A Sweet Revenge

Milk is the most unpredictable and attention-seeking (and hence agitating) material in the kitchen. It curdles if it is not kept in the fridge in time and takes revange if we fail to provide attention to it while boiling..

Yesterday I kept the fresh milk for boiling and turned back to wrap-up the daily chores. In a short while it started to bulge in the pot. I had to jump over everything that came my way to reach the burner and switch it off, only to  witness its performance of fizzing and overspilling. What the scene it was!! 😥 The milk had stabbed me in the back for not paying attention to it! Then it had paved its way from the pot to the burner and down to the kitchen sink.. I had to keep all work in hand aside and take the cleaning on priority..

Once beaten, twice shy! Today I stood next to the burner while boiling the fresh milk. But after a while it started sending notifications that sounded like baby fire crackers. I gasped but then realized; the milk was on the way to curdle. Then using Vinegar I curdled it properly. I yielded good amount of creamy Cottage Cheese!

I had cooked Kadai-Paneer (A savory tangy thick curry) yesterday. Now what to do with this fresh Cottage Cheese today? 🙂

I followed these steps:

  1. Mixed the cottage cheese well and made round flat balls.
  2. Took 2 glasses water + 1 cup sugar into a cooker and added the balls into it.
  3. Cooked the balls for 2 whistles. They become puffy. (Had I added some rose essence, I would have yielded ‘Ras Gullas.’)
  4. Took a packet of 1/2 Lt fresh milk and kept it for boiling.
  5. Staying just next to the boiling milk I cut julliens of 8 almonds.
  6. Kept the boiling milk boiling by simmering the heat for 5 more minutes. This made the milk little thick.
  7. Added almond pieces + 1/2 cup sugar + 15 strands of pure Saffron into the milk. The milk started releasing good aroma and color due to saffron. This is flavored milk. (Adding Pistachio slices brings good color combination and taste but since this was not a Lockdown Recipe I did not shop them passionately. Xb)
  8. When the flavored milk and the sweet cooked cottage cheese balls both came to room temperature, put the balls one by one into milk and basted them with flavored milk around.
  9. Kept the dish into fridge for chilling.
  10. After a good chilling of 5 hours, we gulped the chilled creamy outcome in no time. 😀

Ras – Malai Ready to be Chilled

Ras-Malai Ready to Eat

Tip: Always keep the sweet cottage cheese balls separate in the flavored milk. Topping them one over the other breaks their shape.

This way, I too, took revange on milk by curdling, boiling, rolling, chilling, and finally gulping it.

Before the milk takes another round of revange on me that makes me run to a weighing scale, I declare no more revanges now. Afterall, all is well that ends well, right? 😀

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happiness is hearing my mother call me my child when I myself am a mother of a grown-up child.. 😀

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!!

Celebrate Womanhood!

Womanhood contributes similarity to all Varnas of Hinduism, I think.

You might wonder, why I mentioned ancient Hindu culture on Women’s Day? 🙂

Ok, to throw more light on my mention of Hindu culture in the context of womanhood, let me explain a bit of Hindu Varnas for Non-Hindu readers:

The ancient Hindu religion has boradly divided its followers into four Varnas as follows:

Brahmin – those who seek and share knowledge
Kshatreeya – those who rule and fight to protect people
Vaishya – those who run businesses and shape economy
and Shoodra – those who work hard to keep social places clean
These four Varnas are called ‘Chaturvarnaas’.  Every Hindu belongs to a particular Varna by birth.

Now look at women like this:

Woman introduces her children or students to alphabets and numbers. She teaches them manners, etiquettes, and prayers. She tries to keep them from bad vices, and imparts good values in them. She helps them shape their character by sharing her knowledge with them. She then belongs to Brahmin Varna.

Woman protects her young and dependant children. She can go to any extent when it comes to protecting  children and family. She raises children vigilantly and educates them on self defense. She can be an excelllent ruler. She is no less than a Kshatreeya then.

Woman teaches children how to manage, save, and multiply money. She demonstrates that not every problem is tackled with holding the bat straight; they need to twist the bat at times. She herself has to be a negotiator and teach children how to negotiate. She belongs to Vaishya Varna then.

Woman keeps her house and surrounding places clean. She takes care of her dependant children and old seniors. While working on babies’, senior peoples’ or patients’ inability to keep themselves clean, she has to overcome disgust and repulsion. Is she then any less than freehearted Shoodra, who gets dirty while serving others?


Image credit: Jill Wellington, a portrait photographer in Michigan, USA. You can see her work at: https://www.pexels.com/@jill-wellington-1638660

It is mentioned in Sant Gajanan Maharaj Holy Book (Pothi) that the souls walking on the spiritual path see people with equal compassion for everyone. They see people beyond their Religion, Varna, or Cast. On the similar lines, I think woman cannot be confined to any particular Varna. Whichever Varna woman is born in; she gets to do the roles of all Varnas in her life.

So, isn’t it special to be a woman?  Let’s celebrate the beautiful woonamhood. 😀

(P. S. I am neither a feminist nor I follow any Varnas. I value peoples’ Karma  more than their Varna.)

Birds of Bhigwan

The other day Nishant said, “Aai, your love for birds is getting too far, ha!”, and I reserved two seats for Kumbhargaon Bird Sanctuary visit at Bhigwan with a team of avid adventurers and birdwatchers, the Bucket List Adventure. I would have booked Bhigwan visit even if he would have declared me of being an Obsessive Compulsive Birdwatcher. 😀 Jokes apart; I had to book it because we had been postponing it since the last couple of years. Plus, Pune’s newspaper and the local guides at Bhigwan had confirmed the arrival of a large number of migratory wetland birds.

We reached Kumbhargaon at 8 a.m. On reaching Kranti Flamingo Point, we split into two teams and boarded our respective boats. The boatmen took us into Ujani dam for quite some distance. Clicking pictures while birdwatching is usually challenging because birds don’t remain steady. But this time it was more than challenging because we all were also unsteady due to our swaying boats. 😀

Great Flamingoes

Flamingoes are birdwatchers’ all-time favorite. The stunning Greater Flamingoes with upside-down looking beaks flaunted their white and peach-pink feathers while standing on one leg



They often rubbed their beaks on wings and the rest of the body for preening their feathers. Flamingoes are the perfect example of You are what you eat. They originally have light grey-colored feathers. The rosy-pink pigments present in their food like algae and invertebrates like shrimp make their feathers pink. Interesting, right? 🙂

Glossy Ibis

We spotted Glossy Ibis sitting on the Acacia tree on the bank of the dam. Its feathers had metallic green and brown hue. Ibis are wading birds of marshland with a long crescent-shaped intimidating bill, which helps them to probe water for frogs, aquatic insects, mussels, slugs, and mollusks.


Glossy Ibis

Ibises migrate from East Africa and Australia to India during Indian winters.

Grey Heron

Grey Herons are identified by their overall bluish-grey color and unique black crown feathers. They have a long yellow beak and slender neck with an overall upright stance.


Great Blue Heron

One might confuse Grey Heron and Great Egret due to their similar appearance, but there are some noticeable differences.

Great Egret

Great Egrets have darker legs and slenderer bodies than Grey Herons.


Great Egret

Yet another difference is, Great Egrets may or may not have crown feathers.

Open Bill Stork

There was a stork with an interesting bill: Open Bill stork. Even when the stork appears to have closed its bill completely, there is a gap between the upper and the lower halves of the bill. 😀 The young Open Bill storks lack this gap. Open Bill storks mainly grow up on mollusks, sea urchins, crustaceans, and baby turtles, which require them to use their bills rigorously for breaking the shell of the prey.


Open Bill Stork

The bigger the gap, the older the stork you can say, as they have used their bills for breaking hard shells all their life.

Black-Billed Spoon Bill

It has long slender legs like any other wading bird has. The color of its bill and legs match, contrasting its body-color.  Spoon Bill stork has a spatula-shaped bill.  Its bill has vibration detectors from inside.


Spoon Bill Stork

When the stork opens its bills a few centimeters-wide and dabbles into water to probe for food, the detectors help the stork to sense the food and it closes the bill immediately to grab it. Thus, Spoon Bill storks catch food by feeling or sensing it rather than looking for it.

Northern Shoveler Duck

Northern Shoveler Ducks migrate from the Americas to India during winter. They have a flat-tipped black bill that they use to find small water creatures while dabbling their heads into the water.


Northern Shoveler Duck (male)

Their uniquely-shaped bill has saw-like tiny projections along its edges to filter grassweed, algae, molluscs, and small aquatic animals from water.

Ruddy Shelducks

They are bright yellow-orange-colored ducks with black beaks and legs. No, they are not a couple in the following image though they are swimming in pairs. They both are females for the fact that females lack black neck-ring, which their counterparts display during their breeding time.


Ruddy Shelducks (female)

Ruddy Shelducks are considered sacred in Mongolian and Tibetan cultures.

Silver Gulls

They are natives of Australia. They have a white head, upper body, and belly, with very light grey-colored back. Their wings are black at the tip. Adult seagulls have bright saffron-colored bill and legs.


Silver Gulls

It looked like they were fond of fish more than any other small aquatic animals. The boatman fed them dry fish, which they happily took.

Red-wattled Lapwing

We found many pretty Lapwings when our boat returned to the bank of the dam. Having very distinctive colors and long slender legs, the Lapwings belong to the family of waders.


Red Wattled Lapwing

Their large eyes depict that they hunt for worms and insects by sight rather than by feel. This is often called Did You Do It? bird, as its call goes in the same lines of pronouncing this question. 🙂

Paddyfield Pipit

When we were walking towards the flamingo point to have food, I spotted some movement on the nearby pile of soil, ash, and cow dung. A small bird had camouflaged so well with the background that hadn’t it moved, I would have barely noticed it. It was a Paddyfield Pipit.


Paddyfield Pipit

It displays modest color and call. It was there to collect insects and worms. Again, its eyes depict that it ‘looks’ for food.

Pied Bush Chat

I couldn’t overlook the sweet call of a small bird while walking towards the food joint. The bird turned out to be Pied Bush Chat male.


Bush Chat (male)

Shortly in some time, I spotted its female too.  These countryside birds are found perching on thorny trees, fencing wires, or electric cables. They feed on insects and worms present on the ground.


Bush Chat (female)

It was time to go home, I had to drag myself towards the bus. The number of birds I could get to see in this visit was undoubtedly more than what I had expected. There were many more birds, which flew away till I could lock them in the camera. But I am happy I could at least got to see them. 🙂 I am so happy I did not postpone Bhigwan visit anymore. Bhigwan is indeed a paradise for birdwatchers. 🙂

Writing Effective UI Text: Do’s and Don’ts

Software communicates with its users through User Interface (UI) text. Software developers anticipate what can go wrong and where, while coding. According to those anticipated situations, they raise errors or warnings, or display any intermediate informatory messages regarding progress or impediments. These messages are known as UI text in the field of Software Development.

UI Text Discussion

Technical Writers need to work together with the software developers and Product Managers for writing most effective UI messages. Here are some guidelines to write them.

Writing UI text: Do’s

  1. Write clear. Users should be able to comprehend the UI message easily. Put your best foot ahead to help users understand the developments in execution, or what went wrong in case of erroneous situation. State the issue in plain language with the concise use of words.
  2. Provide a supplementary message. It is written in continuation with the main error message when more details need to be conveyed during complex situation. The supplementary error message often helps users to understand why something went wrong.
  3. Write intuitive UI message. The message should give the users clue on what to do next and how they can restore the things to working order.
  4. Use small graphics with messages. A picture speaks thousand words. You can suggest the graphics designer to use relevant icons to depict the severity of unwelcomed situation. For example, a red-colored exclamation mark Error to indicate an error whereas an amber-colored exclamation mark Warning to indicate a warning. You can suggest some other graphic like Done to convey success.
  5. Watch out for your grammar. Keep a keen eye on contractions, well-placed punctuation marks, tense, spelling/typo mistakes, and so on. Correct grammar increases your software’s credibility.

For example, “The record has changed. Save it’s details?”. An incorrect contraction is used in the later sentence. It should be, “The record is changed. Save the record?”.

Writing UI text: Don’ts

  1. Don’t blame or order the user. For example, in the verge of using active voice, do not phrase an error message like: “You either did not connect router or you switched it off. Switch-on the router to be able to use Internet.”

Instead, say – “Router not found. Please make sure the router is connected and switched-on to be able to use Internet service.”.  The reliable policy is, inform about a situation in passive voice and suggest the action in active voice politely.

2.  Don’t leave any floating messages. There is a possibility of some unwanted messages getting displayed while executing. For example, see the one shown below:

Floating UI MessagesThe developer might have created some intermediate error messages for his/her convenience to test the status of certain device/situation while coding. If the developer misses out to remove such messages before creating a build, a Technical Writer can go through the file of error messages (if any) and help remove such floating messages.

3.  Neither use non-parliamentary words nor use jargon. Writing user-friendly doesn’t mean writing too casual that some users find hard to consume. Keep your organization’s brand culture in mind. Don’t phrase the UI messages using too casual tone with words like huff, hey, gotta, dude, or some non-parliamentary words. Also, avoid using jargon as non-technical users will find it difficult to understand.

For example, “Authentication failed.” is a jargon whereas “Incorrect password. Please enter the correct password.”, is user-friendly.

4.  Don’t confuse your users. Failing to anticipate the forthcoming situation clearly brings ambiguity in writing and in turn confusion in perceiving the UI message. There are some entertaining messages people have written. 😀 For example, see the message below:Confusing UI Message

What a frustrating message this is! 😀 Such messages do nothing to the users except for increasing their agony. 

Now see this, the oxymoron in the following message has made it quite humorous:


Ok, why would one write such message at first place? That was probably written by a developer who was testing the code snippet of killing a task forcefully.

An expert rightly says:

A user interface is like a joke. If you need to explain, it’s not that good.”

Appropriate UI text makes the software engaging in the right way, makes the software easy to use, and holds the brand image of the organization high in user’s mind. I trust you agree. Happy UI-text writing! 🙂

What does a Woman Want?

Dear men,

What does a woman want?

A classic question, isn’t it? 😀

You often complain about failing to understand what does a woman desire to be happy in spite of her having everything that you provide. I received multiple answers to this question in a single day all from Indian women of different generations. 🙂

It was the day when I went to see my 88 years old granny. I let her speak mostly and listened to her. While unwrapping her old sweet memories she mentioned that she was married off at a tender age of 14. Her parents fixed her marriage with my grandpa, who was then 22, working with a government job and hence the most eligible groom of that time. She said that she had seen my grandpa first on the day of their wedding. :O That was quite surprising to me. I asked her how come was she okay with that then she laughed and said, “Those days women were considered negligible creatures. They were not even privileged to wear foot ware.. Also it was then widely accepted for the bride to not to see her groom before their wedding. Your grandpa did not have bad vices to waste the money on. Ultimately it is always important for a man to be able to provide for his family than how he looked.”

