Sunshine Blogger Award

The Writers Community on WordPress keeps surprising me with their immense love and support. I can’t believe this is the second bloggers award that I got nominated for within the same month! Thank you so much Rishika for including me in your list. Perhaps, it has to do with how both of us belong to the same Indian subcontinent that I instantly felt myself reflected in your writings and soon a friendship began budding between us. I would frequently refresh my feed, waiting for you to update the next piece so I could go and read that too. I sincerely hope those who follow me would also find a similar sense of familiarity and enjoy her site as much as I do.

Having said that, I’m absolutely touched by what getting nominated for this particular award actually means. I looked it up online (by now those who have read my previous Liebster Award post, would know how curious I get about finding out how these awards came to become such popular trends as what they are today) and it seems that this practise was originally started by bloggers to encourage their fellow bloggers who spread optimism and creativity through their works among the writing community. What a wonderfully wholesome initiative! I love it.

The Rules

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you
  • Remember to list the rules and indicate your award nomination by including the logo (or like in my case, I got a little too excited and went ahead to make a doodle, but basically the idea is to play, have fun, get innovative, if you want to)
  • Answer the questions that has been given to you
  • Nominate 11 bloggers who inspire you (or as many as you can, no pressure, since it has been brought to my notice that a lot of the emerging bloggers are yet to build their social circle on the platform)
  • Make a new list of 11 questions for your nominees (please keep them interesting and as interactive as you can think of, so everyone involved can enjoy this process)

My Answers along with Rishika’s Questions

  1. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you?

Honestly, I love the idea of travelling and going on trips to different places, be it visiting Bhutan or going on an impromptu trip to Darjeeling over the weekend or even spending a month at an old village somewhere in Provence, France. But I cannot think of settling down anywhere other than where I’m living right now, Mumbai. It’s become home to me, the central point where my life is a circle extending around and beyond it.

2. Do you prefer books or movies? Why?

I never trust adaptations, I just can’t and yet I have been guilty of sneaking out movies from my ‘To-be-watched-after-I-read-the-original-source’ list late at night under moments of weakness (sighs). My ready-made answer to this question would be books because I absolutely love reading and of course, there is no way a film can build a world filled with such intricate details, where you’re completely involved in every part of the character’s life, in the span of just a couple of hours. Yet, they are two very distinct medium of expressions and I do love watching films as much as I enjoy reading. I know, I’m rambling… simply put, I can’t choose between the two.

3. How do you define happiness?

Ah! This one’s easy. Freedom. Happiness for me is being free to do what I want to do. Imagine being appreciated for the work you do, or the art you create, getting to travel once in a while, having time to spend with friends, family or alone enjoying your solitude, eating whatever you wish to eat… man that’s pure unadulterated happiness for me!

4. What is your favourite quote?

Probably could mention many but if I have to choose one, I think I’ll go with this: “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” – Tennessee Williams (A Streetcar Named Desire)

5. How would you spend your perfect day?

Difficult to decide, I have always been a little moody and take things in my stride, make decisions on the spot when I have to, so… right now, I would love to have the watered down coffee from a particular canteen in my campus (we used to call it Milan Da’s canteen, by the name of the person who had owned it) and just sit on the ledge of my university department, peeking at the students who pass by beneath, maybe wave to some who I know, talk with my group of friends and wait for the next lecture to begin. Mhm, sounds like a perfect day. (Yeah, I miss those pre-lock-down days so much!)

6. If you had a chance to time travel, would you visit the past or the future, why?

Definitely the past, I will be prepared for what’s in store for me, despite my terrible memory and half-baked mastery over history, at least I would know something about what has already happened. Whereas, the future seems bleak with natural resources depleting, fascism and aggressive political forces rising everywhere, the environment is under threat, but more than all this, the future is an unknown prospect, an unpredictable and uncontrollable situation that makes me uneasy.

7. Describe yourself in three words.

Empathetic. Impulsive. Passionate. (I was unsure about what to include as the third one since so many words kept zapping through my mind at once)

8. Why did you start blogging?

Five years ago, I knew zilch about blogging but I made this site nevertheless with the hope of keeping an online record of the best writings I wrote. By best, I mean the ones that satisfied me to some extent. I can be very choosy and when it comes to my own writings, I tend to find them quite distasteful awhile after creating them. So I mostly remained anonymous, barely shared the posts I uploaded here with anyone except a handful of friends and was extremely irregular. I didn’t follow anyone nor did I participate much with those who were kind enough to leave comments or nominate me for a bloggers award. But a few years back, I finally had to revamp the site when I discovered the free theme that I had been using until then had been discontinued. And, it was not until last month that I actually started what you might call blogging. The lock-down has given me a lot of free time and with that I became restless to do something productive, to stay busy, and with great pleasure I ultimately began browsing other people’s blogs here. I have never felt more fascinated with how vast this community is and how diverse the range of topics that people discuss or engage themselves in. So far, it has been an interesting journey!

