Wednesday, September 29, 2021

ग़म, रिश्ते और मानसिक स्वास्थ्य


Written for Blogchatter's Cause A Chatter Initiative.



Image: Anthony Tran, Unsplash


ज़िन्दगी अगर कोई बहुत गहरा घाव दे जाए तो न सिर्फ ज़िन्दगी बल्कि इंसान भी बदल जाता है। और कभी-कभी रिश्ते भी।


कुछ ग़म ऐसे होते हैं जो ज़िन्दगी भर पीछा करते हैं और अपने आप को संभालने का सबका अपना तरीका होता है। और मेरे ख़्याल से हर तरीका सही ही होता है चाहे वो कितना ही मुख्त़लिफ़ क्यों न हो। किसी को अकेलापन काटने को दौड़ता है तो किसी को उसी अकेलेपन में सुकून मिलता है। कोई एक अपनी परेशानी ज़ाहिर कर देता है तो कोई व्यक्त नहीं कर पाता या व्यक्त नहीं करना चाहता।


क्या हो अगर एक घर में दो लोग हों, एक ही ग़म से जूझते हुए पर दोनों के अपने ग़मों को संभालने के तरीक़े मुख़्तलिफ़ हों? हो सकता है कि वो एक ही छत के नीचे अलग-थलग ज़िन्दगी गुज़ारने लगें क्योंकि बाज़ दफ़ा अपने ग़मों के बोझ तले दबकर हम दूसरों की मनःस्थिति समझने में नाकामयाब होते हैं। फिर होता यूं है कि रिश्तों में ग़लतफ़हमियां और दूरियां घर कर लेती हैं।


समझने की कोशिश करें। 

जब आप अपने मानसिक द्वंद में उलझे हों, तो दूसरों को समझना कभी-कभी थोड़ा मुश्किल हो जाता है। पर अगर एक रिश्ता आपके लिए मायने रखता है तो उस रिश्ते को संभालना उतना ही ज़रूरी होता है जितना अपने आप को। समझने की कोशिश करनी होती है, तब भी जब आप नहीं समझ सकते। जो आपके करीब है उसे अकेला नहीं छोड़ सकते। ऐसा कैसे हो सकता है कि जिसको आप अपने सबसे करीब समझते हैं उसे समझने की बिल्कुल कोशिश ना करें?

किसी का बात करने से मन हल्का होता है तो सुने।

कभी-कभी बहुत ज़्यादा कुछ नहीं करना होता। जब इंसान मानसिक उलझन में हो तो वो बस ये चाहता है कि उसे कोई सुने, बिना किसी जजमेंट के। हर दफ़ा ज़रूरी नहीं कि आपको कोई राय ही देनी हो या फिर रास्ता ही सुझाना हो। बस सुनना होता है। कभी कभी बस बोलकर मन का बोझ हल्का हो जाता है। कभी-कभी, बस पास रहना होता है। जैसे कि आपको परवाह है। जैसे आप समझ सकते हैं।परवाह और समझ का रिश्ता बहुत प्यारा होता है।


ख़्याल रखें


पर परवाह या कोई भी भावना एकतरफ़ा हो तो ज़्यादा दिनों तक नहीं चलती। आप दोनों एक ही मानसिक पीड़ा या द्वंद से गुज़र रहे हैं। अगर कोई आपको समझता है तो आपको भी कोशिश करनी होगी आप उसे समझें। सुनने में शायद लेन-देन वाला मामला लगे पर भावनाएं आमतौर पर इसी तरह काम करती हैं। अपेक्षा करना इंसानी फ़ितरत है। इसे आप एक दूसरे का ख़्याल रखना भी कह सकते हैं।


बहुत ज़्यादा अपेक्षा ना करें।


कोई रोना चाहता है, रोने दें। कोई रोता नहीं तो इसका मतलब ये नहीं कि वो संवेदनहीन है। और अगर किसी को अकेले रहने से सुकून मिलता है तो अकेला छोड़ दें। हर वक्त कोई आपके पास मौजूद रहे ये ज़रूरी नहीं।

हर रिश्ते में, चाहे वो कितना ही गहरा हो, स्पेस बेहद जरूरी है। और इसका हरगिज़ ये मतलब नहीं कि उस रिश्ते में कोई समस्या है।


अपनी (और अपनों के) शारीरिक और मानसिक सेहत का ख़्याल रखें। सेहत अच्छी ना हो तो कुछ अच्छा नहीं लगता।






Friday, September 24, 2021

Art Therapy



Written for Blogchatter's Cause a Chatter initiative.





