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Work.Fun.Love

Hola! I have been absconding for a while. Although it feels horrible to be away from the blog for such a long time, it feels FANTASTIC and AWESOME to be back too! And boy! I have so many new things to share…

Here’s a sneak peek into my job—my first, full-time job as the Sub-Editor of Tinkle Digest, a leading Indian children’s magazine.

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Yay! The credits :)

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Labour of Love : 5 months, 5 issues

The Job Description:

I am a storyteller. I create stories and script them for comics. I also write some research-based non-fiction such as travel features, interview young achievers and review children’s books for the magazine.

As an editor, I discuss story ideas and review scripts sent in by the freelance writers.

And as a proofreader, I ensure that the reader has an error-free reading experience.

3 cool things about the job:

1. I take a lot of inspiration from real life and twist and turn it around to tell a good story.

2. At work, I read books or surf the web and scout cool things (work related or unrelated) in my free time.

3. And my pretty looking work space gives me just another reason to smile:)

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One can never get bored in the company of a good book.  Thanks Latty! 

 

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Chiya’s Chubby Ganu!

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Chiya letting her imagination go wild!

Chiya had a BIG SMILE on her round face. She was reading her favourite comic book — Akbar and Birbal. Suddenly, her younger brother Tinu sneaked up from behind and snatched her book away. Chiya started yelling, but he refused to return it back.

Tinu was holding a brand new pack of sketch pens. He removed an orange pen and in big, bold handwriting, he filled the blanks on the first page —‘This book belongs to Miss Fatty‘.

Chiya immediately burst into tears and called out to Mama. Mama consoled Chiya and gave her a tight hug. Then, she instructed Tinu to come and sit besides them.

Mama loved telling stories. She began narrating one —

“It was the last day of Ganesh Chaturthi. The city was bidding farewell to their beloved God. At the same time, Daddy and I were excited to welcome a new member to our family. I vividly remember praying to Lord Ganesha to bless me with a cute baby, just like him, as I was being taken to the hospital. And guess what!”

The kids exclaimed together, “What?

Mama continued, “On that day, Lord Ganesha blessed us with a beautiful daughter, Chiya. And today, Chiya is just like Ganesha — playful, sensible, kind-hearted and chubby!” The last sentence of the story brightened up Chiya’s mood. After all, Ganu, as she called him, was her favourite God.

Now, Tinu was feeling slightly embarrassed. He innocently said, “Mama, when I was in your tummy, you must have asked Lord Krishna to bless you with a baby just like him! I am so mischievous, just like baby Krishna!” Looking at Tinu’s innocent, smiling face, Mama and Chiya had a hearty laugh.

(This is a work of fiction written with the help of fond childhood memories)

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BE-YOU-TIFUL !

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My shopping spree!

I hardly know any fashion trends. I only know what looks good on me and what makes me feel comfortable. That’s my simple philosophy while shopping for clothes. I also coined a term for it : BE-YOU-TIFUL, where beautiful means being you!

It’s wonderful to see how fashionable people are these days. But, I think simplicity will always remain fashionable :) 

 

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Extroverted Introvert

Grey Mumbai

Grey like the Mumbai sky

We generally see the world as black or white, like day or night. But generally speaking, most of us are grey from inside. We are a combination of different qualities, and that is what makes us, as humans connect with one another in different ways.

I am an extrovert when accompanied by introverts, and an introvert when surrounded by extroverts.  It’s alright when people say that I am “too quiet”. And it’s okay when people say that I am “too loud”.

At the end, I enjoy being my true grey self !

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Is Online Education the future?

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They say that the only thing constant in the world is change. Well, I certainly believe so. Today, the Western education system is the most dominant system in the world. India and China rank as the top source countries for international students in the U.S. Increasing globalization has resulted in greater demand for students to study abroad to seek better Western education.

Innovations in technology and the increasing reach of the Internet are continuously changing the way we communicate with one another. It is even changing how we are educating ourselves. Much of our academic life is now being spent online – from researching on the Internet to working on group presentations through Skype. Until now, Internet courses were mainly seen as a part of distance learning, offering the student flexibility and convenience to study. However, the growing popularity of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) around the world, offered by institutions such as Coursera, edX and Udacity has sparked a new trend in education.

Faced by an acute problem of over-registration for introductory courses, California lawmakers have recently introduced a new legislation that requires the state’s 145 public colleges and universities to grant credit for low-cost online courses offered by third parties, including classes offered by for-profit companies. Will the passage of the California bill begin a revolutionary change in the education system?

The critics of online education argue that it will never be able to offer the same quality of education and experience that a teacher can. Mark Edmundson, professor of English, University of Virginia writes in a New York Times opinion piece, “ You can get knowledge from an Internet course if you’re highly motivated to learn. But in real courses the students and teachers come together and create an immediate and vital community of learning.

Edmundson may be right, however, one can’t deny the advantages of online education. Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School professor and expert on disruptive innovation notes that, “Harvard Business School doesn’t teach entry-level accounting anymore, because there is a professor out at Brigham Young University whose online accounting course is just so good that Harvard students use that instead.  Quoting economist Thomas L. Friedman, “When outstanding becomes so easily available, average is over.”

