All About Content Writing!

I am not a pro in content writing but can share what I have learned over the last 3 plus years I have been doing this as a freelancer. This is to all my friends who have been asking me what is this all about and how to get started. How lucrative is this is something you can check for yourself. I find it quite interesting and hence, I am exploring a different aspect of writing every now and then.

The basics of Content Writing

Content Writing is NOT copy-pasting as some of my friends interpreted once. There’s a lot of time and effort that goes into writing quality content and that’s exactly what has kept me going on so long. There are many aspects to writing such as Web Content, Copywriting, Article Writing, Blog writing, Review writing and so on and so forth.

Content Writing is basically like writing essays but in a more engaging way. This is about Article Writing and Blog writing. Just try to imagine what and how your target audience would prefer to read. It can be funny, casual, intellectual and plain essays too… mostly these are supported with images as you see on the websites. Copywriting is writing for advertisements, Review Writing is writing specifically about a product or service on a review site or in e-commerce sites. Web content is what you see on the websites. It is writing about the company, what they do, their products and services etc. Web Content may be a mix of copywriting for the web, SEO and even technical writing too.

The key here is SEO or Search Engine Optimization which prompts these brands to create their own blogs – non-promotional which Google considers. Please do read up on SEO and SERP. You can try to get some idea on Social Media Marketing and Internet Marketing since some of these content are marketed via social media.

SEO involves using Keywords in an optimal way which tricks Google into considering that page or article to be listed along with the thousands of pages that come as a part of your search list. Keywords are what you search. In fact, those are the set of words or phrases mostly searched with respect to a context. For example, ‘Accounting Software‘ might the most searched keyword by accountants for a software for accounting. Similarly, for each context, Google Analytics comes up with the most searched keywords in an order. Most of the clients want these phrases or keywords included in their content and hence ask the content writers to write for SEO. If you read up a little on that, it will be helpful.

What happens to these content?

Most of the Blogs and Articles are published on the company’s website as additional information for those who visit their sites. Some are marketed via Social Media Networks and the Internet from where the company gets the ‘leads’ to their websites. Some are posted as backlinking blogs on various popular blog sites that publish them and are referred by the target audience. Remember, each industry and field has a different target audience and hence, the content must be posted on the right blog site to bring in maximum leads. But that’s the marketer’s job unless you intend to do that too.

The Blogs and Articles that the company publishes on their own websites are intended to attract the search engines and to ultimately bring the audience to their websites where they showcase their products and services too. But then Google and other search engines keep changing their SEO algorithms to make sure they do not list spam websites when the user searches for information. Using optimal keywords spread out evenly through the content to make sure the search engines do not consider it as spam. There’s a lot more that goes into finding the right keywords and how they are used and all which I will not cover here.

Points to Note

  • Quality content is what the client expects.
  • Quality in terms of Tone, Language, Spelling, Grammar, and Context are all equally considered.
  • You cannot copy-paste as Plagiarism is not at all tolerated. There are tools to check it.
  • Research Well before you write. Misinformation can be fatal for your career!
  • Write for the target audience. If you have no clue who your audience is write in a neutral and simple way so that everyone understands it.
  • Jargons are good but only to some extent. Use them sparingly and only if your target audience is tech-savvy.
  • Keywords have to be used as such and spread across evenly through the content. Companies may have their own Keyword policy which you can confirm with them!
  • Marketing content may be biased but the rest of them better have a neutral tone. Otherwise, you have to clearly mention the reasons for promoting or demoting a brand or a concept.

To be able to write convincingly, you need to read a lot. So start reading and note down interesting patterns and points that you liked reading. You may be able to develop your own style reading through many interesting articles.

There may be many aspects that I would have missed. Feel free to add in your comments.

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Professional

Is it a storm or dance?

Lifes.jpg

The plate fell off her hands and the lunch she had prepared with a lot of love shattered along with the shards of china. Mili felt as if the world was going round! She managed to clasp on to the curtain though pulling it down along with her as she fell flat on the floor.

“Mili, beta what happened? Keshav, bring some water. Help me pick her up to the sofa. Mili, open your eyes beta.” Though Mili could hear her mom’s sound, it seemed far away. She couldn’t open her eyes, not until her mom splashed some cold water on her face. She felt exhausted and was perspiring.

