Melbourne- world’s ‘most liveable city’


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Regardless of not visiting Australia, I love this country for its Wildlife, Rainforests, Deserts and Ski-fields, History, Sunshine, Beaches and much more. When Indiblogger in association with Tourism Victoria announced a contest “What’s your reason for falling in love with Melbourne, the most livable city in the world?” I thought this is the right opportunity for me to write about it and who knows I might even win a chance to visit the country. I’ve read a lot about Melbourne and also the city watched on the TV (courtesy – travel shows and documentaries), with its beautiful parks, enviable healthcare and location next to one of the world’s best coastal drives, it’s little wonder people want to live in Melbourne. While it may not necessarily have the glamorous appeal of Sydney, Australia’s second city has been ranked the world’s most liveable city for the third year running.

Melbourne has everything and all that a person visiting the city can expect – Cafes, Street Art and Galleries, Bars, Gardens, Malls, Sports and Adventures, Trams, China Town, Casino, Beaches, Eats and drinks. There are plenty of free things to do in Melbourne, as well as tons of sights to see and hundreds of restaurants and bars to visit – few of my top picks what makes me fall in love with Melbourne – the most livable city in the world.

  1. I am a latest coffee lover, I sure to fit perfectly in this coffee-obsessed city Melbourne. Melbourne is a coffee mecca and it’s just impossible to turn a corner in Melbourne without being met by the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. From pocket-sized nooks brewing single origin lattes to highly-established roasteries the ambiance of this coffee-driven city would win over the hearts of any coffee lover just passing by.
  2. Celebrate the sporting passions, whatever is the colour. Life in Melbourne centres on sport and the great outdoors. I live for sports and adventures, and Melbourne is the only city to boast five international standard sporting facilities on the fringes of its city centre; Melbourne Cricket Ground (‘MCG’), Docklands, Rod Laver Arena (for the Australia Open Tennis ), Hisense Arena and the Olympic Park. It also hosts the Australian 500CC Motorcycle Grand Prix, the Melbourne Cup, the Australian Football League Grand Final and international cricket matches including The Ashes.
  3. Drive through Great Ocean Road to watch the sun set over the Twelve Apostles. One of the most scenic coastal drives in the world, the Great Ocean Road is Victoria’s number one attraction. The route starts 100km south west of Melbourne and winds its way along the coast and through sleepy gold rush towns – ideal places to stop for a paddle or a picnic. The most famous sight along the drive is the magnificent Twelve Apostles. These limestone rock stacks rise up out of the ocean and were formed over time as a result of erosion forced by sea and wind.
  4. No trip is complete without a day trip to Phillip Island. The attraction here is the Little Penguins. Standing no more than a foot in height, the smallest breed of penguin certainly lives up to its name! Head to the penguin centre to watch what’s become known as the ‘Penguin Parade’ – each evening at sunset the super-cute little penguins waddle up the beach .You can’t touch the penguins, but you can get pretty close.
  5. Melbourne has more than 480 hectares of gardens and parks in the city – Kings Domain, Flagstaff Gardens and Carlton Gardens. The perfect opportunity to enjoy a lazy, sunny afternoon with some good company or a book or a picnic. Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens are regarded amongst the best in the world and sit on the south bank of the majestic River Yarra. Royal Park in Melbourne’s inner city spaces is the perfect place for kite flying, cycling and running tracks, play golf or tennis.
  6. Melbourne is partitioned into numerous different neighborhoods, you can take a walk into Chinatown, Greek Corner, Vietnamese Section, Little Italy, Spanish Corner and Little Saigon.
  7. One can uncover a plenitude of shopping in Melbourne at Swanks, De Mille Decorative & Fine Arts, for vintage apparel, memorabilia and home outfitting. The love for fashion and the love for shopping often go hand in hand – that’s where Melbourne won’t disappoint. Even if you aren’t into fashion, there’s always something to shop for. True to its reputation as Australia’s cultural capital, wander into an independent bookstore or check out a single store. You never know what treasures you may uncover.
  8. The Crown Casino is Australia’s biggest gaming office. The unrecorded music scene is enormous here and you can find well-known and free acts at clubs, pubs and even warehouses.
  9. The free city circle tram is major tourist attraction and also links with other form of transportations in Melbourne such as bus and train. It operates around the city through Fitzroy Gardens (Captain Cook’s Cottage), Princess Theatre, Federation Square, the Melbourne Aquarium, St. Paul’s and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Shrine of Remembrance, the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Queen Victoria Markets, Telstra Dome and Docklands. The City Circle tram is free, you can hop on and off at any of the stops along this route.
  10. Melbourne is Australia’s cultural capital, from multicultural cuisines to buskers filling the streets with music, chalk art and more, it’s not difficult to see that Melburnians are passionate about the arts, music and literature. Melbourne was named the UNESCO City of Literature, so whether you love Shakespeare or F. Scott Fitzgerald you’re in for a treat. Besides books and art, Melburnians also love their music. Head over to Bourke Street and you’ll find buskers of every musical genre.
Penguin Parade - Phillip Island

Penguin Parade – Phillip Island

Brighton Bathing Boxes on Dendy Street Beach Brighton.