My homemaker granny was mostly depending on grandpa for major expenses. He was the sole decision maker though she extended her hand to increase their wealth in her own capacity. In spite of having less rights, granny was happy with my grandpa.

After a couple of hours I took her leave and went to my maiden place. Granny’s life story and her approach to look at her life partner was on my mind for quite some time.

I asked my mother what did she want from her man; my father? She replied that she looked for a happy life with a man without bad vices and enough income to care for his family. It was 1970’s when my mother had started earning before her marriage. Hence she also wanted my father to let her continue with her job. She further said that she looked for the words of appreciation from him for her hard work and ability to manage all the relations of her in-law’s side. (Most Indian women’s worthiness was then measured on the criteria of their ability to work for the wellness and happiness of their husbands’ relatives. In the bargain if she had to overlook her health or emotional well-being, she was considered as the most dedicated and family-oriented woman. This criteria is present in a large number of Indian families even now.)

Then I saw my friend, who came to visit me at my mom’s place. She is a creative business entrepreneur. We talked on our own perspectives of what do we women want from our men?

The more we discussed, the more we realized that creating resources for one’s partner and children is an outdated measure of a man’s worthiness. These days the man and the woman both can earn and multiply their wealth together. Today’s woman doesn’t want you to provide her resources. She can earn them for herself and for multiplying the family’s wealth. She needs you to provide her a few intangible things:

Presence. She needs you to be present with all your mind and attention; preferably making an eye contact when you communicate with her. In order to to connect to emotionally it is important for her that you pay mindful attention to what she says.

If you can make a woman laugh,

you can make her do anything.

– Marilyn Monroe

Your Everlasting Support. She is a woman before your wife. When she wants to learn something new or needs to expend money for herself, cooperate her. When she faces a failure because of her own decisions, she has already spoken to herself deep inside about it and felt remorse. She has made a note of being careful thereafter to avoid any losses. When she is brave enough to tell you about the failed outcome of her decision, she doesn’t need to hear how careless, absent-minded, or illogical she is. She needs you to just listen to her and understand her viewpoint; as any of her woman friends would do.

Trust. I understand it is important for you men too. Everyone of us like to be with a partner who does not lie, however hard the things may be. For a woman trust is a critical factor that directly rules her level of intimacy with you. Trust is vital for her for a sound romantic relationship with you.

Loyalty. When she has given you every bit of herself with loyalty and integrity, she has the right to get the same from you. Be loyal to her in not only your actions but also in your thoughts. A true loyal man remains truthful and moral even when his wife is not watching him.


Though the saying in the picture above has been true since ages because men and women are wired that way (you have exploited enough this brain-wiring-thing of yours when it comes to having wandering eyes ;D)today’s woman is seen changing a part of wiring in her brain. She is not ready to play a victim if you are disloyal because she knows that infidelity comes by choice. She stands alone and walks out of the wedlock if you compromise your fidelity towards her.

Equality. Men and women have different roles and they have absolutely the same rights. She knows she is no less than you when it comes to her rights. The moment a man and his woman share intimacy, they become equal. Hence she finds you funny when you say, you are letting her do this or that.. 🙂 Treat her equal, value her being. Don’t rule out her expression. What goes fine for you is also good for her and what goes unacceptable for her is also unacceptable for you: keep no double standards.

Respect. She needs you to value her opinions and not manipulate, dismiss, or overpower them. Valuing her opinion doesn’t mean you have to blindly follow only what she says. A balanced and sensible woman is open to discuss. In addition, she needs you to understand what she does for the family in all the small and large ways, and she needs you to respect her efforts and emotions. When your woman is giving you something that deserves respect, why deprive her of it?

Goodness and Gentleness. She needs you to be a matured and a gentle person, who actually behaves as one. She wants you to be respectful towards other women. A true gentleman never passes nasty remarks on women. A true gentleman treats his wife in a way that makes other women envy his wife; not the other way round. 😀

A Good Man - Anastasia Netri Quotes

The Freedom to Decide. Now this is important. You can say, this is the mother of all answers at once to what women want. 😀 Here I remember a medieval story – Sir Gawain and A Loathly Lady.

The story goes like this:

Once King Arthur’s knight Sir Gawain committed an unforgivable mistake. Hence the King ordered him to go into exile and bring an answer to the question: what exactly do women want? The King assured to spare his life if he brought a reasonable answer in a year or he would behead Gawain otherwise. Gawain obeyed the King’s order and went on the quest to find the correct answer. On his way he asked almost every woman he met: what does she want to be happy? One woman said a lot of money, the other said a strong man, and some others said big house, children, gold, and gems. Each woman answered differently to add to Gawain’s agony. In a few months he was frustrated. An year had almost come to end when an ugly, old witch saw him sitting under a tree engrossed in thoughts. She offered him to listen to the correct answer to this question on a condition that he must marry her and stay committed to her for all his life. Sir Gawain submitted to her condition and married her to save his own life. They got married and the loathly woman told him the most awaited answer, “Women need equality in their marriage to be happy.” 😀 She assured him that the king would be certainly satisfied with that answer.


Sir Gawain and Ragnell: Singune, an artist from Belgium drew this beautiful picture. You can find his work at:  https://www.deviantart.com/sigune

The knight was then peaceful but still gloomy. On their wedding night, the witch asked the knight that why was he unhappy even on getting the right answer? The knight answered that he was unhappy because though his life was saved but he had never thought that he would have to spend his life with an ugly old wife. The witch then thought for a moment. She smiled and said, “You kept your word of marrying me hence I wish to grant you a boon. You can have me ugly during day and beautiful during night OR you can have me young and beautiful during day, and ugly during night. What do you want me to be?” Gawain, still left with some humanity in him lets his wife decide for herself. Surprisingly, the witch chooses to be a young and attractive wife during day and night; forever. Being a woman, I can tell why: she must have felt an immense need for herself to give him the best of her because he had respected her right to chose her own way… 🙂

In a nutshell, all women need sovereignty to decide for themselves.

You don’t need to be a macho man flaunting a three-pack-abs, or aggressive, overbearing, adamant, insecure, controlling, confused, brute, or an alpha man. She needs you to be a gentle and genuine person wearing a real face with whom she can be herself.

Flowers, chocolates, hugs, care, love, admiration, romance, open one-to-one communication, eye contact, attention, affection, trustworthiness, loyalty, compassion, kindness, safety, security, good surprises, efforts, support, honesty, loyalty, ability to read her unspoken messages between the lines, emotional connection… This all is what a woman wants from you. But above all; she definitely needs the right to decide for herself. Do not take it away from her; she was born with it.

Please give it a thought: God gave you both the same rights but she cannot have equal right of decision with a man when she is his young daughter. She cannot practice equal right of decision with a man if she is his old dependent mother. She can practice equal rights with a man only when she is with her partner; because she shares a romantic bond with him that brings two of them on the same ground.

By all means, providing these all tangible and intangible things is a bit of hard work for some of you; but then the pay off is handsome if you do. 😀

I hope you received the answer.


PS. I have tried to throw light on this out of my real-life keen observations from all around. I am neither a gender-biased person nor I have anything against you as you have been a notable part of my personal as well as professional growth. The secret is, when a woman with high moral sense and integrity is set free, she actually gets tied to her family more immensely than before. Sadly, majority of men don’t understand this and they become control freak. (In contrast, if a woman sets her man free, it’s the opposite. :D)

I should park here for not to make the PS as long as another blog post 😀

Content Writing, Content Marketing, and Copy Writing

If you noticed, I have written ‘and’, not ‘versus’; while trying to compare Content Writing with Copy Writing. The reason is, they have a common objective. Copy Writers work mainly for Advertising, which is a portion of Marketing. If you consider Marketing is a whole pizza, then you can see Advertising as a slice of a pizza. 

What is Content Writing?

Content Writing is writing the meaningful content on a paper or a web page. This post is nothing but you are reading the content that I wrote in this blog post.

What is Content Marketing?

When it comes to presenting and establishing a business on Internet, the Content Writing involves writing for business projection, which is called Content Marketing. Simply put, in Content Marketing you write content to market a business.

Content Marketing is intended to make the readers understand the business brand, its products or services, objectives,  ethics, and overall brand culture. The persuasive and engaging content written for a business website positions its brand prominently in the marketplace and builds the sense of reliability about it in the readers’ mind.

You can see it like – The content written is used for the purpose of marketing but they don’t call it as a Content Marketer or Content Marketing Writer. Content Writing is the term they use most widely.

Similarities between Content Writing and Copy Writing

They both are intended for marketing. They both are essential to promote a business or a brand.

Copy Writing = Advertising a brand and/or its offers.

Content Writing = Forming a relationship between the readers and a brand by providing content about the brand that the readers require and value.

What Does a Content Writer Write?

A Content Writer writes about a brand’s objective and mission, the range of its products and offers, brand ethics, and  culture, blogs, articles, reviews, etc.

On a broad perspective of Marketing, a Content Writer writes everything that is required to write for an online presence of a business such as the Official Website Content, Press Releases, White Papers, Company Newsletters, Sales Letters, and Corporate Blogs; to name a few.


If the objectives of Copy Writing and Content Marketing are same, then

What is the Difference between Content Marketing and Copy Writing?

A Copy Writer attracts readers’ attention and tries to sell or promote a product/service through his crisp words. A Copy Writer is responsible to generate interest and excitement about the product/service in readers’ mind so that they either buy it or explore the brand. A Copy Writer needs to be brief on the use of words while creating catchy, simple, and to-the-point copies. Copy Writers need to be Marketing Haiku poets 😀 who can create a copy with fewer words and more meaning.

A Copy Writer announces to the readers and a Content Writer engages them.

Unlike a Copy Writer, a Content Writer writes as elaborate as required. For example, for an online educational website a Content Writer writes tutorials, question papers, question-answers, FAQs, etc.; whereas, for a retail website, he writes about the products or services, offers, buying and returning policies, etc.

A Content Writer is responsible to write engaging content for a brand so that the readers spend more and more time on the brand’s website. The Content Writing needs to help the business to convey the right information about the business.

Writing Elements Content Marketing Copy Writing
Tone Formal or Casual Mostly Casual or personal to make it friendly
Vocabulary Technical on requirement + Generic Generic
Audience Wide Wide
Writer’s Viewpoint Subjective Subjective


Thematic or Alphabetical. Random



Highly accurate Non-damaging inaccuracy is forgiven
Structure Information is organized by friendly UI such as Menu Items, Tabs, Image  Buttons, or Hyperlinks. It contains Images, Tables, and Charts. The graphical elements are added to support the textual information, to highlight the product/service features, and to add a visual appeal. A Marketing Copy contains brief textual information with Images. The graphical elements are added to capture readers’ attention to add a visual appeal.
Tools Used Text/HTML Editors, Browsers, Keyword Search Tools, Adobe® Creative Suite, Image Editing and Processing Tools, Dictionary, Plagiarism Checkers, Grammar Checkers, Brand Book, Web Hosting Services, and Cloud Storage. Keyword Search Tools, Business Jargon and Rhyming Words Search tools, Dictionary, Text Editors, Image Editing and Processing Tools, Copy Evaluation tools, Brand Book, and Cloud Storage.
Creativity To a Large Extent Absolute
Output Format Web Page/Website Copy
Objective To inform more about the Product/Service and explains the brand as a whole.

Introduces the readers to a brand and its offers, and generates their interest to explore the brand further.

To sum it up,

If you need to engage the readers on your website by providing him pieces of worthwhile content, look for a Content Writer. If you need to inform the readers about what you sell and offer, and provoke them to know more about your brand, then approach a Copy Writer.

Happy Friendship Day!

Dear friend,

They say, “A man is known by the company he keeps.” I won’t mind being known as a jovial, little weird, and an optimistic by being in your company. 🙂

We have spent countless time and thoughts together.. People wonder, how come we are so deep friends? We are different with our choices, lifestyles, and so many ways.. but I think these things don’t matter much. What matters is, accepting each other, standing by each other, and most importantly; sharing the same set of core values and virtues of life. 🙂

We showed each other our own worth when we realized the other one was at times forgetting it. At times we drove each other mad but we also inspired each other to what we should become.

I never had to pose or be diplomatic when I am with you. My ‘no’ meant ‘no’ and ‘yes’ meant ‘certainly’. I didn’t need to keep my house clean and tidy all those times when you were going to visit because I know you visit me; not my house. 😀


We have helped each other, been there, done that.. We brought one another to our true self when we found ourselves somewhat lost…

I want you to keep knowing all my vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Because I know I can express my true being to you and my emotions are safe with you. And you know, I still need a partner to do with and say to all the little stupid things. 😉

So let’s promise each other not to change ever.  😀

Happy Friendship Day!

Happy Birthday my Soulmate!

Though at the moment
we are poles apart
in my thoughts, in my actions
you are in my heart…

Each moment I think of you
though you are not near
Here come my wishes
to pray for you, my dear…

In your life ahead
may all your dreams come true
And you learn something
special and new…

May your worries
all fade away
And every happiness
embrace you each day…

May you always get
love and peace of mind
and togetherness with
the one of my kind…

May your each day ahead
end with a bliss
And what’s more,
with a good night kiss…

Yet another year,
now has passed
Giving you the wisdom
little and vast…

Forty Eight years
have fallen behind
Next many and more
in a row are aligned…

Wishing you a Very
Happy Birthday my soulmate,
To count the years ahead
May God forget!


(I had posted this poem earlier on: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/happy-birthday-my-soul-mate)

Soni Aaji and Sontakka

After a large number of years I came across this basic beauty, Sontakka. Generally all white flowers are found to have intense aroma. Though I like each and every color the mother earth displays and my eyes can see, I like white flowers more like Jasmine, Jai, Jui, Sontakka, and Raat-Rani: due to their modest dressing and extraordinary aromatic qualities.


Yesterday when I saw the fresh flowers of Sontakka with shining raindrops still adorning them, I bowed down and inhaled their sweet smell to the full content of my heart. While my eyes were still closed, they took me down the memory lane with my Granny, Sumati Aajji or Soni Aajji, sometimes we fondly called her.

She looked gorgeous in her youth and even when she was aged. She was a staunch farmer. She had planted Guava, Custard Apple, Indian Gooseberry, and Jackfruit plants. She also had planted Drumsticks, Indian Beans, and Black-eyed Beans. She used to weed, prune, and water all plants by herself around the house.

She was a generous person. When it came to giving fruits, vegetables, or flowers to any passer-by or a guest, she never held back her hand.

Soni Aajji also had a good hand in tailoring and good understanding of musical notes. She liked to sing and listen to Marathi songs… We both used to sing some songs together. 🙂 She could follow the notes of the songs accurately. Yet another common thing in both of us was she had an appearance, gaze, and the diction of a straight-forward person just as I have now. 😀 hence her concern and caring nature often used to get masked under her straight words though for me, she always used to be soft-speaking and overtly loving. 🙂

One of the most important common traits between us was, we boh liked Sontakka. 🙂

I got introduced to Sontakka first at her doorstep when I used to spend my childhood weekends at her place. My grandfather himself had prepared a flowerbed just below her room’s window. The pink and yellow lilies, white roses, Mogra, Aboli, and Jai.