Mili worked in the customer service department of a renowned home appliances dealer in the town of Kochi. She was all of 38, happily married and the mother of a busy 16-year-old, Keshav. Her husband Ajay worked in Delhi, a few hours by flight from where they lived. She lived with her parents, mother-in-law, and Keshav in a small apartment near her office. Keshav had just completed his 10th. It’s the month of April and Keshav is happily enjoying his vacations after the grueling board exams.

Mili tried to remember what happened to her. She had prepared Keshav’s favorite Poori and Chole for lunch and was bringing it to the table when she blacked out. She opened her eyes to see 4 pairs of worried eyes looking at her. She took another 5 minutes to try and stand up on her feet only to trip and sit down again.

“Beta, here, have this water. Wait; sit for a while here itself. Don’t bother to get up now. Keshav, help Amma get up slowly.” Mili’s mother seemed composed and was instructing Keshav who had gone numb seeing his mom fall down like a leaf! Keshav was healthy and quickly composed himself and helped his amma get to the nearest sofa where he made her sit comfortably.

Mili drank some more water. Suddenly, she wanted to puke! She was too exhausted to run to the washbasin though she didn’t want to dirty the hall. As if Mili’s mother was expecting this, she caught hold of the puke which she disposed of in the washbasin quickly. Mili just couldn’t believe what had just happened! She could see the even more shocked faces staring at her, except for her mother, who was trying to hide a mischievous smile.

Mili’s mother took control of the situation very calmly and asked Keshav to bring some lemon from the fridge. Her mother-in-law helped Keshav with cutting the lemon though she was as confused as was Keshav and Mili’s father!

“Here Sheila didi, I have cut the lemon! But will that help?” She couldn’t hide her shock but was coming to terms with the fact that Mili’s mother, Sheila, was indicating. She wasn’t even sure whether to call it a shock or surprise! “Paro, how many did you have? And you still don’t understand? You have become old!” Sheila was smiling ear to ear adding to Mili’s shock. Raghu understood what his experienced wife Sheila was indicating and hid his smile behind the newspaper. Keshav was going crazy wondering why these old ladies were grinning when his mother was unwell and had fainted.

“Keshav, call the taxi. We have to take your mother to the hospital.” Sheila asked Keshav and he obeyed as he still wondered what was going on. Mili was still wondering how she let this happen after all these years! But then, she wasn’t sure yet. It could even be her anemia or irregular periods that have been troubling her over a few months now. Sheila seemed pretty confident of what experience told her – “Good news! Her daughter is pregnant again.”

Keshav got ready to take her mother to the hospital but he was refused by Mili as well as Sheila. He didn’t like that! Even if Mili had the flu, she insisted that Keshav accompanied her to the doctor and now she’s refusing to take him along. Nevertheless, he decided to wait at home along with his grandpa and grandma. He couldn’t understand why everyone seemed rather happy while he was worried to hell over his mother’s health!

“Amma, are you sure? Could this be that? But I am nearing 40! And Keshav is already 16 now! I don’t know how he will take it.” Mili was all questions on her way to the clinic. Sheila remained calm and composed. She assured that everything will be fine. Sheila had been watching her daughter turn pale and slow over the last few weeks. Though Mili has been complaining of tiredness and nausea and blamed it all on the hormones, Sheila was waiting for nature to take its own course.

It didn’t take them long to confirm the good news. Mili was pregnant by 2 months now. She was still unsure but called up Ajay to share the Good News. Ajay had left to Delhi after his week-long holiday 10 days back. He visited Mili at least once every month. They had even traveled a lot with Keshav as soon as his exams got over. Ajay gulped down the Good News which came as a shocker to him too. He was as bemused as Mili and had the same thoughts on how Keshav would take it.

Mili was relieved to know that Keshav had gone to his friend’s house to stay overnight. Though he called up to check on Mili, she was happy not to face him at that point of time. She assured him that things were going fine and she was just a little tired. The next day morning, Mili woke up, as usual, to get ready for work only to be stopped by Sheila and Paro. They persuaded her to take a couple of days’ leave and promised that she could resume after that.

