Half year updates 2016

Long time again.

Do you know how writer’s block happens to me, most of the time? It starts with my mood swings and end up having the negative thoughts about my thoughts and notes. We feel, whatever we wrote just now, need not be published, and is not worth it. Remember how in the movies, every writer, throws up paper after paper on the floor, filling the room with crumpled papers? Well, the only change these days is that it happens digital now. I did blog about this not too long back.

In between, I did try to launch a photo calendar in the beginning of last year, though the promotion post still lies somewhere in my drafts. Recently I also tried to upload some old music on soundcloud, since muziboo had been shut down. The Facebook mania has slowly worn out somehow, but the Instagram and Twitter addictions are still hanging around. I have even taken down the Facebook page for this blog, since there were so many likes which seemed like trolls and not real fans. What do you mean by fan after all. I am not a celebrity, and people who really want to read my thoughts can always log on to this website. The name is obviously too simple for it. I too had lot many subscriptions on Feedly and liked many pages on Facebook, but if I ever want to read the blogs, I just type or google the names, and instantly they show up.Continue reading →

New year 2016 – Project 365 completion and new goals

So 2015 is over and new year has arrived. This is the time people reflect on the past year and create new year resolutions. I too have been doing them for the last many years on this blog. But I rarely do try to do the postmortem of my previous wish list. What matters is the memory milestones, which I carry forward as appreciation and medals, to hang in my mental cupboard.

Last year 2015 I completed my first project 365 on photography. I did not cheat. I did take photo each day and posted on Instagram. This means I had to post pathetic photos on some days and that too the single photo I would have taken that day. When I started I did not have much hopes on me, and I had given the relaxed rules that if I ever I fail to take a photo, I could always post something from the past or leave it blank. But I did not had to. Is that what you call the conspiracy from the universe? It seemed that I had to do nothing much apart from not giving up each day. The rest was taken care of. Something or the other appeared before me, inviting me to click it to make it photo for the day. Taking photo was sometimes easy, as even an abstract image which people do not understand qualify as an image. Some people just call them more artistic than others though.

The tough times arrived in form of uploading to Instagram. I realised Internet was still not available as easily it should be, in many remote places. I can be actually grateful to the unfortunate timing of not being able to have many vacations this year, since if that had happened, I would not have had access to Internet many days and it would have stressed me more.

The second difficulty was Instagram itself. There were times when I couldn’t upload to Instagram from phone, but was able to do online. But there comes the big issue of uploading to Instagram through web. That was something of a tradeoff for DSLR pics, as they had to be scaled down for mobile/tablet uploads, and also transferred to the devices, rather than directly upload from laptop.

The third was the editing part. Seeing some of the images on Instagram and a many other social networks you wonder how they create such beautiful filters. Do they really pay for the innumerous filter apps out there? And does #iphoneography really does make a difference? As I saw more and more mobile photos, there were many times, like other noobs, to fall into the trap of upgrading the phone. I have still not found the answer of best mobile camera phone. Some say, its the mobile you have in your hand, and some say its iPhone.


Now that 2015 was over, I really wondered what could be my next year challenge. Though it was hard, the photo challenge did became a daily inspiration to me. There was something I could look forward to. It was similar to having a daily hobby class, though the class duration was very less.

In the last year, I came across several articles regarding gratitude, and how it transforms our life. Every year, the resolutions we keep are aimed at improving our life, and such articles scream again and again that yoga, meditation, practicing gratitude are the keys to happiness. Though I have not fully believed in these concepts, and how to incorporate these practices into my life, I thought why not start with something which I can correlate to.

Saying thank you is a practice we have been learning from childhood and I thought that would be much more easier than doing flexible physical exercises or being in silence. We just have to mould it into proper gratitude, or to be grateful for whatever we have every day and then slowly every moment, rather than saying thank you only when required. So this year’s word is going to be GRATITUDE.

