Nov 24, 2014

Year 10 - Happiness is the Path

Godyears begins year 10 this month end.

I was still an intern after passing my MBBS when I started this blog back in 2005. I had no idea if I would pass an entrance exam for a postgraduate seat, get into a good college, pass from there or even be a good doctor.  Literally lakhs of words later, I am here: a consultant anaesthesiologist having done thousands of surgeries over the last 7 years, saving limbs and lives while always struggling to find a decent pair of scrubs that fit me.

The blog stats continue to bring a smile on my face.
Year 6 - 2 blogs, 322 posts, 3333 comments, 072702 page views.
Year 7 - 2 blogs, 361 posts, 3990 comments, 100908 page views and 06 published stories.
Year - 3 blogs, 432 posts, 5936 comments, 143942 page views and 10 published stories.
Year 9 - 3 blogs, 499 posts, 8227 comments, 291886 page views and 19 published stories.
Year 10 - 3 blogs, 601 posts, 11722 comments, 562642 page views and 30 published stories.

If the past few years were hard in real life, it was made easier because my blog carried me through. The posts reflected my inner conflicts on many an occasion, the truth hidden within fiction and fables. Godyears was having a ball – stories getting published, an online column, the odd title here and there. Meanwhile, I worked in the background, be it in the operation theatre or in real life. There definitely was a sense of disillusionment... a feeling that I was not doing what I wanted to do; being who I wanted to be.

I was too busy making a living to lead a life.

When I took up the #100HappyDays challenge during the first week of January, I started off by showing you all my wish board: the stuff I wanted to attract towards me this year. Sounds silly, right? Something straight out of a television comedy sitcom? Well, here is the wish board anyway… so how did I fare?

Nov 15, 2014

Tag 5 bloggers, ask their opinions and feed 'at least' 19,000 children for an entire year

  • Harry Potter and the students of Hogwarts defending the school against Voldemort's army at the end.
  • Team Gandalf staying alive and distracting Sauron long enough for Frodo to complete his mission.
  • Even Ram's army of monkeys taking on the demon lord Ravan and his huge army in their own home ground and ousting Ravan.
  • A country divided by a hundred languages and castes uniting against one unassuming lawyer by the name of the Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and freeing the land without raising his hand.

I would like to believe that they all stood there, seeing what they were up against and felt that fear rise within their hearts. The nagging dread that this was a battle they could not win. That the numbers were against them. It is irrelevant whether the tales above are from lore or legend. What matters is the lesson: 

"That you can achieve the impossible if you stay united and work together. One step at a time."

When we go around asking for aid to help the needy, the usual questions asked are usually laced with skepticism and disdain, Oh, you are going to save all the poor people in India? You are going to feed all of them?

The truth is, there are those of us who sincerely wish we could if we had the cash. But we don't. As the popular ad says, we are not the 'children of Bambani'. With our regular salaries, we can afford to sponsor a child or two at best with our finances. We can talk it over with our friends and perhaps convince one or two more to join us... but that is about it. 

Blogadda along with Akshaya Patra asks us to tell them how we can eliminate classroom hunger. How we can feed lesser fortunate children and keep them inside the classrooms. And then they tell me the answer to the question themselves:
For every blog post written on the subject, Blogadda will assist Akshaya Patra in feeding one child for AN ENTIRE YEAR.
Do you understand the significance of that? Your words will help feed a child for an entire year.

Image source: here

Nov 13, 2014

A lot can happen in a month

I have had some crazy months in my life. Some decidedly evil ones too, to be frank. Which is why whenever anything good used to happen to me, I would always be looking over my shoulder, waiting for the "bad stuff" to reveal its presence.

A funny thing happened though over the last one year. I stopped caring about whatever could go wrong. Most of it was the fear of "what ifs" anyway rather than reality itself. Somethings were out of my hands anyway so there was no point sitting and worrying or regretting. And the universe did respond positively too with a whole lot of changes.