Mili wanted to avoid a direct confrontation with Keshav and her office seemed to be the best escapade. Moreover, she could get some time away on her own to think over the matter and decide whether or not to continue with it – work or baby whatever it may be! Keshav came in after breakfast and was eager to check on Mili. Sheila, Paro, and Raghu welcomed Keshav with a Laddoo box which surprised him.

“How’s Amma? What did the doctor say? What’s this Laddoo for?” Keshav was all questions. Mili was not looking at his face which added to his worry. “Amma, are you better now? You do look pale! What did the doctor say?” he asked Mili.

Mili mustered up some courage to tell him the “Good News” on his face. But Sheila tactfully interfered and asked Keshav to sit near her. They were the best of buddies, partners in crime and always troubled Mili over silly things whenever she was home. Sheila and Paro were already too excited about the guest who would be coming in another 7 odd months. Sheila was also unsure of how this young man would accept his yet to be born brother or sister. It’s a delicate age and the matter was also quite delicate.

“Beta Keshu, do you know when your amma was so happy earlier?” Keshav looked at Sheila bemused. Mili looked rather worried and pale and Sheila says she’s happy!!!

“When she heard that she was pregnant with you. She immediately decided to quit her job which she had earned with so much hard work. All she was bothered was your safety and health.” Sheila’s words had Keshav thinking. ‘Does that mean? But at this age? Is that even OK? But 16-years gap?’ Keshav’s mind was full of questions he couldn’t even ask.

Mili took Keshav to his room and asked – “Keshu, do you have a girlfriend?” Keshav was shocked! He wondered why she would ask this question at this point! “No Amma but why? What happened to you?” he asked in return. “Keshu, if you have a girlfriend, I don’t know how she would take the fact that your mom is pregnant with your sibling who would be 17 years younger to you” Keshav was not yet ready for it though he fully understood what Mili said.

They both had a long serious discussion. Mili was ready to go with whatever Keshav wanted – the baby or an abortion! She knew he was old enough to understand things. But to her surprise, Keshav seemed to be more worried about her health. All his doubts were regarding whether she would be ok with the pregnancy. He seemed as excited or more than his grandparents. Mili was relieved! She assured Keshav that things were all normal and that she was born when Sheila was 40!

Sheila, Paro, and Raghu were all ears and waiting eagerly for Mili and Keshav. Their smiles gave away the decision. While Keshav ran to his friends to share the happiness and the Laddoos, Mili called up Ajay to share the Good News! Ajay was even more excited to share his part of Good News that he finally got transferred to Trivandrum after a year’s wait! Now that indeed was Good News in a package for the entire family. They will be seeing more of Ajay at home now that he will be working a few hundred kilometers away in the same state. As for Keshav, he was waiting for the bundle of joy as much as the rest of the family were.

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Personal, Short Stories - Fiction

The Princess who Ran away!

beauty-1831133_1920

The Princess was Sad!

Not long ago, there lived a chubby princess. But she never realized she was a princess! So strict were her parents that they never wanted her to get used to luxury. She felt bad and sad when her normal friends were enjoying life far better than her. She felt angry when she had to fight for anything she ever wanted! She felt lonely when her friends kept a distance because she was a princess. She felt strange when people exclaimed she had an air of attitude. She just couldn’t comprehend anything happening around her. People say she’s a princess and there she is struggling without any luxury of having good friends!

One day she made up her mind to leave the house for good and explore how the normal people lived. She planned and planned to quietly pack her essentials and kept some pocket money. She realized that she did have a good amount of pocket money that she was not allowed to spend on many things! “Good it came handy”, she thought! 

There was no one whom she could trust to help her out with the planning. So naive she was, she asked some help from her mom’s best aide who took care of her. Shyama was her name and just how she looked too – slightly dark complexioned with a naughtiness in her eyes. She was young too, just 18 now, but was mature enough to look after the Princess. Shyama was shocked first and burst out into a laughter. Here we are wondering whether we will get a day’s chance to live the Princess’ life and there she is wanting to explore how we lived. But she loved the princess dearly and promised her all the help she could do.

Shyama wanted to inform the Queen, the Princess’ mother, right away. But she bumped into the Queen’s mother in law, the Rajmatha who extracted the story out of her tactfully. She knew that the King and the Queen were a little too strict with their only daughter. In fact, she used to pamper the Princess whenever she got a chance to and they shared a beautiful relation.