Brighton Bathing Boxes on Dendy Street Beach Brighton.

Melbourne Cricket Ground (‘MCG’)

Melbourne Cricket Ground (‘MCG’)

Great Ocean Road and Twelve Apostles

Great Ocean Road and Twelve Apostles

Coffee-obsessed city Melbourne

Coffee-obsessed city Melbourne

Melbourne has more than 480 hectares of gardens and parks in the city

Melbourne has more than 480 hectares of gardens and parks in the city

The City Circle tram is free, you can hop on and off at any of the stops along the route.

The City Circle tram is free, you can hop on and off at any of the stops along the route.

Home to major cultural attractions, world-class events, tourism, exceptional array of restaurants, bars, specialty stores Federation Square is Melbourne's meeting place.

Home to major cultural attractions, world-class events, tourism, exceptional array of restaurants, bars, specialty stores Federation Square is Melbourne’s meeting place.

The Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex.

The Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex.

Street musicians at Myer Bourke Street, Melbourne

Street musicians at Myer Bourke Street, Melbourne

Melbourne has claimed gold as the world’s ‘most liveable city’ . The city’s climate, low crime rate and great transport infrastructure all play their part in its lofty ranking. Add in more green spaces than any other city on earth, a buzzing café, bar and restaurant scene, outstanding museums, world class sporting events and great beaches. It’s unusual to meet Melbourne visitors who haven’t fallen in love with it – why not come and see for yourself.

 Contest Time!!

 “Which of these places would you want to visit in Melbourne and why?”

 The best answer (chosen by ME), will win a gift voucher worth Rs. 500.

The contest starts today. The Last date for entries is 4th Jan 2015.

 Do visit this Website for more details: http://www.visitmelbourne.com/in

 So hurry up and send in your answers in the comments section of this post. You might just be the winner.

This post is  written for Indiblogger presents ‘Come Alivein Melbourne’ contest. 

Learn to say NO


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Let me begin asking a simple question “what is sex”? It is a sexual activity which is very much true but few hold a view that it’s a bond between two people who love each other. In reality everyone has different thoughts and opinions on when you should have sex and why. Many researches throughout the world show that people aged 15-44 admitted to having sex before marriage. With the way our society is today it doesn’t seem like it’s glared upon too much. With magazines, movies, commercials this just shows that sex is a part of human nature and you can’t stop it from happening. I’m not saying that just because it’s everywhere you have to do it but it’s an instinct and it happens to everyone. Some people frown upon having sex before marriage because they feel your going against everything that you were taught and what not, but really having sex when you want is your decision and why should you be hated or judged based on your decisions?

I don’t support sex before marriage. I oppose it strongly. Life is based on finding, who you are and what you want, not on what others think you should do or what you should want. The person, to whom you lose your virginity to, isn’t the person you’ll be with forever. Pre-marital sex is having a sexual intercourse before marriage. Pre-marital sex has been introduced to our modern world and has been accepted by the people without question or objection and that modesty has become an old-fashioned virtue that most people no longer practice today. The question is, “Is it ok to do so?

People in our modern generation no longer value modesty; people simply take it for granted.  Youths are victim of giving themselves in premarital sex because of curiosity; little did they know they are ending up destroying themselves. They are not content with people around talking about their concerns about sex; they wanted to experience it themselves. Another reason is media in all forms promote premarital sex. Books and magazines are also an influential method to contaminate the minds of the people. A corrupt community where people are blinded with the ungodliness behaviour, they see it as a normal thing to do. Girls are encouraged to dress badly. Covetousness and greed for money is also a severe case of why people are falling into the trap of fornication. Girls use their body to earn money so they can satisfy their wants. Indiscipline has also led many young people into destruction. Bad parenting can also cause a person’s misbehaviour. And lastly broken homes.

