Monday, 23 March 2015

I wish I had a smartphone!

I have never used a smartphone before. Earlier I didn't have the requisite money. Now when I have, I am too comfortable with the basic Nokia phone that I have been using. Most of my friends who got costly phones have been making fun of me, calling my tiny phone names that ideally it doesn't deserve. But they are true as well: I miss out on so many things because of my oldish phone.

Two of my friends have turned into ace photographers because of using their phones. They had never held a camera before but because of the high quality cameras in their phones, they had started clicking every little things of interest. With a smartphone, it was easy to instagram them and now they are quite famous there too. I have been always interested in photography, ever since my parents had bought their first Yashika camera when I was seven year old. But the cost of getting rolls and thereafter printing hindered my indulgence. When I came to Delhi as a seventeen year student at Delhi University, I was inducted into the photography club. I didn't have a camera of my own, but I learnt whatever I could with the mediocre college camera. I just wished that I had a phone with a camera, so that all the interesting moments that I just wished I could capture, but never could would be snapped and preserved for eternity, besides sharpening my eye for details.

Over the years, i have started clicking with borrowed cameras and have created my own FB page called Saumya Photography and Artworks, but I don't always have an access to a camera and many moments that I wanted to capture have gone amiss, which shall not happen in case I have a smartphone with a smartphone camera. Consider this picture, which I clicked in Chandni Chown, just because I happened to be with a friend who had a camera phone.

It is during such a state that I encountered the advertisement of Moto E. It's tagline itself says: #ChooseToStart your smartphone journey with the all new Moto E, which makes me very excited about it. Upon seeing its description, it turns out that it's one of the sturdiest phones ever, and at a price that completely takes care of my wallet. 

Image courtesy; Indiblogger

It is:
  • Shock proof, water resistant
  • All day battery life, something that I can't stop feeling happy about since it'll be able to compete with my basic phone along with all the additional features it is providing.
  • Smart design, which makes Moto E a very presentable device
  • Different coloured holders, which makes me feel like having a new phone every few months,
  • Quick Capture: My favourite of all the features. it allows me to shuffle between the front camera and the back camera by just a small shake of the cellphone
I can't wait to start a new life. 

P.S. Do check Moto E, I'm doing the same, here: Here's a great product description:

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Friends Forever, Friends Together

The story belongs to the time when I was in my 3rd grade. I had a best friend then, he was called Ranjan. We struck great friendship in class 2 and though our sections had changed in the 3rd grade, we still remained the best of the buddies. Ranjan was the son of Acharya sir, one of the strictest teachers in the school, who taught us Hindi. Acharya sir didn't like the fact that Ranjan was friends to me - a below average student, and often contemptuously remarked in front of me to Ranjan to befriend the class topper Ankit and be around him, rather than me. Though it hurt my childish sensibility but it failed to affect our friendship, which grew stronger with time. 

Ranjan's birthday was an important day in my life. It had been my endeavour to make sure that his birthday turned out to be very special, and from months before, I used to start preparing for it, thinking of the right gift which would spark up a brilliant smile on his face. My grandfather came home during that time and he brought me a big box of assorted Hajmola candies, around 500 of them and I realized that those candies might be the perfect gift for my dear friend. The day before Ranjan's birthday, I packed 50 candies in a box of a moisturizer used by my mother, wrapped it in gift paper, wrote "Happy birthday to my best friend, - From your Best Friend" in my horrendous cursive handwriting. I engraved a thin-line on the top of box to enable Ranjan to later use the box as a gullak, a piggy bank, to collect coins. I had told Ranjan on the previous day that there is a birthday surprise waiting for him, which made him bubble with excitement. 

The day arrived, I stealthily took out the gift packet from my bag during the lunch time and just when I was about to go to see Ranjan in the adjacent section, students around me having caught hold of me, shouted in unison, 'Saumya has got a gift,' and snatched the box away from me, ripping the wraps like monkeys. I screamed and yelled that it was not for them, but for Ranjan, my best friend, the birthday boy, Acharya Sir's son, but they didn't care. Hajmola candies commanded more respect than Acharya sir, apparently. I tearfully watched my gift being squandered in the hands of the wicked few. The class comprised of 40 students and each one of them stole one candy each, leaving behind 10 candies and a wretched moisturizer box behind, which I collected with my disappointed hands. I didn't know how to face Ranjan, who was waiting deliriously for my present in the other section. 