The Rajmatha instructed Shyama not to inform the Queen and instead to go ahead with the Princess’ plan. Shyama was to keep the Rajmatha informed of her whereabouts and plans from time to time. Shyama was a little scared of the Rajmatha and promptly nodded to whatever she was ordered to do.

Now they both made a plan and the Rajmatha made some secret arrangements to ensure the safety of her dear granddaughter. Soon, Shyama and the Princess eloped and went to live in a small hut in the middle of a jungle. The Princess loved the fresh air and freedom to roam around freely in the green jungle. But as it got dark, she wondered how safe it was for them to stay there. Though the Rajmatha had made arrangements to make sure that they both stay safe, the Princess was totally unaware of it.

When it became night, she felt a little scared. There was a little light and she could hear the wild animals roaring in the jungle. She realized that she was quite safe inside the beautiful mansion where they lived. But she did not regret coming out of that life. She loved the freedom much better than the comfort of her mansion. She got really scared when an elephant trumpeted far away. She suddenly missed her mother. Tears started rolling down her pink and chubby cheeks. But she told herself that she was brave and loved the freedom and would return in a while after exploring and enjoying the life outside.

Shyama felt sad for the Princess. She knew the ruckus it would have created and the threat she will have to face. She knew that the Queen might think that she kidnapped the Princess and wouldn’t hesitate to order to kill her. But the Rajmatha had promised her safety if she made sure that the Princess returned soon on her own.

story-1829845_1920

The King and the Queen were worried

At the Mansion, the Queen and the King got completely worried and angry. They thought that Shyama had kidnapped the Princess. They sent their best soldiers away to find the Princess and Shyama. The King was busy sending away the soldiers and messages to the local rulers nearby while the Queen was worried. The Queen felt bad that she had to be so strict to her little daughter. Had she taught her some self-defense and tactics, Shyama would not have succeeded in kidnapping her. Had she given the Princess a little more freedom to play with the other children, she would have been happier and more tactful interacting with people. She knew how vulnerable the Princess was! She still couldn’t believe that Shyama could have kidnapped her daughter. Shyama was mischievous but not wicked. She still couldn’t comprehend why Shyama would risk her life and kidnap the sweet little girl that the Princess was!

In a couple of days, Shyama and the Princess roamed around the forest and enjoyed the freedom they experienced for the first time in their lives. They came across birds and butterflies of all colors.

princess-earring-952021_1280

Birds and Flowers of all colors!

They enjoyed the mild fragrance of the wild flowers and the crystal clear and sweet river water. But as they explored the deeper areas, the Princess realized that Shyama was quite ok with things as she was used to these hardships while she found it very difficult. The mud, the dirt, the wetness, the insects, they all excited her initially, but she could not enjoy them after the initial excitement. She realized that she’s missing the comfort of her mansion. By the time they managed to get back to the hut, it would get very dark and that scared the Princess quite badly.

 

In a few days’ time, the Princes started thinking of returning to the mansion, back to be with her loving parents and Rajmatha. She realized one by one that the restrictions had helped her not to become arrogant and understand the value of everything she received. The mansion that made her feel lonely also made her comfortable and safe.

Back in the mansion, everyone was worried. Just when the King decided to venture out himself checking through the forest, the Rajmatha interfered and told them both what had happened. Both the King and the Queen felt bad at having been so strict at the Princess that she became so frustrated! The Rajmatha advised them that a little bit of leniency won’t spoil their child as they feared. She also assured that the Princess and Shyama were safe and under her loyal soldiers’ observation. By then

By then the Rajmatha realized that the Princess was also repenting her decision to move out of the comforts of her mansion and away from her loving parents. Shyama had successfully persuaded her to return to the mansion. Shyama promised the Princess that she would not be scolded by anyone and that she would take all the blame for herself. The Princess felt happy to have a true friend in Shyama. She embraced her and apologized that she failed to see the true friend in Shyama.

The Princess and Shyama soon were on their way back home from the jungle. But as fate had it, it started raining heavily and the river got flooded while they were returning. Shyama and the Princess got scared so badly that they climbed a tree nearby and started sobbing loudly. But Rajmatha’s soldiers who were following them secretly soon rescued them from the jungle.