The Sontakka plants used to get drenched in the rains during rainy season as she had planted them little away from her flowerbed. Their butterfly-shaped flowers used to release an immense fragrance all around the plants.

Sontakka used to hold my attention as long as I used to be there at Granny’s place and long time thereafter.

At times we don’t come to know who left mark on our life till that person is away from us. Soni Aajji is far away from me. She is with God since long ago. I am happy she was a part of my growth. 🙂 The fragrance of Sontakka reminds me of her hidden sweetness behind her sharp persona.

A Melodious Morning

It was a couple of days before my recent Goa visit. I was lying in the bed under a cozy quilt. A heavenly call of a bird broke my sleep around 5:45 a.m. The call was so tempting that I couldn’t resist myself to get up and follow.

I grabbed my camera and climbed down the stairs praying in my mind for getting to see it if I was about to see some cute bird. It was a midline of the end of the night and a new daybreak. The clouds were masking the Sun.

I reached the car parking from where the continual sweet sound was coming. I sneaked behind the car and held my breath. It was him: Blue Flycatcher.

Its lean and frail female was flying to and fro from our neighbor’s; Keni Aajji’s outside veranda. She was little lighter in colors with a slender neck.

Blue Flycatcher Female

Looked like it was their breeding season and she was religiously into building her nest with her partner. She julienned some tiny pieces of coir from a dry coconut that had fallen into Keni Aajji’s yard the previous night. Then she took them inside Keni Ajji’s veranda and put them at the top of the wooden shoe rack. She was working tirelessly.

Blue Flycatcher Female Working

In the meantime, the deep vibrant-colored male was sitting nearby where the female was and guarding her. He was singing aloud. She did not sing as much as he did. Maybe because she was completely busy bringing up her nest and he was comparatively free.

Blue Flycatcher Singing

He came close to me at an unbelievable distance and kept sitting on the fence for quite some time.

Blue Flycatcher Side View

His overt loud chirping around me showed that he wanted to shoo me away from that place.

Blue Flycatcher Tilted Neck

It was breezing lightly. I sat next to the car on the ground and observed them both. They were so small, yet so occupied in their duties. They were working together for their next generation. I have no idea if Blue Flycatchers were the true monogamous romancers like Hornbills, Cranes, or Love-birds; but their act of dedication as a couple seemed very romantic. 🙂

The Sun appeared partially from behind the clouds. I resistantly took their leave. My day was made indeed! 🙂

Technical Writing versus Copy Writing

There are more differences than similarities between Technical Writing and Copy Writing when it is the matter of their objectives. Being a Technical Writer myself and having known what my advertising acquaintances write, let me explain what is Copy Writing first and then the differences between the two writings.

What is Copy Writing?

Copy Writing is a writing style intended to advertise or sell a product or a service. In the context of Copy Writing, a copy is a piece of text written to sell and/or promote a product or a service.

A Copy Writer writes to bring a reader to try a product demo, sign a mailing list, subscribe to the corporate website or follow their blog, purchase a product, or call a service provider.

What Does a Copy Writer Write?

A Copy Writer writes Flyers, Billboards, eMail or print Adverts, Email Campaigns, Lyrics for radio/TV Jingles, Scripts for TV/Radio Adverts, and Email Letters; to name a few. They write copies for both print and electronic media.

Difference between Technical Writing and Copy Writing

The fundamental difference lies in the objectives of Technical Writing and Copy Writing.

Technical Writing is mainly concerned with explaining. It involves:

  • Informing – What, When, Where, Who, and Why.
  • Instructing – How to.

Copy Writing is oriented towards:

  • Encouraging the reader to buy a product or avail a service.
  • Promoting a product or a service.

The writing style and tone in Technical Writing are different from that of  Content Writing.

A Technical Writer describes the technical information to the readers by considering the level of readers’ education and experience. Any vague terms like more, sometimes, many, etc., don’t appear in technical documents. A Technical Writer needs to write precisely how much more, at what specific times, or exactly how many. A Technical Writer needs to write by confining to a specific vocabulary and formatting rules strictly. The language in Technical Writing is very straightforward. This turns any technical document quite boring for a common reader.

For example, only a mechanical engineer or an automobile engineering student would be interested to read gear motor operation manual. A common reader deviates from a technical professional in education and life experience. The prior does not require an elaborate and specific technical information that the latter does. Since technical professionals are a subset of the people in general, the audience of a Technical Writer is limited.

Copy Writing

A Copy Writer considers all his readers as prospective buyers. Since a copy is intended for a large audience of varied demographics, he can use words or phrases that contain generic terms such as highest, largest, cheapest, anything, etc. A Copy Writer uses persuasive language and writes naturally with a  conversational tone. A Copy Writer needs to write in a friendly manner to reach to the maximum number of readers on a personal level and provoke their interest in the product or service he is writing for. Hence to a large extent, the content of the copy becomes interesting for a common reader. Writing a brief copy skillfully that can grab readers’ attention and compel the reader to engage with the business is a challenge in Copy Writing.

Here is a crisp comparison between Technical Writing and Copy Writing:

Element Technical Writing Copy Writing
Tone Always Formal Casual and Entertaining
Vocabulary Specific Generic
Audience Limited Wide
Writer’s Viewpoint Objective Subjective


Alphabetical, Chronological, Logical, or Thematic. Random



Highly Accurate, inaccuracy is not tolerated Non-damaging inaccuracy is forgiven
A Technical Document often contains Headings of multiple levels, Table of Contents, Images, Tables, and Charts. The graphical elements are added to support the textual information. A Marketing Copy contains brief textual information with Images. The graphical elements are added to capture readers’ attention to add a visual appeal.
Tools Required Adobe® Technical Communication Suite, Text Editors, Image Editing Software, Screen Capturing Tools, Dictionary, Cloud Storage. Adobe® Creative Suite, Keyword Search Tools, Business Dictionary, Text Editors, Rhyming Words Search, Basic Design, Image Editing, and Copy Evaluation Tools, Cloud Storage.
Inherent Qualities Required Ability to grasp technical information quickly, Ability to simplify complex information, Flair for writing, An eye for detail, Command over language, Straightforwardness is a plus. Salesmanship, Ability to observe and understand people’s nerve, Sense of aesthetics and humor, Liking for Social Media, Wide life-vocabulary, Command over language, Sense of Humor is a plus.
Creativity Almost nil Absolute
Required in Product-based and Service-based Organizations Advertising, Online B2B, and B2C Organizations
Output Format Document Copy

To sum it up:

It’s all up to your objectives for your organization. If you need to explain some complex information to your in-house audience or otherwise, reach out to a Technical Writer. If you need to grab the readers’ attention to what you sell and provoke them to add to your organization’s revenue, then approach a Copy Writer.

The Matter of Time

Today I and my teenager son Nishant were having breakfast as usual. I always look forward to the breakfast time with him. It is the time when we sit facing each other. Though briefly, we can get to spend some quality time and involve in a friendly yet meaningful conversation. He often exchanges his life-observations that time and I get to know a bit of how he is growing.

He took a rice dumpling in his plate and said, “You know Aai (mom), yesterday in my class a boy proposed a girl to be his girlfriend. He requested all of us but the girl to vacate the classroom and gave her a large chocolate while proposing.”

I was startled to hear what he said. I had witnessed a couple of calf love stories taking place around when I was a schoolgirl. The teenaged girls often used to get into it by mistaking infatuation as love. By the time I adjusted to my helplessness to the fact that class 9 students are engaging in the distracting activities while they are still in their student shoes, Nishant threw another line:

“But I don’t think their relationship would last long.”

I curiously asked him why did he think that their relationship would not last, just to know his viewpoint.Love and Time

He said by finishing the last piece in his plate, “Because at first place it took so short time to form.”

He finished his breakfast, picked up the bag and told me to hurry up while descending the stairs.

Children observe. They notice more than what we think they do. It was good to find him taking right notes. With a feeling of contentment, I picked up my bag and headed towards car parking.

My Dear Brother

We shared the same house and
the same loving parents
We took one another’s devices
without any consent…

We grew up my dear brother
sharing thoughts and views
And remained confined together
with love and good virtues..

We criticized and irked
each other at times
You could guess my frame of mind
By just looking into my eyes

Will I ever get back those
same old childhood days?
When we fought, laughed, played and cooked,
teased each other in many ways…

Today we are staying
a number of miles away
I hold our gems of memories
in my heart everyday…

No single day has passed
yet without your thought
I pray God to give you life
healthy, happy and lengthy a lot!

Brother-Sister Playing Chess

(I am happy to publish this poem here on the occasion of my brother’s birthday! :))

A Treasured Valentine’s Week

That was the mid-February of year 1996, the month of a shoulder season in Pune. The winter was diminishing and summer was taking baby steps. The intoxicating aroma of mango blossom and jasmine had started wafting on the air.

I was studying engineering. My younger brother Yogendra (all his near ones call him Yoga) was a youth of sixteen. My elder cousin sister Nayana, who was studying medicine had come to our place on vacation.

As Valentine’s day was nearing, I was longing for some letter from my beloved, though each casual letter otherwise was also a special one in our long-distance relationship. My parents knew about my love story since it started and Yoga came to know about it little later due to my exchange of letters with my beloved.

A middle-aged postman whom I called Datta uncle, used to deliver letters in our area. Whenever I crossed path with Datta uncle, I used to stop and collect my personal incoming letters from him before they landed up in Yoga’s hands. The reason was obvious: on getting hold of my letters, he often used to make me run after him from one room to other while teasing and return them only on bargaining something in exchange such as my best piece of stationery. His behavior used to agitate me at times but then my life would have been very boring if he were not so playful! 😀

I tried to call my beloved on Valentine’s day but my calls went dematerialized. He had not called either. We couldn’t communicate, which was quite upsetting. The history repeated on the following two days. I used to attend college, do all my due submissions and practicals, study, and come back home by evening. He used to be on my mind as usual.

On the evening of 17th February after spending a usual college day, I returned home. I was tired like anything. As soon as I headed for the jasmine plants in the backyard to get some fresh scent, Nayana and the granny gathered around me. Nayana handed over to me five large beautiful cards and they both couldn’t hold the curiosity flowing to the rims of their eyes. 😀 My waiting had come to an end finally! I felt like I had met him in person. 🙂 My granny enquired about the card sender’s details keenly and Nayana listened to my answers with twinkling eyes.

They say if you tell a secret to a woman, it no longer remains a secret. And I had to tell my secret to two women! 😀 I told them everything as it was and of course it did not remain a secret then.

On the same evening, Arun called me on phone. Then I came to know that he had posted those five cards to me in such an order that I could receive one card each day so that we both celebrate a Valentine’s week rather than a Valentine’s day. 🙂 But most probably, the postal service didn’t operate daily from MP to Maharashtra then and that is why I had received five cards on the same day just a little after Valentine’s day. Receiving a bundle of cards from my Valentine was a feeling no lesser than winning a lottery. 😀

All of us have some everlasting memories. The time changes so does our belief system but those memories don’t fade. Today, when enough number of years have passed to be able to look back, I think we don’t require any specific day to express our love. Now each day of togetherness is a Valentine’s day for both of us. But yes, that planned Valentine’s week I have treasured in my stash forever. 🙂

An Open Letter to My Sweetheart

My Sweetheart,

I have written you numerous letters before this one but today’s is a special one. Though we were in the courtship for more than 4 years before our wedding; on 27th November 1998 we entered into a wedlock and formally vowed to be with each other forever, may whatever come our way.


It is hard to believe; so many years have passed since we have been together, yet our marriage is so fresh! 😀

Today I want to thank you for being my other half. When I share my problems and concerns with you, they no longer remain only mine; they become yours too. You always stand by me and help me to get rid of them. You always support me actively in whatever activities or hobbies I pursue. And I like to support you the same way; though I get worried about you due to your  adventures sometimes. 😉

Everything seems clear, straight, and untangled when you are there with me.

Apart from our own respective interests, we both also do what the other half likes. I learned to clean the greesy electric toaster though I find it complicated and you lit up the oil lamp though you don’t like handling the messy oil… 😀

We click pictures and visit places in our special way. We find chances to sing and cook together, and share even the silliest thing happened each day.

In our journey together, I have learnt so many things from you, which I wouldn’t have learnt with any other person. May it be as small as eating capsicum (you know, I couldn’t stand them) to as big as recognizing a person’s motives by his body language and eyes. I trust you also must have learnt a few good things from me. 🙂

We had our bad times too. Our life as a couple was not always lovey-dovey; no couple’s is either. But the best part of our relationship is, we never stop caring for each other even if we are upset because of one another. However rough the days can be, I trust the grip of our hands held together will never loosen.

Down the timeline, I wish to visit the world with you. I wish to spend more and more time with you. I wish to flaunt my grey hair with you when we go to places. I wish to sip evening coffee with you in our yard revisiting all the bittersweet memories we have been creating all these years. Most importantly, I wish to see you happy.

I am glad that we were destined to be together. We would continue growing older together; enriching each other’s lives for looking ahead with you has always been wonderful. 🙂

I Love You, my dear!

Reliving the Nostalgia

It was a cloudy and humid noon of Saturday when I was at my mother’s place.

It was as warm as an oven! The fans also didn’t help. I changed my thought of turning on the AC and went up onto the terrace to get some fresh air. It was warm outside too.

The sky looked grey and the clouds had masked the Sun completely. The birds remained quiet. There was hardly anyone on the road. The clouds growled frequently with the streaks of lightning. The trees stood so quiet as if they were punished to stand still. Especially the erect Indian Cork tree at the corner of the house caught my attention… How tall it had grown all these years!! It was adorned with the bunches of long creamy-white flowers. The women folk of our house could create long garlands of those flowers without using a string.

A sudden cool wave of breeze brought an immense shot of petrichor from elsewhere. It must be already raining somewhere. I closed my eyes and inhaled as deeply as I could.  Something familiar and amazing happened.

The Indian Cork tree swayed. Its long flowers glided down swiftly to the ground. I descended the stairs almost running and went under the tree. My childhood moments were around the corner. 🙂

It started drizzling. Now, the mother will call me while collecting the clothes from the clothes string for she fears the lightning, the father will collect the coconut-halves kept on the terrace for drying, and they both did.

I paid deaf ears to her call and took the opportunity to pick up the Tree Jasmine flowers till my both hands could not hold anymore… The flowers and a few yellow, lemon-green colored leaves rolled on the ground due to the wind.

The Flower Shed

I waited in the drizzle for a little while holding my bunch of flowers till I could feel a chilled raindrop straight on my tongue. My age, social status, and location became insignificant to me for that moment. A couple of ladies passed by hurriedly holding their flat folded bags overhead. They gave me a dirty look, which didn’t bother me. Then I rushed into the house before getting drenched.