Dejectedly, with those ten candies wrapped in a four-line ruled sheet pulled out from my English notebook, I plodded to the other section. Ranjan, upon seeing me, rushed forward with a hopeful smile. I handed over those ten candies cloaked in the paper with dismay, which he opened with utmost delight and upon seeing what was inside, all he could do was flash an ear to ear smile, a smile which I had never seen on his face, a smile that was full of amazement. I was too perplexed to say anything. He hugged me and said, 'You gave me the best gift of all - Hajmola candies, these are my favorite. I had never had somany of them together.'

Written for that asked me to write about my most memorable day. This is it!

Two Drops of Tears

It was the Parents Teacher meeting of my class 12th, and as always my Dad was accompanying me. With me always being one amongst the top three rankers of my class since the late childhood, my Dad had got used to praises from the teacher during such meetings, which was quite gratifying experience for me as well as my Dad.

But that time, the case had been pretty different. I had performed dismally in almost all the subjects except Maths, and my class rank had crawled down to stand amongst the bottom fews.

Those days, the mighty preparation for JEE with numerous everyday assignments and test-papers left me completely enervated to concentrate on the school studies and thus, the result was more or less expected. But, I feared that my Dad would feel bad about it and might scold me, since he didn't know how much pressure the studies for JEE had on me. As we entered the class-room, my class-teacher immediately stood up from her chair and with a worried look on her face, approached my father.

'Mr.Pathak, your son is going nowhere. See the decline,' she said, pointing at the dismal marks in different subjects, 'the highest is 99 out of 100 in Chemistry and Saumya has got just 67. His rank has slid down to 24th, from 2nd in 11th class. This is not what we expect from him. He's certainly not studying. He's lost his spark.'

My Dad looked at me with a serious face. I was expecting a reprimand, a reproach echoing my teacher's words, to hit my ears.

'Madam, don't you worry about Saumya. He's working hard, I can assure you. He will do better the next time. And mind it, he has not lost his spark. It's right there.' My Dad said with a reassuring smile as his palm caressed my head softly.

The teacher was dumbstruck. She had nothing more to say. Handing over the report card, she moved back to her chair and greeted other parents. My Dad put his arms around my shoulder and asked, as he always used to do when I secured a rank, in a delighted tone, 'So, which ice-cream do you want to have - butterscotch or chocolate chips?'

I looked into his eyes, smiled and blinked. I had butterscotch, with two drops of tears, thereafter.

One year later, I topped the boards as well as cleared the JEE. That time, he had butterscotch, with two drops of tears. I did #StartANewLife.

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Friday, 6 March 2015

How I Pampered My Uggi?

Most babies like to laugh. There is not a more pleasing sight than a laughing baby. And not a more annoying sight than a wailing one. Don’t you remember that one annoying baby in the bus or the airplane or the cinema hall who made your life miserable? Most often, crying babies are either hungry, or hurt, or wet. When babies are with their mothers and fathers, with milk bottles, would they be hungry? No. If it’s a healthy baby, would they be hurt. Very rarely, they would be. So why do they cry? It’s because they are wet.

I have a baby. His name is Utkarsh, and we call him Uggi. Uggi was born exactly a year ago, the same month, March. The last one year has been quite a journey for me and his father. Uggi is not a crybaby. He enjoys going out. Take him to a mall, let him see the fancy lights and smell the soothing fragrance, he will pass an ear to ear smile that outgrows his face. Take him to any well lighted place, Uggi turns crazy with happiness. What he hates, and what we hate too, thanks to him, is taking him to a cinema hall. Once we took him to a cinema hall and we had made wear a diaper, a common brand, and he kept crying. I tried to feed him, but he was not interested. He wasn’t hungry. He didn’t seem to be in pain either. His hands kept inching towards his diaper, as if urging us to remove it for him. I opened the diaper to find out that despite the promise of keeping my baby’s bottom dry and sealed, the diaper was damp. His buttocks were wrinkled and red. We were angry, so were the people around us because of our wailing Uggi, and we stormed out of the movie theater and rushed to a Chemist’s shop.