Forbes contributor and co-founder of Innosight, an Innovation Consulting firm, Michael Horn suggests that technology should be leveraged to enhance the quality of education. MOOCS have the ability to enhance pedagogy in our universities. He writes, “The job that we expect teachers to do today is super human; technology can help automate or improve on certain tasks to free teachers up to do what humans do best, including answering complex questions, fostering conversations, diving deeper into topics, and mentoring.” The future is an education system, where the teachers’ roles are different from those of today, but no less vital.

Technology cannot replace humans. But in an increasingly globalized world, it can help reduce the barriers to Western education by increasing access, flexibility and reducing costs. Online education cannot replace offline education, it can only enhance the latter. Susan Holmes, professor of statistics, Stanford University, puts it well  “I don’t think you can get a Stanford education online, just as I don’t think that Facebook gives you a social life.”

(I wrote this essay while doing research on the topic – Is Online Education the future? at York University) 

 

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Bollywood’s Triple Role in America

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NYC has enchanted many Bollywood film makers such as Karan Johar; many of his movies have been set in the city

May 3rd, 2013 was a landmark day in the history of Bollywood cinema as the Mumbai-based Hindi film industry celebrated its centenary. With an annual output of about 1000 films, double than it’s western counterpart Hollywood, it is the largest film industry in the world. Yet, in terms of international commerce, the figures aren’t as impressive.

Through the past two decades, Bollywood has made its mark in America, by catering to the South Asian diaspora here. However, it has not gained acceptance among the mainstream audience. On the other hand, Hollywood has fine-tuned itself to suit the Indian palate.  It is wooing India as a potential market through its blockbuster action films, by catering to the local audience in their own language. So, what is ailing Bollywood?

Aseem Chhabra, director of the New York Indian Film Festival 2013, attributed Bollywood’s lack of popularity in the mainstream to overdramatic scenes in Hindi films. “Westerners don’t consider Bollywood cinema as serious entertainment. This is partly because Bollywood has not gone beyond its convention of melodrama and song-and-dance. Also, Western sensibilities are different, so they don’t understand cultural nuances, even in an unconventional Bollywood film,“ he said.

But, a small yet growing number of Americans have started embracing Bollywood, in addition to yoga and chicken tikka. Chicago resident Jennifer Hopfinger has never been to Mumbai, the mecca of Bollywood. However, as a self-confessed Bollywood enthusiast, she started the website The Bollywood Ticket to help guide non-South Asians to understand Bollywood cinema better. She loves Bollywood movies for their melodrama and their music. “Unlike American movies, you make a deep emotional connect with the characters in Bollywood films. In America, the Western audience has some exposure to Bollywood; however they need to be guided in order to facilitate their understanding of Bollywood,” she explained.

The differences between Bollywood and Hollywood can be seen through the prism of differences between popular perceptions of the East and the West. In the 21st century, these existing differences are undergoing transformation as globalization and the World Wide Web increase exchanges between the two cultures. The resulting effect is a cross culture of thoughts, ideas and values. Today, Bollywood mirrors this phenomenon through its portfolio of unconventional films, created by contemporary film makers such as Anurag Kashyap, Vishal Bharadwaj and Dibakar Banerjee.

Gitesh Pandya, editor, BoxOfficeGuru pointed “a huge market” potential for Bollywood films in America. “Selling a Bollywood movie in India is different from selling one here. There are 3 types of audiences here, and each wants to see a different kind of Bollywood cinema. The first is the diaspora audience that forms the core of the market here. They come to the movies to see the big stars to feel connected to their homeland. Second generation Indian Americans form the second category. They watch both Hollywood and Bollywood cinema, and are more willing to watch experimental Bollywood cinema. And the third, is the broader American audience that wants to watch Bollywood cinema to get a taste of a different culture. In order to realize it’s potential here, Bollywood needs to market its product offering to each category specifically,” he explained.

(A slightly different version of this article appeared in the weekly publication – News India Times)

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THANK YOU! so very much

I have realized that I don’t thank enough. I should be more grateful. I feel that we create our problems in life by not feeling grateful for what we already have. By not feeling grateful, we feel sad and disappointed with our shortcomings.

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From the book – Free to be a family : A book about all kinds of belonging by Marlo Thomas and Friends

I love reading spiritual essays and posts on websites such as Tiny Buddha and Everyday Gita. But, sometimes one can find simple messages from an unexpected source. And that’s the reason why I love children’s books! Reading them is pure joy, believe me, PURE JOY! They give you a simple message in a delightful and endearing way. Finally, I have found my way of losing myself. After all, a child is a liberated adult!

THANK YOU! so very very much

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Connecting !

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Evening sky!

At this moment, I am sitting in the park. It’s getting darker but I can still hear the birds chirping. As I type this post on my phone, I am not quite sure as to what I want to write. But this feeling is nice! I am thankful that technology can help us connect with each other.

And I am thankful to nature because it helps me connect with myself!

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The American Dream

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My Old Navy Tee!

The United States of America is an amazing country! Just like it happened in India, USA, too, has drawn immigrants to its land from different cultural backgrounds, thereby becoming a melting pot of cultures.They say, USA is the country with golden opportunities – the Land of the Free!

But like any country, even the Superpower - USA – has its own limitations. For now, its economy is not doing too well. So, as Indians abandon their homeland and seek American shores in search of the American dream, Steven Spielberg visited India and wants to make a movie for the Indian audience!

Enterprising Americans – They see and grab opportunities very quickly……