When dystopian fiction feels chillingly real: Hugh Howey’s Wool and climate change

When dystopian fiction feels chillingly real: Book review: Hugh Howey’s Wool and climate change

“The children were playing while Holston climbed to his death; he could hear them squealing as only happy children do. While they thundered about frantically above, Holston took his time, each step methodical and ponderous, as he wound his way around and around the spiral staircase, old boots ringing out on metal treads.”

Thus starts Wool, a dystopian novel of a world that has shrunken into a giant underground silo; where “outside” is dank and dangerous – a toxic wasteland where you are sent to die.

It takes a few pages for the story to build up, but once you understand the shocking reality of the world created by Hugh Howey, you cannot but help feel chilled to the bone.Continue reading

Reading challenge for 2019

reading challenge for 2019

After cutting down on reading significantly over the last couple of years, I think it’s time to jump back into the fray. I’ve established a good rhythm with my art and spiritual practice, and I’m feeling comfortable with the idea of reading more books this year. While I will not go back to reading 90 odd books a year, I plan to commit once again to two books per month, for a total of 24 books (plus art, tarot, and self-development books, which I tend to not share on the blog. But maybe I should. What do you think?)Continue reading

Small acts of kindness: Support a women’s sewing circle

Ever so often, when I write out a cheque to NGOs like WWF or Cry, I wonder about the smaller NGOs that are doing excellent work but that I know nothing about. Rather than supporting these larger, globally established NGOs, I prefer to support smaller organizations that are doing excellent work in their areas. The problem, especially in a country like India, is in finding NGOs that do genuine work.

One of the NGOs we support every year is Asha Bhavan, which is doing excellent work to rehabilitate drug addicts. Recently, I learnt of another NGO – Project Why – from my friends Damyanti and Ishieta. Project Why was started by Anouradha Bakshi in 2000 with 40 slum children who wanted to learn spoken English and a handful of volunteers. It slowly expanded to include women’s empowerment initiatives, so the slum dwellers could support themselves and their children. Since 2007, over a 1,000 women have been trained at the women’s center sewing circle, including Renu, the sewing teacher.Continue reading

#MondayMusings: What is your legacy?

what is your legacy

The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave it neither power nor time. – Mary Oliver

I circled back to this quote time and again last week, as I sat down to refine my why, my purpose. Why do I do what I do? Why do I think it is important? What do I want to offer to the world? What is my legacy?Continue reading

#MondayMusings: Emerging from the hermit cave

As an introvert, my default state is to hide away in my hermit cave. I truly enjoy pottering about the house – the husband and I doing our own creative thing in companionable silence; reading; journaling; playing with the cats… But then, the cycle will turn and I’ll have a couple of weeks where my energy is more outward focused.

September, so far, has been all about  stepping out of the hermit cave more often than not, and it’s been fun! It started with a farewell party for a teammate at work, and continued with meeting up with friends both old and new. Yummy food, laughter galore, counseling sessions, venting, retail therapy: this month has had it all.Continue reading

Why books have forever scarred my life

Why books have forever scarred my life: the hero's call and dramatic expectations of change

I’ve always been a voracious reader. Growing up, I was the nerdy kid who could be found with her nose in a book. I spent most of my summer holidays lost between the pages of a novel, imagining myself in different worlds and far flung places; fighting heroic battles and going off on adventurous quests.

For a long time – longer than I care to admit – I was somewhat disappointed that my life was never as heroic or dramatic as all my imagined lives were, when I was growing up. I’ve had my share of adventures and gone through periods of intense change, yes, but the plot lines have been messy, and the trajectory has been slow and incremental. There have been no dramatic twists and turns, no neat tying in of my existential anxieties to create an epic story of my personal transformation.Continue reading

How PayPal helped take my tarot reading service to international markets

the future of freelancing with paypal

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When I decided to set up my online Tarot reading services, I didn’t know of anyone else around me who was offering them online. Most people I knew of in India simply listed their services and asked people to get in touch to set up personal, face-to-face appointments. My approach was different. Like most international Tarot readers, I wanted the entire experience to be purely online – right from reading about the services, to payments, and delivery of the Tarot readings.

As I was doing my research for the various ways in which I could deliver this service, one of the main things I needed to figure out was the logistics of it – namely, how to collect payments! As I looked at the various popular options available in India, the thing that struck me was the high monthly fees that most of the payment gateways charged. For someone just starting out, with no idea about how these sessions would be received and what kind of revenues I could expect, a monthly fixed fee made absolutely no sense.

Added to it was the fact that integrating these gateways was really complicated. Since I was bootstrapping my website and doing everything myself, and since I am not a coder or software geek, I thought that my dream would remain just that – a dream.

But as I continued to do my research, I decided to take a look at PayPal. As one of the largest and most trusted payment processors internationally, I figured I couldn’t bury my dream until I at least gave the site a look. I had used PayPal often to make international purchases and found the user experience to be excellent, but I always assumed that their business services would be on the expensive side. But that was not the case! I was delighted to see that they had a service specially for freelancers – PayPal.Me. No monthly fees and a fixed per transaction fees – I almost couldn’t believe my eyes!Continue reading

Author Terry Coffey on the research process for historical fiction

I’m a sucker for well-written historical fiction. Add Egypt into the mix, and I’m all over it! So even though I am on a bit of a reading hiatus this month, I devoured The 18th Dynasty from cover to cover and loved it!

I’ve also been fascinated with how authors undertake research for their novels. And when it’s based on history, the inspiration and research process would be even more interesting. So that’s what I decided to ask author Terry Coffey about – his research process while writing the book, including any interesting anecdotes and suggestions for others wanting to attempt a similar genre. Over to Terry:

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Book review: Blowfish by Siddharth Tripathi

From being a voracious devourer of books, I’ve become a voracious hoarder of books. I keep adding to my book collection, hoping I’ll get some time to read all the books that I want to read. But I’ve been so busy with various other things that my TBR keeps getting alarmingly higher and I’ve had to stop accepting review requests. But when Siddharth Tripathi asked me if I would like to review his new book, I couldn’t say no. His debut book, The Virgins, was a great read, and the premise of his latest book – Blowfish – sounded too promising to pass up.Continue reading