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Friday, July 10, 2020

In Wonderland!!

Alice : So this is how cloud 9 feels...
White Rabbit : Didn't you feel it while racing with me all this while? 
Alice : Those were all races.... Thus felt like one too! cloud 9!

Link to the cover story is here

Link to The Literary Mirror Magazine July, 2020 edition is here

Monday, July 06, 2020

A Rendezvous With Serendipity | Dots And Streaks

It's an irony how life operates. Somehow it never fails to make you believe in lots of things that you might have read heard but never truly believed. Like this time it made me believe in the theory that 'universe does and can really conspire'. 

Not that life has not thrown me surprises before. Ofcouse there have been many but this time it's the stroke of serendipity which over weighed and made its dominance felt loud and clear. 

It only makes me ponder and believe (again!)  that heart's calling can also and does also provide you with a glimpse of that world of wonder. 

While with a heavy heart I took down my posts today of all the poems that I had poured my soul into and spread it over this canvas of mine.....I can only hope and wish that they spread their warmth in this flight of theirs taking their bouquet of emotions along scattering them in the canvas of the wide sky. 

To all those people who made this dream (I don't even know if I had ever dared to dream this way too!) a reality today.....As a journey or an event becomes memorable only because of the people who came along to walk beside holding your hand and helping you walk into those little triumphs .....I owe this and always will to you all. 

Do take out a few minutes and spread the love.... While my book 'Dots And Streaks' goes to get published with Author's Ink as a part of the winning deal... Do provide your feedback and rating on goodreads at this link

You can also find more information and further updates on my book 'Dots And Streaks' on it's  Facebook Page. Do like and follow. 

Below are some of the kind words and accolades that came in the path of 'Dots And Streaks' 

"After an exhaustive evaluation of the various manuscripts in the coveted The LIT Digital Awards 2020, the masterpiece which could stand true to its potential in front of the renowned jury members was Dots & Streaks by Ellora Mishra. 

The debut poetess had made a huge shout out to the literary fraternity by grabbing the coveted award."
The Literary Mirror Author's Ink Publications

"You point where you exactly want the reader to see!
One gets to experience this voyage of discovery!

Like an effortless charioteer, the author steers the readers through the 104 pages of Dots & Streaks."

-Book Review by Dr. Anita Sabat (Author, Blogger, columnist, Odisha GI ambassador) 

"She probably has the key to the time machine as she enables it for the readers to pause and capture the fleeting emotions that usually go unnoticed on our day to day lives. Pause, Ponder and develop a perception is the right way to indulge in this poetic extravaganza. "

- Book Review & Author Interview By Chinmayee Gayatree Sahu (Author, Blogger) 

"Poetry by its very nature tries to capture the elusive elements of life. In fact the intricate and elusive elements of of life which are felt but can never be precisely expressed are best expressed in poetry. Ellora’s poems provide us the insights without themselves being too elusive to our understanding.

True to its claim in the blurb that these are short poetic tales of life’s musings, the poems are full of such ruminations. "

-Book Review By Durga Dash (Author, Blogger) 

"The book is a terrific, succulent piece of poetry written with golden threads of dreams, memories, thoughtful verses that vibe with your inner self. 

Its like wine, it grows on you slowly and tastefully; intoxicates you, leaving you asking for more!"

- Book Review By Daisy Bala (Poet, Author, Blogger) 

"Philosophical and artistic, the verses linger like the petrichor!"

-Book Review By Purba Chakraborty (Poet, Author, Blogger) 

"Without using too many words or explanations, Ellora paints scenes, settings and situations through her poems. Her words transport the reader to exactly where she wants them to be. 

Ellora is the puppeteer, and the reader turns into an audience that thoroughly enjoys the journey full of surprises."

Book Review By Mayura Amarkant (Writer, Freelance Journalist & Digital Consultant, Blogger, Author) 

Life’s principles are subjective. Yet, if viewed stoically, the philosophies of life apply to all and sundry. However, it needs the heart of a poet and a great emotional connect to visit life the way Ellora Mishra does in her debut book of poetry, ‘Dots and Streaks’

‘Dots and Streaks’ is definitely more than just a few ellipses from the pages of life. These poems are a metaphorical journey into everyday living that trickle like music in the ears. 

- Book review by Sonia Dogra Author, Blogger, Teacher, Reporter, Freelance Proof Reader

Gratitude is a very small word and just not enough sometimes. 

My heartfelt gratitude to each and everyone who filled this journey with cherishable memories! 

