Very Inspiring Blogger Award – My inspiration to blog more

very inspiring blogger award, moon roy, footloose forever

 

very inspiring blogger award, moon roy, footloose foreverFirst of all I must apologize to Svetlana for being so late in thanking her for nominating me for the ‘Very Inspiring Blogger Award’. But then I had a plan to come up with this acknowledgement post on the last day of this year, 2014 which has helped me concentrate on blogging, take blogging seriously. It was an overwhelming moment to find ‘Maverickbird’ Svetlana’s comment that she has nominated me for this award – a very pleasant surprise – a great honour for me. Most importantly, it feels great to be chosen by one of my most favorite bloggers, the ‘maverickbird’, Svetlana.

Thanks to IndiBlogger that I found her blog maverickbird.com and instantly started following it. Actually the name ‘maverick bird’ caught my eyes – an unusual but self-explanatory (as you read the tagline “Flights of a flight attendant”) blog name which attracted me initially. I explored her blog to find that Svetlana is a wonderful blogger. I believe very passionate, enthusiastic and dedicated to blogging, rather sharing her amazing travel experiences through words and amazing pictures. I often wonder how she manages to write frequently after having a busy professional schedule and mothering a child. This is also an inspiration for lazy bloggers like me. The unique facet of Svetlana’s blog is the way she organizes her posts blog posts. First comes the story – uninterrupted, then a series of vivid images with interesting captions. Once you visit her blog you’ll no way but keep visiting maverickbird.com.

Thank you Svetlana for nominating me for this award. It’s an honour and inspiration for me.

My second  ‘Very Inspiring Blogger Award’ came from a very young and enthusiastic blogger Teny who celebrates his love for tea in his wonderful blog The Tea Celebrations. Teny has mastered the art of blogging and I think he is successful in his “attempt to find something out of anything”. 🙂 I wish I had the dedication as you have for blogging.

Thank you Teny for choosing me for this award. I feel honoured!

7 Things About Myself

Now the next part – stating seven things about myself, which I find a difficult task. 😛

  1. I was not a serious blogger until recently. I started blogging way back in 2009. When Tweitter Festival took place in Saltlake, Kolkata followed by a bloggers’ meet. One of my friends, Deblina insisted me to create a blog to take part in the meet as she created hers. That’s how it started. But I rarely updated my blog until recently when I upgraded it with a custom domain name. Now I think blogging is good for (mental) health. 🙂
  2. I am lazy like a cat. I can spend a whole day watching the world go by sitting in a beach resort. Thank God that I don’t get that chance often … 😉
  3. I am very emotional person and can easily get hurt. But the good thing is that I have realized this (in the beginning of 2014) and practicing control over my emotions.
  4. I am introvert but friendly by nature. I do not open up to people quickly and mingle with them. For me, it is a matter of time. Give me time and I can become a very good friend.
  5. I am an avid reader. I have an eternal attraction towards detective, mysteries and suspense thrillers. Dan Brown and Frederick Forsyth are my favorite in this genre. But I also like to read short stories and novels on human nature and relationships. When it comes to literature can’t think of anyone before Tagore (may be because I am a Bong). Wuthering Height is my favorite English novel.
  6. I love watching movies. It could be Hollywood or Bollywood or Bengali or Irani or Spanish or Indonesian. In short, I watch any good movie that touches my heart. Language is not a barrier, but English subtitles always helps. J My sister and I download movies all through the week and watch them together every weekend. Kevin Costner, Tom Hanks, Leonardo Dicaprio and Sharon Stone are some of my favorite actors. And Sound of Music, Dances with Wolves, The Untouchables and The Book Thief are some of my all time favorite movies.
  7. My New Year resolution is to exercise regularly. Well, I am not fat or flabby kind. But I want to indulge in fitness activities to ensure a healthy body and mind which I think is most important for a traveler.