Both Shyama and the Princess were a little scared as they reached back the mansion. But deep within the Princess was happy about experiencing the freedom and nature so beautifully, though for a short span. She was also happy that she was coming back home and meeting her parents after so long. She wanted to hug her parents and the Rajmatha tightly for providing her so many comforts. She wanted to apologize to them for being rude and running away like a coward.

king-35420_1280

The King and the Queen welcomed the Princess back

The King and the Queen were very happy to see their precious Princess back home again. Though she seemed shaken by the happenings, she was also very happy to come back home. She was surprised and happy to see her friends whom the King and the Queen had invited. They were surprised to find that the Princess was never arrogant and wanted to be one among them! Shyama felt relieved that she managed to bring the Princess back home safe and sound. Though the Queen was not very happy with Shyama, she agreed to forgive her because she took good care of the Princess while away in the jungle.

 

In a few days, the Princess shared her happy and sad experiences after leaving the mansion to the Rajmatha and her parents. The King was happy that her fragile daughter was quite brave and promised to train her in self-defense.

knight-1598266_1280

She learned self-defense

The Princess thanked and apologized to all three of them for mistaking their discipline to rudeness. The Queen felt proud that her little girl managed to learn so much from a few days’ journey alone and away from her parents. She felt happy that things finally turned out good. The Princess felt relieved, happy and proud to be whatever she was and thanked her parents for having been strict with her. She promised them that she would never run away from life again and would boldly speak her mind out whenever she felt the need.

 

The Rajmatha was quite happy too, to realize that her little Princess turned out to be just how she was during her childhood! She was proud of the entire family and together they promised to express their love and emotions without holding them back or hiding them. After all, it’s a small and beautiful life and all you need to spread is love and kindness.

The Princess grew up to be a bold and beautiful lady who later took over the Kingdom from the King. She was just and virtuous and made the parents and the entire Kingdom proud with her just and bold rule. As for Shyama, she remained her best friend and guide all through her life. They shared a unique friendship, far beyond the royal relation.

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Personal, Short Stories - Fiction

Why Blogging is a Great Way to Get Back to Work?

If words are your best friends, you must befriend writing too!

I always tell my acquaintances to try blogging if they can write 10 sentences in English without mistakes! I am glad that many took it seriously and tried it too. I am particularly happy for those who took it up professionally to turn into a writer when they had no clue how to get back to work after a career break!

Here’s why I recommend blogging as a platform to get back to work:

Explore and Express yourself

Writing is a great way to explore your mind and express yourself through words. Find them online if you cannot find them from within. Google is always there for help :-D! To be frank, I cannot claim a great vocabulary because I started speaking in English only at the age of 22! Though I learned English, my small-town school had very few teachers who could speak fluently in English, leave alone teach in it. So for those who read a lot and can speak fluently in English, I would definitely recommend trying to write often. Practice helps improve and writing more often and reading others’ blogs frequently will definitely help you write better.

Writing helps to network

When you start writing, you share your work and this will be shared further by your contacts when they find it interesting. This helps expand your network and connections. When you are looking for a second or third chance getting back to work, networking is a crucial aspect that can help you reach the right people.

Writing also helps to vent out frustrations

Though I would not recommend using your blogs as a medium to vent out your frustrations, writing more often definitely helps soothe a troubled mind. I personally feel that the more I write positively about life, the more I feel positively too. I keep telling my writer friends to write more positively to inspire others to live. But sometimes, we have to vent out our frustrations too and when you write it down, it definitely helps to relax. You may not publish it when you are frustrated. Keep it aside until you calm down and then later when you are relaxed, review what you have written and publish it after making necessary corrections. I do this often and find that I tend to add positive elements to all those frustrations which make it more pleasant to read! It definitely helps to feel better.

You may find a better career in writing

Just as it happened with me, you may also find an amazing career in writing and decide to stick with it! I have loved IT, especially database design and coding and have worked really hard to land a job in that field. I have rarely missed a day in office because it helped me relax (yes I used to find solace in my office!!!). But after my son was born, I didn’t want to leave him and the only kind of work-from-home job I could get was in writing. Though I was not very sure how I would do, I found it really interesting and decided to pursue it full-time later. I am a full-time freelance writer now and am happy to be able to manage my work-life balance at home. I do take up technical writing jobs once in a while to quench my desire to get back into coding.