We asked for a brand that could seal the pee, that could help keep my baby dry. There wasn’t one he said. It was not until this year that I found out that finally there is a brand which can help Uggi remain the outdoor baby that he is, who loves going out, who loves lights and cinema, who loves the dryness promised by the new Pampers Baby Dry. Its Magic Gel locked in moisture so helps Uggi’s skin remains dry and healthy for up to 12 hours. Besides, Uggi never complains. It’s like a baby diaper pampering him, true to its name.

Written for Indiblogger's Happy hours. Check Pampers:

Thursday, 5 March 2015

The Story of My Motorcycle

As soon as I graduated from college, I fought with my parents to allow me to go full-time with my start-up. They didn’t approve of my choosing an uncertain course over the secure path of campus placements and there was an unsaid tension between my parents and me. I became taciturn during that phase, and would answer in a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ over the phone to my parents’ anxious questions, often evading most of them. Since they lived a thousand kilometers away, they were understandably concerned about my well-being. Most of their questions were directed at my company and almost always ended up calling it futile. I would hang up, frustrated. Fighting it out with abject poverty, I painted a rosy picture of my life to my parents saying, ‘I am making a decent half a lac rupees a month,’ so that I would be relieved from at least one end, while figuring out a revenue model that worked for my venture. 

It was the end of the second month of full-time entrepreneurship and a very difficult time for me. I had rented a 2 BHK apartment in Malviya Nagar, made one room the office and the other, the living room. The rent, shared between my partner and me, was fifteen thousand rupees per month besides an additional three thousands for electricity  My partner’s parents knew  his dismal financial condition and they  supported him, whereas my self-respect forbade me to ask for my parents’ help. As the date of paying the rent came closer, tension in the house grew. My partner started pestering me to arrange the money, and I retaliated by asking him to generate money from the venture instead. Owing to my slackness, the rent was delayed and my landlord, an astute Delhi businessman, got pissed and gave us a notice to pack our bags. We begged him for one more day and my partner stopped speaking to me for a day so that I knew it was entirely my fault. I decided it was time to let go of my ego and ask for my parents’ help. But before I could dial the number, I saw an unread message in my inbox. It said, ‘Rs. 60000 credited in your SBI account’. It was my father.

My eyes became wet as I dialled my father’s number. He answered on the third ring and said, ‘It’s your birthday next month. You always wanted a motorcycle. Allow me to gift you one. With the money transferred, buy it for yourself. It would help you in your business.’ Unable to say anything without giving away that I was crying, I cut the call and sobbed uncontrollably. The money he credited sustained me during the next six months of pathetic poverty. I struggled hard, the windfall in my bank account reminding me of my duty towards my parents every day. Six months later, I found an investor for my company. For the first time in life, I was in a condition to buy a motorcycle for myself, which I did.

When my father came to Delhi last month to inaugurate my venture’s new office on my birthday, I made him sit on the pillion of my six-month old motorcycle while going to the venue. He said to me, ‘You have maintained it really well. It does not look like it’s a year old.’ 

‘Yes Dad, I had to. It gave me hope when there wasn't. Thank you.’

Written for's new lookup. Check it here:

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

In Conversation With Solo Traveler Akram Feroze

Akram Feroze, a solo traveler living on Robert Louis Stevenson's saying - “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” He is also a theatre artist, director, and a solo traveler. He has been traveling across the country for more than two years now. He is often locomoting on his bicycle but every now and then he takes a break from his cycle and hitchhike for a while.

Let's read about a traveler's perspective of the world and life with an insight into his journey:

1. Before we begin, tell us about yourself in a nutshell. 

=> I am Akram Feroze, a dropout, hailing from a small town Jagtial, in Karimnagar, a district of Andhra Pradesh. I love food, talking, rains and fantasies. I am emotional, excited, and I strongly believe in living in the moment. Theatre is my passion, something which makes me complete.

2. Interesting! What is your earliest memory of being enchanted with travelling? 

=> In my 12th Standard, an elderly man (must be in his 50s) from Yugoslavia came to our college, he was travelling across world by foot, I don’t remember his name, but that was something which has always been in the back of my mind, though it never came out openly until one day. Then there are always those fantasies built in school days when you’re sitting idly bored of your monotonous life thinking of something to do. And in my case I had rarely journeyed out of my town.