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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Blossoms & Foliages | Trapped In Heaven | See Through Words - Book Reviews

Today I am attempting to review three different books of three different genres... God bless me! First things first... Disclaimers. So, why three reviews clubbed in one? Why not individual book reviews? Etc etc... For the barrage of questions here go the disclaimers!

1. Considering my own laziness in reading all the book reviews coming through... Well, I am just not able to. So, if I extrapolate my laziness (shamelessly) to others... Most of them are reading just their own book's review. So, in clubbing three book reviews in one post.. May be you get introduced to two more books :)!

2. My blog my rules !! (someone had once told me this line... badly wanted to say this sometime or the other... Wasn't getting the chance ever... So, well one bizzare wish fulfilled  :)!)

So, here we go :)! Just posting the reviews in the order in which I had read the books (you can chalk out the disclaimer in this yourself :))

Blossoms And Foliages (Genre Poetry) 

Even though the book's cover page says it all.... Let me still elaborate.... Are you a nature lover? Even if you are the kind that just feel fresh taking a stroll in the nearby park or woods amidst the greenery...this book describes that surreal experience in the form of poetic verses. You might be surprised that how such a surreal experience can be even described... But you read the poems in the book and you will know... Yes, someone has that god gifted talent to actually be able to word them.

Till date I always felt that photographs do more justice in capturing nature's beauty than words but after reading this book I really couldn't decide which did more justice. The photographs are as beautiful as the imagery created by the poems. You just get transfixed and transferred to that very place in the lap of nature and enjoy drinking it sip by sip through the poetic words woven around them. The author has painstakingly even described each of the pictures for the visually impaired.

My favourite poem is 'Walk your path'...quoting a few lines

"A wise soul has quoted
A journey of thousand miles
Begins with a single step
Determined, Walk the less trodden path
And walk alone if no one else follows you"

And last but not the least... When I picked up this book and started reading... I just couldn't help marvel at the literary richness of the poems. What beautiful usage of words. I would really want the author to guide me as to how can I improve my English to such an international level! 

The link to download the book is here (free for limited period). 

Trapped In Heaven And Other Stories ( Genre Fiction Short Stories - Romance) 

I generally tend to pick up books on romance when I want a light read. When I don't have too much time and still want to do some time pass reading types. And that was precisely my thought before I picked up this book of short stories on romance... But I was in for a pleasant surprise. 

This isn't such a book like the lovey dovey types which you can read and forget with time. The stories are deep and some of them explore some deep rooted vices in our society. And the way the stories bring them out is hard hitting and leaves you touched and thinking. 

My favourite two stories from the book are '#No Filter' which just left me teary eyed and 'The Devil's Bride' for which I am short of words and can only applaud. 

Erotica as a genre is niche in itself and it requires great amount of talent and craft to make it aesthetically tasteful. And this author has this brilliant ability to do so. The way she has narrated the stories and woven erotica with romance and explored the depths of relationships is simply amazing. 

Somewhere, while reading I also felt that the book even subtly explored through the portrayal of the relationships the various aspects of womanhood.... Her weaknesses, gullibility, strength, girlishness, vices etc. The book even has a dash of humour... 'Bullet in the heart'...such a hilarious story!

And the narrative skills of the author is definitely going to leave you spellbound. It makes you feel like you are reading some international bestseller. I remember when I was reading this book I had actually pinged the author and told her specifically that I can't believe that my debut book is actually placed along with a master piece like yours that too of such a talented author. 

Link to download the book is here (free for limited period). 

See Through Words (Genre Spirituality/Philosophy) 

There are very few books which you tumble upon and keep them aside to read and re-read and re-re-read multiple times. This is one such brilliant book. 

I had picked up this book to read because of it's cover. I had read a bit about Zen philosophy earlier but had read only in bits and pieces and was very happy to find a book on this in the carnival. This book came to me just when I had lined up to read the book 'Siddhartha' by Hermann Hesse. You can say I was in that phase when I needed such a book and I am so glad I found this one :).

The very first thing that really grasped me was the 'uncopyright' in this book which gives the permission to anyone and everyone to copy or use the contents of the book in any manner. And it leaves the decision on you if you want to give the credit to the author or not as it says 'morality cannot be forced'. 

The book beautifully delves into the world of Zen and imparts subtly the knowledge on Zen way of living which in the author's words isn't about 'What you do' but about 'How you do'. 