Now, the mother will scold me a little for getting wet, the father will take my side, and they both did. 😀

I overlooked what they argued among themselves and I made her sit next to me. Then emptied my wet palms in front of her and held both her palms on my cheeks to feel the warmth. I tried making a garland of the Tree Jasmine flowers without using a cotton string while she brought a dry towel. After a couple of attempts, I realized I couldn’t…

Now, the mother will demonstrate the beautiful arrangement and I will carefully watch her twining the flowers one-by-one, then I will hastily take the garland halfway from her to complete, and we did.

The Flower Garland

I had found it. I had relived it. 😀

Think Good, Get Better!

Sometimes we get better than what we wish for.

I and Arun planned to take a scooter for me. I already have a car but a scooter would save me from Pune’s congested traffic during busy hours to some extent. After a lot of homework, we decided to buy TVS Jupiter ZX: A flawless mix of beauty and power. We both decided to go for the glossy wine color.

Soon after the following couple of days, I went to the TVS dealer’s showroom near my office to book the scooter of choice. The sales lady asked me if I would like to go for a fancy number. I knew that the Regional Transport Office (RTO) conducts auctions for giving a fancy number one wants for the new vehicle. People can choose the vehicle numbers they want but they have to pay an extra amount of money.

I: “I don’t want any fancy or choice number such as 8055 that looks like the word BOSS when printed in a particular font, or the number 4040 that can be calligraphed to look like the word YOYO… But, can you get me any number, which could be memorable easily…?”

The sales lady: “I can definitely, but you still need to pay extra fees because even if I mention on paper that you want any memorable number, the RTO will consider it as your fancy number requirement.”

I thought for a while and decided that I won’t mind going for any other number that the RTO issues for my scooter.

I: “Okay, then leave the column for special instructions regarding the RTO number empty.”

The sales lady: “Okay, I will call you once your permanent number arrives. It will take a week’s time. Till then we will give you a temporary number and try to process your order as fast as possible.”

Thus, I completed the transaction of booking the scooter and stepped out of the TVS showroom.

The next day I received my brand new scooter with a temporary number. For the entire following week, I was busy like anything. I thought about the permanent number occasionally. I was not anxious about it, but I was curious. After all, it was going to be with me for next good number of years. I just wished I should get a good one.

In the following week, I received a call from the TVS for informing that the permanent number for my scooter had arrived from the RTO and the dealer would now fix the number-plate with the permanent number on the scooter.

I took the scooter to the dealer. I seated at the TVS customer-waiting area browsing through the e-newspaper. No sooner than I waited for ten minutes, the dealer while handing over the key to me told that the scooter was ready.

My week-long held curiosity came to an end. TVS ZX Deep WineI went to the scooter and saw… What a surprise! 😀

I got the number 7075! What’s more; the first half of the number depicted Arun’s birth year and the other half depicted mine!!

I had only wished for good but I received better! 😀


San Village: The Land of Plenty

Who doesn’t know the English classic comedy of 1980, The Gods Must be Crazy? The innocent, credulous, and curious face of Xi only brings smile on our face. 🙂 The Namibian actor late Mr. N!xau Toma, had played the character of Xi, a man from San community. The actor himself was a San Bushman. We were fortunate to meet his grandson Dao when we visited San village.

Ju/’Hoansi-San is the first living museum of Namibia. Run independently by its own, this living museum displays traditional hunter-gatherer culture of San, one of the oldest cultures in Africa. San are the first people living in Kalahari desert since last 1,00,000 years. Out of more than 90,000 Sans existing in Africa today, only 3,000 Sans are following their traditional lifestyle.

Sans move around places in search of natural resources such as water, resourceful plants, and game animals. They speak Khoisan language in which some consonants are spoken with clicking sounds made by tongue. It sounds so rhythmic! 🙂 San people wear just adequate clothes to cover the waist. They are mostly made of antelope skin.

San Community

The San men prepare bow-arrow, traps, and spears for hunting. They flay animal skin and season it by sun-drying. They also make bags and belts out of the seasoned leather. Recently, they have started helping the academic visitors by being forest or poacher trackers. The San women look after their kids and gather natural resources such as water and firewood. They use beads made of ostrich eggshell and various wild seeds to make ornaments. Sans eat ants, various other insects, mice, squirrels, as well as large antelopes.

Our guide Steven was a man of 30 from San community of Grashoek village. He had learnt up to grade 10. He spoke flawless English. He changed his dress to a waist-wrap and joined us. First he took us to Dao, the senior man and the medical healer of the community. When we asked Dao about his late actor grandfather, he proudly said that he knew his grandfather was a regarded actor of Namibia. Dao himself was too young then to understand his grandfather’s acting skills, and movie picturing. We asked Dao how old he was then. He told that he doesn’t know his current age but only remembers that he was born in summer.

Dao the San Medicine Healer

Dao, the San Community Senior and Grandson of Xi

We started out tour with Steven and Dao from a place where they had made a San hut. The hut was very small. It was made of dry sticks, which provided a very basic shelter. Just in front of the hut, Dao took two straight sticks of Mangetti tree, one of which had three holes in a line. Dao demonstrated how to create fire with those sticks. He first took a bunch of dry grass. Then he held the stick with holes horizontally on the grass gripping it with his big toe. He placed one end of another stick into a hole and swirled it hard in a whisking action. While doing so, he was speaking to invoke their fire-God. He said he never used Firestone for creating fire. Soon we could see some smoke and then the fire came in full flames. He lit up his smoking pipe filled with dry local tree leaves used as same as tobacco.

San People Creating Fire

The Sans, Dao and Steven, creating Fire

Steven and Dao then lead us to bush-walk. They showed how various medicinal plants that cure common illnesses such as cough, cold, fever, toothache, and common wounds as well as blood pressure, any problems with eyes and ears, tuberculosis, and even infertility. Steven showed a Ration Berry plant on which ladybugs go through their life cycle. He also mentioned that the ladybug larvae are so poisonous that they can kill an animal as big as an adult giraffe. Their poison was very resourceful in hunting. They applied it on spearheads or arrowheads while hunting large game animals. San Drinking Water Accumulated in Tree Trunk.jpg

Dao showed how they find out the sweet water collected into the tree trunks and drink it with the help of hollow hey straw. Soon we came out of the wilderness and Dao started creating a bow and an arrow. Seeing him make it traditionally was very interesting. He took a couple of long leaves from Sisal plant, which provides fibers. He tore the leaf into small parallel portions with a sharp blade. He went on breaking those portions of Sisal till they came out as thin strings of fiber. Then he took small bunch of fiber and rolled it with the support of his lap. When it was half done, he joined another bunch of fibers. Thus he made a long seamless string that was as strong as a nylon string. He selected a thin and flexible stick for making a bow. He then chiseled its bark away and made the bow. San with Bow and Arrow

While Nishant and Arun were taking bow-arrow-making lessons, I sat next to a San lady, Naomi, who was busy making ornaments from beads. San people make disk-like beads from Ostrich eggs. They break the shell into pieces and rub each piece against stone to make it roughly round. Then they pierce holes into them.

San Jewelry Bracelet

The bracelet gifted by Naomi

They roll the beads into ash or soil to color them brown and heat them directly on fire to color them black. That is why, their collection of ostrich bead jewelry had so beautiful earthly colors! They also collected various colorful seeds and made beautiful neck-pieces, bracelets, headgears, and anklets. I learnt to make beads, string, and bracelet from her.

Sans follow a few hunting rules religiously. Steven told that there are few words of wisdom shared in his community. San always considered quick and quiet hunter to be successful. They never hit a human being and consider that such kind of act always would bring pain and bad luck to all involved. They also believed that after death the soul of a person is transferred to the supreme God and continues influences the mortal lives.

Shortly we arrived at an open area to view their traditional dance. They dance at the time of wedding ceremony and at the end of the effortful day. They also dance while seeking guidance on medicine from ancestral spirits. I joined them in dance, which was a very joyous experience. 🙂

San Women and Children

A Cherished Moment with San Women and Children

San have so small dwellings and wear so little clothes… They eat limited variety of food and are happy with their bare possessions. These warm-hearted people believe that God has provided plenty for them. 🙂 They are most close to Mother Nature. They don’t know about any soaps or expensive face creams; yet their faces glow. They are the perfect balance of aggression required for hunting and cordialness needed to stay together harmoniously. They lead simple lives years away from civilization, free of any law, complications, or speed… It’s not that everything is wonderful with them. Average lifespan of Sans is just about 45 to 50 years. Today they find it difficult to maintain their traditional lifestyle because of land encroachment by local farmers; still they are contented.

After spending around half a day with them, we took leave of the community seniors and other members. On the way back, Steven’s words were lingering on my mind. As he said, “Nothing or none is really good or bad here. Everything or everyone just is in its own form. Created by God.”

The Sans are truly living by this statement. 🙂

The Ongava Experience

We got an opportunity to visit Ongava, a famous private game reserve spread over 30,000 hectares. The conservation has highest number of lions, and a wide variety of antelopes and birds. Since we always wanted to see a lion’s pride in natural habitation, we started our journey with the hope to definitely spot it at Ongava.


It was early evening when we reached Ongava after travelling about 425km towards North. The staff welcomed cordially with wet scented towels and chilled lemon water, which we appreciated very much after a long journey in the blazing Sun. We took over our rooms. The chalets were so sparkling clean and cozy! Every piece of amenity inside was provided with a keen interest and thoughtfulness. We kept our luggage into the rooms and rushed towards a beautifully located swimming pool. The Sun was still glorifying the west horizon.

After a few dips in the pool we went to the rooms and got ready to sip coffee in the lounge. The thatched lounge of Ongava is designed such that the viewers can see the twin waterholes just beside and the Savannah plains that spread over acres till the horizon. While we were sipping coffee, we could see a pair of rhinos and a pair of giraffes; two of the five big animals of Africa. Our dedicated guide Abner told us that there was also a watch-house just next to it; smartly hidden in bushes. The route to watch-house was covered by bamboo stripes entirely, so that the viewers could be completely hidden from the animals. We speedily went there with cameras while the Sun was still flashing its last rays of the day.


Rhinos came and made giraffes wait till their turn of having water was over. They went into nearby bushes and ate. They again came to the waterhole. They didn’t allow giraffes to come near waterhole and poor giraffes were waiting for their turn. After multiple toggling trips to waterhole and bushes, the rhinos disappeared into the bushes once and for all, and giraffes came to the waterhole slowly. They stretched their forelimbs wide apart to be able to reach the water and drank it. So inconvenient it was for them! Giraffe is most vulnerable to become a prey while having water. Sun descended completely and we walked back to the rooms.

Since the chalets had dense vegetation around, a staff member escorted us to the dining area. Around 8:00pm we went to the lounge. It was pitch dark on the western side, barring a lamp at the waterhole. The dinner was laid next to a big braai. It was chicken kebabs and butternut soup; very well adorned with streaks of cream. The aroma of meat wafted in the air. The wind carried scent of dry soil and bushes to us.

While we were having dinner, Abner came to us to decide on next day’s plan. We expressed our wish to see a lion’s pride to him. While we were in the discussion, we saw a safari vehicle approaching back to the chalets with head lights on. Shortly a group of happy tourists arrived at the dining area and announced that they saw a pride of lions! 😮 The group so excited to have spotted lions that they shared their experience with twinkling eyes. 🙂 Their real story increased our anxiety to see the pride of lions even more. Abner was happy for getting a clue about where the pride could be.

Abner escorted us to our chalets and we straight went to the beds. Yet another awesome night beside the Savannah plains… 🙂

Early morning around 6:30, father and Nishant heard the roar of a big cat. Lion’s roar can be heard from a distance as long as five miles. At the time of breakfast, Abner came to our table and suggested that we should first visit the south-west terrain, where the other group of guests saw a lion’s pride the previous evening. We boarded the safari vehicle hopefully.

Abner took the sturdy vehicle through thorny bushes, ditches, and deep marked trails, which were left by other safari vehicles. We tried to keep ourselves from those thorny bushes and heat. We roamed the terrain looking for the presence of lions about an hour; but no luck…Abner, little disappointingly suggested that we go to the Etosha Pan and return to the west-terrain again to search the pride. We could see a large number of kudus, springboks, impalas, water bucks, elephants, ostriches, zebras, oryxes, wildebeests, and a lazy pair of lions, but the pride. 😦 The pair of lions we saw had tracing collars around their necks and they were lazily slumbering near a cement water tank. Sun was showering its warmest rays and the lion couple seemed to take years to move. 😀 I knew the lions were very lazy, but never knew they were that lazy!! 😀 Abner informed that they were together for making babies.

Sun was on our heads and Abner seemed to be little upset on not being able to follow the pride’s trail. He offered us for some juices and cold drinks to stay hydrated. In Etosha Pan we saw a giant tusker hurriedly coming to the waterhole. He was a darker than the most usual elephants. He drank from the water hole’s fresh water source and went his way. Abner told that the elephants splash water on their skin and then coat a layer of sand over the wet skin to make a mask, which saves them from the heat.


So the dark tusker seemed to have arrived from the terrain where there was dark soil. The tusker vanished into the bush with the same speed that he came with. A large herd of elephants came at the waterhole to quench their thirst. A little elephant cub was looking indeed cute 🙂

We decided to return to our chalets. We were little upset as we had only that evening left and we hadn’t yet spotted the pride. We were suppose to leave Ongava the next morning and time was running fast… 😦 We had chicken pies in lunch, took rest for an hour, and once again started the safari drive in search of pride. It was about 5:00pm with still a bright day outside. We all were sitting quiet in the vehicle and keenly looking around for any yellow furry patches or long brown mane…En route, Abner stopped the vehicle to show a beautiful fly catcher and few other small birds. But that day, we had eyes only for lion’s pride.

We roamed about more than 150km in Savannah plains in search of the lion’s pride. Abner was getting despondent and we were being desperate…The sky was clouded heavily and winds swirled up the dust in the air spirally. We were quiet and almost on the verge of losing hope… 😦 Sun was about to descend in some time. Abner again gathered his enthusiasm and took us to a nearby waterhole in anticipation of getting the pride’s trail…We spotted two mighty elephants at the waterhole, who were least bothered about our appearance. Abner stopped the vehicle at a little distance.

The elephants were munching leaves from the nearby tree, breaking its branches, and removing the bark…We keenly looked around again…

And all our efforts were paid!! 😀

It was there. Twelve of them. Camouflaged in the dry brown bushes. 🙂 Quiet and completely untamed…Spread around the waterhole. Young and old, males and females, and toddler cubs. Some lions were basking in the evening Sun.

lions-prideAbner read their body language and said that they had consumed their prey and arrived at the waterhole to conclude the day. The leader of the pride was keeping eye on elephants. He was little away from the elephants as well as from his pride. He looked ferocious with a steady gaze, full grown mane, and commanding gestures.


Abner started the vehicle and parked it almost between the two elephants on one side and the pride on the other. After a lot of eating, the elephants approached the waterhole, where two lionesses were having water. One active elephant shooed them away by a loud trumpet and a thump of a forefoot. The lionesses made space for elephants and went aside. The elephants then started having water as if the waterhole was their own property! 😀 The pride kept anticipating their next moves and waiting for their turn to have water.