9. What is the first thing you notice in someone?

Eyes! I’m not sure if they are really the windows to the soul of a person but I love it when people smile, like really smile, not out of politeness or for a formal greeting, but out of actual happiness, the kind you see when friends meet and hug or when your cat jumps in your lap and kneads on your thigh, that smile reaches your eyes and the corners crinkle. It’s just so beautiful.

10. Tell me about one of your fears.

Seeing my face change in the mirror at night. I swear I try my best to avoid glancing into mirrors in the dark because I always have this intense feeling that the one reflected on it would not be me but someone else, a stranger. It literally freaks me out.

11. If you had to choose between money and love, what would it be? Why?

Love! Do I really need to say why?! I mean, love is rare and precious and all those very cliche things, but also love is strength, it’s friendship, it’s courage and it’s whatever you need it to be when you’re not in your best form. It complements your lack, accepts your shortcomings and sticks around even when hell breaks lose. I don’t have to be a hopeless romantic to choose love over money. I can earn enough to survive somehow, but love? You can’t even buy that with money!

My Nominees

  1. A Man Deep (Stunning photography along with simple quotes that would leave you feeling nostalgic but in a good way.)
  2. Benyapoesy (A poetry blog that is maintained by a very interesting person who is not only a polyglot but also loves anime! I have been enjoying his works quite a lot recently and would love you all to go and visit.)
  3. Bustling Mind, Blank Verse (Ranging from confessional poetry to narrative poetry, this blog has pieces that are silently stirring and is sure to make an impact on your mind.)
  4. Darnell Cureton (An author who shares his own insights and gives us tips on going that extra mile in becoming better at our own writing. Extremely optimistic and inspiring!)
  5. Judeitakali (Another inspiring blogger who often brings up important topics such as depression or mental health awareness in his poems and haiku sequences.)
  6. Lance Sheridan (Another poetry blog that I would request you all to check out, the poems are filled with intricate imagery and metaphors worth getting immersed within.)
  7. Lauren M. Hancock (One of my dear friend and fellow blogger who writes poems that can both compel and disarm you, disturb or reassure you.)
  8. Osharlequin (Love the small illustrations that accompany his poems but I think the highlight of his blog are the Wednesday posts where he discusses and shares various types of music with his followers.)
  9. Virginia (If you like diversity in your feed, make sure to check this one out! The tagline for this blog describes it perfectly: Finding inspiration in rubble, books, movies, music and more…)
  10. Wardah (A kind blogger who I hope to become close friends with in time, her poetry is enchanting even when they are sad and it’s difficult to read them without feeling attached to the poet herself.)
  11. Wildonline (This blog mainly shares wildlife photography and little anecdotes on how the narrator/photographer came across these interesting animal or bird species. Expect to see lots of cute foxes!)

My Questions for the Nominees

  1. Are you a tea or coffee person?
  2. Do you have a sibling(s), what are they like?
  3. Do you own a pet, include their picture in your post and if you don’t have any, would you like to have one?
  4. What’s the most interesting TV series that you have watched?
  5. If you had to recommend a book to someone who generally hates reading, which one would it be?
  6. What do you prefer reading more in blogs? Poetry/short story/interviews/reviews/personal rants/historical articles? (You name it, if not on this list)
  7. What’s your favourite music band or album? (Share a link!)
  8. Did you ever consider blogging as a source of income? What’s your views on it?
  9. How many drafts do you make before you finally publish something?
  10. Would you call yourself cautious or carefree?
  11. What’s your favourite flower?

Thanks to all those who survived till the end of this long post. Your patience is much appreciated and I’m excited to read about your views regarding the questions/answers or the award trend itself. Please leave your opinions in the comments below. I would request all my readers to check out the blogs I have mentioned above, many of them are new and emerging writers. Please show them your kind support and encourage them in their journey. Happy reading and spread the love!

The Liebster Award

Firstly, I must say that I’m extremely grateful to The Magpie Fancier for nominating me for the Liebster Award. Thank you so much for considering me! It hasn’t been that long since I started following her blog but soon I felt wrapped in the nuances of her words and her disarmingly candid style of writing. Please visit her site, I assure you the experience will be worth it.

For those of you who are curious by nature (myself included) and would like to know a bit about what it exactly means to be nominated for this particular award, I thought of adding here a brief summary of my own understanding of it. The rest of you who are impatient to discover new interesting blogs, feel free to skip this section and proceed to the list of nominations below!