3. You dropped out of college, what was the reason behind that impulsive act?

=> Well, you can say it was pretty much an impulsive act, I was pursuing my graduation in Genetics, but one day in my second year I suddenly discovered my love for arts and social sciences, I felt like leaving genetics and pursuing my graduation in arts or social sciences, and more over I was not coming in terms with certificate education but had no choice, that’s how the system works. Though I could not drop out in second year, but in the final year I had one of the toughest phase of my life, a relationship failure, which had broke me completely, I could not come in terms with the reality, I was shattered, it was tough emotionally, tougher than I could handle myself then, if not for few good men like my professor Moloy Goswani, my story was dead end. I was fighting with myself, trying to rediscover myself, and then there was a moment when I felt “I should allow myself to be what I am, if I want to drop out, I shall drop out”. And now I feel that, that impulsive decision helped me to relive what I believed in internally.

4. What made you take the sudden leap to going solo with your bicycle? Was there any plan?

=> I come from a middle class town family, where savings are more important than living and traveling is a dead culture. I had generally travelled from my town to Hyderabad city that too only for my graduation apart to that I had not seen much of life around. Those fantasies were building inside, I want to see life away from that 4 walled room, away from boundaries of my town, beyond the Hyderabad city, beyond the reach of states, and I was not coming in terms with society, which judged me with my success and failures, It was strange for me as if I was carrying a burden of theirs to succeed, I wanted to break free, I wanted to move away from the world of insecurities and quick judgments, and that’s when I heard the call of my Fantasy from the back of mind. But financially that’s something my family could not afford, after a thorough thinking I decided to hit the road by walk, and travel across the country for 2 years, but when I revealed the idea to my parents, after 2 months of discussing the idea, my Dad suggested me to go on a bicycle. Nah there was never a idea of bicycle before, it was just a day before the start of journey that I bought a cycle and hit the road, before that I had cycled in my school days years and years ago. And for 2 years travel, I could not find a person to leave his job and join me, so I had to start solo. Forget about finding a person, people were laughing at the idea in itself.

5. How difficult was it for you to convince your parents to take the difficult road when a comfortable one was in option?

=> It was difficult, damn difficult. It took couple of months of regular talks to convince them about the whole idea. I didn’t want their son to be a run-away from home; I wanted them to understand that I can do this, and there is no wrong in it and I will be happy doing it. But it was more of a crisscross of culture, I was trying to explain them a complete different way of life, and they weren’t willing to accept the idea. It was like you are trying to explain a staunch follower of one religion to change to another. And then they had the worries of my security, they had n number of “what & ifs”. What if you are robbed? What if you fall ill? It was tough, because even I didn’t have the answers to those questions; all I had was a blind faith in my dream. I convinced them to allow me to try for 15 days on the condition that they will allow me to continue if I survive those 15 days well. I suppose I am doing awesomely well that till now I have their confidence to keep me continuing with it. And my whole travel journey is just not my own feelings but it is also a journey of my relationships.

6. Definitely, convincing our parents for allowing us to do what we want to do is tougher that doing the thing itself. And the very fact that you didn't give up shows how firm you were with your decision. Well, tell us Akram, at any moment were you scared to be alone on the road? Did you have moments of insecurity? 

=> Scared? If you are beaten by drunkards in some unknown village, don’t you get scared? If you are arrested for murder cases, don’t you get scared? If you are having lunch with robbers in an unknown village, don’t you get scared? When you find snakes in your bed, don’t u get scared? You stay with unknown people who get drunk and start fighting among themselves with knifes then don’t you get scared? When you see a truck run over a body scattering blood all over the road as you pass, don’t you get scared? I certainly do, I have my fears and insecurities. You constantly have to keep on over coming them.

7. You wanted to break-free and see more of the country as you had not traveled much before, and even traveling is not a comfortable endeavor, like you just told us how unpredictably scary the journey gets, what is the motive that keeps you going? 

=> “Motive” does travelling require a motive? Anyway as I said I wanted to see life beyond the boundaries, learn from people and share it back to them. Travelling is an evolving process, it has changed over a period of time, like at first I was trying to do theatre, then I was learning theatre, then I started exploring cultures, then I got closer to grass-root issues, it has been a process, I can only say the motive is to learn and share, and what I am learning and sharing, I will leave it to road!