Apart from speaking about the origin of Zen 'the artless art of living' and difference between 'Dhyana' and 'Meditation' (which was an eye opener to me!)  the book touches upon various other aspects like 'state of no mind', ' Experiencing nothingness', 'language of mindlessness', 'accepting polarities' in which the mind is restricted, 'Conscious state','unattachment vs detachment','state of no thought', 'state of egolessness', 'state of desirelessness' etc. The book also gives examples in the form of stories explaining the meaning of these states and on how to reach these states... Through laughter, sudden jerks, emptying of the mind, surprising the mind.

Some of my favourite lines from the book are:

"One who chooses will always be incomplete , less than the whole because the part he chooses will continue to delude him and the part he denies  will continue to pursue and haunt him. "

"A door is always in the middle, between the opposites - the extremes"

"Ever desireless, one can see the mystery. Ever desiring,  one sees only the manifestations"

This is one such book where every line of the book leaves you in a multitude of thoughts that linger on. And my review in words just can't do justice to that feeling. 

Link to download the book is here (free for a limited period). 

Link to my own book 'Dots And Streaks' is here (free for limited period).

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Tuesday, June 23, 2020

His eyes loved the disarray
While her mind couldn't see anything astray
The break of the dawn was his solace
Whereas, into the night's silence she loved to gaze
His taste buds yearned for the bland or something sweet
While her taste always lied in the spices
His love for music resided in the instrument beats
And her heart went for the lyrical pieces
Mindless comedy was his source of entertainment
Realistic films were her penchant
Their only common thread
Were the words in writing which had led
Twelve years gone past
In a blink of an eye
And if you still ask
What's that's common between them
They can only laugh together
At the years that have sped

PS : Happy Anniversary S :)

Monday, June 22, 2020

Share The Work Load | Three Generations

The Grandparents Generation

As a child whenever I used to visit my grandparents during vacations I always used to find my grandma toiling hard in the kitchen. So much so that I for a very long time used to think that was her room. She would always be found there. Sometimes making delicacies for all the grandkids or sometimes taking a break from her day long work to grab a bite or sometimes even catching a nap. While my grandfather was retired and he would spend time going for walks and got all the necessary ingredients which my grandma had dictated and rest of the day he would read or listen to news or play with us grandkids. 

Today, when I look back and wonder on the division of work load between my grandparents I can only remember that apart from getting groceries and doing all the remaining outside house work my grandfather used to wash his own used plates and cups and probably wash his own clothes. Remaining entire responsibility of the food part and cleaning part was on my grandma's shoulders. But I really don't know if she found it unfair... All I remember is her big smile of satisfaction when we grandkids used to tumble on each other to pile on the scrumptious delicacies she made. 

The Parents Generation

Coming to my parents, again the workload division was pretty similar. My mother being a homemaker looked after the house and father was responsible for anything outside the house. But as we were not present in our native state the number of visitors to our house were limited and my mother didn't seem to be living in the kitchen like my grandma. 

As a child I remember my father also helping my mother in getting us kids get ready for the school. Mornings were always a mad rush where every minute counted. My mother would be busy in the kitchen with breakfast and packing lunch for us while my father would hurriedly iron our uniforms and feed us both kids before dropping us off at the bus stop. 

After a few years when we passed out of school my father's work load reduced a bit but my mother's probably remained the same. I remember she never used to allow me come into the kitchen. Her argument was always the same that cooking is no rocket science one day or the other you will learn it for now concentrate on studies. 

I remember asking her at times that do you feel it's an unfair division of work... As I see papa has Sundays off but you don't get any offs. And she used to have a simple reply... It's not easy what he is doing... It's a difficult job to go out there and earn a living for the family.... He needs at least that one day to relax... I get to relax everyday during the day when you all leave home in the morning. I used to ask her what about the days when you are not well... I don't see anyone take care of you... Whereas you take care of us when we fall sick. Again she would say, I get my rest... Your dad goes to work even when he is unwell... Going out for work when you are unwell is much more difficult than staying at home when you are feeling sick. 

I also remember asking her why do you want me to go for a job and she would answer your job has nothing to do with all this that is just for you to feel financially independent....dont you link the two now.  Maybe she was satisfied too in some way is what I used to think. 

Generation Us

When it came to us, things were a bit different.... We both were working. Household work was still there and someone had to do it. So, we outsourced it. We even outsourced a bit of parenting to a baby sitter who lived with us. 

Now, what was the definition of work load division?! Just because the work is outsourced doesn't mean we used to dump our plates with leftover food in the sink. The rule was simple.... each one (including our little one) fully empties the leftover food on the plate to the bin before putting it in the sink so that it's not a hassle for the maid the next day in cleaning. In the same way, the floor needs to be off toys and other litter....each one to tidy up their own clutter....  so that the maid doesn't have to do it while sweeping the next day. 