I don’t support that having premarital sex is right. Not only it is against God’s will but also damage ones person’s life. We should all know that sex is a very strong emotion act whether you’re in good intention or bad, it can literally affect the way a single human being thinks and acts around other people. That’s why we can’t take sex as a joke or make fun of it; we should take it more seriously. Are you aware that 50% of the people who are currently having sexual diseases are between the ages of 15 and 24? Some people say that using condom can prevent such risk, but using protection can only reduce the contracting HIV by 85%. People also don’t consider the emotional effects of having premarital sex. Sex is something emotional and affects our lives in ways we can’t explain. Many who have had their sex before marriage express feelings of guilt, embarrassment, lack of respect, low self-esteem, distrust and much more. We do not want to end up having suck emotions. Having premarital sex is not the best way to express love for someone you are not tied up with; after all, it is not love considering its effects such as unwanted pregnancy or diseases. Despite the emotional and physical damage, spiritually it can damage our relationship with God, our body is a temple we should treasure and take care of, besides it is a common sense we should all know to keep our body pure and holy. Socially it affects us on how we project ourselves to the society.

People who save their body or delay having sex till marriage do end up having better relationships, The result apply to both men and women. Sex is not something you just give to someone you barely know or someone you’re not married with; it is something you treasure for the one who you’ll end up being with. We should also learn to say “NO”. It is important to have a determine heart and mind. Saving our body is an action we do to show that we respect our body; it is a sign of having dignity and love for ourselves.

The following post is a part of the Indiblogger contest in association with Poonam Uppal’s newly released book –  Poonaam Uppal’s True Love – A Mystical True Love Story on Flipkart.

At the coffee shop


Theme- An instance when a well groomed look ensured that they struck gold on an opportunity given to them.

I was at the metro station when my phone rang and it was my best friend Sandy aka Sandeep on the call.

“I’ll reach in 25 minutes”, said Sandy with whom I had planned an evening coffee and shopping.

“But you said you are almost here, you lied”? I said angrily while coming out of the station to the coffee shop.

25 minutes is long, I screamed at him. It won’t take much time, I am half way to reach, and he said before I can give him my piece of mind.

I wasn’t new to the city, I had many friends but Sandy was the only person I was the most closes to and preferred hanging around with him.

“What do I do now?” I asked myself.  I went inside the coffee shop; it was almost full with people more precise, couples. These coffee shops are the perfect place for lovebirds to hang around for hours to sit and discuss all trivial and non trivial issues of which I had no idea.

I luckily spotted a sofa in the extreme corner of the cramped shop with chairs and round tables all of which had already been occupied with happy people. I made my way to the sofa, accidentally banging into two to three chairs and disturbing the people in the middle of their romance.

I took my hot cup of cappuccino (the only flavor of coffee I like) and piece of walnut cake, settled down at my corner waiting for Sandy to arrive.  Suddenly I zoomed my vision to the girl in pink dress towards my left. She was sitting with a man who was playing around with her tangled hair. The sound of her heels tapping the wooden floor and her bangles disturbed me.

I looked at her again, she was amazingly beautiful, but this time the girl’s husband grabbed my attention.

 “Is he him”? My mind tossed this question which was left to my vision to provide the confirmatory. After 20 seconds the reply came “indeed”. He had been my classmate for more than 15 years, from kindergarten to college. I had a strong crush on him.

He still looked handsome as he was in college, always clean shaven and well groomed. He always had girls going bonkers over him and seeing his wife, such a beautiful creation no doubt that he had struck gold on an opportunity given to him to marry her. He kept playing around with her hair. The couple looked the made for each other.

I ordered another cup of coffee and dialed Sandy. I wanted to move away from the coffee shop at the possible early. I kept looking out for Sandy through the transparent glass making wishes to land him at the place at the very moment. During this inner affecting hullabaloo I realized, his eyes were all on me which I was trying to avoid. He had recognized me. He giggled something in his wife’s ears and they both laughed.

“Mam your coffee is ready!” said a gentle voice.

“You better pass it to the man in that blue shirt sitting there” I pointed towards him.

 “Why sir”? She asked me.

 “Because he loves it.”

 I quickly stepped out of the cafe to get vanished in the crowd.

I am tagging the following bloggers to write on the #WillYouShave activity:

Vishal Bheeroo 

Dreamzandclouds (Aka Madhusmita) 

In the post that you write, you will need to cite that you were referred by me, please do not FORGET to mention this.