So give it a try. Who knows, you may also find it much interesting than what you had been doing so far! Don’t worry, there are full-time and part-time opportunities in content writing and you can specialize on niche styles of writing. There are tools and help available online that will help you excel.

Connect to like-minded people

Writing helped me connect to many people whom I had never known before. I started my own blog after 3 years of getting into freelance writing because I realized that I could use it to connect with many more like-minded people whom I didn’t even know personally. It helps me help out many who are frustrated with their job-search wondering what to do next. Some ventured into writing considering my suggestion and it helped them reach their career goals in one way or the other. If nothing else, the appreciations you will get for your attempt to write will boost your confidence significantly. That helps a lot to do away with nervousness, despair, and negativity in life. Ultimately, you will become more positive and confident that if not anything, you can always choose to be a writer! Believe me, it helps a lot!

You will start reading more

As for me, I don’t get much time to read books these days though I read a lot online to refer. When you take up writing as a profession, you are required to refer a lot to make your writings more authentic. As such, I love browsing through the articles and features that are published online. Now, I have a valid reason to spend more time reading them, as references. Reading more helps improve our perceptions on life and to improve ourselves in many ways. Who knows, you may come across articles that help you reach your career goal faster!

You will develop better communication skills

Communication skills are required in every field. It is a must even in our personal lives. Writing helps improve your vocabulary and communication skills. You can use it anytime in your personal and professional life. You will ultimately learn how to write an impressive covering letter that can help you land your dream job! You will be able to communicate more efficiently with your boss and subordinates at work which creates a good impression and gets your work done.

It helps fill your career gap!

If you ask anyone who has taken a career gap, no matter for what, they will always find that GAP as the biggest obstacle in getting back to working full-time! When you start blogging, you can always showcase it as a new skill you learned during your career break which will be convincing and worthwhile.

If you ask me, writing is a must-know skill for everyone, personally and professionally. Blogging helps improve your writing and communication skills if you take it up willingly and seriously. I can vouch for it from my personal experience and that’s why I recommend it to people whom I meet online and offline. If you are still trying to figure out what to do in life, why not try writing? It’s a choice you can make anytime. Give it a try, check the response you receive from your friends and connections. You can always quit it if you feel you are not up to it.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Personal, Professional

Life’s like that, sometimes!

“How much does it cost? Is it the latest available? Can you offer any discounts?” Sheela didn’t want to loose hope. She knew that her daughter Prerna wanted to buy that mobile. She had seen her look longingly on the ads published in the newspaper many times.

“Madam, it is the latest version. Sorry, but we cannot give any discounts. We are selling it at the best price.” the salesboy replied Sheela. She knew there was no way she could afford it now. But she definitely wanted to buy it sometime sooner or later. She had already started saving some chiller-paisa every day by skipping her evening tea. She knew it meant nothing when compared to the hefty price that mobile cost. But still, Prerna had never asked her anything till then and Sheela knew it would help her stay connected to her few friends and in her job.

Sheela worked as a housemaid at a couple of apartments in the suburbs of Bangalore. Prerna was her only daughter and she was working with a grocery store as a salesgirl. Sheela lost her husband at a very young age and since then, with Prerna around, she has been working hard to make ends meet. Prerna was good at studies and wanted to become a graduate so that she could join some decent company and make their lives better with earnings. But they knew they were not fortunate enough and Prerna left her studies after school to help her mother with the chores.

Life had other plans though! Sheela knew that Prerna had an affair with someone though she never had the guts to ask her about it. Prerna knew that it wouldn’t bloom as she was from a very backward family and the boy was from a better background! Though she loved him dearly, she was mature enough to stay clear of any rumor that could affect her family and stayed clear of the relation. She wanted to study further but thought better to join a grocery store in the town which earned her a few thousands every month.