8. Traveling is indeed a learning process. How has it changed you as a person?

=> Immensely, what I started as a 2 year tour across country became the way of my life in itself, I don’t see the end of road now, that’s why I break free from my cycle for a few months and hitchhike across the country and come back to cycle again. I no longer have a urge to settle, or have a house or own a car, when I can sleep peacefully and happily at any footpath I don’t understand the need of a comfortable cozy bedroom, I won’t say I have completely broken the shackles of materialism, but I certainly realized the difference between needs and wants. And the biggest learning has been the meaning of love and freedom, it has completely changed my thought process, I love people or things even if I am not attached to them, it does not matter if the person or thing is with me to love it. I can be detachably attached to the same. And the other important thing traveling teaches you is compassion, and a journey like this takes you closer to people and their issues, like I was always away from politics reforms which was like a boring front page news, suddenly that becomes the most important, and then when I look back and say I wanted to break free, I realise that I have rather become more sensitive and responsible about the same freedom. And I believe these changes would keep happening as you keep learning new things on road. Traveling in a true sense is nothing but a mere reflection of life.

9. Traveling solo is as dreadful as enchanting; you must have been through different kinds of troubles, what keeps you going? 

=> “Awesomeness” If you look at my posts on Facebook, many times you will find “Awesome Feroze”, I constantly have to motivate myself, I constantly have to seek inspiration from myself, people might say its self indulging, it might be, I can be inspired by XXX person or thing, and start my journey, but when you are all alone on road, struck, tired and frustrated, you break down crying on road, no one comes to pat your back and say “get up chap , you are doing well, keep moving” you have to look back at the day when you broke free and went for your dreams, to remind yourself, you had the courage to do it, you are awesome and you can do this too, to start extrinsic motivation might work, but to sustain it, it has to be intrinsic motivation. I constantly keep going back to day1 or zero, because it was tough and when I remember that I survived through that I know that can do this too.

10. I am sure you must have explored India from extremely rural areas to the extremely urban ones, how would you describe what the combination brings out to be named India?  

=> Now to answer this, I will tell you about an experience, I was paddling in Tamil Nadu in the south east coast of the country, I saw a beautiful church, the whole church looked like an architectural masterpiece, I was just struck with the beauty of the church, and as I paddled another 50 to 100 meters, I saw a women standing in front of a small hut, barely able to cover her sagging breast, with a baby in hand crying for food. I was lost, I was shaken, tears flowed down, and I didn’t know how to react to the contrasting nation I saw in few minutes. We are a lost nation unable to answer which is the right way ahead, we are lost in oppression , I am not talking just about the oppression by rich and powerful, but also oppression exhibited by the oppressed, we are lost in cultural transformation. There is a complete disconnect in the ideologies, in the culture and way to look forward between the urban and rural. There are land struggles, natural resources struggle, and people’s movements which the urban world just cannot connect to these struggles, because it does not pinch them directly and also there is a lack of understanding of rural nation. I could only say even being a strong cultural nation; we are still evolving with the culture. Yes a traveler like me have been able to survive without much cash but on kindness and love of people, that speaks a ton about the nation’s cultural greatness, but that does not mean we don’t have caste discrimination, child marriages, women oppression, labour exploitation, blind rituals, and all these are also a part of our culture, that why I say we have a long 

way to evolve as a nation and that can happen when the urban and rural are ready to look eye to eye and make a map for what sort of development we as one nation seek. And as a traveler, I shall keep the hope that it will happen soon.

11. Tell us about ‘The Cycle Natak’? How do you associate it with traveling? 

=> My Bicycle Journey Is called as The Cycle Natak. I had been doing theatre before the start of my journey, and theatre is my passion, and like travelling fantasy, Cycle Natak was also a fantasy, I was introduced to theatre very late in my life, which was during my graduation when I moved to city. Before that being in town, I had never watched a theatre. And I used to hear the olden tales of how theatre groups travelled from villages to villages to perform theatre, so once I decided to travel for 2 long years, I didn’t want to disassociate with my passion for theatre, so I thought I would try performing theatre wherever possible. And once I decided I was gonna travel on cycle, the fantasy grew like “A man on his cycle came to my village stayed here, performed theatre and he went away in air”. Though it’s a fantasy, but I keep trying to do that wherever possibly I can.