A couple of lightening streaks appeared on the west horizon and we saw a massive cloud approaching towards us like a shower head. It carried a drizzle to us. Then it moved aside to make place for Sun to show its magic. Soon a beautiful rainbow appeared in the sky! It was magnificent. 🙂 The elephants, the Savannah plains, a lion’s pride, and the colorful sky!! The sight was so captivating!! A few hours before, we had wholeheartedly wished for the view of lion’s pride and He showed an extra-ordinary view of nature. 🙂 We were fortunate to be a part of that magical scene!!

Soon, the Sun went down leaving a hot orange streak in the western sky. Abner drove us safely back towards the chalets. It was so hard to get over the wonderful experience! We took dinner and went to bed.


The managers, Ongava Game Reserve

The next morning, we took a lavish breakfast and met the staff to pay thanks. We expressed our deep gratitude to the lodge managers for hosting us. The staff members were so hospitable, and warmhearted that they effortlessly made us feel at home. 🙂 Their dedicated service with polite yet clear communication was unparalleled.

Ongava visit helped us to create one of the best memories during Namibian wildlife safari. As we know, we all retain best memories; for we can retrieve and revisit them, and smile again… 🙂 Holding memories of the unique experience at Ongava game reserve, we started back to Windhoek.

Embracing the New Year

How was year 2016 for me? When I think of this question, a lot of recent memories crowd my mind…Year 2016 was full of experiences, zest, fun, and lessons. A year of learning the whole set of new lessons and revising the old ones…I went to places, met people, made new friends, and observed them all. I could overcome my fear of water and swim, learn basic French, and pick up photography as per my last year’s resolution. 🙂 I visited the great Pyramid of Giza, Roman Colosseum, London Bridge, and climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It was so much fun to see a number of jaw-dropping places in Namibia and South Africa with my loved ones. I witnessed a wide variety of flora, fauna, and different colors of the mother earth.

The places I visited throughout the year were wonderful and exclusive, but it was not the case with people I met or been with. 😀 Some strangers beautifully reintroduced me to all the small and big things I could smile for. Some people I came across had less than their worth and some others had more than they deserved. Some funny people praised themselves on good results of execution of their plans and blamed others when results were unwelcomed. I met a girl who was ready to leave anything to find real love and then I met a woman who left love for money and material…I can say, I completely understood relativity! 😀

I learnt once a person’s soul departs, at no cost the person can come back…In contrast to the volatile life, this is a certainty of death. All you have are the memories of the days shared together. So it’s us to decide what kind of memories we want live with.

I learnt that I should not accept someone’s nonsense at first place. If I do then most probably I would have to submit myself to compromise my self-respect on every such nonsense in future. After all, I am responsible to condition others’ behavior too.

I used to think that if at all we quantify faith from 0 as no faith to 100 as undoubted faith then all the values between 0 and 99 are same as 0. I used to believe that I have faith only if it was 100%, complete. But according to my experience, faith can also be between 0 and 100.

I learnt that honesty and integrity are not something that weak people can handle. People will always take the easy and lazy route to hide their unethical behavior instead of choosing to condition themselves to be ethical, or not getting into unethical behavior at all.

I revised an old lesson that a person can change only if he or she wishes and works to change.

I also experienced an incredible power of pure thoughts and unsoiled character that anyone can accomplish by behaving in accordance with good virtues consistently. But sadly, a person with such character often continues the journey of growth alone.

I revised the lesson of hope. Hope and optimism go hand in hand. Hope had always been by my side even during the bad patches in my life. It is something that never ever broke my faith with it. This year I find myself equipped with little more knowledge I gained from my lessons… 🙂 I am going to release any bad memories accumulated over the past year. I am going to carry on only with the experiences and lessons.

While bidding farewell to the ending year, I find myself as anxious as a child, who awaits to open a series of gift boxes… 🙂 I am anxious to uncover what God has planned for me, day by day. I am ready to enter into year 2017 with full hope…to embrace new days, new experiences, and new lessons.


Hoba: The Largest Known Iron Meteorite on Earth

It was Grootfontein in North Namibia, where a giant meteorite struck some less than 80,000 years ago. It remained at the same place since the time it arrived on the blue planet. The reason is nothing but its incredible weight. 🙂

We drove on the gravel road about 20 km west from Grootfonteint to see this giant extra-terrestrial body. We found the place very serene. There was dense vegetation. We started walking towards the meteorite. The short shady trail was quite soothing during the warm daytime.


There are two stories behind the discovery of Hoba. According to the first version, in 1920, when a hunter named Jacobus Hermanus Brits was hunting at Farm Hoba West, he came across a strange dark grey colored surface surrounded by soil. He found the surface to be unusual so he scratched it with his knife. To his surprise the scratches shone and confirmed that it was a part of some metallic piece. Then Jacobus tried to find out more. He removed the surrounding soil that revealed entire body of the boulder. Then he chiseled off a small piece of the suspicious boulder and sent it to South West Africa (SWA; now Namibia) Maatskappy (this Africans word means company), which determined it to be an age-old meteorite.

The other version of the story says, Jacobus was a farm owner. Once while ploughing in Hoba West farm, his iron plough got stuck in the soil with a banging noise. When he dug around to remove the soil, this meteorite was revealed from underneath.

The most amazing features of Hoba meteorite are its shape and content. It is in the shape of a brick; as if some artists started sculpting it, reached the shape of a box, and left sculpting it in the middle for some reason. It is made of 82.4% iron, the substantial figure to name it as an iron meteorite. The rest 16.4% portion contains Nickel, Cobalt, Phosphorus, Carbon, Copper, Zinc, Gallium, Iridium, and other minerals that are not found on the earth. The local guide showed us the portion where iron piece was chipped off. It was shining so brightly in the Sun!

hoba-meteorite-iron-contentOnstudying the radioactive nickel isotope present in the boulder, the geologists figured out Hoba’s age to be at least 190 million years and at most 400 million years. It is estimated to weigh 66 tons at the time when it struck the earth. Later, due to oxidation, high winds, erosion, and vandalism, it lost its mass. Today, Hoba is estimated to be weighing about 60 tons.

The American Museum of National History at Manhattan initiated the purchase this meteorite from Namibia in 1954. The idea did not materialize due to transportation problems. The local community intimated Namibian Government about this and then the meteorite was declared as a national monument in year 1955. In 1985, Rössing Uranium Ltd. provided financial support to Namibian Government to guard the meteorite against public vandalism. Today, Hoba is surrounded by a cement structure and steps to enhance its view and facilitate the tourists to observe it from very near.

The curious cats like us wondered; what formula(e) did the geologists use to calculate its


Hoba Meteorite Top View  Image, taken from a helicopter. Courtsey: Sqn Ldr Raja Pandiyan


weight, when there is absolutely no chance to move it?

How did Hoba acquire its box shape naturally? Was it semi-molten, so could achieve this shape while striking the earth?

How come there are no creators formed on nearby land, when such a massive object struck the Terra Firma? Have they vanished under trees or soil?

The local guide could not provide us answers of these questions. But nature is a good teacher. It teaches that not all questions have answers. Some questions have no logical answers; or no answers at all…

Determining to find out more information on our unanswered questions, we boarded our car and started journey back to Grootfontein.

Quick Facts of Hoba Meteorite

Here are some quick facts of Hoba meteorite:

Weight:            60 tons
Dimensions:  Length 9 ft  x  Width 9 ft  x  Height 3 ft
Contents:        82.4% Iron + 16.2% Nickel + Other minerals
Location:         Near Grootfontein, Northern Namibia.

Braai, Beer, and Bush

History of braai can be traced back to the time when the early humans walked on the earth. Maybe the early man found a dead animal who couldn’t escape the forest fire and he tasted its meat with smoked flavor…He realized that the cooked piece of meat was comparatively much softer and tastier than the uncooked meat…Maybe then he preferred to cook the meat always thereafter…Or maybe he invented fire creating using two-stone method and tried cooking the meat…Whatever the reason, the taste and flavor of the grilled meat spoilt taste buds of the early humans. That must be the very first step of a human being towards braaing and in turn cooking.

The word Braai is a short form of Braaivleis, which is an Afrikaans word for local variation of barbecued or grilled meat. The word Braai is a noun that depicts the cooking equipment as well as a verb that depicts the way meat is cooked.

Braai involves outdoor cooking of meat and dining. Family or friends gather together in a casual environment for Braai lunch or dinner. Braai is an important part of food culture of Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. A large number of houses in these African countries have Braai arrangements in their gardens. They are called permanent Braai stands and are generally located near swimming pools. Most of the resorts, hostels, and hotels also provide permanent Braai stands.


Braai Party is a great social gathering in a friendly and casual manner where you don’t need to worry about following any stern party manners hence the host can also become a part of the event casually. Less preparation is required for the Braai as far as the food part is concerned. The other interesting thing is, the men folk plays a leading role in braaiing as it needs to handle heavy or large-sized equipment near fire. Believe it or not, this definitely lessens the cooking load on women folk. Women mostly contribute in marination, preparing salads or dips, and cutting lemon wedges.

Which basic equipment do I need for braai?

round-braaiBraai is a tray of some substantial height, which is entirely covered with grid. You can keep burning firewood or hot embers in the tray and cover it with the metal grid on which you can keep pieces of meat directly for grilling. The metal grid is made of iron, cast iron, or steel. There are various shapes of Braai stands such as Half-oil drum (which is the largest in size), Dome-shaped, and Box-shaped.

Apart from the Braai stand, paraffin or kerosene is required for persistent fire that goes on even during winds in the open areas. The tongs are required to pick up or turn the pieces of meat on hot grid. The longer the tongs, the safer they are. In addition, it is better to use paper plates than the glass or ceramic ones, as they are convenient during outdoor eating.

Braai Fuel

Various types of seasoned wood or charcoal are primarily used as Braai fuel. These days, brackets made from fine wooden chips are being preferred. The type of wood plays an instrumental role in the smoke it produces and in turn in flavor of the meat. Though most of the times wood is used conventionally, brackets and charcoal provide convenient handling.

Which meat or vegetables can I braai?

The sleeker the meat, more tenderly and completely it gets cooked. Meat is marinated in spices for hours before the actual cooking starts. Fillets or cubes of chicken, pork, and lamb or mutton, other red meat, game meat, tiger prawns or fish, boerewors, sausages, frankfurters, steaks, and ribs are excellent options for Braai. Though few people prefer meat with bones, the tender cuts such as shoulder, breast, and thigh are perfect for braaing as they contain less or almost no bones.

Braai doesn’t let anyone go hungry. A vegetarian guest can always braai marinated cottage cheese cubes, tomatoes, mushrooms, capsicums, brinjal slices, carrots, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.

Which side dish and drink goes well with braai?

Braaied food can be paired with a large range of salads, sauces, dips, and breads to enhance the taste. The side dishes give a fantastic color combination and complement the main braai dish. Potato salad, Green salad, Greek salad, Carrot-orange salad, are great options for side dish.

Since it’s a casual dining practice, braaied meats can be served with chilled drought beer, lager, or ale. White or red wine with dry taste can match with braaied seafood. The teetotalers can rely on any cold drinks. Braai is a wild thing that can be better handled with chilled alcoholic drinks.

Braai Recipes

Here are few Braai recipes:

Braaied Chicken Breasts 

This is an Indo-African version of braai recipe sufficient for 3 to 4 people. Flavorful and tastey, for those who wish to try something with Indian spices in African wilderness. 🙂


Boneless Chicken – 4 large pieces of 125-150gm each, cut into long slices.


  1. Thick unsweetened curds – 1 cup
  2. Fresh Ginger Paste – 1 tbsp
  3. Fresh Garlic Paste – 1 tbsp
  4. Coriander Powder – 1 tbsp
  5. White Pepper Powder – ½ tbsp
  6. Cinnamon or Nutmeg Powder – ½ tbsp
  7. Kashmiri Chilli Powder – 1 tbsp
  8. Lemon juice – 5 tbsp
  9. Salt – to taste


  1. Clean the pieces of chicken.
  2. Slit the pieces by running a sharp knife on it 3 to 5mm deep at 1cm distance. Do not let them break apart.
  3. Flip the piece and repeat the process on the other side.
  4. Mix all the Marination ingredients in a large bowl.
  5. Apply this mixture to the chicken pieces all over to coat them evenly.
  6. Keep the chicken breasts covered for a couple of hours in the refrigerator for marination.
  7. Roast the chicken breasts on the braai grid till they are done completely.

Carrot-Black Currant-Orange Salad

This salad is tasty enough to make you close your eyes while feeling its juicy taste. It will make you forget that some time back you couldn’t take off your eyes from its bright orange and black colors. 🙂


  1. Fresh bright carrots – 6 to 8 large
  2. Orange juice – 1 ½ cup
  3. Black Currants – 3 tbsp


  1. Peel the carrots.
  2. Shred them into fine stripes.
  3. Transfer the shredded carrot into a large bowl.
  4. Add orange juice into it.
  5. Add black currants.
  6. Mix well.
  7. Keep the bowl covered with cling foil in the refrigerator.
  8. Serve chilled.

Mustard Sauce

This little hot and sweet tangy sauce brings an extra punch to the braaied meat or vegetables.


  1. Evaporated Milk – ¾ cups
  2. Split and husked mustard – 4 tbsp
  3. Sugar – 1 tbsp
  4. Salt – ¼ tbsp


  1. Soak the mustard in milk for ½ hour.
  2. Add Sugar.
  3. Blend well in a blender to fine paste.
  4. Add salt.
  5. Serve at room temperature.

So next time when you are in fix for a casual party theme, why not try the African Braai with beer in a bush? 🙂

Swiss Landscape on Bernina Express

“If on earth be an Eden of bliss,

It is this, it is this, it is none but this!”

When I entered Switzerland its stunning beauty made me remind these lines. Switzerland boasts Alps ranges, a large number of tunnels and bridges, highest dams, and four official languages. It displays a unique range of magnificent landscapes. We all wanted to see the mighty yet beautiful Alps ranges and the scenic beauty of this blessed piece of land hence we visited Switzerland this summer.

We planned to travel by the world-famous Bernina Express, the train especially operated for the purpose of site-seeing. We decided to take the route from Tirano to Zurich and excitedly boarded the train.


The train was bright red-colored from outside with refreshing cream-white color inside the compartments, which were very comfortable and lavish. A very special and noticeable feature of Bernina Express is its large and clear windows through which the passengers can see the surrounding nature. These windows are extended up to the roof and facilitate the passengers to see every bit of the beauty and find themselves as a part of the nature while being on the wheels. Another stunning feature is the height at which Bernina Express operates effortlessly on narrow-guage. It runs at an adequate speed to let one observe the surroundings. The train operates at the height of 2253 meters above sea level and makes one wonder, how successfully man has created machines and tamed them at his service.

