, double-check before you enter the data. Malicious code can replace the Web page you opened with a fake version that looks virtually identical to the legitimate one. “Always retype a website address and then add your bank account or password to it,” he adds.

Also, almost all browsers support a private browsing mode. Make use of it. “This prevents storage of cookies and other personal information on the computer and makes it less vulnerable,” says Sivakumar.

Always cross-check bank emails with the bank

Especially if it’s asking for your account information or your I-pin. “A bank will never send out an email to ask for your account information,” says Vakul Sharma, a Supreme Court

advocate who has been dealing with cases of cyber crime. If you have any doubts, call up the bank and countercheck to see if they have sent out any emails. As a rule, be as stringent online as you would be in the real world. Would you provide your ATM pin to a person who comes knocking on your door and claims to be from the bank? Treat emails from the bank the same way. “Never input any sensitive information that might help provide access to your bank accounts, even if the link shows a page which appears legitimate,” warns Sharma.

Be alert when shopping online

Online shopping is one place where having multiple identities is recommended. “Use different IDs/email

addresses and passwords for various online activities,” suggests Sivakumar. Have a credit card meant only for online transactions. It should have a small credit limit so that in case someone else uses it, your losses are not too high.

Stick to a reputed website for shopping and use the virtual keyboard to enter details wherever you have the option. “Criminals use key loggers to record your passwords so a virtual keyboard is another level of protection,” says Fadia.

Opt for a secure password

“The most common reason for identity theft online is an easy-to-crack password,” says Sivakumar. According to him, a good password is a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and one or more symbols such as !, @, # and ,.

Read the complete story here.

Heart of the Matter

Smoking, stress and a sedentary lifestyle have ensured that heart attacks are no longer affecting just the elderly. We tell you why even the smallest signal should ring alarm bells, and what you can do to manage your heart better

Shweta Taneja & Benita Sen

Changing lifestyles, irregular diets and chain-smoking have made heart diseases knock at the doors of our peers, friends, neighbours and sometimes even that young nephew. According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research (IJMR) this month, cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are projected to be the main cause of disability and mortality by 2020. It is predicted that 2.6 million Indians will die due to coronary heart disease; this would be 54% of all CVD deaths. Coronary heart disease is a condition characterized by the build-up of plaque in the coronary arteries; any disorder related to the heart and blood vessels, including coronary heart disease (heart attacks), is part of CVD.

The study points out that CVD-related deaths occur a decade earlier among Indians than among their counterparts in developed countries—in their most productive years, rather than post retirement. Keshava R., interventional cardiologist, Fortis Hospital Bangalore, says: “Ten years ago, we were getting about one person in their 20s for heart attacks. Today, that number in our hospital has become 1-2 every month.”

The reason for the high rate of CVDs in our urban population is not related only to genetics, though Asians are predisposed to weaker hearts than their European counterparts. The culprit is changed lifestyles and the fact that Indians don’t get regular check- ups. In fact, on World Heart Day (Sunday) Max Healthcare released a survey encompassing inputs from 1,000 employees from organizations such as GE India, JK Tyres, L&T, Eveready, Wipro and Hughes Systique, indicating that 76% of the employees of these companies have never had a cardiac check-up and 38% were simply not aware how a healthier lifestyle would affect their heart.

In the following case studies, we talk to three men in their 20s-40s who had to unexpectedly deal with heart-related illnesses. They are now back to their normal lives, wiser, healthier, fitter and more attuned to their hearts, but these stories tell you why even the smallest signal should ring alarm bells and how you can manage your heart better.

BV Preran, Bangalore

First heart attack at 27

Past life: It was mostly peer pressure that prompted B.V. Preran, 27, a businessman in Doballapur, a small town near Bangalore, to experiment with drugs, cigarettes and alcohol since his school days. He joined his father’s business in 2001, and to beat work stress, he started smoking and drinking excessively. “I was smoking 10-15 cigarettes a day, mostly spiked with ganja (marijuana).”

On 10 July, he was out partying with friends when Preran felt shooting pain in his chest, neck and left forearm. His friends rushed him to a general physician, who assumed that since Preran was only 27 his problem was gastritis-related; he gave him medication for that. When the pain didn’t subside, Preran’s mother took him to Fortis Hospital in Bangalore and the doctor on duty, on a hunch, sent him for an ECG. The result showed that his left ventricle was blocked and he was having a heart attack. He had an angioplasty that morning.