15 Blogs I Follow

  1. Travel Tales from India – Mridula Dwivedi is an iconic travel blogger and an inspiration for me.
  2. My Yatra Diary – Arti, a wonderful writer, an experienced blogger and a spiritual traveller, blogs about her spiritual journeys and travel destinations in India and other countries.
  3. Voyager For Life – Renuka, a smart, enthusiastic young girl – a solo woman traveller and blogger who is always an inspiration.
  4. i Share – Ms Indrani Ghose has an eye to see simple things differently. Her wonderful blog can be the inspiration for any blogger. She shares her travel stories combined with beautiful pictures. I love her ‘Faces of India’ series.
  5. Inspire99 – Vinay and Vidyashree come up with a range of topics on social issues, and well being. As the name reveals the blog inspires you to think and think better.
  6. INewsIndia – SEO and digital marketing specialist Alok Vats shares his views and useful tips on blogging and online promotion of websites. 
  7. A Traveller’s Odysseys – My favorite blogger ‘wandering Jatin’ an IT guy but a traveler at heart blogs on his travel experiences, sometimes in a humorous note which I like very much.
  8. Rangan Dutta – Mr. Rangan Dutta is passionate traveler, photographer and writer. His blog is full of photos of historical architecture and edifices from around the world.
  9. Jan Jansen Networks – A wonderful blog specializing in macro-photography.
  10. Nature & Travel Photography – I found this blog from wordpress suggestions. Being a nature lover I am fascinated by the beautiful landscape photographs in Mr. Anil C. Mandal’s blog.
  11. Murali Aithal Photography Blog – Murali is a wonderful Nature Photographer. I follow his blog for beautiful landscape and nature photos and photography tips and tricks.
  12. Sunshine and Zephyr by Shweta – Shweta Dave is a management consultant and a wonderful poet and short story writer. Her blog is a refreshing read.
  13. Travel Defined – Ms. Vasudha Aggarwal loves exploring new places and shares her adventure stories and beautiful pictures in her blog.
  14. Eat Sleep Shoot Travel Blog – The founder of this blog Ms. Natasha is a photographer, writer and a globetrotter who already have travelled 99 cities across the world.
  15. No Where to Go But Everywhere – Miss Tessa is a globetrotter who have travelled the world at a very young age and shares her wonderful stores in her blog.

The rules for Very inspiring Blogger Award

  • Display the award on your blog
  • Link back to the blogger who nominated you
  • State 7 things about yourself
  • Nominate 15 bloggers, link to their blog and notify them about the nomination

Keep travelling. Keep blogging. Happy New Year 2015 !! 

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Rising above fear – Up, Up and Away

paragliding at Bhimtal, Rise above fear, Mountain Dew India

Lub dub lub dub…I could hear my own heartbeat. I got a lump in my throat and butterflies in my stomach.

Five…four…three…two…one…GO…O…O…O…O…O…O.

Oh my GOD! I am literally losing ground under my feet! We jumped off the cliff. We are F-L-Y-ING! The houses, the trees, the rice terraces and the lake were becoming smaller and smaller. The horizon looked perfectly round in shape.

“We are over 1000 feet above the earth”, shouted my paragliding instructor from behind. “How does it feel?” I kept mum. I was awestruck. I really did not know how to describe my feeling at that moment. I was paragliding over Lake Bhimtal, in Uttarakhand. Finally, I did overcome my biggest fear – Acrophobia, the fear of height.

paragliding at Bhimtal, Rise above fear, Mountain Dew India
Image source: skybirdadventures.com

Until that moment I was a poor girl terribly scared of height.

“Stop, stop, please stop the wheel… I want to get down.” Now, as I think of that moment I can imagine myself how silly I looked while crying like a child. Everyone on the ground was looking at me. Some were laughing too. I could hear my sister saying, “Didi, what’s the matter? What’s happened to you?”

It was a fairground. I was riding a huge Ferris wheel with my sister sitting next to me. As the wheel started turning I felt my palms sweating. Just when our chair reached the top I started shouting. God knows why I felt I was falling down. I felt weightless. I felt like vomiting. The operator had to stop the wheel in the middle so that I could get down. He was grumbling. So was everyone else on the ride, perhaps. I was ashamed of being such a nuisance. And that’s when I realized I had a fear of altitude. It happened around 20 years back. I was in school then.

When I was younger we used to pay visits to my father’s uncle almost every fortnight. On the way to his home we had to cross a long, narrow footbridge by a rail yard. There was a canal flowing below, may be 80-100 feet down. Unfortunately, it was the shortcut to my grand uncle’s house; hence my father preferred that route. Every time we walked on the bridge I would hold my father’s hand tight and look straight in front, walk fast, very conscious about not to look down by mistake. Every time a train passed the bridge would shake and I would think this time the bridge is going to collapse and we are going to fall. But nothing like that ever happened. Pretty soon my grand uncle shifted to another house. I thanked God that we won’t have to walk that ‘deadly’ path any more.