As the train steadily kept moving ahead, the breathtaking landscapes started unfolding. It took us through pastures of lush green grass. There were healthy brown cows grazing on the slopes. They were wearing flat-shaped brass bells tied in the embroidered leather belts around their necks. The black-nosed sheep were looking as if there were few white woolen bundles kept on green carpet.


Along the green pastures, there were small houses topped with tapered roofs and fenced with wooden bars. Sometimes they were so close to the train that I thought I could extend my hand to touch. They had little entrance gates which were adorned with bells and floral plants. The gardens in front of the houses displayed artistic arrangement of small fountains, animal figurines, and colorful pots. We spotted a little house just near the rail track where figurines of seven smiling dwarfs were kept in the garden. They looked so cute! 🙂 I tried to look for the Snow White’s figurine around but the train moved ahead and that pretty sight of the house was replaced by another beautiful view of chestnut trees.

The Swedish houses had small old-styled windows of wooden frames. Almost every window was decorated with the rectangular pots placed just outside the windows, which contained plants with pink, white, yellow, and purple flowers. They made a good contrast with the color of the window frames and left us impossible to decide which one was beautifying the other 😀

There were churches seen occasionally in the backdrop of the hilly green meadows. The Swedish towns just looked like the ones portrayed in the fairy tales. 🙂 Indeed Europeans have an obsession as well as an eye for a great detail to maintain their gardens neat, clean, and attractive.

The train was taking us on bridges, through tunnels, and around orchards. The food service carts arrived full of hamburgers, sandwiches, wines, and other drinks. They also had soft toys for sale, especially the Valais Black-nosed sheep. As we progressed on our journey, we started getting the glimpse of Alps Mountain through the tall pine trees. Soon Bernina took us nearer and we were astonished to see the snow-clad tops of the Alps.


It was the most breathtaking moment when we saw Matterhorn, the fifth highest peak in Alps ranges. It is in the shape of a pyramid with four steep triangular faces, each one facing a direction. Though its appearance, height, and expanse were scary, it captivated our eyes. 🙂 I find the view of large natural bodies like mountains and oceans is always spectacular. It limits one’s ego and makes one realize how negligible one’s presence is on this mother Earth!

We were so engrossed in watching the beauty around that we could not believe our destination had arrived. While we were on the train, the time seemed to pass so fast! It was an indulging experience to travel through the scenic beauty of Switzerland.

Switzerland landscapes are splendid.

It makes one’s eyes hungry and contented at the same time with its delightful beauty. 🙂

Namibian Birds through My Lens

Our tenure in Windhoek, the capital city Namibia, is an open door for visiting different unexplored places. Windhoek is one of the top 10 clean cities in Africa. It has a number of photo-opportunity places. The deep blue skies overhead and almost no pollution makes the routine sunrise and sunsets also very splendid. In this less populated city, the birds are ample in variety and number. And they are visible so easily! 🙂


I use 55-250mm lens with Canon camera to take pictures. I also use the handy and compact Sony digital camera. Here are some birds that I could spot around our house on Eadie Street, around Windhoek city, and the countryside.

Windhoek mornings start with sound of the dawn chorus. 🙂 Especially during winter, the weather is chilled and the Sun is bright. The birds are often found basking on the tree-tops or on the overhead electric cables.

Cardinal Woodpecker

It is found in entire Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa. I saw this bird accidentally. Once during late afternoon I went to collect dried clothes from the clothes-string installed in the backyard. I heard some strange sound rhythmically coming from the tree located in the extreme far end of the fence. There were more trees there. I slinked to follow the sound and got to see this beautiful bird!


I rushed back home speedily to get the camera and returned with it hoping that it would stay there till I click a couple of pictures. It was too busy to notice the sound of any leaves crushed under my feet 🙂 Indeed, good for me.

Greater Flamingos

We saw them on the west-coast of Walvis Bay. It was the evening and the water at the sea shore was warm. The flamingos were just about 300m away from us; wading their long feet in the water and looking for their favorite fish.


Later I learnt this type of flamingo is known as Greater Flamingo in the diction of Ornithology. It has pale pinkish-white body with long neck and pink legs. Its beak seems quite big for its head and has black tip. Its wings are adorned with pink fringe of the feathers.

Gray Hornbill

I spotted it early morning on the backyard tree. Initially I saw a big bird flying steadily in the sky. I prayed it should perch on the nearby tree visibly till I take its pictures. I didn’t know, my prayers would be answered instantly.


The bird took two rounds and perched on one of the top branches on the barren tree. It had long shining black bill and a white eyebrow line. I managed to click this picture though I was very far from it. Yes, something is always better than nothing. 😀

Gray Go-Away Bird

I get to see it in acacia tree in the backyard. It appears with smokey grey color. It has whitish crown on its head. It is concolored means uniformly colored bird. It is seen perching on the thorny branches and eating wild figs and breaking seeds.


It is found on Namibian desert lands such as Kalahari, Caprivi, and also the Kavango region. It is also named as Grey Lourie. It is a funny sight when it frequently raises and lowers its crest while moving around the branches.

Hartlaub’s Gull

It was seen on the see shore of Walvis Bay. It has a thin pointed black bill. Its head, face, and the stomach are white. It has black eyes and deep gray-colored wings, which gradually turn darker at the ends. Its tail is short and black.


Its legs are short and thin. The claws are connected together with wading pads. I spotted it while it was resting on the sea shore and didn’t really bother about my presence around.

Palm Dove

It is also known as Laughing dove. It must have acquired the name because of its call. It has adjusted itself to the city life and it is found in entire Namibia. It has cinnamon-colored body with the hints of grey. During winters it is often found basking on the top of the trees.


During warm daytime, the walls and ground receive a large amount of sunlight. In the afternoon even when the heat goes down, the garden paths are warm. The Palm Doves then sometimes perch on the ground.

Red-Eyed Bulbul

This little fellows are habitual visitors around our house at Eadie Street. It has black head and beak. Its wings are dusky brown. The orange-red colored ring around its eyes distinguishes it from the common Bulbul. It has little yellow patch beneath its black tail.


These Bulbuls are found in entire Namibia. Their sweet calls on a quiet afternoon are indeed maddening! Of course, in a good way. 😀

Rosyfaced Lovebird

They have rose-colored face and vibrant green-colored body. Their short tails look deep cobalt-blue outside. But let it start shrieking and one feels like running out of the place speedily…What a combination, beautiful looks and shrill noise! 😦 I did not know its name when I first spotted it.


One fine morning I went to the High Commission of India’s library and found a book on South African birds. I found this rightly-named bird listed under the lovebirds category.

Scarlet-Chested Sunbird

It has a diagnostic scarlet-colored chest. Rest of the body is shining jet back color. It flaunts brown colored wings. Its beak is long, curved, slender, and grey. It visits a large tree in front of our house during early morning hours and once during afternoon.


It was very restless indeed; I didn’t ever find this fellow perching stable on any branch. It must be a male because in most of the birds species, male birds look better than female birds. Plus, they are flamboyant too. 😉

Short-Toed Rock Thrush

It is a beautiful bird with very pale blue head, slate blue face, and same colored wings, which gradually become darker at the ends. Its chest and stomach are brownish-orange colored.


When I was setting my camera lens, it noticed my actions and still kept sitting on the branch. That’s like a good bird! 🙂 This bird is found in entire Namibia and northern region of South Africa.

Weaver Bird

Though there are numerous types of weaver birds today on the Terra Firma, I could spot the Lesser Masked Weaver which displays partially black face with yellow rings around its eyes. All Weaver Birds types are almost equal is size and shape. They are as big as a house sparrow.


One needs only two colors at hand: black and yellow; if one wishes to color a drawing of Lesser Masked Weaver. The weavers have short beaks. During spring, the weavers start making their coconut-shaped nests hanging at the end of a long soft branch.

White-Backed Mousebird

It has light grey feathers on the back and it flaunts a small crest on the head. Its short white bill has black tip. The upper part of its body is plain and the claws are shocking pink colored. It has a pointed long tail.


These birds are regular visitors in the nearby trees. They live in flocks and chirp with a very sweet sound. When it is evening, a group of Whitebacked Mousebirds hides itself into the dense thorny bush of Bougainvillea that is just outside the bedroom. Every morning, we get up together 😀

White-Crowned Shrikes

This bird is about 10cm long. It lives and moves in flocks. Each flock has about 10 to 20 birds. This bird has a short white beak. Its stomach and head are also white. The upper part of its small black eye is surrounded with the hint of black. Its tail has two short black feathers. The tail looks like a tail of a fish.


One morning I saw a big flock of shrikes on the tree-top. Till the time I adjust the camera lens, many of them flew away. Then I could get a picture with only three participants. 🙂

Yellow-Billed Hornbill

Maybe it was a female species of Grey Hornbill. I spotted it on a tree near the swimming pool. It had a yellow bill, but it was not prominent yellow. It flaunted a brown patch under the bill. It moved around the branches slowly and ungracefully, as if with a great difficulty. It perched on a branch for a quite some time and took flight, which looked magnificent.


This is not all. There are many birds out there, which I have not yet seen.

It was not always I could capture the picture of every bird I saw. At times some birds flew away at my glimpse and sometimes I encountered them without the camera at hand. :/ Sometimes my tip-toeing skills didn’t work on dry leaves effectively while following them. And the other times, they just flew away suddenly out of a startle when we both faced each other unexpectedly 😀

But at the end of the day, it is fun to follow their calls and striking colors in the trees. I strongly believe, we all can definitely get to see what we persistently and religiously look for. Hence my quest of bird-watching continues… 🙂

Trip to Damaraland

Some 120 million years ago, Damaras migrated to Namibia from Northern Africa and settled in Northern areas of Namibia, now known as Damaraland. They were the first inhabitants of Namibia. They knew stars, constellations, and seasons. They knew medicinal usage of plants and they used salt for curing meat. Damaras cultivated tobacco and corn. Being curious about all these, we wanted to visit Damaraland region of Namibia hence we planned a short trip with our friends Jaya and John with their cute daughters Jessica and Jannes. Nishant and they both were very enthusiastic about the trip as they were going to see what they learnt during their History and Geography lessons.

Last Thursday, late afternoon we boarded our vehicles and started our journey to Damaraland. After 260km drive northwards we reached Otjiwarongo, a small well-laid out town. We stayed at a Catholic church on the first night.  The church tower was standing tall on the backdrop of brightly shining Venus. We had our dinner, chatted endlessly till late night, and went to sleep into our cozy dens.

The next day we got up early. It was a bright sunny day. As soon as we finished our breakfast of croissants and hot chocolate, we headed towards Outjo, a yet another small place on the way to Vingerklip.

Outjo is a neat and laid-back town of a few thousand residents. Most residents are proudly into cattle farming business. When we entered the town, we came across a famous souvenir shop named Images of Africa. The shop caught our eyes for its well-organized and well-stocked appearance. The wooden and stone articles, and jewelry were displayed so nicely that we couldn’t resist shopping there. 🙂 We bought beautiful table cloth weights. Jaya and John picked a graceful pair of wooden giraffe figurines.


Just next to this elegant souvenir shop, there is a famous German bakery that was established in 1947, the independence year of India. It offers a large variety of freshly baked puffs, pastries, pies, cakes, rusks, and cookies. It makes a very good eating joint. We stuffed ourselves with some puffs and pies and then headed towards Vingerklip.


From Outjo, we drove another 100km to reach Vingerklip. The word Vingerklip literally means the Finger Rock. From short distance, we saw a tall and thick boulder with the shape of a thick human finger. It stood on the crest of a debris hill. Yes, the debris; that was brought by the then fast-flowing river Ugab.


It was the time when the super continent Gondwana broke in to separate continents as we know them today. This division of continents gave rise to sea level, new land structures, and the unavoidable erosion of rocks. Around 20 million years back in the history, the mighty river Ugab brought along debris of eroded limestone, quartzite, marble, and soil with it, which was spread on the river banks. Later due to the climate changes Ugab lost quantity of water it carried and its speed too, which made debris layers on its banks. These layers were around 100m thick. Vingerklip, the 2 million years old boulder, is known to be formed naturally due to the mixture of sedimentary debris that contained gravel, pebbles, and the limestone that bound rest everything together.


As we approached near the structure, we could see it clearly. We parked the vehicles at the base and started climbing the debris hill. The more we went near Vingerklip, the more it surprised us about its wonderful balancing position. How stunning it looked! 🙂 It was around 35m tall above the hill. Since millions of years it has been standing there, facing and defeating the strong winds of Namibia. We observed the scenic beauty of mother earth around. It was so serene and quiet up there! We required to proceed to the next place hence we climbed down the debris hill unwillingly.

We boarded our vehicles and drove 70km to Namibian Wildlife Resort (NWR), Khorixas. We got fresh and had a brief lunch that we had brought from home. Then we headed towards the famous Petrified Forest.

Petrified Forest

It takes a drive of 45km from Khorixas towards west to reach Petrified Forest. Two Damara farmers discovered this place in 1940. Later in 1950, the government of Namibia declared it as a National Heritage Site. When we arrived there, we found the place had nothing to be mentioned as a forest. There were numerous fallen trees, which are made of rock and not wood. Isn’t it surprising? How was it possible??

It was possible because the nature worked to process them from wood to rock. At Petrified Forest we learnt a term in Geology that was completely new to us: Petrification. The obvious question crossed our minds is,

What is Petrification?

It is the process in which an organic material is converted into a fossil. During petrification, the pores and spaces in the original organic material are filled with minerals. The original material is then gradually replaced by the minerals thereby retaining the structure of the original material. We observed petrified tree trunks lying all around, which were partially or completely revealed.


We wondered how did petrification happen to these tall trees? Long ago, a mighty flood came in Damaraland, which brought down those trees. The trees kept lying there for years and accumulated the depositions of fine sand and mud on and around them. The layer of sand and mud was so thick that the trees remained deprived of air. There was no other organic matter either, which could help the tree decay. Thus, these trees remained covered under the sand for a few millions of years and faced Silicification, a yet another term in Geology.

What is Silicification?

It is a process in which an organic material is replaced by minerals which flow through the pores of the material and over its surface due to aquatic activities.

A wonderful structure where each and every cell of wood is gradually replaced by silica over a few million years! That too, without disturbing the original shape of the tree! The sand that surrounded these trees thickened to form sandstone.

welwitschia-mirabilisWe saw numerous plants named Welwitschia Mirabilis, which grow only in Namibia and in some part of Angola where rainfall is minimal. The plants looked like a large flower. It is a wonderful plant that survives on dew drops. Its leaves grow continuously throughout the plant’s life. It is known as the Living Fossil because it can live up to 2000 years. The local people also call it Desert Onion as they cook and eat its thick stem. Rhinos and antelopes eat the leaves of this plant to quench their thirst. There were also some medicinal, fragrant, and extremely poisonous plants around. The guide informed us that the early Bushmen applied the juice of fragrant plants on their skin as a part of beautification. They also dipped the tips of their hunting arrows in the juice of poisonous plants.