Mental/emotional stress is more exhausting than physical tiredness.


Thankfully, there are certain things that help you relieve your mental stress. Everyone has a different way to deal with it (if you think nothing relieves your stress, you seriously need to rethink). 


In my previous Cause a Chatter post, I had talked about solitude. It works wonders for me. Another thing that distracts my mind is art. I am a self taught artist and I have started conducting painting workshops. For me, art has become like reading an engrossing book. When I'm reading an engrossing book, nothing distracts me. Similarly, when I am painting, I don't think about anything. Not even social media. Even when I am conducting my painting workshop, I'm so engrossed that I don't think about anything except the process and if the students are following the steps. The workshop continues for more than two hours (where I paint live, step-by-step), and even though I am not very talkative, I enjoy instructing the steps and answering questions.





Because Art is therapeutic. It teaches you to be calm and patient. Even therapists use this medium to interact with people who face anxiety and some mental/behavioural  disorders.


Art Therapy:  I came across this term a few days ago and found it intriguing. 


According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy is a kind of therapy that integrates mental health and human services by using “active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience.”


It's very important to understand that only Licensed professionals who are trained in both therapy can conduct these sessions.


According to Wikipedia, Art therapy can be used to help people improve cognitive and sensory motor function, self-esteem, self awareness, emotional resilience. It may also aid in resolving conflicts and reduce distress.


No wonder it works. Studies show that during the lockdown period, many people picked their paint brushes to deal with their anxiety and found solace in art. It's the best way to engage kids as well. Drawing or painting can calm the kids and make them sit still. Don't you think so?


Last week, I conducted an online painting workshop, the theme was waterfall. It's so satisfying to see them paint so beautifully. Sharing some lovely shots from my workshop. 


Rajashree



Saheli

Samarpita

Meetu


Shayonee (it's her first acrylic painting)


Also, it's fun to experiment with colour mixing. Shared two ways to mix teal colour in this video. You can watch when you have time.


Acrylic Colours: Two Ways to Mix Teal


https://youtu.be/aziT99yn35s


Sharing with Paint Party Friday


Stay well, stay calm.



Friday, September 17, 2021

Book Review: Eye On You by Kanchana Banerjee


 

Book: Eye On You
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 188



Blurb:


You’re seen, tracked, and followed everywhere you go. Every line & picture you post; someone is watching. All that information in the wrong hands is a recipe for disaster.

You have a smart door, a CCTV; everything is controlled via an app on your mobile phone. All they need to do is to hack into your phone. Anyone can get in, anyone can see you inside your home.

How safe are you inside your home?

Myra is a young, independent, single working woman living in Gurgaon. After a party in her home, she wakes up the following morning and discovers that she has been raped. But she was at home, surrounded by her friends.

Who could have done this to her? Was it one of her friends or a stranger?


About the Author


Kanchana started her writing career with The Statesman, Kolkata in 1993, after her graduation. She has a Master’s degree in English literature from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. She went on to work for The Times of India, Hyderabad. Her articles have been published in almost all reputed publications in the country. She published her debut novel, A Forgotten Affair, in 2016 with Harper Collins. Eye On You is Kanchana's third book. And I have read them all.


★★★★★


'Privacy is power. People can't ruin what they don't know.'


___Unknown


This book kept reminding me of this quote. 


The beginning, the prologue, of the story is intriguing that builds your curiosity. Two innocent kids request a woman to lend her mobile so that they could call their parents. And then it goes like, "He got the number. He has her."


The plot is interesting and the subject of this story is thought provoking and kind of creepy. 


This is my third book by the author and I really like her writing style. Her writing style is light and engaging that makes the reading experience smooth.


The descriptions of setting and the characters seem well researched. The situations are understandable. 


The characters are modern and independent and they have been sketched without being judgemental, at the same time, the author doesn't try to justify anything. The writing represents the society and the system in a very honest and straightforward manner.


Every character carries their burden and no one is a goody two shoes; they are not really likeable but they are realistic. 


I'm not very knowledgeable when it comes to the hacking/software/virus fuctioning thing that kind of hacks your entire life, so I can't say much, however I found certain things a bit unconvincing. 


The only thing that bothered me was too much telling, especially during the investigation/interrogation. I wanted the cops finding things out, but at times, the author 'tells' what they found out.


The ending is satisfying, it made me a bit sad for some reason. The book cover is very striking.