‘This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette‘.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns


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Blurb: Ever since Batman retired a decade ago, Gotham City has only slipped deeper into disorder and debauchery. with his city needing him desperately, could Batman stay retired? Returning to trample the evil mutant gangs that have overtaken his beloved city, Batman, aka 55-year-old Bruce Wayne, along with Carrie Kelly, an adolescent, female version of Robin, combats his deadliest enemies, The Joker and Two-Face for one last time. But this time he must also battle his former friend, Superman and the battle promises to throw up only one survivor. Written superbly and illustrated superlatively, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns does ample justice to the well-known character-beyond-comic-books, Batman. While reinventing such a popular character, the author of this volume, which is a collection of 4 comic issues, has taken care to keep the myth surrounding Batman intact. Not only does this book has a compelling story but also it boasts of excellent artwork that sometimes borders on the psychotic and claustrophobic.

About the author: Frank Miller (born January 27, 1957) is an American writer, artist, and film director best known for his dark comic book stories and graphic novels such as Ronin, Daredevil: Born Again, The Dark Knight Returns, Sin City and 300. He also directed the film version of The Spirit, shared directing duties with Robert Rodriguez on Sin City, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For and produced the film 300. He is also known for creating the comic book character Elektra.

Review: I am a comic book reader since school times and I was happy when I was given comic book Frank Miller’s Dark Knight for this month’s book challenge. Frank Miller’s story is of tragic heroism and social commentary. His Batman is larger-than-life, suffering hero, with many flaws and obsessions. Miller plays with the comic book universe beautifully, there exists a super-hero. Batman’s argument with Superman in this graphic novel is sneakily conceived battle in comic book record. Superman has this compromised good-guy view and Batman is the demoniac fixation. Miller’s creation of Dark Knight is real tale of Heroes and Madmen, exciting from start to finish. The book has many new cameos, a new Robin, a new Commissioner. Frank Miller has published here a brilliant novel, fit for movie adaption. By the end author has made us experience a story that explains obsession, public perception, conscience, mortality, and what it truly means to be a hero better than any psychology textbook could. It is worthy to add in the graphic novel or literature category of book collections.

Is there a ‘Geet’ in your life?


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‘Geet’ literally meaning ‘song’ is not what I am referring here.  The ‘Geet’ I am talking about is the character of Kareena Kapoor as ‘Geet’ in the movie ‘Jab We Met’.  For those who haven’t seen the movie,  Geet is a lively and bubbly girl who looks at life through ‘rose tinted glasses’.  She is very innocent and trusts everybody without being judgmental.   She looks at only the positive in people.  She is very positive and loves to enjoy every moment in life to the fullest.  And her positivity rubs off on the people around her.

I consider myself very lucky to have a close friend who is a lot like Geet in real life.  Let’s call her Geet here.  She has been with me since I have had friends.  She is the heart of any group.  She will make us laugh till we have tears in our eyes.  She has always been there when we needed her and even when we didn’t need her.  She always makes us feel better after meeting her or after having a chat with her.

Once in school,  we had gone to some beach.  I didn’t want to get wet and I was walking only knee-deep in water.  And Geet comes from behind me with a push straight into the water.  I was completely drenched and angrily shouted back at her.  At which she said, ‘You were not enjoying the water.  Now that you are completely wet, get in and have some fun’.  And I did enjoy myself completely after that.

She is the one who once famously told ‘Before marriage, get your horoscope matched with the mother-in-law.  You will spend more time with her than the husband’.    Jokes apart, this does make logical sense.

Before getting into an auto rickshaw, she will ensure that it has a music system and the songs she loves.  She will strike up a conversation with the auto-driver and be friends with him by the time we reach our destination.  For her, all are equal.

Once we were going for a movie and got stuck at a signal.  As luck would have it we were the first ones and the traffic policeman was standing just in front of us. She pleaded with the policeman to let us go or we will miss the first few minutes of the movie.  I was shocked at what she was doing.  But the policeman let us go first.  Instead of resigning to fate and cribbing, she reached out to the policeman and we could make it on time for the movie.

Yeah, that’s the kind of friend she is.

Everyone needs someone like Geet in our lives or have an attitude like Geet’s.  She teaches us to take ourselves less seriously.  She tells us to loosen up a bit and to enjoy each and every moment in life.  You don’t have to strive for happiness.  Happiness is around us.  We just have to grab every moment and make if full of life.

So, is there a ‘Geet’ in your life?  Tell me about her/him.