Turnaround mantra: Just under three months later, Preran is a changed man. He has given up smoking and drugs completely. He walks an hour daily. Apart from regular check-ups, he has adopted a diet plan that includes more vegetables, pulses and white meat. He has stopped eating out and sticks to home-cooked food, cooked in very little oil. He has also become an evangelist for “No Smoking”.

Doctor’s verdict: “When a patient as young as Preran complains of a burning sensation around the chest area, doctors tend to diagnose it as acidity. Thankfully for him, the doctor on duty suggested an ECG because he realized that Preran was a chain smoker,” says Dr Keshava R., who did the angioplasty. According to Dr Keshava, common reasons for a heart attack in the early 20s are excessive smoking or genetic predisposition. “In your early 20s, the body is too young to suffer because of a cholesterol build-up. Smoking, however, is damaging, whether it is one cigarette or 15,” he says. He stresses that all patients should quit smoking 100%. “If a heart attack doesn’t induce them to quit smoking in the first two weeks after an operation, nothing will.” Stick to a vegetarian diet, avoid all red meats and exercise for at least 150 minutes per week. “Brisk walk is the cheapest and the best,” he adds.

Read the complete story here.

A special thank you to Preran for being frank in the story!

Keeping it short and sweet

A friend tweeted about her company’s requirement of mobile content creators. Now the term is understandable if rather pretentious (like using sales executive rather than the obvious salesman). But what I want to talk about here is what these content creators are actually doing and getting paid oodles of money for. What does a person who writes for mobile phones actually write? So I search and found it out: The mobile content creators write SMSes, one-liners for blogs or websites. Basically single liners which intrigue the reader, catch her attention and make her click and read. It means someone who can provide catchy one-liners which fit into the browser space of a small mobile screen and incite the user to click on it. For most of us, with our Tweet-long attention span, we give only a nano second to an SMS or tweet. In than time, we want someone to goad us with interesting headlines or single line sum ups of stories.

With more people getting hooked to this mobiles for content, I think this is here to stay. Easy money you think? Try writing one SMS with a 140 character limit and you will know. It does takes sheer creativity and ingenious to write that one liner; to sum up a whole story in a single line. It’s the same as writing a novel, which btw I think is fast becoming a dinosaur. I hear less and less people talking about reading novels. Especially the younger ‘uns.

Wonder if I should try my hand at a tweet-novel. Bet someone out there is doing it. Lemme find out.

Be smart about your smartphone

Did you know rice can save your phone? Here are some simple ways of keeping your smartphone up and running, without repeated visits to the service centre

Date: 14/09/2010, Mint, Business of Life section

Shweta Taneja

A harried customer came to TVS E-Service Tech because the touch screen of her HTC Touch was not working properly. N.A.N. Natesh, a service engineer at TVS E-Service, a service provider for HTC smartphones in Bangalore, looked at the screen and said, “It was the case of months of abuse of the touch screen.” The customer had used her fingers, be they wet or dirty, to operate the touch screen, which was the cause of the problem.

“Smartphones are like children,” says Satchit Gayakwad, spokesperson, Research in Motion (RIM), the makers of BlackBerry. “You need to provide yours with lots of tender love and care.”

If you don’t understand how the device works, chances are you will not be able to make the most of it without making midnight calls to smirking service centre executives. Here are three ways to keep your phone in good condition and off the service centre table.

Battery bootcamp

“The most common complaint in a smartphone is battery draining and that the software OS (operating system) hangs,” says Natesh. In a month, Natesh and his team test 200-300 handsets. “Forty per cent out of these are in warranty and on our table for mishandling,” he says.

“Many people leave Bluetooth running even though they aren’t using it. Ditto with GPS, Wi-Fi and 3G,” says Atul Chitnis, a consulting technologist who is an expert in hand-held computing. These are power-hungry features and can eat up a significant amount of battery power over the course of the day. You should keep them disabled and use them only when you need to, like when you are transferring files or using the Net. “Also, don’t cover the antenna with your fingers. This causes the phone to work harder trying to maintain a signal, which causes faster battery drain,” he adds.