Overall, it was an interesting and different read. Pick this book you enjoy reading crime fiction, especially cyber crime fiction.



You can buy the book HERE.


This review is powered by Blogchatter's book review program.






Sunday, September 5, 2021

Book Review: Loving You by Andaleeb Wajid




Book: Loving You

Author: Andaleeb Wajid

Genre: Romance

Pages: 182

Price: ₹150 (Kindle edition)


Andaleeb Wajid is a very experienced, prolific writer. She has written 29 books so far! She mainly writes romance and horror.


★★★★★


"Sometimes, right things happen to us in all the wrong ways."


Loving You is, of course, a love story. And a very interesting one.


Hamza doesn't believe in successful love marriages, mainly because of his twin brother's failed marriage. But he is awed by his brother's successful second marriage that has been arranged by his family. The way his brother and sister-in-law are madly in love with each other makes him wonder if he could fall in love with someone like that. And that's why he's ready for an arranged marriage with Mahrukh, a much younger girl.


But the thing is, you just can't decide to fall in love with someone. Love just happens. In Hamza's case also, it just happened. Not with Mahrukh. But with Noorain, Mahrukh's divorced aunt, who is smart and independent woman and very close to her niece, Mahrukh.


By the time, Hamza realizes his feelings for Noorain, he is engaged to Mahrukh. The problem is, he doesn't feel anything for her and can't stop thinking about Noorain.


So, how is he going to deal with this complicated emotion and situation? Does Noorain feel the same? How would their family and Mahrukh react when they come to know about this? And most importantly, what's the destination of this complicated relationship?


To know all the answers, you will have to read the book, and if you enjoy reading love stories, you won't regret it.


It's my third book by the author. I really like her writing style: it's light and she places humour in a very interesting way. Loving You is my favourite by this author so far (I have another book by Andaleeb on my Kindle, which I am looking forward to reading).


The main reason I liked this book is its main protagonists. For me, characters are the backbone of the story. I don't like a book if I don't connect with the characters, no matter how interesting the plot is. I really liked Hamza and Noorain and their bonding. You could see them fall in love, slowly and surely, which I really enjoyed. 


Apart from the romantic angle, the story deals with some important social and relationship issues: remarriage, stepping out of an abusive relationship, compatibility in a relationship, how being a single woman is still a taboo in our society, importance of financial independence of a woman, physical disability etc: but the author has managed to incorporate these issues in a very subtle way that they don't seem preachy. They seem like part of the story.


Not just protagonists, even the secondary characters are interesting and significant. Hamza's twin brother Hamadaan and his wife Ghazal have very important roles and they play (or I should say the author makes them play) it really well. Nani is a very interesting character.


Just two things bothered me-

first: the sex/intimate scenes between Hamadan and Ghazal. I thought they were kind of unnecessary, mainly because of the way those scenes are written. It felt a bit...not sure what to say but it didn't work for me.


Secondly: 'she licked her lips.' this line appears so frequently that it eventually started to annoy me. But then it's an editing issue, so I'm not really complaining.


Nevertheless, it was a quick (because it was engaging), interesting and exciting read.


You can buy the book HERE


This review is powered by Blogchatter's Book Review Program





Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Book Review: Pinkoo Shergill Pastry Chef by Vibha Batra


Book: Pinkoo Shergill Pastry Chef


Author: Vibha Batra

Genre: Children's Book (8-12 y)

Pages: 184

Publisher: Scholastic India

Price: ₹219 (on Amazon)


'There's this bunch of stupid guys at school. They think baking is girlie.'


'Hmm...We can't have them thinking that now, can we?'


Pinkoo Shergill is a 10 year old boy who goes to shooting class everyday. But the thing is, he doesn't like shooting. He finds joy in baking delicious deserts! He wants to be a world famous pastry chef, not a shooting champion. Nobody understands his passion, except Tutu, his ever supportive cousin. 


Now, guess what, The Great Junior Bake-a-Thon, an international baking contest is in India and of course Pinkoo wants to participate. But how?


'You know how much it (shooting) meant to Pitaji. It was his dream…'


'His dream, not Pinkoo's.'


So, this lovely book is about not giving up and following your dreams. It has several cute, little twists and turns, and I particularly loved how it slams the gender stereotype without being preachy. 


The writing style is so engaging and light. The author has used some fun words like, confuzzled, yummilicious, irritatinoying, wonderlicious…funerific etc. Also, there are different kinds of words for sound: bang, clang, swoosh, clatter, whirr, ting, slurp, squeal, they are enjoyable and educative at the same time. I think the kids would really enjoy as these terms, written in bold, large and interesting font, can easily grab the attention of the children. 


