My parent blog

Hi folks,

I have retrieved my Parent Blog. Do visit to read my musings since 2007.

I won’t blog on wordpress as my original blog is back into action now. Those who liked my posts and followed me here, kindly, do so on the link given above.

Keep Blogging 🙂




No to WhatsApp!

by Priyanka Chauhan

In continuance of my previous post No to WhatsApp!

In the last two years, it never occured to me that quality of communication actually suffered. A word would trigger me to go on about things vouching in the space where the argument can not hold water. Sheer wastage of energy and time! My mother would often remark, ‘you are always on phone’. She is so right that’s the first thing I checked before I sleep and after I got up in the last two years.

Besides, reading junk information in the countless shared posts, accentuated with silly emoticans only ate my grey matter. I became mentally exhausted way too often. If there was silence in the WhatsApp world, I craved for messages like a drug addict. Seriously! Why would I want the world to peep into my everyday moments. They are too precious and private for me. I want a shield to protect my world from the external gaze.

It has been only two weeks that I have conducted this experiment to regualte my usage of WhatsApp. I need it for official communication. Sure, I do. But What I did was:

1. Set the time-I made it an unspoken rule that I will not feed on the unnecessary information sent by people at any random moment. I would check the messanger twice a day: 2’oclock, 8o’clock. Why these timings? Because if there is anything urgent, I can always respond by afternoon and I would not look at my phone after 8. The day ends for me at that time.

2. Return to Normalcy-I realised within a day of this experiment that I can feel my limbs, breathe with alertness, drink water and eat in peace without typing reply to a friend who has seen me online and now expects me to reply. More importantly, I could listen ‘my Voice’ which was lost in this cacophony. I could think about the issues which I want to; not what others are pushing me to respond to. Got back the control of my time and energy.

3. Technology in my control-The control was in my hand. I could share, respond to whoever I want within the set time frame. Using the technology, but at my convenience. I was not being steered anymore. I governed my time, my energy and my responses.

4. Mental calmness and interest in hobby-Since, I have more time at my disposal, I have started using it for my hobbies like reading, writing, gardening. I so love this new found freedom.

Have you tried this digital detox? Tell me about your experiences.

No to WhatsApp!

by Priyanka Chauhan

I have been always quite against the excessive usage of social media in whichever form, mode or medium. I remember having seconds thoughts about downloading WhatsApp in 2014, two years back. For someone who always guarded privacy, this was a big step.

The buzz around that time was ‘Are you on WhatsApp’? Almost every person I knew would ask me this question. Not using this service meant social boycott by friends and netizens. My friends cajoled me to be on WhatsApp, just as I was pushed by my friends to join Orkut in 2005 when its popularity faded, came the New Age communication king Facebook.

After much dilly-dallying, I installed WhatsApp. I have never had a moment of respite since this demon came into my life. My phone is a victim of amnesia. It doesn’t know the serenity of  a blank screen without any pending messages. I am robbed of the joy which my phone and I enjoyed earlier which left me a soothing feeling.

My phone forever on notification mode of messages from people, who better rest just as   ‘Contacts’ in my phone directory. I don’t care what joke, however funny it may be, barging into my space when I am reading, eating, or sleeping.

In hindsight, I noticed my mind got trained to check  WhatsApp messages every five minutes, even in the middle of night. Morning rituals, too, gradually shifted from silent prayers to sending ‘Good Morning’ messages embellished with emoticans of bouquets and flowers to people, friends group who would still be my friends if I did not waste precious ten minutes right at the start of my day. That time is sacred. Then, a couple of times more to check back if they replied. What was the purpose of such greetings? Can it ever replace the warmth of greeting someone face-to-face ot to say the least calling up that person. I became like this because I let the technology unmeasured.
Throughout the day, I will look at least hundred times to even insignificant messages and would also read them instead of thinking my original thoughts. Also would invest time in first checking the display picture and reading the status followed by random thoughts on what I was looking at.  That would account to voila! hours of wastage, if I were to do the Maths.

Not only this, the primary purpose to facilitate communication. Here, I realised too much was happening, mostly meaningless. The chat thread got longer and longer from whats up to what you ate,  devoid of any heart-to heart-communication. In fact, frequency of calls from friends came down as it became a matter of great convenience to drop a’hi’ and ‘bye’. I hardly receive calls from my close friends. They just communicate via this evil App.