12. How do you collaborate with different people at different places for your moving theatre (Natak Mandali)?

=> Like me, even my theatre has evolved through the journey, at first I used to do random monologues, which used to fail as I had no idea about folk and classical theatre which is preferred in villages, moreover having no scripts, no props, no costumes, no makeups , no stage, I was a complete flop show, then I started meeting various theatre groups during the journey and learnt whatever I could from them, then I worked on playback theatre involving the villagers stories and making them act casually, it was more fun, and as I traveled more, I got involved in grassroots issues and social problems, and I started doing theatre workshops with students in school, slowly got them in confidence and along with the students I do street theatre mostly which is very effective in reaching the message to the villagers, sometimes I train local organizations on how to use theatre for a change. It has been a process, and I am still learning the better way to collaborate and perform. Journey is long, so I am taking my time and moving on.

13. What drove your passion for theatre? 

=> It was my maternal grandfather, with whom I stayed in city for graduation; he was a playwright, though he is best known for his short stories in Urdu. He introduced me to theatre, being a trustee of the biggest theatre foundation in Hyderabad, he used to take me to shows of Naseeruddin Shah, Arundhati Nag, Anupam Kher, Girish Karnad, plays of Habib Tanvir and the best of India theatre, I was awestruck with theatre, and I started experimenting in college.

14. You travel on a shoe-string budget, how do you sustain yourself through the journey?

=> I keep it simple, never stay in hotels, never buy clothes and accessories, even a torn t-shirt work for me for days, I avoid eating in hotels. I suppose travelling on bicycle or hitch hiking has helped me here, most of the labours who give me food, see the stinking t-shirt and connect to quickly, if you are going by a car and say that you are looking for food, I doubt many would offer the hospitality. Though I do require cash sometimes, for a few things so for that I work as an unskilled labour, in agricultural farms or construction units, sometimes as a fisherman, sometimes as a teacher, or trainer, and sometimes I use my skill of theatre in workshops. And I don’t travel in public transports (unless there is an emergency) so that helps too.

15. You have a huge fan following for your courageous endeavors. How did people take your decision initially? Were there any acts of cynicism or criticism towards you? How do you deal with it? 

=> Fan following is terrible, I am strongly against that culture. Fans are required when you have to sell something, I don’t have anything to sell, I just have to learn and share. More over I would prefer people who admire and appreciate my efforts honestly and add critical value to the learning’s. And most of them have come late in my journey so they weren’t a part of it initially. But relatives and friends were a part of that cynicism and criticism initially; it was tough then as no-one was ready to show any confidence. At a friend’s gathering before the start of journey, I was the butt of jokes for everyone. It was very frustrating. The only thing I could do then was laugh with them and get more determined. Anyway I had never understood this society’s way on how differently they perceive a human being when the person fails or succeed. I better live my dreams, because the experience I get out of it cannot be weighed on a balance of success or failures.

16. You hitchhike, you seek help from strangers, you are always on an adventurous and an unpredictable ride, tell us about one interesting incident that you would never like to forget.

=> It is the most difficult question, because there are so many stories and to select one is always difficult. Well, I guess I have to choose one and tell you. I was hitch hiking from Jaipur to Mumbai, at around 10 o clock, after a trolley auto dropped me 120kms before Udaipur, I was looking for my next lift, after a long wait, a car stopped, I asked him for Udaipur, he signaled to get in, after ten minutes of silence, I decided to break the ice, and I introduced myself to him and as I asked about him, he shouted furiously “Don’t talk or else I will throw you out of the car!” the way he shouted it scared the hell out of me, I kept mum for some time wondering where was he driving in this night and I couldn’t make out the road, so I thought I will update about my whereabouts on Facebook, in case something goes wrong, I put my hand in my pocket looking for my mobile, he shouted back, “remove your hands, remove your hands from pocket or else I will beat you up!” I at once removed my hands out of pocket and I told him it’s nothing just my mobile, I took out my mobile and showed him, and then he replied I am dropping you in the next town, just get down. Even I felt I should get down, as soon as he stopped his car I got down saying ‘thanks’. After getting down I wondered was he more scared or me? :D It sounds funny, but it was dam scary then.

17. Where do you see yourself 5 years down the line?

=> I do not know where I am tomorrow, most of the days I don’t know where I will be sleeping or eating at night. It is impossible to tell anything about 5 years down the line, I have left it on the road to decide, like a obedient student, or a son or a lover I will move wherever it takes me. Don’t be surprised if you see me on road all my life, as I am madly in love with the unknown roads and the mysticism it unfolds!