About the writer:  Lata Sunil is a full time IT professional working out of Mumbai.  She has been blogging since June 2014 and is thoroughly enjoying moonlighting as a blogger.  She loves to read fiction and nowadays, is enjoying flash fiction.  She is tremendously supported by her husband and two school-going sons. You can connect with her on twitter @lsunil,  blog – https://kaapitimes.wordpress.com, and on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/HotCupOfKaapi

 

In conversation with Pratik Kamat


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Pratik Kamat is a writer and a photographer. He started his career as a freelance correspondent for music and youth magazines before switching to advertising. He currently works as a creative writer for a leading advertising agency in Mumbai. Svaha was his first book. He is currently working on a sequel.

Did you learn any truths while working on this novel—about writing in general, or about yourself?

I think there was quite a bit of learning on this novel. I actually rediscovered my love for storytelling when I started the book. My respect for other writers increased a lot too. I think a lot of us just casually comment on other works but when you actually do something of your own that you realize how difficult it is to do so. My work load increased a lot in the middle and I had almost quit writing, so I have newfound respect for anyone who has ever sat down to write a book and finished it.

What is the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book? How did you overcome it?

I don’t know if I can call it a distraction but my day job is a major impediment my writing. Managing your work responsibilities through the day then battling Bombay traffic to get home to write is a very difficult task. I don’t think those problems can be totally overcome, it just makes me a very slow, part-time writer.

Imagine you’re on the subway, or the bus, or sitting in a park and you look up and see the most perfect person you could imagine devouring your book. This is your ideal reader. Set the scene and describe him or her (or them?) for us.

I never travel by public transport and there are no parks in Bombay, Jokes aside, I feel most women are either portrayed as girlfriends of superheroes or the emotional foil to a love story. I wanted to write a book where a young, independent girl is the hero who kicks ass rather than sitting home and weeping and waiting for her man to come home. I think the ideal audience is anyone who wants to read a book with an intelligent female protagonist.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known as a debut author?

I think I didn’t know the time it takes to get a book published. From starting writing to it coming out can easily take up to 2-3 years. I also believed that my book would be available in every bookstore, but I now realize that unless you’re a Chetan Bhagat or a Dan Brown, that might not be the case.

If you had to pick one sentence, and one sentence only, to entice someone to read your book, what would it be?

No God can ever fight your war for you, that is something you have to do for yourself.

What would you be if you hadn’t become a writer?

I love making music. I actually got back to making music after a long time so if not writing that is what I would do more.

What was your favorite chapter or scene to write and why?

I really loved writing chapter 47. I don’t want to spoil it but a lot happens there. The chapters featuring the Jurors were fun to write. I also liked writing the last chapter because that meant I’d finally finished writing!

List 3 books you just recently read and would recommend?

Red planet blues / Robert Sawyer – Noir set on mars. It’s like this book was specifically written for me.

Adjacent by Christopher Priest – 3 stories set in past, present and future. Just amazing.

Station Eleven – Emily St John- Dystopia done right.

If your book was made into a TV series or Movie, what actors would you like to see playing your characters?

Jennifer Lawrence and Hugh Jackman. Or Alia Bhatt and Hrithik. Take your pick.

Your advice to upcoming writers?

Perfection is a chimera. Set a timeline and move on.

Twitterversary


Today is my twitter anniversary! 4 years going strong! I know that may not seem like much, but it means I am still active in it. I completely have a “love” relationship with twitter to the fact I have a “hate” relationship with Facebook.

Over four years ago, I opened IE (I wasn’t fan of chrome, but now I can’t imagine internet without it), typed in “twitter.com”, and clicked “signup”.  I had no reason for joining twitter. I was in fact inactive for many months. Only towards 2012 end when I had lost interest in Facebook I turned active in twitter and I don’t regret doing this at all.

The cool thing was that the followers I attracted are actual people! People RT me and reply to things I shared. It is awesome and I really made some good friends here. That’s when I found the real value of Twitter; being able to share and interact with a community of engaged people. Whether it’s for marketing or for something solely personal, that’s really what it amounts to, right? I’ve been shoot out a #FF 4 times, I’m super stoked. When I recommend people via #FF, they always appreciate it. It’s just one more way to build and strengthen relationships.

Here is my first tweet

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Story of my breakup


Theme – An instance when stubble came in the way of a man’s chance to make a good impression.

As I turned the pages of my table calendar I realised it’s been 2 years I broke up with Mihir. Our 10year old relationship was creeping into serious subject. I was used to the city life and he was more of a suburbanite. I yearned for challenges and he was lazy. On the day he met my parents; he turned up in a threadbare look in his rugged jeans, faded jersey and week old stubble, which made an awful impression of him. Going our separate ways was the only reasonable retort.