So, that was I – a poor, timid creature lacking self-confidence until I saw this ad of Mountain Dew.

‘Kyunki Darr ke aage jeet hai!’ – this simple six-word tag line of Mountain Dew India rocked my mind. It touched my soul. In short, it taught me to think differently. Then I followed their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/mountaindewindia to find a series of posts on sensational adventures. It inspires everyone to rise above fears and take the leap of faith. But how can I overcome my fear and taste victory? I kept asking myself.

Last October we had a trip to Nainital. One day while boating in Bhimtal something caught my eyes. A few paragliders, looked almost as the size of a tiny bird, flying high above the sky. I got my ANSWER.

While returning to hotel our car was running past the diving spot. I asked the driver to stop the car and got down with one of my friends accompanying me. It was nearly half an hour tandem flight that changed me as a human being – happier, stronger and more confident. But first, I could not believe I was literally in the air, flying like a bird. It felt so light, like a feather. Was it because I was airborne or was it because I could finally get rid of a burden called ‘fear’? I still can’t figure out. But now I know victory lies beyond fear and I have risen above my worst fear – ‘Acrophobia’, the fear of height. It feels great!

Google+ Vs Facebook – Take a Quick Look

Google+ vs Facebook – speculations, arguments, discussions are endless. I found this image which aptly summarizes the comparison between the two social media behemoths.

Let me know who do you vote for… 🙂

google plus versus facebook

The Money Plant on My Window

green leaves

It was a lazy Saturday afternoon. The sun was little mute outside because of the thick white clouds that were crossing its path often throughout the day. The sky was pale blue. The towering palms in our neighbor’s backyard were swaying there heads in cool breeze. The pussy cat was dozing on the window shade. My eyes were getting heavy and I thought of having a siesta. I went into my room and was about to close the window that this ‘money plant’ caught my eyes. It was looking beautiful green in faded sunlight. And I couldn’t but tried some shots with my digi-cam.

The lush green color of the leaves delighted me and also reminded me of how fast our city, Kolkata is losing its plantation. Perhaps, in future we’ll only have these indoor plants to turn to for green.

green money plant

green money plant

green money plant

money plant on the window

I Wonder How Twitter Has Changed Our Lives!

twitter
twitter
freeiconsdownload.com

Recently a tweet by @librarycongress (The U.S. Library of Congress) caught my eyes while I was poking around on Twitter.  The Library of Congress is going to archive all public tweets made since March, 2006 for the future generation. As per latest statistics there are over 105 million twitter users across the globe that are constantly tweeting on what’s happening in their part of the world. And the number of tweets is 50 million per day. Twitter’s real-time data and facts (read tweets) can become a rich resource to be used as a chronicle.

I wondered how Twitter has changed our lives and thought I must pen down my thoughts on it.

When I was introduced to Twitter by a friend I was skeptic about this micro-blogging site. So many questions filled up my mind – “why should I tweet when I can blog?” I was not sure whether any one will ever follow me (except my friends who were already on twitter)! “What to tweet and what not” –  Twitter was quite an enigma to me then.”Is it always possible to be within the limit of 140 characters?” But gradually I found answers to all my questions. My perspective towards this micro-blogging site changed completely and I got addicted to Twitter. Now it has become such a favorite that I never mind writing an entire blog post on this. 🙂

I have been using other social networking sites of late. They are more or less similar when it comes to messaging and interaction. Twitter’s uniqueness lies in its simplicity and 140 characters limit for posting messages (read ‘tweets’). I find Twitter interesting in many ways.

The environment here is not that serious like other professional online networks and not so casual either such as the social media, even though you’ll find successful professionals from all fields on Twitter. It’s crisp and quick. It gives you freedom (you can tweet whatever you like) yet binds you in limit with short space. In other way twitter teaches you to be candid but precise; brief yet interesting.