18. Traveling enchants everyone but not everyone is able to go for it for different reasons. What would you say to aspiring travelers? 

=>“Just pack your bags and move” stop looking at travelogues, stop wondering if you’ve the required stuff, start with whatever you have, road is an amazing teacher if you are open to learning’s, mind it I am telling this to travelers and not to tourists. There is a huge difference in both. As a traveler, you should be ready to move out of insecurities and fight with yourself and slowly you will fall in peace.

19. Do you think traveling is something that should be pursued by Indian women? What would you say to the ones who wants to travel on a shoe-string budget?

=> Travelling should be pursued regardless of gender, and why shouldn’t women pursue it? It’s a right to freedom of everyone. Though with all the crime news it makes traveling look unsafe, and people keep on talking about sexual perverts, psychos, but that is not the most important thing to think of, with psychos it can happen anytime, anywhere, to anyone you need not be travelling to experience that, it can happen to males too. But the major issue to think of will be the cultural cult, those cultural groups who are not ready to accept the cultural transformation. In India, women freedom is curbed and the shameful part is that it is done in the name of culture. Hence that way I strongly believe women should travel, and I don’t know how they would be received. But even if they’re not received very well, one has got to be humble and determined to move forward, as they will be building a new culture, and travelling on a shoe-string budget gets you closer to people, and new culture can be built only by winning the hearts of people. So for all aspiring women travelers my suggestion is same “Pack your bags, the road will guide and teach you."

Rapid-fire round : -
  •  Favourite book :

    My facebook time :D I just love reading the updates and get inspired, I am not an avid reader, Panchatantra remains my fav for it teaches the common sense.
  •  Your role model : 

      My Grandfather, Kadir Zaman.
  • One hobby you wish to inculcate :

    Might be reading.
  • One thing you regret :

    Nothing, everything is a process. On a lighter note losing mobile phones and losing all my contacts at different places I visited.
  • One place you would recommend us to travel to :

    Andaman and Nicobar
  • Favourite cuisine :

    Any meat, I am a non-veg lover. Though the best I have ever tasted is Meat Soup in the small village of Karen tribal community in Andaman.

Thank you Akram for sharing about your experiences and spreading inspiration. :)

Thursday, 7 March 2013

In conversation with author Shubham Choudhary

Shubham Choudhary: Shubham Choudhary is a Final year student of MNIT Jaipur, pursuing B.Tech in Electronics and Communication. Being an active blogger, he has written over a hundred articles, stories and poems. His works are based on hillarious observations of the daily life. Besides writing, he likes to travel and read biographies and fiction. He also has a deep interest in music and has taken training in the field of Radio Jockeying as well. 

My EX Fell In Love is his debut novel. He has also got a short story published in an anthology by Grapevine India Publishers. He is actively involved in the start-up TalEx India. He has written for many websites, noticeable among them being,,, News That Matters Not and He has also been awarded the blogger of the month award by YouthInc. 

Let's read what he has to share with us :-

  1. Before you became an author, you have been an avid blogger, your blog ‘Crap Reloaded’ famous for wit and sarcasm has been featured for its various hilarious blog posts. What has been the journey like?
=> That takes me back! Man I am talking like a forty year old. But it does, that time I was more regular with my blog. From one post to another, readers kept growing and I kept loving all the appreciation I got. I still remember some of the posts that crossed the so called ‘barriers’ of likes and re-tweets. Honestly, I owe the book and everything I do in the field of writing to my blog. I have actually seen myself grow as a writer, maybe one day I’ll grow up enough to write better.  2.Tell us about your first memory of being inspired by writing.

=> I have loved writing since I was a kid. English had always been my favorite subject. It became a passion when I started my blog. I think faking news and were two things that gave me the appreciation for the smallest pieces I wrote, which inspired me to write more. 3. What made you realize your aspirations of becoming an author?
=> The aspiration to write a book; well, it was like love in my case, it just 'happened'! I don't know how, I don't know why, I only know that once the idea came to my mind, I never though twice and went for it.

  1. How did your debut novel ‘My ex fell in love’ see the light of the day?

=> I am a fast writer, but very lazy! Once I started writing, it was either one chapter in one day or nothing for weeks. After I got the acceptance for my sample chapters, I freaked out since I didn't have the manuscript ready. But things fell in place and one day I receive this call from my father saying you have a parcel couriered from someone. I go home and I see a book with a green cover and my name written over it. I am yet to have a better moment than that in my life!