The author has used humour and wit so smartly, without making fun of anything. It's funny and sensible at the same time. For example: Since nobody knows about Pinkoo's passion for baking, he (and Tutu, of course) often sneaks in to the kitchen for his baking adventures when nobody is present in the house, but, to my relief, he doesn't do it alone. Gurdasji and Datthi bhaiya are always there to keep an eye.


The main characters-the fantastic four: Pinkoo, Tutu, Manu and Nimrat (they have special names for mission Bake-a-thon: Pastry, Tooty-fruity, Macaroon and Nutella respectively) are adorable. I love Tutu's loyalty. And I really liked how Pinkoo-Nimrat friendship burgeons and they, finally, grow to like each other. I can't forget to mention Chef Khanna. A smart, strong and encouraging character, a teacher every child deserves. 


As expected, the story features food extensively. They are described so creatively that you could almost smell and taste them. Truly yummilicious!'


The illustrations are quirky, unconventional and interesting. 


Overall, it was a joyful, entertaining and uplifting read. You can read it with your kid. I'm sure they will enjoy this lovely story, and the reading session would be a fun, enriching activity.


You can buy the book HERE


This review is powered by Blogchatter's Review Program







Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Book Review: Let Love Take Over by Tomson Robert

 


Book: Let Love Take Over

Author: Tomson Robert

Publisher: Srishti Publisher

Genre: Drama/Romance

Pages: 184

Price: ₹ 180 (on Amazon)


"There are fights that need to be taken up and there are fights that need to be dodged."


Josh is an exceptional storyteller and aspires to be a writer. But like most of the teenagers, he is also impulsive and gets angry easily.


'Battles are not won with weapons, but with faith and courage.'


And then something happens, something so tragic, mainly because of his anger and impulsive reaction, that changes Josh's life and his overall personality. He gives up his dream to be a writer and he promises himself and his family that he won't try to be a hero.


'There are enough people in the world to be heroes. The world does not need another hero.'


What happened that changed him completely? Is it that easy to leave your true self behind? And what about his dreams?


You'll have to read the book to know the answers.


I liked the plot. It's interesting and thoughtful. But it's ironic that the story stresses over Josh's exceptional storytelling ability and yet I thought that an interesting storyline loses its impact because of dull storytelling.


The book captures several topics: friendship, love, anger, death, regret, separation and office politics etc…The office scenes are well written, they seem realistic. If you are from the corporate world, you will like it. 


My favourite chapter is: My Best Friend, My Saviour. I liked reading about Josh and Raghu's friendship, their bonding and understanding. 


The book also tells the love story of Susan and Josh. Susan is an interesting character: bold, fearless and fiesty.


Their love story actually starts with their separation, and it's mainly about their getting back together. So naturally, many times, the story goes on flashback mode --- like how they met and all that but the thing is, I didn't want to know that, mainly because of uninteresting situations and dialogues. I wanted to know how they are going to make this relationship work. 


Talking about the dialogues: they are monotonous and there are so many dialogues. 


Josh's interaction with his Grandpa is insightful.


Overall, it was an okay read.


I received this book from Writersmelon for an honest review.







Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Solitude is a Friend



Image: Toni Reed, Unsplash

Someone, a popular handle in fact, posted a tweet.


'Moms are superheroes.'


Now, these terms: superheroes, supermoms, superwoman annoy me, really. I think it's a fancy way to tell moms/women to do everything (and they won't help) because, well, moms/women can do everything. 


Although I avoid replying on social media if I disagree, I couldn't stop myself from replying. I just said, 'Moms are human beings. We need to understand that.'


The person found my reply 'weird' and someone replied to my reply: 'No, we take our moms for granted. She works 24×7, without any rest and holiday.'


I was surprised and amused at the same time. The terms 'works 24×7, & 'without rest' are so problematic, no? Nothing to feel proud of. And the person didn't realize that.


Why should moms or anyone work 24×7 or why should anyone work without rest?


I am very happy just to be a simple human being, a woman, a mother who needs rest, who doesn't want to work 24×7. I don't want to be a superhero, thank you very much!


Everybody needs and deserves some time to rest and relax, including moms. We all have our own ways to rest and relax. For me, it's silence and solitude. Noise drives me crazy.