But I would be lying if I said I have had many months as memorable as the last one. If 2014 has been about positive changes, October-November has been the cherry on top of this cake.

  • I attended my third book launch as an author in as many years (this time for Myriad Tales). 
    Godyears Roshan RADHAKRISHNAN
  • I stayed at the Grand Hyatt, thus checking "stay at 5 star hotel" off my bucket-list.
    Waiter! Have one of these delivered to my home please!
  • I got to meet co-authors from many books in Mumbai.
  • I got to finally visit Blogadda at their office and catch up with the awesome team I credit with kick-starting my run of good fortune.
  • I came back and was goaded by this cutie pie to collaborate with her in a blogging contest which I had actually given up on since I had no hopes of winning myself.
  • Well, I WON (for this post that I am quite proud of since it is related to my medical field and the world today) - for those of you who are wondering, this was the FIRST time in 3255 days/8years 10 months and 29 days of blogging (not that I was counting or anything!) that I won a blogging contest. Seriously.

Nov 8, 2014

In conversation with Dr Priyanka Naik, author of 'Twists of Fate'

It is always nice to see someone you like succeed in life and watch a long cherished dream come true. Dr Priyanka Naik and I go quite a way back. We have never met in real life but we have been friends on the blogosphere for close to a decade now. In addition to being a healer residing in the 'Pearl of the Orient', she has now one more wonderful suffix to add after her name now - Author.
So what does it take to move up the literary ladder from writing in school to national magazines, blogs and finally having your own full length novel? Without further adieu, I will let the doc answer these and more.

1.      Tell us a bit about yourself. Where/What/Why/How?

Umm…Interesting question! ;)
diabetologist, Goa
Dr Priyanka Naik
You might not even notice me. I am just another face in the crowd. My name is Priyanka Naik. I am a doctor by profession. I live in Goa, where I practice as a general physician and diabetologist.

As far as my journey in writing is concerned, words have always been my first love. I remember penning my first poem at the age of ten. It was published in an all India magazine called ‘Target’. Elocution and debates were a regular in school. Then, there was blogging, which I started in the year 2001. I remember writing on Rediffblogs first. After blogging there for roughly around four years, I eventually hopped onto Blogspot. I didn’t know how long the interest would last (My moods were very volatile back then, and this blog too was at risk.) But luckily ‘Nostalgic Moments’ (Yes, that’s the blog!) survived. It’s nine years old now
Thinking back, I believe my writing has definitely improved over the years. Fortunately for me, so have my mood swings! ;)

Although I am a perfectionist by nature, I have a gypsy heart. I love traveling to different places and observing human nature at its best and worst.  I don’t always understand logic. I am an emotional fool like that. But I am forever learning, taking notes from the world around me and trying to figure my role in the grand scheme of things.

Nov 4, 2014

INK 2014: Beyond Boundaries

What happens when you take some of the most creative innovators and artistes, the best thinkers in various fields and the biggest entrepreneurs in the country and put them together in a room over three days?  
That, in a nutshell, defines INKTALKS.

The recently concluded INKTALKS 2014 was held in Mumbai at the resplendent Grand Hyatt between October 31st  - November 2nd. This years’s theme – ‘Beyond Boundaries’ was especially appealing as it looked to erase all the man-made lines we have drawn on the ground and in our minds and instead focus on what should really matter: humanity. 

Rather than conform to the regular concepts driveled out in newspapers and organisations with not-too-subtle ulterior motives, INK – as it has over the past few years – chooses to use a combination of the past, present and the future to instead show you how you can make a difference. Hosted by the effervescent Lakshmi Pratury and with over six dozen speakers and performers in attendance, the audience was treated to a diverse array of ideas from myriad walks of life, each with a unique and inspiring story to tell.

There is no way I can attempt to do justice for all their voices and all the innovations that were on display so I will focus on those that still linger in my mind even now, days later.