As a social networking site Twitter nicely blends professionalism with friendliness. And it proves fruitful when the online friendship of professionals is directed to offline meeting in the name of charitable events like Twitter Festival. It will be sheer benefit of the society if we can leverage the power of twitter fraternity in a productive manner.  Twitter has given the educated mass a platform to raise their voices and share their thoughts.

Twitter has already brought change in our society and thus in our life. We see more and more celebrities and eminent personalities from all spheres – be it politics, entertainment, journalism, art and literature – are joining Twitter now making it a trend. Previously it was only the media that had access to the world of celebrities and politicians. Whatever they said or did reached us in form of news via media. Now it comes directly to us (Twitter users) in form of tweets. Twitter has been able to bridge the gap.

Courtesy twitter that Shashi Tharoor can speak his mind right to his 7 lacs followers even though it has caused him a lot of trouble.

We never had any clue about what Ashton Kutcher thinks when he is on a flight before we had Twitter.

Have we ever thought of getting a glimpse into an astronaut’s mind right at the moment he is working at a space station or watching the Mother Earth from the outer space?  It is Twitter that has made all these possible.

The Twitter-scope is not anymore limited within a particular status of the society for a particular purpose of socializing; rather it opens up a new horizon to the global citizen. Capturing the entire universe in just 140 characters Twitter provides a wider angle to look at things and teaches us to think differently.

It’s That Time of the Year Again… Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Xmas, Christmas, Merry Christmas, happy New Year

You know, you plan of one thing and something else turns up. This is what happens to me every time. Destiny always plays this game with me. Anyway, I am still drinking the essence of life, of course … 🙂

When I started blogging I thought to post once a week. But you see, it took so long to come up with another post! It’s that time of the year again … yes, it’s winter… it’s Christmas time compelling me to take another walk down the memory lane.

Merry Christmas, happy New Year
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!   Image: maamatimanush.tv

Christmas is one occasion after the Durga Puja that we (my sister and I) used to wait for eagerly in our childhood days. You’ve got it right! Cakes and pastries being the prime reason it was the time when we enjoyed circus, visited the zoo and the National Museum of Kolkata, rather Calcutta then. The animals and trapeze at the circus and the mysteries wrapped inside the showcases of the museum in the form of Mummies always fascinated me.

To me winter meant a 7-day vacation for celebrating Christmas and New Year by wishing friends with hand-painted greetings cards. It is one of my hobbies. I loved to craft greetings cards for my near and dear ones. Now, as it is obvious, e-card replaces paper cards (you know, that ‘don’t have time’ excuse… actually I became lazier … 😛 ).

Winter in Kolkata has always been pleasant and much desired. It reminds me of wet grasses in fog-wrapped mornings. It was a season when we struggled to get up early in the morning and get ready for school. Had real hard times … guys! 😉

Winter to me then was synonymous to picnic, orange and pickles that my mother never made at home despite all our sincere requests, craving and begging. We were even ready to offer our service, but could never been able to win her faith! 😀  Now I understand she hardly had time to indulge in pickle making after managing all the household chores and her job simultaneously. But my stance was different at that time. Every year we had clash over this issue. However, God has been kind! The supply chain for mango and plum pickles was managed by my aunt, whom we affectionately call Koli Mashi. Every winter, she used to make various sorts of pickles and bestow upon us. Thank you, Koli mashi for quenching our ‘eternal thirst’ for pickles … for so many years! 🙂  She still does it happily.

Winter for me was all about playing badminton. This was one sport I loved to play. We (me and my friends in the neighborhood) used to play badminton after getting back from school or whenever we could find time … in the morning and in the afternoon, until the dusk fell. We played in the park near our house, on the ground in front of our house and even on the wide walkways beside.

It was a beautiful place where we lived … an enclosed area … an estate owned by the Ordnance Factory of India. The high wall stood all around like the Great Wall of China to maintain privacy from the busy main road outside. This wall had caused us so much trouble that we hated it from the heart. First, there were times when we had to sacrifice our brand new shuttle corks just because someone served it hard and it went up … up… and away … over the top, right on the other side of the ‘Great Wall’. It was too high for us to climb and the main gate was far enough. The cork will already be crushed under the wheels or picked up by someone else by the time we could reach there.