Reminds me of a poem I wrote: Solitude is a Friend. I don't remember if I realized my love for my solitude back then but if I wrote that poem, it means it was important and dear to me. Maybe not essential. It is now. Essential. I get cranky otherwise.


No matter how sad, frustrated, angry, tired I am, leave me alone for some time, I'll be OK.


So solitude is kind of an elixir of my mental health. A way to rest and relax. Some peaceful time when nobody calls me or interrupts me and I do my own thing. 


Sudesna Ghosh, who is an author and mental health advocate shares my views. She says, 'There’s a difference between loneliness and being alone. As someone who is an introvert and has suffered from chronic anxiety and depression, I know how precious solitude is. Everyone needs a different degree of solitude and for me I require a lot of it. It gives me time to rest, to read, to cuddle my cats, to give myself a facial, or to just close my eyes and focus on my breath.'


Health is happiness. Not just our physical health, but also our mental wellness. Nothing feels good if you are not feeling good.



Written for Blogchatter's Cause A Chatter


 


Friday, July 30, 2021

Seascape: Acrylic Painting for Beginners

 


It's a simple scene. But I just ruined a painting mainly because I just couldn't keep my painting simple. It happens often, I tend to complicate. 

You can check the full tutorial on my new YouTube channel, Paint With Tarang. I am new to recording videos. So, your feedback is precious.



Here's a shorts I created.



I have a question. When you are watching a painting video, what do you prefer: soft music in the background or commentary/instructions?


Sharing with Paint Party Friday



Monday, July 19, 2021

3 Trendy Design Elements for Striking Book Covers: A Guest Post by Savannah Cordova



Hey everyone! Today, I'm so pleased to host Savannah Cordova. She's writes a very interesting piece. Welcome to my blog, Savannah...Over to you. :)

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A book cover is one of the most crucial elements when it comes to attracting readers. Most of us have heard the saying “you can’t judge a book by its cover”, but the truth is that a beautiful cover illustration — or one that signifies a specific genre — is often the first thing we consider to gauge our interest. If you’re wondering how to make your book stand out above the rest, then consider these three eye-catching trends to really make your cover pop!

1. Yellow with contrasting colors




Prior to 2018 or so, yellow was rarely used on book covers. (Seriously, try to think of a pre-2010s book with a yellow cover.) The good news for authors is that using this previously underutilized color can definitely make your book stand out on shelves and demonstrate its trendiness! Opt for yellow and gray if you want extra style points, as these were named the Pantone colors of the year for 2021.

Recent books that have taken advantage of chartreuse-yellow covers — as opposed to the mustard yellow of yore — include You Will Get Through This Night by Daniel Howell, Thrown Off Script by Mike Domeny, and Paper Father by D. Todd Deeken. You may notice that these examples all hail from very different genres, from mental health guidance to dystopian fiction, which proves just how versatile this trend is! Whichever genre you choose to write in, you can bet that your book will shine with a striking yellow-green cover.

2. Big and bold patterns




For a while, minimalist book covers were all the rage — Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey is a quintessential example of this — but with the 2020s has come a new and loud trend. The bright colors and interesting shapes across the front and back covers of these books act almost as active voices that demand your attention.

Books hot off the press, like The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett and Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given, are cleverly using bold patterns to catch readers’ eyes right away. Of course, whether or not you should choose a bold pattern depends on your book’s theme; for example, you may want to steer clear if you’ve written a book about tragedy. But if you’re writing a story with lots of action (or similar bold themes), this trend is definitely worth a try.

3. Imagery within the title




Replacing letters with objects of a similar shape can lend an element of intrigue to your cover and connect the title with the book’s imagery. Some authors opt for designs that replace letters with recognizable objects; a great example of this is Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin, where the golden snake in the title doubles as an ampersand.

You can also add flavor to your cover by replacing letters with abstract objects — as on the cover of Breath by James Nestor, which uses in-title particle effects to reflect the book’s scientific theme. If you need help with ideas for this, try attending an online art workshop to develop your artistic understanding! The end result is worth it: in-title images draw the reader's eyes straight to the title, while also giving them insight into your book’s themes.

In the end, it could be that none of these trends are for you – or maybe you want to combine them all! Either way, if you have fun with it, it’s sure to engage the reader too. Go on and make the world a little bit brighter with your exciting new cover design!


Savannah Cordova is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects self-publishing authors with the world's best editors, designers, and marketers. In her spare time, Savannah enjoys reading novellas, writing short stories, and browsing the bookstore for interesting book covers. She's no artist herself, but she remains deeply fascinated by contemporary design!