  • Anshu Goonj, founder of the volunteer based organization Goonj, used the theme of multiple “D’s” (from death to dignity) and spoke on what the journey has been like looking to help those in need.
  • Raghava KK (Flipsicle) had a very interesting concept on visual perspectives and the difference between what we see versus reality.
  • Music director Shantanu Moitra (with the aid of actress-singer Monali Thakur) used the medium of music to provide insights into the complicated relationship between two of the greatest minds of our country - Rabrindath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi, two friends with very different mindsets. Their rendition of ‘Ekla Chalo’ and the story behind how Tagore used it to motivate the Mahatma when he himself could not be there was simply magical.

Oct 29, 2014

Quikr - offering the best of two worlds

We Indians are no stranger to this word, are we? We’ve seen the television ads and we’ve noted the online ads. But what is it, really?

The 12 categories
Widely regarded as India’s most popular online classifieds site, Quikr started up over 7 years ago in 2008. Since then, it has gone on to cover over 900 cities across the country, making it easier for both buyers and sellers to deal from the comfort of their homes.
All that sounds fine and good but how does that translate in real life? We have a gazillion online stores offering products like mobiles, electronics, clothing et al, right?
So I decided to put it to the test. With Rs 5000/- in my pocket, I decided to see what Quikr could get me that others couldn’t. I chose to scrutinize Coimbatore for this venture because that in addition to the love and serenity, Coimbatore has a lot to offer that remains unseen.

Logging onto Quikr was an easy-peasy affair and I found Coimbatore sitting right there among the list of most Popular cities. Choosing it logged me onto the general page which featured 12 main categories to choose from. This was an amalgamation of all online stores, bringing in categories like mobiles and electronics alongside services offered and needed including film crew, educational courses, land for sale and yes, even matrimonials.

Clicking on any of the 12 buttons then opens up a whole new world of sub categories. From there on, it’s like being a kid at a candy store! 

Oct 25, 2014

The Honda Eco-Light effect

I've written about my Honda Brio earlier and how smooth a ride it is.
One among the many fun features besides the wonderful i-VTec petrol engine and deceptive spaciousness within is the ECO-LIGHT signal which lights ups when you're driving at the most optimal speed and rpm for that gear.  
Earlier this week, I was returning back after watching a movie late one night when I decided to take up the ECO-light on its word.
Over 30 kms which included two states, wonderful highways and ridiculously bad pot holed sections of 'road', my aim was to keep the ECO-Light on for as long as possible during the ride. Contrary to what you may think, this did not involve driving at a snail's pace either (in general, I maintained it at roughly 45-65 kmpl in fifth gear.)

The final result:

31.2 kmpl (The best I noted while driving was 31.8 in between) over 30 kms of mixed roads is ridiculously awesome, if you ask me. In general, the Honda Brio has always been wonderful when it comes to fuel efficiency and for me, will always remain a totally underrated car in India.

So here are my questions:

  • What's the best mileage you have noted in a vehicle you have driven or been in over any period greater than 10 kms? 
  • Conversely what is the worst mileage you have ever noted too in a vehicle you have been in?

Oct 23, 2014

Batman adventures: The Matrikas Mystery

So the owner of this blog thought he could outsmart me. He knows that everything that he receives needs to be screened by me before it can be used at home – you just cannot be careful enough in today’s world. I would know. 

After all, I am Batman, the ‘World’s Greatest Detective’. 
So imagine my surprise when I came home one fine day after driving around in my autorickshaw Batmobile and found three new additions in the room. Books, no less… empty books or so they seemed, at first.

What evil villainy is this?

You know by now that the man likes to write. Not just on blogs but on paper too. He started out that way – love letters on perfumed stationary that probably gagged the girl due to the scent, letters to penpals every month that went on and on about how awesome he thought he was (which somehow no one else recognized), short hand notes while studying and even the odd script and storyline. In fact, the only time he was frugal while writing was invariably when an answer sheet was placed in front of him during examinations, I recall.

We will have to examine this in detail