We drove about 55km from Petrified Forest to reach Twefelfontein, the famous place for Bushmen’s art; especially for the carving of Lion. It was an evening when we reached there and the Sun rays were rightly tilted to enhance the beauty of the carvings. 🙂 The literal meaning of Twefelfontein is Doubtful Springs. The place acquired this name during the time when people suspected water source after having spotted frequent visits of desert elephants in this area.

ashbushMost areas of Twfelfontein are covered with Sandstone. As we entered the terrain, the reddish-brown mountains looked like the pieces of meat sprinkled with salt. 🙂 When we went nearer, we learnt that the mountains were partially covered by the plants named Ash Bush those flaunted very light grey color. This plant is found nearby water source and attracts animals towards water.

There is a long history about Bushmen’s art. Around 8000BC, there lived a wise spiritual person among Bushmen, known as Shaman. He predicted rains, availability of food, fertility of people, possibility of success in game hunt, and nearby water sources. Shaman meditated in caves and was believed to talk to animal spirits. He also knew plants and their accurate usage. Early Bushmen often used to seek Shaman’s guidance during the times of distress or illness. Each group of Bushmen had their own Shaman.

Bushmen honored different animal for different purpose. Shaman was strongly believed to get readings about rains from giraffe’s spirit as giraffe could peek his long neck into the clouds and speak to the Rain God. The picture of giraffe depicted communication with Giraffe spirit and the spots on giraffe’s skin showed raindrops. The antelopes were revered to find out water sources. Similarly, the big cats were honored because they were believed to fight the devils.


On the night of meditation, Shaman used to dance for hours and guide the Bushmen about what all he saw while being in the trance. This spiritual dance used to go on for hours and took a large amount of efforts that sometimes made his nose bleed. Shaman performed this dance to transfer the illness of a Bushman into him and then release it by sweating himself out.

Shamans and his fellow Bushmen carved pictures on the sandstone surfaces. They used sharpened pieces of quartzite stone for marking designs on sandstone. Sandstone provided smoother work surface for carving. In the carvings, concentric circles depict either temporary or permanent water source. Bushmen carved giraffes, elephants, deer, rhinos, hippos, oryxes, leopards, and lions who were inevitable inspiration of their routine life.


While following the White Lady trail, we saw a small animal named Rock Dizzy, who looked like a large squirrel. It wears reddish-brown coat that camouflages effortlessly with the surrounding sandstone color. We always saw it resting because of the warm day.

It was around 6:00pm of the fag winters and sun was setting down. We stopped at Damara Living museum, a template of Damara village. There were many chalets covered with thatched roofs. The chalets displayed a variety of handmade artifacts.

After seeing the jaw-dropping petrified trees and the carvings of Twefelfontein, we returned to the NWR. We were tired and our stomachs were rumbling with hunger. There was a permanent braai stand near the room. The menfolk arranged firewood, lit up fire, and cooked the marinated meat. Braaied meat, wine, and the friends together. It was not lesser than the heaven. 😉

We realized it was late night only after we could separate our own sound of chatting from the sound of somebody chuckling just near the fence where we were cooking and dinning. They were hyenas! 😮 They had arrived there by following the wafting aroma of freshly roasted meat. The children went to sleep and we continued chatting till the pieces of coal left into smoking embers. We soon wrapped up for the next day’s journey.

Next morning we had a lavish breakfast of NWR and started our journey towards Brandberg. The White Lady was waiting for us since long years. 🙂


We drove about 110km from Khorixas towards South-West to reach Brandburg. It is a 30km long and 22km wide mountain range in North Namibia. It is famous for its stock of numerous rock paintings. There are around 50,000 rock paintings all over the mountain. The Bushmen used to inhibit in Brandburg nearly 5000 years back. They created these paintings to depict the activities of hunters and wild animals. Dr. Reinhard Maack, a German explorer discovered these paintings in 1917.

We arrived at the Daureb Mountain reception office and availed us a guide. She was very knowledgeable and friendly. She accompanied us through the rough trail that went along the bank of Tsisab Gorge. After walking, hopping, and jumping over the boulders for about 5km, we arrived at the well-known White Lady painting. It is created in Maack shelter, which is named after the discoverer of the painting.


The painting is done on the inclined surface of overhanging rock. It is a painting of a woman surrounded by a few men, all of them walking leftwards. The woman is painted in white and hence the painting is referred as White Lady. Remaining all figures around her are painted reddish-brown. Some experts say that it is a painting of Shaman dressed like a woman, and the others say it is a woman because in rare some cases, women also followed Shamanism.

The Bushmen powdered various stones to make their painting colors. They used Hematite to acquire red pigment, Coal or Manganese for black, Calcium Carbonate for white, and local ochre for yellow color. They used ash of burnt wood for grey pigment. They mixed urine of Rock Dizzy and eggs to prepare the semi-liquid paint. We were amazed to know how the age-old Bushmen were introduced to higher order needs such as interest in art and meditation.

We boarded our vehicles for return journey to Windhoek. It was pitch dark outside and the stars looked brighter than usual. It was breezing. The vehicles picked up speed and in a couple of hours, we saw city lights of Windhoek sparkling on the horizon. We were contentedly travelling back from an ancient world to the modern world in Namibia. 🙂

A Lesson of Love with Lovebirds

What is the best lesson love has taught you? This is a debatable question as different answers would come from different people. My son, Nishant took his first lesson of love when he was merely seven years old. Well, I know I have made an adventurous statement, but it’s true. 🙂

It was the time when Arun was posted as Commanding Officer (CO) in the field location of North-East India. I and Nishant were staying back at Pune. After Nishant finished his final exams, we both joined Arun at the field location.

The CO hut was located on a plateau. There was a large rectangular yard in front of it covered with lush green ornamental grass. On the farther two sides, tall trees with wide canopy stood to mark the end of plateau. A large number of birds visited those trees during early morning and afternoons to receive the warmth of direct sunlight. During our stay there, we also patronized a pair of Snow White pigeons. We did not cage them. They daily made rounds of flight over the CO hut and visited the yard to pick corn flakes or popcorn that Nishant used to spread on the grass.

It was just then my little son started taking keen interest in birds. He often tip-toed to go near a perching bird and get upset if it flew away on his appearance. He drew numerous paintings of birds – eagles, lovebirds, kingfishers, sparrows, hens, ducks, pigeons, and last but not the least, angry birds. 😀

Birds DrawingsWhen Nishant’s sixth birthday was around the corner, we asked him what he would like to have on his special day.  He said that he would like to keep some birds as he loved them and always wanted to be near them. I was against captivating any birds; I still am. I like to see birds while they are flying, preaching on the place of their choice, and being free.

After a number of Nishant’s repeated requests and our failures to convince him on how he can have birds around without caging them, we submitted to his insistence and bought him two pairs of lovebirds on his birthday. So happy he was to receive that gift! Barring their caged appearance, they were indeed a treat for eyes. So stunning colors! 🙂 Nishant chose equally meaningful names for them. There was a completely white albino female. He called her Snow White. The other female was white too, with a deep blue hint. He named her as Blue Bell. Out of the two male lovebirds, he named the lemon-green colored one as Green Coat and the other male as Acqua Neck because it had very pretty aquatic-blue color near its neck.

Nishant had tuned all his daily activities with his four little pets. He would take all his meals sitting next to the cage. Before going to bed he would ensure to place the cage next to the bed. He prepared little toy ladder for them using wooden beads, string, and sticks. At night the lovebirds used to sleep by closing their mustard-like eyes. Sometimes they kept their eyes half-open and looked as if they were into a trance. 🙂 Early morning we used to refill their food and water dishes, and place the cage out in the mild Sun. We fed them cuttlefish bones as calcium supplement. They had weakness for coriander twigs and alfalfa. They chirped more during mornings and evenings. Overall, they were keeping good with us.

The existing cage was small, hence we prepared a large cage so that our pet lovebirds can spread their wings to take some brief flights. We tied two small clay pots at the corners of the cage and covered them with lids. When we transferred all the lovebirds in to the large cage, their body language and chirping showed that they were happier than before. 🙂

The days went on and Nishant’s vacation was soon over. We packed our bags and returned to Pune. The birds also accompanied us. We placed the cage in the backyard of the SFA. Because of their chirping, they became famous around. Nishant’s little friends visited our backyard often and it shortly turned into an everyday happening place. We were observing all little lovebirds and trying to understand them. Acqua Neck, the male, seemed very aggressive. He looked like an irritated and unhappy soul. Snow White was quiet. Almost every visitor asked Nishant if she was ill.


I must admit, for the small body and limited features, Green Coat showed a far better consciousness and expressions than all other birds in the cage. He was friendly and he always displayed playfulness. Whenever I or Nishant took millet in pinch and went near the cage, he used to approach us fearlessly and take his favorite food directly from our hands. He never bit. Till the time we took another pinch of millet from the food packet, he used to sit near the mesh and wait with a tilted neck. After 3 to 4 pinches of millet intake, he used to go away by sliding on the bar sideways step by step. We knew, that was his way of showing, “I am done.” Green Coat chirped and squeaked more when Nishant played nearby the cage. Blue Bell was like a matured, sensible young woman. She used to chomp coriander stems till her turn to take food from us came.

We could understand a bonding being taken place between Green Coat and Blue Bell. For few days, we saw Blue Bell going into and out of their pot frequently. Then we found her spending most of the time sitting inside the pot. Like a caring and loving partner, Green Coat fed her coriander twigs and cuttlefish pieces from outside the pot. Their family count was about to increase. Nishant noticed and narrated every small detail about the couple’s affection for each other. 🙂

One fine morning, we opened the top lid of the pot to see four small nestlings. They were without feathers and looked little ugly. Naturally, Blue Bell‘s appetite increased and she remained busy in bringing up her pot-dwelling babies. A few days later, we found four little tiny-tailed lovebirds sitting at the bottom of the cage. They were a beautiful blend of blue and green colors 🙂 I used to think if the new birds would ever learn to fly…And what if Acqua Neck does not behave well with the babies?…But he behaved like a good boy for more than a couple of the following days and we thought everything is going on fine.

To stir the situation, Acqua Neck started harassing Green Coat. He would just bite Green Coat on the neck and stomach. Poor Green Coat would try his best but eventually would fail to retaliate. One rainy night we found Acqua Neck being furious towards Green Coat a bit too much and we decided to keep the two males separate as soon as possible. We took out the old small cage from the loft. I required a helping hand to catch and transfer Acqua Neck in to that small cage. Hence we waited for that night to pass.

The next morning we got up early as usual and opened backyard door. It rained all night and it still was drizzling. We went out to see how the lovebirds are doing. And we could not take the sight! Green Coat was no more!! 😥 He was lying on back with legs in the air and his beak open. His chest was torn and bleeding. His lovely lemon-green feathers were shattered on the cage floor…He must have fought for his life…The culprit Acqua Neck  was sitting quietly in a corner as if he had nothing to do with the matter! We blamed ourselves to have believed in his deceiving quietness… 😦

Nishant was heart-broken to see his favorite pet still…He went to bedroom, slipped his head under a pillow, and started sobbing. Simply inconsolable…He denied taking breakfast or going to his friend’s place. We both were sad. I was also feeling low for being unable to separate Acqua-Neck immediately. The rain had masked the noise of their fight…The day had broken morose but the life had to move on…

There was only one option for me to see Nishant smiling that day: to take him to his most favorite person, Small Aaji. (Nishant calls his maternal granny as Small Aaji and grandpa as Small Aaba. He listens to and follows everything his Small Aaji tells him.) On reaching their place Nishant ran into her arms sobbing and told that his favorite Green Coat lost his life. She wiped his tears and gave him water to drink.

Small Aaba said, “Don’t worry, Nishu. See, your birthday is approaching soon. We will bring you a new green bird, just same as that one.” His tempting offer did not seem to work. :-/

Small Aaji said, “It was a small bird, maybe it was ill?…”

Nishant screamed out of frustration and sorrow, “No, Green Coat was healthy. He died because Acqua Neck tortured him. Acqua Neck is bad…”

Small Aaji said, “There you are, my baby! Your little friend was healthy then he could have escaped from his rival if he was not confined to the cage…” Nishant understood the gravity. He turned very sad and started crying more helplessly.

She held him close and let him cry for a while. After the burst of his cries gradually subsided, she pacified him saying, “I know, you love birds very much and you like them near you. You can always feed them grains and bits of food so that they come near you. We all can go for bird-watching at nearby places. But you see, birds are happy when they are free. You should not confine the ones you love…”

Then she reminded him of the uncaged pair of pigeons that used to visit his yard the previous year. Nishant listened to her carefully. After their long talk, he started feeling better. He understood he would have liked Green Coat being alive more than being with him and dead. He realized it will not be the same Green Coat, even if his grandfather brings a same-looking lovebird.

That evening we returned to the SFA. Just after we performed our usual evening prayers, Nishant told me that he wants to release all his pet birds. I was not surprised to hear what he said. Just a couple of days later, it was his seventh birthday. On his birthday, he opened the cage and released all his pet lovebirds free.

Birds Photos

Nishant used to follow the sound of birds when he was merely nine months old. Today, he clicks beautiful pictures of birds and does not miss any opportunity to feed them. He continued to love them with a perspective that was changed for better. He learnt the most important lesson of love:

“Do not confine your love. Be courageous to set it free…

If it is meant for you, it will be with you.”  🙂

A Marathi Poem for a Friend

ऐक सये…


कुठे गेलीस सये तू
काहीच न सांगता
एकदम दूरच झालीस
काही समजून न घेता…

बालपणात असता कितीतरी गमती
तुझ्याविना रहायच्या अपूर्ण
छोट्या छोट्या साऱ्या कहाण्या
तुला सांगूनच सुफळ संपूर्ण …

एकच वर्ग एकच बाक
पण आपले स्वभाव अगदी भिन्न
तू होतीस फटाकडी
अन मी एकदम शांत…

नसलीस तू शेजारी तर
अजिबात नाही करमायचे
‘मैत्रिणीला पत्र’ लिहीताना
तुझेच नाव मायन्यात असायचे…

शाळेमध्ये मधल्या सुट्टीत
झाडाखाली खेळत असू
आजूबाजूला असला कोलाहल जरी
आपल्याच जगात रमत असू…

रंगीबेरंगी फुलपाखरे पाहताना
तू फोडणीची पोळी सरकावायाचीस
माझी मेथी मटकी उसळ
हक्काने अन आवडीने घ्यायचीस…

मला चित्रकलेत बऱ्यापैकी गती
तर तुला ते बिलकुल जमायचे नाही
तरी तुझ्या वहीतील आकृत्या नीटस कश्या
बाईंना कोडे उमगायचे नाही…

माझ्या अंगी व्यवस्थितपणा
तुझी मात्र सदाचीच घाई
धांदरटपणे काम करायचीस अन्
निस्तरतानां आपली पुरेवाट होई…

कुणी दुसरी माझ्याशी भांडली
की तिला पळता भुई थोडी करायचीस
अन मीच कधी रागवाले तुझ्यावर
तर कावरी बावरी व्हायचीस…


संध्याकाळच्या उतरत्या उन्हातील
अनंत गोष्टी अन लोभस गाणी
तुझ्याशी वाटून घ्यायच्या आहेत
श्रावण वयातील अनेक आठवणी…

ऐक सये मी शोधते आहे
बालपणातील हरवलेल्या खुणा
एकदातरी भेट ना गं
जशी होतीस तशी पुन्हा…

आलीस ना, मी तुला सांगते,
हातामध्ये हात गुंफू
केसांतील रुपेरी छटा विसरून
बालपणात जरा भटकून येऊ…

(I am sharing this poem which I had extemporaneously composed for my childhood friend. I apologize to all my readers who cannot read or understand Marathi.)