I’m a realist, sensible girl, but I was stupid in love. I loved him more than my family. I loved his brown eyes, black hair, sharp features of his face, his strong arms. We shared our dreams, talked about getting engaged, marriage, children, finances, our own house and car. But, somewhere deep down I was not persuaded with Mihir, I was ready to get into nuptials and I felt he was still the carefree person.

 “I just want to be with you”, he assured me.

 “If you want to enjoy your freedom, you may do so now because I will not tolerate if you are going to marry me just to dump me a fine morning”, I yelled at him.

 “I would never do that,” he said with such belief that I felt at fault of my timidity.

2days later, my phone rang and it was Mihir’s sister who happened to be my close friend too. I thanked her wholeheartedly.

“It’s all over”, I said to him.

 “I know,” he reacted coolly.

 I just sat on my study chair, staring outside the window. It took about more than 2days, before tears began to flow off from my eyes. I recalled, just a few days before we both planned our wedding and now he gets married to a girl whom his parents decided for him.

I felt so bad that I was being used. I was psychologically and bodily at a low level. Today after 2years, I have wonderful circle of friends to turn to. They don’t mind travelling many miles to join me for dinner or a drink. My people helped me carry on, even when I didn’t want to. I lost one relationship and gained many meaningful ones.

Falling apart with Mihir has been the hardest thing I’ve ever suffered. I want a family but I’m not going to settle for anything less than what I fully ought to have. I want a thriving career. I want to be fanatical in love again. I want it all.

Iam tagging the following bloggers to write on the #WillYouShave activity:

  1. Lata Sunil
  2. Sherna Jayaraman
  3. Priyanka Roy Banerjee

In the post that you write, you will need to mention that you were referred by me, please do not FORGET to mention this.

‘This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette‘.

Books & Me


I’ve been thinking about books today. It started last night when I had dinner with my friend and we got on the subject of the Internet and publishing.

We were discussing this nascent computer age that’s making our collective head explode at an ever-increasing speed and how eventually books will be of a bygone era. I told her I felt that even self-publishing seemed antiquated. (Like money. Does anyone carry cash anymore? I’m at a loss at valets.) It pains me to say it, but I think books are seeing their last days—and this coming from a true bibliophile.

My happy place is a bookstore. Leave me alone in there for days and I’ll walk out satiated and overloaded. I have more books than clothes. I don’t shop at online clothing stores. I shop at Amazon. I anxiously awaited the mailman to deliver the latest orders.

Books are my best friend. Nothing has accompanied me through all the various stages and moves of my life like my books. I like the way books smell. And feel. I find myself daydreaming as I read a book, thinking about my book soul mate who held the very same pages before me. Open any book on my shelf and I’ve written all over it and through it. I’ve argued with books. I’ve cherished books. I’ve hated books. I’ve cried over books. I’ve thrown them across the room. And I’ve laughed. Most importantly, I’ve learned. I love books.

After all, the true gift of a book is the journey. The way I see it, a book is ultimately the joining of minds–reader and author–cutting through time and space. As Schopenhauer said, “Reading is equivalent to thinking with someone else’s head instead of with one’s own.”

We don’t miss listening to music on a phonograph, because we never used them. The only people that might miss phonographs are senior citizens. We may be nostalgic for the sound of a record, but most of us wouldn’t trade the ability to download a song for a record player. The generation being born today won’t miss books.

Blog to Feed a Child


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We all need to eat. We cannot survive without eating. However, there are a lot of people who can’t eat enough. This problem is called “hunger”. This problem becomes more serious in our country India. There are 820 million chronically hungry people in the world. 1/3rd of the world’s hungry live in India. 836 million Indians survive on less than Rs. 20 (less than half-a-dollar) a day. Every night 20 crore Indians sleep empty stomach, making it to 212 million undernourished people with higher percentage of children in it. Despite substantial improvement in health since independence and a growth rate of 8 percent in recent years, under-nutrition remains a silent emergency in India, with almost 50 percent of Indian children underweight and more than 70 percent of the women and children with serious nutritional deficiencies as anaemia.

A very recent Indian survey shows 57 percent of the children aged 0- 3 years to be either severely or moderately stunted and/or underweight. Malnutrition contributes to seven million Indian children dying, nearly two million before the age of one. 30% of newborn are of low birth weight, 56% of married women are anaemic and 79% of children age 6-35 months are anaemic.