So the word “Liebster” means sweetest, dearest, beloved or endearing (you get the gist) in German, generally used to refer to your closest friend or lover, basically someone you value and cherish in life. Now, this practise of award nomination originally started out as a way of helping new and upcoming bloggers to expand their outreach but soon it became a very popular trend to increase the number of followers to your site. However, the number of followers is an arbitrary thing and I would like to hold on to the faith that a lot of us who participate in this trend sincerely do it out of good will and our yearning or deepest desire to connect with other like-minded and emerging bloggers on this social platform. I personally love this opportunity to feel special and in turn have the chance to return this wholesome favour by nominating others who I believe deserve to have a large readership.

Before I plunge into the Rules, let me admit that this selection was pretty challenging for me. There are so many wonderful writers whom I follow and it seemed almost unfair to have to pick and choose only a handful among them and this list is in no way an exhaustive one. The only parameter I finally settled on to make my process a little easier is to focus specifically on those who I feel might not have received any award before and do not have a strong enough following. Also, I would like to invite you all to go through Magpie’s award post so you can follow and check out her list of amazing blogs too!

The Rules

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and add a link to their blog
  2. Answer the 11 questions given to you
  3. Nominate 11 bloggers that you think deserves the award
  4. Ask 11 innovative questions to the ones you have nominated
  5. Remember to notify your nominees once you have uploaded your acknowledgement post

My Nominees

All my Feels (Julia writes on her blog about her personal life, the dilemmas she often faces while sometimes posting poetry and at times sharing recipes. I find her works very relatable.)

awayfromthemaddingcrowd (One of the kindest and bravest woman I have ever had the fortune of getting to know, her blog posts are often confessional and heart-wrenching poetry or short rambling pieces.)

brookejcutler (Another strong woman whose blog posts inspire me time and again. I have only recently discovered her and I’m sure you all will love her works.)

Cast in Pewter (This blog is interesting in how it raises questions about art and discusses issues such as accessibility of art or art therapy in their writings.)

Cath Humphris (Cath is a writer herself and she shares her insights on other writings, frequently giving out very interesting recommendations. If you’re a bibliophile, you’ll definitely enjoy this visit.)

Keith Wilson (Keith is a professional counsellor and we all know how important it is to discuss and be aware regarding our mental health. His short pieces are lucid enough for easy understanding for any layman and they stand testimony to his in-depth expertise in the field.)

MK Lee’s Telling Tales (Having already written and published a few books, this blogger really knows how to capture our attention be it through poetry or short stories. Have a look and you’ll understand what I’m trying to say.)

Naomh Briste (Noamh’s subtitle under his blog describes his poetry style succinctly – The love songs of the damned, and I could never do justice to it if I tried to express it in any other terms.)

Radiate Literary (An online literary journal for students and run by students themselves, this provides an excellent platform to young authors for publishing their works and connecting with other authors around their age group. I think such endeavours must be supported heartily by all of us.)

Teacher as Transformer (Essentially a teacher sharing his knowledge that he has gained over the years through the medium of this blog and his short but sweet poems. I’m thankful to him in extension to my gratitude for teachers like him who push us and encourage us to find the best within ourselves.)

What She Sees (The intermingling between art and literature, this blog is innovative in its style and presentation.)

Honourable Mention: Poethead (Established in 2008, this site aims to be a publishing platform for women poets and is one of the only two Irish publishing platforms that host indexes centered in women’s literary art. As you can imagine, this blog is a treasure trove for readers and lovers of poetry.)

My Answers along with Magpie’s Questions

  1. Would you rather be too hot or cold?

Coming from a Tropical country like India, I think I would rather be too cold than too hot. I hate sweating and the humidity makes it worse sometimes. You may think I’m silly but somehow freezing temperatures just seem less bothersome and we can always heap more jackets or sweaters one over the other to feel warm. Plus, hot chocolates!

2. What is your favourite quality about yourself?

Empathy. Though I feel it’s a double-edged sword. Especially when I get anxiety because I’m needlessly worrying about other people and trying to resolve things that are mostly beyond my power to control or change. In spite of all that, it’s a good quality that makes me more sensitive to the feelings of those around me and perhaps even helps me become subtly observant of the slight shifts in the mood.

3. What is the strangest dream you’ve ever had?

I have had a few peculiar dreams but one of them stuck with me. In it I saw myself slowly rising in my room and floating, almost flying with each step I took it propelled me higher up until I could touch the ceiling with my palms. The strangest part of it was that it was not a superpower or anything like that, I remember vaguely, it was an effortless thing as if I could do it all my life just a secret but a very minor insignificant one. When I woke up, for a split second I almost believed it to be true, that if I stepped out of bed maybe I could launch up in the air again. Have anyone of you dreamt of flying?!