Backup plan: Maximize battery capacity.

Overcharging is another mistake. A smartphone charges in 1-3 hours. You need to take it out of the socket after that. “Never charge the phone overnight because that’s a sureshot way to kill your battery over the longer run,” says Natesh. Another battery killer is charging the phone before the battery is completely drained, he says.

When you browse the Internet on a smartphone, websites rich with multimedia such as flash animation and pictures consume more battery and make the download slower. You should simply set your browser option for text-only. Another common reason for battery leaks is constant updates of your email andsocial networking applications. “You need to know immediately you’ve got mail,” says Gayakwad, “but other than that, your social service networks don’t need to constantly search for updates.”

Third-party applications for social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MSN, Gmail and Gtalk constantly retrieve data from the Internet. These can be set to have refresh timelines of 20 minutes to an hour. This way, there’s no constant search for data by your phone on these sites and that can help save a lot of battery. Then there are applications such as weather updates which run in the background even when you’re not using them and can use up your battery life. Uninstall these apps. You can always reinstall them if you decide you need them at a later date. Applications such as complex games, flash-based applications which use up a lot of memory and CPU to play, also drain battery.

Safeguard sensibly

You need to use a cover and a screen protector for your phone. “If you use unclean or wet hands to use the touch panel of your phone, it will start giving problems, like not responding to your touch,” says Natesh. He advises the use of stylus on a touch screen. Regularly clean the exterior with a soft microfibre cloth to get the fingerprints off the screen and body. “Oh, and never vacuum the phone,” Gayakwad adds.

In case your mobile is exposed to water or falls into water, remove the battery immediately. “Never try to turn it on as that will short-circuit all its innards,” explains Gayakwad. Use tissue or cloth and delicately wipe off the moisture. “The easiest way of drying a phone is by putting it into a bowlful of uncooked rice. Rice absorbs moisture and makes the phone dry,” he adds. After it has dried, take it to the service centre. Service centres have special devices to dry your phone and make it functional again.

Smartphones are embedded with tiny, complicated electronic materials which are heat sensitive, so do not expose them to extreme heat, such as the dashboard of a car. “Heated phone also causes greater battery drain,” says Chitnis. So avoid extreme climates for your phone. In case it heats up, you need to give the phone battery some rest by switching it off for a while.

Click here to read the complete story on Live Mint website.

Death of books on dead trees?

Yes, I know it’s too poetic and dramatic. That’s the reason for that question mark there. What do you expect from a writer who is just chartering into an industry which by the looks of it is on its death throes?

Let me start from the beginning. I used to be a journalist. Then one day, I decided I would rather create my own stories and so quit my job and since then have been trying to live the dream of every journalist – that of becoming an author.

It’s not an easy job and I am not talking about the writing only. If I gotten into this industry 15 years ago, I would have had one aim: Get a couple of books out there on the book shelf. And one dream: I pass through a bookstore and see a child picking up one of my books and flicking through it with increasing interest. So much so that she might eventually buy it. Simple.

In olden days (think 10-15 years from now) a writer’s problem was mostly sustaining herself–both economically and emotionally –till she came out with that one winner. That one winner would be published by a publisher of repute or not, marketed decently, covered or thrashed by critics and if you were lucky, you won an award and a celebrity named your book in her favourites.

A couple of books and you could sustain yourself to write more. Basically get yourself an agent/publisher and work as a freelancer with them.

WRITER PUBLISHER TRADITIONAL MEDIA / BOOKSTORES READERS

Now my dear reader, it’s a web that a writer has. I talk literally—the World Wide Web or the Net or Internet. The internet has changed the way we writers functioned. It has especially started to show the door to traditional style of publishing.

Content, dear friend, has become free and easy to get. We are buying lesser books today than we did some years back. The reason can be youtube.com or Facebook. The reason can also be Wikipedia or Dictionary.com. If you have a ready, searchable encyclopedia online, why would you buy a printed edition which comes which is old as soon as you buy it? Content in today’s world is free. Now logic says that if something is free (like air), you don’t buy it. To sum it up, the print industry is dying as all the content can be read for free online and no one’s buying things written on dead trees anymore. Or so will be the case in another 10-15 years.