(Source: Rafiq Maqbool/Associated Press/Reuters)

Here are few suggestions/solutions to tackle the classroom hunger problem or the problem of hunger.

  1.  “Eliminating malnutrition is achievable. It’s within our reach,” Bill Gates told the London summit. The solution lies in education on good feeding techniques and getting the right nutrients to the mother and child from the beginning of pregnancy. Overall, malnutrition makes people poorer – it is responsible for an 11% decline in GDP in affected countries.
  2. Economic growth has long been seen as the key to reducing hunger. More trade, financial liberalization and open markets should aid the flow of food, of which there’s no overall shortage. Successful poverty reduction in few countries, have led some economists to predict there will be no more hungry people there by 2020.
  3. We have enough food to feed everyone! Studies show that up to 40% of all available food goes into waste. Help restaurants, schools, universities, hotels, or sports and entertainment venues get their extra food to people in need.
  4. Organize a gleaning event – collect and donate extra food. Or, help connect sources of extra food with food banks or community kitchens
  5. Collecting food is good; collecting money is even better. Donate to NGO’s which works in providing meals to children and one such NGO is Akshaya Patra. It is the implementing partner of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme, there is a steady support from the Government of India, the various State Governments and associated organisations. This has enabled the programme to grow from feeding 1,500 children in the year 2000 to 1.4 million children in 2014. If you interested to donate, you can click here.
  6. Grow food for hungry families in your school or neighbourhood. School gardens are a great way to learn all about plants and how things grow while helping to provide food for those in needs.
  7. Hungry kids suffer most during schools breaks, like weekends, holidays, and summer vacations. Backpack feeding programs provide backpacks full of food for kids over weekends or school breaks. These programs are both effective and a perfect opportunity to make a powerful impact.
  8. Organize a public education campaign to share the facts about childhood hunger in your community and let people know how they can help. Ask and encourage people to commit to an action.
  9. While nonprofit and individual action is essential to ending childhood hunger, so are government programs. When governments cut budgets, these programs are sometimes the first to be cut. Help advocate for continued support.
  10. There is a direct correlation with hunger and gender inequalities. Empowering women to gain access to food, be providers, and lead their families has had a major impact on food access and ability to change financial situations.

Sources of statistics - UN World Food Programme, UN World Health Organization: Global Database on Child Growth and Malnutrition, UN Food and Agriculture Organization Report, National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector (India), National Family Health Survey (India), Centre for Environment and Food Security (India), India Today Magazine, Wall Street Journal Blogs.

I wish every blogger to take this forward by writing and helping feed children and keeping them in school, because for each post written by a blogger, BlogAdda will feed 1 child for an entire year. Please write to feed a child.

I am going to #BlogToFeedAChild with Akshaya Patra and BlogAdda.

Svaha


Pratik-Kamat-Svaha

 

About the author: Pratik Kamat is a writer and an artist. He started his career as a music correspondent for youth magazines before switching to advertising. He currently works as a creative writer for a leading advertising agency in Mumbai.

Blurb: An apocalyptic event catapults a teenage girl and a devout man into a war that threatens humanitys existence. His unwavering faith leads him on a terrifying path of destruction. Her brush with death leads her to discover her true destiny. A team of Somali pirates unearths an ancient weapon, setting in motion a devious plan by a religious Dravidian cult. Nadar, the devout man, follows the high priests every command, putting his life at stake and testing his faith at every turn. In Mumbai, a reckless young teen crashes her bike in a suicidal stunt-only to be saved miraculously by an unknown man on a mission of his own. Slash must come to terms with her true destiny and be the force to take on the great evil released upon mankind. The stage is set for a battle of epic proportions as a demon from the past rises and threatens to wipe out the world. Armed with and ultimately divided by, only their belief, who will transcend the supernatural, the corrupt and the powerful to restore the delicate balance of nature? Svaha is a gripping thriller featuring characters from Indias mythological past, its political present and the uncertain future.

Review: I am not a huge fan of mythological heroes but Pratik Kamat’s Svaha dealt with the same genre in a different manner which could make me complete the book in a short span of time. Svaha attempted with the Indian mythological characters sketching them as modern superheroes fighting villains to save the humanity and the world from their clutches. The author’s narration is brittle and free of unwanted details, did not feel like I am reading a debutant. I liked that the chapters are short, which are easy to read. The characterization of both protagonist and antagonist are well written. The story has some of the best surprising twists. It shows the efforts the author has taken to write the best. The world of Svaha is divided into 2- humans and super naturals. These two are connected by a unknown portal which few egocentric plan to misuse to spoil the earth, and only a 19 year old reckless young teenager Slash, helped by a mythological superhero Soldier X can prevent all this. In all this comes Major Khanna of FORCE ONE, Paramacharya of the Trimbak math, The Council and The Deus Corp with their own missions. I found few free strings, a few questions unanswered here and there; I think the author is working on a sequel. Svaha will definitely lead the Indian mythological heroes’ genre, and I wish Pratik good luck for his future books.