I have had so much negativity flowing out through this messanger that I wish I had stopped it much earlier. A message from a friend would go on to become an endless chat with inconclusive matter ripped open like a wound. Precious time, mental peace, would be the immediate casualties. Be in queue, at workplace, home or anywhere on this earth, I will click onto the Green colour monstrous App. (more…)

Why do I blog?

by Priyanka Chauhan

It has been quite a while that I have been blogging my heart out. Let me do a post on the reasons why I decided to blog. There was no thunderstorm, no rains, No prophecy. To begin with, it was an inner urge to express, share and shape my thoughts.

1. Expression-I have always been expressive throughout my life. Sometimes, I needed an ear to listen attentively. Blogging was an exciting medium much before when I started in year 2008. To read my first blog was way to record daily happenings, express which I could not express otherwise to friends and family. My personal space.

2. Another excuse to write-I have always loved reading and writing. It was another reason for me to pen down my inner most thoughts. A nudge, a friend, a space which was independent of all judgements and ego clashes. Here, my writing was free. My soul was set free with each post I wrote. Besides, the more I wrote, the better I became as a writer. A year later, I was to join India’s Premier College of Journalism IIMC. Print Journalism was my objective back then. This blog helped me hone my amateur style.

3. Personal Setbacks-When certain systems fail you, betray you, you need a shoulder to cry on. For me blogging became that shoulder. A motivation to redirect the angst within me towards constructive purpose. To create, create more, some more words till I drown in them. This was my way to survive personal challenges. To overcome the dark phase by walking towards the light. Blogging was that faint light for me in times of crisis.

4. Motherhood– This is the single most important reason why I restarted blogging after a gap of three years. My last blog post was in 2013, the year I got married. Thereafter, I got busy. The next major leap in my life took place when I gave birth to my son. I experienced myriad emotions which needed a space. Having forgotten password to my parent blog, I restarted on wordpress. I was happy, angry, sad, pessimistic and a thousand other things. I felt millions of emotions in seconds. Blog was an apt choice yet again to get back to what I have always believed in-power of expression.

5.Bring consistency-Sometimes, I feel lazy and do not want to write. Blogging inspires me. It connects me to fellow bloggers who are in pursuit of their own goals. Some inspire me, I follow them. I read and then write. I write some more. This is how the cycle goes. I wanted it to continue like this. To be more consistent a blogger. Each published post is a feather in my cap. An achievement which I am proud of. A therapy. A satisfaction that what I felt at a particular moment had been recorded for posterity.

6. Reference-Yet another reason why I took to this wonderful world of words is to be able to do a reference check on my work and time. To compare my thoughts at different points in time. My blog history is not just ‘Archives’. It is a piece of me. I put my heart and soul in each post I write. It is a mirror image to who I am. What I stand for. What I intend to become. A glimpse of the past, a peek into the future with the focus on the present.

I hope to continue blogging as it helps me be in a free space. Freedom from this prying world. It is a celebration of the fact that my soul is not caged, my thoughts are free. I will think and say what I really mean. Not what the world expects out of me. To map my journey, read my first post

Why did you start blogging? Let me know, I am listening….

Soul Speaks finally

by Priyanka Chauhan

Dear Readers,

The Times of India sent home two books today. To know why, read Won the Times Soul Curry contest!. The first book was a compliation of  the best of The Speaking Tree published under this column by TOI called ‘The Best of Speaking Tree’.

Second one was Soul Curry, a collection of inspiring stories published in the Soul Curry segment of the Times Group.

It feels great to be rewarded in the safe walls of home. Since the delivery of my son, I am literally in a self-imposed house arrest mode, meeting the demands of the little one. Encouraging words or appreciation in any way definitely pushes me to strive harder and harder. A big thank you!

I have now decided to pen down my thoughts on ideas or stories from these books which strike my sensibilities. Look forward to this space for more (more…)

   An aromatic romance with flower tea

by Priyanka Chauhan                                           

A cup of tea early morning preps one up for the whole day. The simmering romance with it elevates body and spirit by hitting right notes at the right time. A day started at an octave note certainly yields high result. And if the tea is brewed with flowers, it simply fuses magic into morning.

I woke up and find my mother making her morning cup with white and orange flowers in her tea vessel. Flowers! Upon enquiry she told me, these flowers are no ordinary ones. They have been carefully picked up from a tree called Night Jasmine, ‘Har Sringhar’ in Hindi. As the name suggests, these flowers have been used to make garlands, worshipping to God.      20160928_080320

Four am Tea is sort of life nector for my mother or else restlessness sinks in resulting into headache. The presence of nicotine creates withdrawal symptoms. On the other hand, herbal tea, especially the one with fresh flowers doesn’t have any such symptoms even if its consumption is stopped abruptly. With this tea, my mother has found peace. Addictive, sure she is, but to its freshness, saffron-orange colour and numerous health benefits.