Another target I have kept is to be healthy. This does not mean I want to lose weight or fat belly. I just want to be healthy. This can mean incorporating healthy eating habits or indulging in some form of exercise. Be it mere walking for half hour around my apartment or the terrace. Be it in being regular at night teeth brushing. Be it in having more salads and proteins. Cooking has not been my favourite department ever since I was born. But I need to realize its importance in our sustenance and health. It’s like a survival skill which needs to be taught in school, but unlike many other important survival skills, our education unfortunately doesn’t have that in our curriculum.

The last target is to read more books. In the last two years, without having any challenge, or any dedication towards reading books, I realized I read almost 10 books per year. So I am sure, that with proper attention, I could increase the number of the books and the quality of the books too.

What are your new year thoughts?


Writing apps on iPad

Apps and I go a long way back. From installing softwares on the PC and playing with it, and then uninstalling it after “testing” it, I have clogged my Windows installation to such an extent, that I had become a pro at installing it again and again. This was in my college days.

Now in the world of mobile OS, I have played with oldest apps to the latest Android, Windows, and iOS store. These days, after getting my iPad, when I have been busy trying different apps, I read about the Hanx Writer and thought of trying it out. Usually, I try the games for its graphics, and when I am unable to move ahead in the game, I uninstall them. Some apps have been crappy with the unwanted ads or showers of bling, as in Candy Crush Soda. I do have a condition while testing, that I won’t buy the app unless I really enjoy it and find it useful. But some others as in the Smash Hit, has stunned me with their display and has tempted me to buy the app many times.

As the year draws to a close, I was wondering what project to start with for the next year. The instagram challenge of Project 365 is going to be over. Apart from photography, I thought why not give the writing a similar chance. So that’s when I started searching for the writing apps for iPad. I was searching for the free apps as usual as a start. The native app, Pages, and iAWriter and many other famous ones were either paid apps or were very heavy. The Evernote and Onenote apps were useful in doing sync across all the devices, but the interface did not seem tempting. Moreover, they did not had the “word count”. They acted more like the plastic files we had at home, to segregate various notes and clippings. Having said that, I found Evernote to be very useful for using on laptop and would have stuck to it on iPad too, if it was free, and did not crash much on my laptop.

I stumbled across a simple app, Werdsmith, which had a plain interface and beautiful fonts but was limited to few entries. I have now settled on Plain Text 2 to start with, which can be synchronised manually with Evernote and Onenote, as a backup. Though I am still not satisfied and the search is still on.

I also had a go at the famous Hanx Writer. the typical handwriting feel indeed has something magical about it. I was giving a first try scribbling along, and the following came up. Below is the unedited version of what I wrote, and I was super impressed.
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Papaya cake

Its amazing how as you grow old your taste buds can tolerate more. WhHen I was young, I hated papayas and many other fruits. I still do, but can pop in occasionally just for the sake of our children. The most common fruit would be bananas and their excess has led to creating banana muffins and banana breads to many houses. Last weekend I was faced with an excess of papaya, and that too organic, all the more expensive. Milkshakes was already tried and tested for two three days, and I did not wanted to have another one. I thought if we could use excess bananas in baking why not papaya? That led me to search for this recipe from Nadia’s Healthy Kitchen, and I decided to adapt it for my own use.

The changes I made were for the unavailable ingredients like stevia and grated coconut. I used whole wheat flour instead of oat flour and plain yoghurt (or rather Nandini curd packet).



Dry ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 baking powder
  • 1/2 baking soda
  • 1/4 cinnamon powder
  • Pinch of salt

Wet ingredients:

  • 1/4+1/8 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 cups mashed papaya
  • 1/4 cup yoghurt


  • Preheat your oven to 180°C
  • Prepare your baking tin, by lining with butter/oil and dusting it with flour.
  • In a bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients.
  • In a separate bowl, mash the papaya well with a fork, then add in the yoghurt, coconut oil and eggs. I also added the sugar along with wet ingredients as I have done the same before for another baking recipe.
  • Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and mix and pour into the prepared tin.
  • Bake for 40-50 minutes or till the toothpick/knife comes out clean.

I do feel I could have used bit more flour, or reduce the amount of coconut oil, as I felt the cake was too moist for my taste. You could also add the tutti-fruity chips available in the market.

Do test the recipe and let me know how it came out for you as well.!