Lost in Pattaya


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About the Author: Kishore Modak studied in NIT-K and then moved to IIM – Ahmedabad. He has been a part of the IT industry, and pursued a career in marketing in companies like IBM, Intel, INSEAD and Dell.

Blurb: For Palash, the sorrow compounds from the incessant replaying of the critical minutes when his ‘Daddy-eye’ faltered, distracted by his own weakness, substance abuse. The loss and the ensuing search sends him spiraling into a divorce and the loss of a steady corporate job. Scouring for his little girl in the brothels of Pattaya he is ensnared in the web of mafia that runs the sex trade of Thailand. When he eventually finds her, will he be able to build back a wasted lifetime, or, is it too late for rescue, for him and his child?

Review:  ‘Lost in Pattaya’ is the second book by Kishore Modak and the first one I have read. The cover of the book is very artistic and colourful. I liked the method of narration of the author, though not fashionable but definitely different than what I have read this year. The first few pages were really boring but as the story proceeded it turned attention-grabbing. Lost in Pattaya starts with the father writing about his life, losing his daughter, the hospital where he lies awaiting death. When he sees his daughter for the first time after she was kidnapped is written well, from that the book takes an entry into dirty big world of sex, drugs and revenge, brutality. The author has sketched the characters in a very realistic way where their imperfections have also been exhibited. I am sure this story might not be liked by all but only a few (like me being one of them) as its on sex business and agents/brokers associated with it. Not all would accept that sex business has become a part of the society and has much violence in it. Though all these are really sad facts of the world but this point kept me glued to the book to read what would happen next to the daughter and will she be able to come out of it? ‘Lost in Pattaya’ looks at human situation of the loner. Palash, if we talk about his his auditory days, or when he finds himself knotted in unlawful trade of South East Asia, the betrayal by his co called family, the excessive situation of his reunion, is really a good characterisation of a genius. The author has let his central character develop into an unusual person which is not any easy task to write. If you are a fan of Sidney Sheldon, Lee Child or Archer, you will like it.

The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

Rhymes & Stories –Memoirs and Morals


Character building, teaching morals, teaching respect and manners are essential subjects in the curriculum of life. Stories and rhymes can be utilized to encourage those teachable moments in an arena that children enjoy: reading on their own or being read to. I, as a child enjoyed reading these stories and singing the rhymes over and over again, which now I realised that they provided me with valuable opportunities to discuss their moral value. And, through the value of repetition, as you use these story lessons, they become so familiar that their mere mention serves as a gentle reminder of any tiny error in judgment.

Baa Baa Black Sheep

Rhymes are innocent and carry moral meanings with messages of good citizenship, Kings and Queens sometimes bloodshed and tears. Baa Baa Black Sheep is no exemption. Baa Baa Black Sheep is based on the British wool industry involving King Edward I and King Edward II. Baa Baa Black Sheep is not a racist poem, it has nothing to do with slavery but is a genuine rhyme intended to teach children the sound that sheep make. Onomatopoeia (words that sound exactly like their meaning) baa baa in “Baa, baa black sheep” is an example. A black sheep is often not loved like a white one is cherished. Here it signifies those who feel purposeless and hopeless. But just like the black sheep, everyone is useful in their own small ways towards the contribution of humanity.

Humpty Dumpty

The Rhyme tells us the perils of sitting on a wall if you are an egg. You could fall, break and never be put together again. Even by the king’s men. However, humans aren’t eggs. We don’t get cracked into pans and dishes. Moral this rhyme teaches/taught me is to be careful. This is beneficial to life because someone who is careful not to lose things is less likely to lose them and someone who makes smarter decisions regarding safety will live a longer life and also be happier. This is relevant to life. The poem makes it clear that the cannon cannot be rebuilt. Knowing that something’s cannot be rebuilt teaches a child not to break things and that some changes are permanent.

I would like to know what you thought of the Kids Hut YouTube Channel. Please do browse the variety of stories/rhymes T-series has uploaded.

This post is a part of Kids Hut activity at BlogAdda.com