Good for Arthrities, glows skin, helpful in headaches, treats sinus, relives cough, besides energising the person by removing weakness. More so, dessicated flowers also treat stomach disorders and acne. In China and Taiwan, herbal tea is an important accompaniment to food. Known for its digestive properties, herbal tea is an intrinsic part of their food culture. India too is the largest producer of tea but its herbal content have gone amiss of late. In the name of herbal tea, Green tea with dried shrubs are promoted with hardly any freshness to it. Why not try the fresh produce from the tree itself?

The steps to make this aromatic and addictive concoction are fairly simple: pick flowers, boil and filter. However picking ‘Queen of the Night’, another name for the flower, is also an art. They can be plucked from terminal shoots where they grow in clusters. This approach though renders the flowers useless owing to its delicate structure, they get mishmashed.  The better way, as my mother says, spread a sheet beneath the tree and hold its branch and give it a shake. They will sprinkle like Autumn leaves. The happiness in giving them a fair destiny which they deserve is a satisfaction in itself. Or else as sun rises, they fade away to glory. Purposeless!20160928_073800

The flowers bloom late evening filling air with its enchanting fragrance and fall away before the Sun rises. The shrub is also popularly known as the ‘Tree of Sorrow due to a folk tale of a princess who fell in love with the Sun who later deserted her. Unable to bear separation, the princess killed herself and was cremated. The tree rose from her ashes and believed to be reason for it to bloom only after sunset. It avoids the sight of Sun.

Once the flowers are picked though, they are rinsed thoroughly with water to get rid of tiny insects or pollens. The washed flowers are then boiled with water. A perfect potion for diabetic patients as natural glucose in flowers desolves the need for any artificial one. The orange corolla tubes lends texture and natural colour to the tea churning a fine balance of freshness, nutrition and taste.   20160928_073735

Far from any satiation, normal tea results into dehydrated and addiction. However, the flower tea cuminates all five senses which attracts a human being. The serene sight of  sprinkled flowers on wad of grass, the tender touch of delicate petals, the natural scent of goodness when enjoyed in the silence of wee hours is a true delight. An experience par sublime.

A natural antidote to stress, it embellishes where ever they are kept or used. In a bowl full of water, tea, medicine, garlands, ornaments, religious purposes. Uses are aplenty.

I have come across people who are finicky about their morning cup of tea. The ritual is sacred for them. First of all they, do want it every morning without fail. Secondly, the tea should be served in their own peculiar way. For instance, a friend of mine Rashi Lal, who hails from Lucknow, always had tea to a length of a coffee mug. I happened to have enjoyed one such cup during college days braving the chilly Delhi winters. She wanted less milk and more water in her tea. My mother likes it with more milk. While my neighbour would savour it really strong with more tea in it. For some, the rule is tea in my style or no tea at all. It completely puts them off. Night jasmine, however, is a healthy alternative to such peculiarities. There is no second way to make this tea. Just boil it and drink. Fairly Simple!

The beautiful, 2-3 cm sized flowers, have a snowy white corolla with eight petals and a strikingly bright orange coloured corolla tube. Flowers are seasonal and bloom only till November. Its leaves are equally fragrant and can also be used for brewing your morning cup.

Legend has it that Lord Krishna brought this exotic plant from heaven to earth. Sathyabhama quarrelled for its possession and won. Krishna is said to have planted the tree in Sathyabhama’s palace taking care to ensure that the flowers fell inside Rugmini’s courtyard to the delight of his more beloved wife.

So, next time a guest comes over, serve this rare flavour in lieu of traditional chai. He would never forget the fragrance of the served brew and warmth of your hospitality. Consume this herbal tea and let the flower of your life bloom and dance to the rhythm of life.20160928_080228

Pakistan, War and peace

The visuals on NDTV of people vacating their homes in Punjab and sailing away to a safer destination along with their household goods were disturbing. Is it an indication of impending disaster-WAR.

The surgical strike and headlines of vacating places reminded me of Partition days. The heart wrenching stories of people’s loss started doing rounds in my head.

Pakistan has time and again taken advantage of India’s patience, but with the latest killings of 18 Jawans, it has crossed all limits. With Modi as the commander-in-chief, will India go for war?  India has been touted as the rising Superpower, if War happens all its constructive energy will be directed towards this uncalled issue of Terrorism. The growth rate will slow down for years to come. The major beneficiary will be China.

However, War is the last resort for any nation. Terrorism is anyway hollowing India’s roots eating away our very essence, our hope for future-Youth. We anyway can’t progress if terrorism continues to pull us back. Pakistan has been precisely doing that all these years. Slowing down India’s growth by major strikes.

Disturbed as I write this.