The confused lot that are writers, are clinging to different ideas of selling. Publishers are trying out the e-books way. Producing e-books brings their paper, distribution and stock costs to nil. But if it’s all about making e-books, why does a writer need a publisher? Why can’t a reader simply convert her book into an e-book and put it up online? My publisher friend Shobit, is asking the same question in a great blog on e-books and the publisher.

So how does a writer, whose sustenance comes from writing or content creation, survive in this new world?

More and more writers are trying out ‘self-publishing’. It means the writer pays a website some money to publish her work as per demand. So the more people buy, the more you earn. You are marketing mostly. Some savvy websites have also added e-books and services like editing, book layout, marketing and designing as part of the package. The people who I have seen take this route are a mix—some are those who tried and got rejected by traditional publishers. This is their way to pay and get their book published. Then there are those who are tired of the measly royalty that traditional publishing gives—20-30 percent and want more. Then there is a third kind who wants to experiment with this medium, has already published some works the traditional way. I don’t know if this is the new publisher and the new model of sharing the revenues and if it will be successful.

One thing is clear though: In the mess that is the Internet, content (I mean your or my book) needs to be actively advertised to the right people to be read. Else, it will be simply lost. I am sure there must be a sea of e-books lying in archives of internet killed by mismanagement. The writer has to take responsibility of her content. No more is it about convince a publisher and leaving the rest to them. If you want to sell content, you have to be there online, interacting with your readers, convincing them to buy. How do you do it? Maybe the route is one of the above. Maybe those are desperate ways of traditional modes who don’t understand this new dark world.

Maybe the answer is completely different: The story that is interactive, or uses different mediums to be told—a comic book, a video, an e-book, a web application, a mobile app, a game – all seamlessly stitched together. Or maybe it creates a web – as complex as the Web itself—built upon by various people (author and reader) who own and nurture it. Maybe this becomes the new medium, the new novel. The one every traditionalist will call ‘scrape’ or ‘trashy’ before it becomes the norm.

I still haven’t figured out how the author will earn money out of this new world. But one thing remains certain and gives me constant assurance. Everyone still loves to hear a story. I just need to figure out where my readers are sitting, waiting for a story to come by.

More, when I understand this better.

My sunlit study

If I take a picture of my office early Monday morning since I was very enthused in going back to work after a three-day chutti. I must be doing something right! Oh and it’s not an office, it’s a study J

Stream of light and flashes of yellow. Don’t miss my pink cup on the table. The colours bring out my happiness and help me build up creative stories! Thanks to my husband for making it happen!

Writing horror

Trying to write a horror story but the characters keep bringing in more drama in than a horror requires. Controlling the people is becoming a problem. An extract I will most probably delete from the story:

‘Oh my Gawd! Are you smiling Mr Mishra!’

Mohan looked up with a start. He had been so deeply sunk into his own thoughts that he hadn’t noticed Mrs Gowda walk into the teacher’s room with her gang of lady teachers. It was almost lunch time, he noticed, looking up at the huge black clock on the broken wall at the far end.

‘What’s the special occasion, Mr Mishra. You seem to be smiling to yourself.’

Mrs Gowda looked excited at the prospect of needling Mr Mishra. Her breasts jutted out like beaks of twin crows from her black sari blouse. That and her huge body, draped in a tight chiffon sari, blocked the remnants of sunlight streaming from the window behind. Mohan looked up towards her sneering face.

‘Yes, yes, tell us Mr Mishra, we want to know too’ echoed the other me-toos who hung around Mrs Gowrah, looking up to her. His stretched lips sunk back into a frown.

‘No, Mrs Gowda. It was nothing.’

He hated this room. He hated these Pink Lizards. He wanted to throttle them all

‘Hmm. I seem to have made a mistake. Mr Mishra could never smile. He has no sense of humour.’ She said, laughing. The other girls followed their crow leader into a cacophony of laughter.

Most days, he would have been depressed by this. But he didn’t mind. Not today. Today, he had found the perfect solution. Murder. The path that will set him free. He stared on his computer screen and pretending to type.

M_U_R_D….

He quickly pressed the Delete key looking around hurriedly to ensure that no one had noticed. It was definitely on his mind. Murder. He rolled the word in his tongue and smiled and puckered his lips. It was a delicious thought.