How Can I Always be Happy?

We tend to lose peace of mind and happiness because all our days are not perfect. There are rough patches in life when the things seldom seem to turn out the way we want them to. At such times, a classic question always occurs in a troubled mind: How can I Always be Happy, irrespective of difficult times in life or annoying people around? Is it really possible to always be happy?

Since I was seeking for the answer of this question pursuively and genuinely, I found it hidden in a very empowering quote of Lord Budhha. The quote says,

“There is no path to happiness: Happiness is the path.”

So simple to understand, yet difficult to follow! It says happiness is not a destination. Instead, we need to see it as a journey, spending each moment of life happily. 🙂Budhha

I have indeed been appreciating the people who are living by this statement. Living this way somehow did not seem easy to me because of a very simple reason: My body and mind often go out of synchronization. Sometimes I am physically doing whatever is required to be done at that point of time but in the background, I keep thinking of past or future…The instant my attention goes away from the present moment, my mind starts wandering in bygone memories…or I get carried away with the worries that might not even come up in future…Either way, I unknowingly push myself to the world which then only exists in my thoughts. Frequent trips to this imaginary world make me exhaust and lose serenity 😥

When I was a child; I was aware of only present tense. While growing up I experienced and learnt the other two tenses, which are quite capable of taking away one’s peace of mind. Is it not all in vain, if I could not appreciate beauty, warmth, or lesson the present moment has to offer?…Am I going pay attention to a moment in hand only when it is transferred in to the past?…or Am I going to live in future over which I have a very little control…? 

I must be able to follow Lord Budhha’s statement…Happiness IS the Path. I must realize myself as a continual happy being…It is possible only if I choose to be happy over everything else. Initially it would be difficult to remain in the present moment. Hence I will start doing that only for an hour. Then for a day. I will gradually increase the time and then at some point, being happy always would be my habit… 🙂

Now, living in today and indulging in the present moment is fine; but what if my today is not so bright? Can I still be happy?

Here I need to share what my mother says. She says, “We must observe everything keenly; even the sad time, impossible people, or the challenging situations. We certainly get to see something good in them. Every single thing that we have is either a blessing or a blessing in disguise.”

There I am! 🙂 What a perspective she shared with me! I must observe keenly. I must take the notice of small details. I must understand what I can change and what I must just accept. I must see the situations and people beyond their imperfection to be able to find something good in them. Once I realize their goodness, I would be able to deal with them in a better way.

In Indian culture, we touch elders’ feet to give them respect. In return they bless saying, खुश रहो! (Hindi) or सुखी रहा! (Marathi). This literally means Be Happy. In the context of what Lord Budhha said, this blessing is not merely a wish; it strongly suggests the recepient to remain happy in every kind of situation.

We can be always happy if we develop the attitude to be always happy. It is difficult for sure; but it is not impossible. So, let us count our blessings as well as blessings in disguise and go on being happy… 😀


Happy Father’s Day!

Dear Father,

Today on the occasion of Father’s Day, when I started to pen down my feelings, I realized that it didn’t come to me as easily as I thought to express my love for you…May be because I grew up seeing you strict, punctual, and firm; or may be it is the matter of generation and culture I am born in. But I could always feel your loving concern in every small act you did for our close-knit family.


I grew up observing how unconditionally and dedicatedly you took care of my grandparents and how you cooperated my working mother. You are always upright and truthful; let whatever may come your way. Though I learnt to keep complete faith in the loved ones from mother, I learnt to be worthy of the boundless faith of others from you.

You are clean and the same person inside and out. Perhaps because of that, sometimes what you speak seems harsh; especially when some people around you have ears only for flattery. That makes you quite infamous among them. But what you say is rational; they also know it. So they all rely upon your opinions. 😀

I observed you handling hardships and difficult situations calmly yet optimistically. Your emotional strength and foresightedness is unparalleled. Speaking to you untangles even the most tricky situation. 😀 You were always the one I looked up to. 

You are very uncomplicated and approachable when it comes to communicating with you. You always find time to speak to me, above any most important task in your hand. You are open to listen to my ideas. It’s not that you like my every idea I share with you; but still sometimes you mend your opinions and viewpoints by going beyond rationalism; only out of love and care. It doesn’t need any material, still it makes me feel very special.

Today, I wish to convey you that you are an exceptional father and I am so privileged to have born to you! 🙂

I Love You, Father!

Technical Writing versus Creative Writing

When some of my non-IT acquaintances come to know that I work as a Technical Writer, their question goes like, “What do you write?”. Indeed a good question. I write user manuals, employee orientation manuals, step-by-step procedures of setting up or troubleshooting some system, and the things alike. Their next question follows, “Oh, then don’t you write stories?” All I can say is, may be they didn’t pay attention to the word technical.

Since our conversation involved technical writing as well as a reference to creative writing, I try to throw light on these two writing styles.


Technical writing and creative writing both are audience oriented writing styles, which require writing talent as well as critical thinking. Yet, how are these two styles are different from each other? Let us know about them one by one.

What is Technical Writing?

Technical writing is the manner of simplifying and presenting any complex information in such a way that it is understandable and usable by the people who need it. The people for whom this information is presented are called target audience. The objective of Technical writing is to inform the target audience about facts or to instruct them on how to set-up or fix something.

It almost always uses formal tone of language. That means a technical writer uses Dear Sir in place of Hi Dude, contact instead of get in touch with, and inform in place of tell. 🙂 It is not just about using formal and precise words. It comes with a set of rules regarding grammar, language, formatting, and presentation.

Technical writing can be either online or offline. It refers styling guide, specialized vocabulary, and narrates things quite straight forward.

Examples of Documents Prepared by Technical Writers

System Reference Manuals, User Manuals, Product Specification Documents, Troubleshooting Guides, Reports, White Papers, Online or Offline Help, and Case Studies are few important examples of the documents prepared by technical writers.

Who Uses the Documents Prepared by Technical Writers?

A large number of professionals and general users refer to the documents prepared by technical writers. For example, engineers refer design specifications for some mechanical, electrical, or electronic component. Software testing professionals use test plans for code testing. System operators refer to instruction manuals. Marketing professionals use reports for planning their marketing campaigns. Management team of a business refers reports and white papers for major decision-making. Software application users request help on the software which they can induce by pressing F1 key. Last but not least, general audience refers to the user manuals to know how to use or set-up their newly purchased device.

What Does it Take to Become a Technical Writer?

To become a technical writer one needs to have related education, skills, knowledge of document types and the rules for creating reliable documents. One needs to have flair for writing and a sound understanding of three vital things: subject, objective, and the target audience. It is also required to understand the system thoroughly to be able to provide any information or instructions to its potential users.

Command over working language, knowledge of any foreign language(s) other than English, graphics tools, and image processing applications, handling Content Management System (CMS), knowledge of editing a website are some vital requirements to become a proficient technical writer.

How is it Like Being a Technical Writer?

As a technical writer I develop the documents that go through the Document Development Life Cycle (DDLC), which is similar to any product development life cycle. There is a lot of unorganized information to handle in the form of numbers, technical terms, definitions, procedures, charts, and all factual data. My work involves interacting with Subject Matter Experts (SME) for important inputs regarding the subject. It also includes dealing with graphic designers for images and infographics, or creating them myself. At times I need to handle various types of media such as audio and video.

I conduct self-review on my own work, as well as ask my colleagues to conduct a peer-review from the perspective of a new reader or an examiner. Reviewing enables to figure out and remove any loopholes in the written work. Finally, I compile and present the information in such a way that the users can access it quickly.

While being in the shoes of a technical writer, I may or may not be working on a technical subject, but I work on a subject technically.

The 7 C’s of Technical Writing

Technical writers develop their documents by adhering to the following seven rules or rather, guidelines:


Leaving no confusion for the readers. Removing ambiguities and doubts.


Removing grammar mistakes, factual errors, or typo errors before the readers reveal them. Presenting accurate information always.


Using brief and precise words. Replacing lengthy phrases with single words without losing essence of the subject.


Using uniform terminology and style of formatting throughout the document or across multiple inter-related documents.


Organizing and connecting the pieces of information seamlessly. Afterall, it should make sense to the target audience.


Providing all required information within the predetermined scope.


Working professionally to provide high quality content.

The beauty of technical writing lies in simplifying information for the consumption of others. Technical writing develops a person to be very meticulous and makes not to settle for anything less as far as the quality and presentation are concerned. 🙂

Now let us see,

What is Creative Writing?

It is a style of writing about a subject creatively so that the reader or listener indulges in to it. The objective of creative writing is either to entertain or to educate the audience.

Creative writing uses prose with informal or casual tone. This style of writing is not governed by any set of strict rules regarding grammar or language. The writer has ample freedom of imagination and narration. Creative writing involves use of artistic phrases, poetic devices, and story writing elements, which themselves are the topics of great length.

It is accessed by general audience because people of any age can read books, go through poems, or watch plays and movies with great scripts. Creative writing uses general vocabulary and is descriptive. Unlike technical writing, it can involve use of slang if the situation or culture being portrayed, or characterization demands.

Examples of Creative Writing

Diary, Poems, Plays, Shayari, Stories, Fictions, Autobiographies, Novels, Essays, Comic Strips, and Scripts and Dialogues of movies are some examples of creative writing.

What Does it Take to Become a Creative Writer?

To become a creative writer, one needs a great deal of observation, knowledge of the subject, and writing talent to put everything together into words. One needs to generate engaging content, which compels readers to attend uninterruptedly. A good grip over language, employing one’s creative abilities and leveraging the power of words to influence and modify emotions of readers, listeners, or viewers are some of the vital qualities a creative writer should possess.

A creative writer is capable of portraying a world through either own imagination or experience, and taking the audience on the trip to that world in their minds; sitting at a place.

Here is a brief comparison:


Writing Elements Technical Writing Creative Writing
Tone Formal Casual
Vocabulary Specific Generic
Audience Targeted General
Writer’s Viewpoint Objective Subjective
Place for Emotions Nil Ample
Information Organization Alphabetical, Chronological, Logical, or Thematic. Random

To conclude,

Technical writing and creative writing can be viewed as two portions of the same day a professional person spends. During the office hours, a professional person refers to what the technical writers produced for him and during his leisure time, he seeks for what the creative writers around the world prepared for him. 🙂

Happiness at the Shop

At times we find happiness at unexpected times, with unexpected people, and at unplanned places. Yesterday I found it at a shop. After going through a busy day and doing a couple of henna tattoos later, me, my husband, and my son Nishant went to Hungry Lion to get some chicken and chips. We placed our take away order at the counter and waited for it at the tables. It was late night around 8:30 p.m. (yes you read correct; late night because the winter is settling here in Windhoek and short of this time, the entire city slows down into silence as if it is a Martian place) and the all-day busy Independence Avenue had turned quiet. It was one and a half hour over our usual dinner time. Our tummies were rumbling hard and every minute of waiting seemed to us like lifetime… 😥

While we were holding back our recurring yawns, I saw a car being parked in front of the shop. Shortly, a family of an old couple and a bright-eyed toddler boy with mischievous and playful expressions got down. He seemed their grandchild. The moment he got down, he posed like a warrior and looked around as if he wanted to get noticed. 😉 I could not hold back my smile. He came to know that I had noticed him and to my surprise he happily reciprocated to me. They all walked in to the shop.


While the seniors were busy browsing the menu card, the boy went behind the table where I was sitting. I curiously turned around and in a splash of a second he sat down to hide. I could make out, he wanted to play. I could see his hazel-brown hair but he strongly seemed to believe that he was not visible to me. 😀 Then I pretended as if I was looking for him but somehow being unable to spot him. He duck-walked to the neighboring table and spontaneously revealed himself from there. We exchanged smiles… I turned back again to let him hide. From the corner of my eyes I noticed that he again duck-walked to a different nearby table and waited for me to find him out. I pretended to spot him after multiple attempts and the game went on. Every time he emerged out with a wider smile, his few milk-teeth would shine. Our game of Hide-and-Seek continued secretly for a few rounds to turn his smile into non-stop giggles and bright eyes into the twinkling ones. His grandma noticed that the apple of her eyes was playing with me and smiled silently. My boys were busy talking on the phone and checking our order status.

I guess what the seniors had ordered was already ready, so they received their take away order earlier than us. While they took it and headed towards exit, the little fellow joined them. He waved his hand at me; this time jointly with his grandmother. Throughout our game we exchanged only unspoken language and smiles. We did not speak even a single word to each other…It was so unplanned and short, yet so amazing!

A small child, whom I did not even know before we met, played with me. He dragged me into his little happy world for some time and delivered smiles. I paid for our order but what the little boy gave was unexpected, and indeed priceless. 🙂

Top 5 Habits Worth Giving up Completely

Who on the earth does not wish to be happy and peaceful always? But some distructive habits often interfere our happiness by leading us to troubles, pains, or both. I jotted down these harmful habits out of my observations. Here are the top 5 habits worth only giving up completely:

1. Comparing Oneself with Others: May it be materialistic possessions, bank balance, job satisfaction, love, relations, lifestyle, looks; or just anything else…The simplest shade of comparing with others generates the feelings of distress. Instead, comparing with yesterday’s own version is better. 🙂

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I love You, Mother!


Dear Mother,

Today it is Mother’s Day.

On this occassion, I take the opportunity to tell you that:

I understand your fathomless love.
I understand your care and selfless sacrifice. I appreciate and try to follow your way. I wonder what a tremendous source of optimism and energy you are! You are not only my mother but also a friend, a philosopher, and a guide. I am so fortunate to have born to you.

I just wish to tell you that though we are miles away now; you are always on my mind.

I love you mother, and I always would. 🙂

Welcome to happinessmocktail!

Hello friends! 🙂

This is my first blog post. Just some time back I created the blog and I kept trying to find a good name for this baby. I was desperately searching for a meaningful and crisp blog name only to find out that whatever I thought was ‘The best’ had already been taken.

The anxiety of this long-time name search has now dropped down to almost zero as I can feel, I am gradually submitting myself to the Goddess of sleep.

Oh, why did I chose the name ‘happinessmocktail’? The answer for this question is going to be from the bottom of my heart, but more on this little later. Yes, for sure.

There are a lot of things I wish to find out about customizing the blog and sharing my ideas, opinions, and experiences for which I can’t wait… 🙂 Taking your leave now, see you soon!