  1. That sounds terrific! ‘My ex fell in love’ was released 4 months ago. How has it been received so far?
    => I never keep a track of the number of copies it sold, since I didn’t write for that. But when it comes to reviews, luckily they've been too good. Even the finest of the reviewers of the country have given it pretty good reviews. Just hoping it continues and although I don’t keep the numbers, hope they’re good too.

  1. To what extent is the story of your novel influenced from your own life?
=> Hardly one percent or maybe not even that much. Some thoughts of the characters might match mine, maybe one or two incidences, but the story is pure fiction. And that’s what I keep telling to all my readers. Maybe this interview will help telling them all at once, erm… again…

  1. Tell us one reason why your blog-readers should go for your book.

=> Because the humor and the language you like on my blog in a one page article, is present in 204 such pages in it.

  1. I am pretty sure about that. :) In the writing field what is going to be your next project?
=> There are three. I am back to blogging regularly, this time almost double the number of readers. So that’s one, blogging regularly. I have started writing my second book. Pretty hard topic this time, need to concentrate on that too. Plus my online forum YouthDiaries (a platform for budding writers) has been seeing a good rise in subscribers and writers lately. So I am going to be a little occupied with that too.

  1. According to you how difficult the journey from ‘aspiring to be an author’ to ‘becoming an author’ is?

=> In one line, this difficulty is inversely proportional to the amount of dedication and honesty you show towards writing.

  1. Very well-said! Tell us something about TalEx India and YouthDiaries, what is it all about and how are you involved? 

    => TalEx. It means ‘ex’ploring ones ‘tal’ent. I and 4 friends of mine are working on this startup. I am the director along with two more friends from IIT Hyderabad and MNIT Jaipur. TalEx basically is an idea to create a linked in network of creative people. So that the artists get their buyers and the startups and services get their work. YouthDiaries is one project by TalEx where we have successfully provided a platform to many budding writers and we also have interns all across the country.

  1. Besides writing what are your other passions?

=> Dancing and Radio Jockeying. I love both and have tried both semi-professionally as well. In fact I’d definitely try RJing professionally in future. Calling other things a ‘passion’ won’t be fair. Writing always stays on top.

  1. Do you plan to go full time with writing? If not then what are your plans?

=> I am just a newbie. Currently I can’t even think of going full time. Not because it’s monetarily not feasible, but I won’t be doing justice with literature by doing it so early. Neither would this be a wise decision for an entrepreneur like me. I need to grow a lot as a writer. Maybe after that.

  1. Where do you see yourself 5 years down the line?

=> No idea! I do plan to write a few good books, make good money, spend a good time learning new things and probably do post-graduation too. But all that is just a plan. Who knows what’s next!

  1. You are in the initial stage of being an author. What is the one thing you enjoy the most about it?

=> Some obvious answers include the small bits of fame, the interviews, the media mentions, the fan-mails and the increasing number of friend requests. I thought I’d love it when I wasn’t an author. But frankly, this is all just a matter of a few moments. The thing you really enjoy is when someone talks to you about the book. Like they lived it, like they know the characters, like they were in it. When someone praises Yatharth or Vikalp, I smile because I know I created them. Nothing gives a better feeling than that.

  1. Would you like to give any message to our readers?  
    => 1. If you want to become a writer, do it now. There’s no next time
2. Ask this blog’s writer to be a little more regular, we miss the old awesome posts!
3. Read My EX Fell In Love. I won’t say it’s a literary masterpiece, but it sure would make you laugh like hell.

Rapid-fire round :-
  • One hobby you wish to inculcate: 

     => Writing! And RJing comes next. 

  • One author who inspires you the most: 

     => Sydney Sheldon. 

  • One place you can never get tired of visiting: 

     => Pizza hut! 

  • Favorite genre of music?

     => I love every kind. Rock has a slight edge though. 

  • Favorite cuisine? 

     => Indian (Rajasthani) and Italian. 

  • Favorite movie?

     => Rang De Basanti (Bollywood) and The dark knight.

Thanks! :)

To buy his book, click here :My Ex fell in love Facebook Page: Facebook- My Ex Fell In Love

You can contact the author here: Shubham Choudhary To follow his blog : A Bug In My Mind