Babysitter had to take care of the child when we were not at home so she has to get an undisturbed full night's sleep.... So all the tantrums of the child we used to manage between us after lights went off. 

My husband's mind switches off at night 12 am and he just can't keep his eyes open... So the responsibility to manage the kid in the night was mine. Since I did that I got to sleep till the last minute in the morning while my husband woke up early to instruct the cook and got ready to accommodate my schedule. I would keep every thing ready in the night itself for my Son's school so that in the morning I have no work other than getting ready and rushing to catch my bus at 7-30 am to office. 

Now, considering that I got less sleep the whole work week husband would take care of my Son during the weekend when I make up for my lost sleep hrs. While my babysitter would make the world's best masala tea and the entire household's favourite south Indian dosas and chutney for weekend breakfast. And my maid was the most worried person in the house if I left in the mornings without taking my dabba. 

The Workload Division In Real

So, basically where there is a home in true sense there is a workload division. It might be visible is a material sense of way or may be invisible... But it has to be there... And is always there in a healthy happy home. 

And that's what the Ariel advertisement addresses to some extent and also lacks to address to some extent. While it shows that the working lady comes back home and starts clearing the clutter of the toys around and multi tasking and all.....its great to see that the lady's father realises....but it again starts talking about boy/girl teaching of division of work etc. If the lady's father in the advertisement could get up and come and teach the grand kids to have empathy for their mom who's returned tired from work... And help her by cleaning the clutter....the message would have probably been bought by the husband watching the match and asking for tea to his wife also. 

But then why show all this... And indirectly give the message of guy's work and girl's work..... Why not show the empathy between the family members... Show that each one is doing something for the other directly or indirectly and that's how generally the families operate....will that not be a better way?! Will it not be better to teach everyone to have love and empathy in the family than this men/women division of work! Isn't that a better message!

PS : Posted for the prompt of #sharetheload by Blogadda

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Thursday, June 18, 2020

Life, not a picnic neither a race!

From the past few days I must have tried multiple times to pen down few thoughts....but somehow either I feel lost half way... Or I again wonder what's the purpose. Nevertheless, let me give it a try again today and see how far I get. So, the turn of events in the last few days have been shocking one after other. First with the news of the sad demise of the actor Sushant Singh Rajput and second with the news of loss of lives of our army personnel in the India China face off. 

Usually, I refrain from posting anything on the current ongoing events as I consider this space to be my safe haven to escape to when mind needs solace. But this one time I thought let me just get out the things disturbing in my head. And go by the philosophy that ....writing it down helps. 

So, coming back to the events.....both the events are devastating... And devastation I guess can't be measured as greater than smaller than and all that.. It's immeasurable. So, I am also not going to attempt to do that. But, I just want to understand a few things by putting down the words on paper to reduce it's effect on my mind I guess. 

Depression... Just a word or real?  

Now, while this is just a word for few it's a battle for few others and for some others it's an abuse. I myself will own up that for a very long time I had believed just like others that this is a 'luxury illness of the rich' or for those who are 'mentally weak'. Till I came quite close to experiencing it myself once. 

It was just after my Son was born and we had returned home bringing our bundle of joy with us....and the sleepless nights and the exertion were all an ongoing daily routine...and for some unknown bizzare reason I used to have this humongous urge from inside to wail (not just cry). No, it's not that I couldn't identify myself with my Son or anything like that. I only had that urge to wail for no good reason. I was myself perplexed as to why I want to wail when I am so happy... What the hell is happening... And none of us, neither me or my family had any clue on postpartum depression. 

I remember asking people around in my family... That I feel clueless... As to why I am having this constant urge to wail my heart out. I only heard them call me crazy till my husband found out about postpartum depression. But luckily, I didn't go into depression.... The urge to wail passed in 2/3 days... And I was back to normal. But that's when I realised that the brain can be so vulnerable ....and it's fully possible to lose control on it under such circumstances.... Depression can be very real and without any reason. This sinked in me only when I came close to experiencing it... Even if the experience was for a short time fortunately! 

When it's not to do with chemicals going wrong in the brain or body

Now, that leaves us with the other type of depression.... When it's not to do with the chemicals. What's exactly going wrong in these cases. 

Again a personal example, I lost a promotion once in my job and I was devastated. I remember I couldn't sleep for 3 months... Yes,  for that long... I just used to stare into the night and repeat things in my head wondering if I was a loser....I felt betrayed! I just didn't feel like walking back to work.... and lost a lot of mental peace in doing so. All the feelings stayed with me till I changed my job which took 3 months. Again, luckily I didn't go into depression...