Secondly, we lived in a ground floor flat. And that god damned wall barred us from viewing what was happening on the other side while my school mate Shonali (she was blessed to reside in a 2nd floor flat) could watch every thing standing by the window at any given point of time of the day. I envied her so much for this … and innovated ‘reasons’ (read found excuses) to go upstairs at her flat once done with my home works. 🙂

When I was very young and Shonali and her family did not move in the neighborhood there was no chance of getting to 2nd floor (the roof was inaccessible, too – no one was allowed to get on the roof except the maintenance staffs) what we could only see from our window is the top of the Double Decker buses (that graced the streets of Calcutta then). We didn’t have the permission to go outside when mother was not home. I stood by the window waiting patiently only to get a glimpse of a Double Decker! 😛

Joynagarer Moya, bengali sweets, mishti
Bengali Sweet ‘Joynagarer Moya’   Image: maamatimanush.tv

To me winter meant Pitha, nalen gur-er sondesh and Jaynager-er moyaan assortment of delectable Bengali dessert. Ma prepared different kinds of pitha and kheer that we loved to eat so very much. I remember… Ma used to make pitha in the evening after coming back from work. Baba also helped her in preparing all those traditional Bengali sweets.

Things are different now… Baba is no more. We got busy with our jobs. Ma, though has retired from her office, can’t manage it alone. Winters come and go. No mist and dews … only smog. Sun is not that soft and gentle anymore (environmental pollution, I mean). No sweets, no circus, no visits to the zoo. The chilly breeze from the North brings only memories with it. Those are the days I’ll cherish till my last breath!

Durga Puja 2009: What I Miss about the Pujas

The wait is over! … All the speculations, assessments and consolidated efforts of local Puja Committees have finally come to an end for this year with another happy and joyous Durga Puja, one of India’s biggest and most coveted festivals! I was eagerly waiting for the Pujas; bought new clothes, planned a lot with my sisters. And now it’s over … those four days have passed so quickly just like a beautiful dream destined to dissolve in a few moments.

Durga Puja, the celebration of goddess Durga’s home coming, is grand.  I don’t know how to describe the grandeur of it in mere words … Puja is all about shopping, wearing new clothes, meeting old friends, eating good food, and enjoying together.

The true essence of Dura Puja is found in West Bengal, India, where the festival is held at large. It is celebrated with utmost zeal and enthusiasm in this part of the world. But the festival of Durga Puja is not the same anymore that we used to see a few decades earlier. The mood might remain the same but what I notice the most is the changing trends of Puja celebration.

Durga Puja 2009 :  Photo by Moon Roy
Durga Puja 2009 : Photo by Moon Roy

Theme based Puja is the latest trend, especially in Kolkata. The entire set up, decoration and the idol of the goddess is built following a specific theme, say folk art. A whole new wave of commercialization is evident with so many awards offered by different organizations for the best Pujas around. Cultural clubs organizing big budget Pujas aim to outshine each other with all the glitz and glamour of decoration.

I appreciate this change. It is because of theme orientation that we could see the exquisite art works of tribal temple located in remote corner of Meghalaya or the Chou art of Purulia, West Bengal right here in the heart of Kolkata.  But what I miss is the simplicity and purity of the Puja.

To me, Durga Puja and autumn reflects each other. Crystal blue sky, thin white clouds and waving Kash on the field herald the beginning of the festive season in Bengal.  Mother Nature is in full bloom with lush greeneries all around.

Kolkata was a lot greener in my childhood. There were big trees and lawns all around our neighborhood. The change could easily be observed in green foliages, blooming seasonal flowers and occasional drizzles from clear firmament. Greeneries are missing today; pieces of white clouds in the blue sky alone tell us that Puja is on the threshold!

Photo by Moon Roy
Photo by Moon Roy

The combination of autumn and Durga Puja makes me feel nostalgic. I remember my childhood days – rising early in the morning only to pick Seuli from the garden in front of our old house. The garden bed turned white with flowers covering the grasses underneath the tree. Every morning my father and I entered the garden and pick flowers until our baskets got completely full with Seulis. This was one of the routine tasks in the mornings during the fall.

Image courtesy: Flickr
Seuli : Image courtesy Flickr

Those were some of the best moments I had shared with my father.  My father is no more and those golden days will never come back except autumn returning every year with a new beginning for the Pujas and lots of joy and happiness.  It reminds me how much I miss my childhood days. And I miss you a lot … Baba!