4. If you were marooned on a desert island and could choose one book to bring with you, what would it be? (Don’t you dare say “How To Build A Boat”)

Oh no, I’m terrible at choosing one book. Even when I travelled back and forth between states for my university vacations, I would pack in at least three to four books. Regrettably, I barely managed to finish reading them through the holidays, but their close presence comforted me like keeping chocolates stashed in your pocket. However, if I had to choose one, perhaps I’ll pick Pollyanna, a novel by Eleanor H. Porter about a little girl who plays an odd game of finding something to be happy about in the direst hopeless circumstances. It’s so optimistic that I think it will give me hope despite being stranded on a desert island.

5. Is there one book you think everyone should read, and why?

Cereus Blooms at Night by Shani Mootoo! Set in the fictional town of the Caribbean island, Tyler, a nurse at the Paradise Alms House narrates the mysterious tale of an old lady Mala Ramchandin. The novel had left me in tears and with a renewed courage to grab the most out of the life we have. The language is intricate, with delicate and raw imagery, subtle in it’s observation yet devastatingly painful and in the end there is still hope, there is still love blooming amid the ruins like stubborn wild flowers struggling to breath and dance in the air. It’s a must read!

6. What is the most important quality, in your opinion, in others?

The willingness to understand and accept another person’s point of view. We often have miscommunication and disagreements but what remains the turning stone in any relationship is how much we are willing to listen and try to understand the other person.

7. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

That would be thukpa! It’s originally a Tibetan noodle soup that many people consume in the northern Himalayan parts of India. I have always been a fan of it since my childhood because I associate it with the hills and the excitement preceding any trip to the Himalayas with my family or friends. Apart from the savoury flavour, the dish is actually very nutritious because it has a mixture of different vegetables and meat that becomes tender and delicious when slurped with the soup. (My mouth is watering!)

8. What is your happiest memory?

I definitely cannot choose one so I’m going to bring it down to three of my happiest memories in no specific order. Firstly, when I finally got into my current university, (Jadavpur University), which is highly esteemed in my country and I met some of my most favourite people here. Over the last two years, the campus became my second home and these kindred souls who accepted me into their wide open arms are nothing less than a family now. Secondly, the time when I took my parents to a local restaurant for a dinner treat after I received my first paycheck for publishing a film review. The meal was nothing extraordinary but to our small family of three, it was one of those moments where you share a silent mutual understanding blended with a tinge of contentment, pride and pure happiness. The third time was when my then boyfriend had come to pick me up from the airport after I returned from a month long summer vacation. I haven’t been one to commit into relationships much before and I grew up to be very independent. That’s why I hadn’t expected him to be there that night, and the surprise coupled with the joy of seeing a welcoming smile as he stood outside waving at me from the crowd of unfamiliar faces was heartwarming to say the least.

9. First pet?

My catto Zook who patiently enduring all my excessive coddling and squishing. I have attached a picture of us together above!

10. Have you ever had your heart broken? (If this question makes you uncomfortable feel free to skip)

Sure, who hasn’t? Some of these leave lasting scars, some fade over the years and get lost underneath piles of new sorrows while some others we unconsciously carry with us everywhere we go. What matters to me is not whether we had our hearts broken, because most of us if not all have, or will have at some point in our lives, be it by friends, lovers or family… but how we survive despite it and how we still go on to hope for another chance to lose our control and do things recklessly once again is what fascinates me.

11. Do you believe in love at first sight?

Yes and no. I would like to quote something here, “There’s a Japanese phrase that I like: koi no yokan. It doesn’t mean love at first sight. It’s closer to love at second sight. It’s the feeling when you meet someone that you’re going to fall in love with them.” – Nicola Yoon, (The Sun is also a Star)

My Questions for the Nominees

  1. Have you ever experienced a writing block, how did you get out of it or what do you think helps to get out of it?
  2. What is your spirit animal? (No, not your Patronus)
  3. When do you usually get your writing ideas, during the shower, while taking a walk, in the sleep, mention if otherwise?
  4. Which book adaptation was a success according to you? (Film or TV Series, I know this is a hard one)
  5. How would you describe yourself, extrovert, introvert or an ambivert?
  6. What would your ideal weekend destination be like?
  7. What is your favourite music genre or singer?
  8. Do you think fictional characters are an extension of the author, why or why not?
  9. If you could be invisible for one day what would you do?
  10. What are your dreams or aspirations in life?
  11. Why did you start blogging?

Lastly, a special thanks to all those who read this post right till the end. I think I haven’t written something quite this length in a long time. Your patience is much appreciated. I urge you all to show the nominees your kind support and hopefully they would leave an indelible imprint on your mind as they did on mine. Happy reading and spread the love!