But this taught me a lot of things. One that the definition of 'success' has got distorted in our heads. Two that we just are unable to value life for what it is. 

Life during earlier times were simpler. People used to go for jobs mostly 9 to 5....earn less....therefore, focus on spending less as well and were busy saving just enough for future.... Saving was for the needs not the wants.They also had a more balanced life. They used to return home on time and give that time to family or themselves. I don't know if people then used to refer to the words 'career' and 'success' so much... Let alone 'money' and 'fame'. The motto then was job is a means to earn livelihood and nothing more or nothing less. Steady government job was the dream....and people used to make close friends not only in the neighborhood but also at work place.... Long lasting true friends. The world was still not so tech savy and everything was done with personal touch. Hence, the question of virtual and fake etc didn't rise much.

Now, in this era everyone is running a race.....a race with no finish line! Career, success, money, fame have all become synonymous with each other and the greed (sorry to use the word) for it seems to be endless. I wonder at what point self worth got associated with all this too. And the saddest part is while running the race no one turns their head to look behind. No one sees how far they have already come. No one sees if anyone has fallen while running.... Do they need some help.... Rather there are many who feel happy with others fall! 

So, now the question is if everyone is running and you suddenly are not able to keep up the pace.... And want to pause... And look around for a shoulder to put your head on for a while.... How is that going to happen. Everyone is running remember! 

Where are we going wrong

This also makes me wonder when depression is so common these days how come the soldiers in the army or the doctors in the covid ward are not facing it (even if we don't count in the workers and the class dealing with hunger as a daily struggle). Especially when it's a life and death situation for them and they lead such tough lives. What are they made of if not flesh and blood.... How does their brain function? Why is depression keeping away from them more than us? 

So, then is it wrong to assume that depression hits only when we lose the sense of purpose in our life. I am not going to talk about the grief of losing someone dear or ailments and disabilities .... That unimaginable pain is something that is way above this kind of depression.

Sense of purpose in life

What exactly is this sense of purpose in life? Where did we go wrong in defining it because of which we are facing depression as the result. Is it our education system? Do good marks define a sense of purpose? Does a good seat in a college define? Or does job define? Or money, fame, success.... What defines? 

When we are teaching our kids to pursue things in life with grit and determination.... Are we also telling them that incase you reach there and don't find that sense of purpose... It's OK... Drop it and try something else. Do we tell our kids that job is not something which defines your sense of purpose in life.... It's just a means not an end in itself! Do we tell them that once you secure that basic first hierarchy of Maslow's needs roti, Kapda,makaan in the bare minimum sense rest is luxury... It's not success or it doesn't define any purpose of life.... It's just your endeavour and your liking as to how far you want to go. 

Success has no definition neither does failure. How do we ingrain that sense of nothing is be all and end all in life ?! Shouldn't we ourselves practice it for them to learn! 

We can't define success or failure but can we define gratification and peace for them so that they don't lose that sense of purpose pursuing meaningless things in life. Are we showing them the right examples as the inspirations so that they dont end up in the race too.... Running and running.... Not knowing that it's OK to pause....its OK to not belong.....  It's OK to quit and step out and go sit under a tree and relax.... Only if you do that maybe you will find there that shoulder you were looking for in that race!! And even if you don't find that shoulder.... Look within yourself... Only if you pause you can see that peace was always there inside.... You just never reached for it! And sense of purpose is always pursuing many many things....  everywhere ....all around.... You just have to lift your head and look around....! 

Life, may not be a picnic.... But we don't have to make it a race! 

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Monday, June 15, 2020

The Lake

Like a bottomless pit
It lied there still knit
It's whispers heard
Only in the ripples
And whenever they rose
Not a leaf shivered
Nor the wind froze
Stealthily they came
And silently they slept
In those deep recesses
Into which slowly they crept
The echo of that silence
Deafeningly resonated inside
While the mountains on the side
With awe kept admiring
The beauty of the ripples outside
In that labyrinth of the ripples
The whispers yearned for the calm
Which only the moon lit glittery night
With a smile promised to provide
From behind the mountains
When the dawn broke again
The sky lit with the bright light
But the ripples had all vanished 
Having embraced the night long gone
Finally, away from the chaos of silence
To rest in that deep slumber of peace
Only the bottomless pit remained behind
As neither the tears nor the rain
Could ever fill it again

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