Sheela’s health was deteriorating but she wanted to marry Prerna off decently and hence wanted to save whatever she could to buy some gold and for the expenses of the impending marriage. Prerna on the other hand just wanted to earn enough so that she could see her mother settle down and get some rest which she badly needed! They both loved each other dearly, after all, each had only the other for company. But they never discussed their intentions to each other fearing the other would not agree!

It was a cold morning of January when Sheela fell really sick. She just couldn’t muster enough energy to go to work that day. Prerna called up her boss and asked for a day’s leave to take get some medicines for her mother. Her boss granted the leave but only after warning her of firing the next time she asked for leave! Prerna went to the doctor madam where her mom worked as a maid.

“I had told Sheela not to strain too much. She’s not keeping well for a while now. She needs some rest, or else you may lose her!” Prerna was alarmed at the thought of losing her only relative alive. It was her mom who brought her up with a lot of hardships and now she’s not able to give her back anything! She broke into tears at the thought. As she walked back home with the medicines, she was drowned in the thoughts of how she can make things better for her mom. But tears welled up in her eyes and her thoughts were totally blurred with grief.

By the time she reached home, Sheela was trying to cook some food. She couldn’t do much as she was quite tired. She felt sad that in spite of her hardships and efforts, there was little she could save for her daughter. When she saw Prerna walking without a shawl or sweater on that cold evening, she broke into tears! Prerna couldn’t hold back either. They spent the evening trying to console each other saying things will get better another day, soon!

The next day, Prerna went for work as usual because she couldn’t afford to lose the only hope she had of making things better for her mother. She tried to talk to the manager asking for a small hike but was blatantly refused. The manager even threatened to fire her if she demanded a hike again! She couldn’t afford to lose her only income. So she kept quiet.

She met a familiar face just as she walked out from the manager’s office. She was way too engrossed in her problems that she just got a glimpse of that face. It was very familiar and kept nagging her thoughts even though she wanted to turn back and find a solution to her actual problems.

“Prerna, did you ask for a hike to the manager?” Sethu’s question alarmed her. She got worried! “Will he fire me? How did you know that I asked? I am going through a very bad time now! My mom’s sick and I wanted to help her somehow! I even told him I would do overtime. But he threatened to fire me.” She blabbered totally tensed!

Sethu knew her situation well. He felt sorry for her but there was little he could do to help as this job was dear for him too! He had a wife and 3-year-old daughter to support. Sethu told, “Don’t worry Prerna. Things will work out soon.” though he himself didn’t believe it would! “Boss has asked you to meet him tomorrow morning at 10. He asked me to inform you!”

Her heart started pounding faster. Back home, Sheela was just recovering from the illness. If she loses her job, how would she manage the expenses? Leave alone the mobile, her thoughts were lingering over her mom’s medicines and some basic grocery for two! She found her feet getting heavier as she approached her boss’ cabin. He seemed busy talking to someone else. She had to wait outside for another 3 minutes, which seemed like 3 hours. All sorts of thoughts passed her troubled mind, but none that alleviated her pain. In fact, every single thought added to her agony.

She saw a couple of familiar faces walking out from the cabin. She was way too engrossed in her troubling thoughts that she just ignored them and walked into the cabin like a robot. The boss seemed serious, but not angry! She was relieved to some extent. But the next moment, she was wondering, then what else could it be?

“Sit here Prerna.”, said the boss. That was new to her!!! She hesitated.

“Don’t worry, I am not going to fire you. You can sit down.”, she felt relieved. But not yet convinced, she sat half-heartedly on the chair.

“Do you need some water to drink?”, asked the boss. Prerna found it very strange. “What is happening? What does he want to tell me? Whom did I just saw walking out?”, Prerna was full of questions.

“Listen to me, drink some water. Your neighbours just came to see me now. Your mother is no more!”, said the Boss. Prerna felt like the chair just moved back and she fell straight on the floor.

“Prerna, have this. Open your eyes! Can you hear me? It’s Sethu.”, she heard that voice faintly first. One second later, she found herself drenched in sweat and the boss, Sethu and a couple of her neighbours beside her looking at her anxiously.

She thought for a moment. Things fell into place now. The familiar faces were her neighbours who had moved in recently. They had come to inform her that her mother is no more. The boss just broke the news and she had fainted listening to that.

Sethu helped her get on her feet. She had no clue what to do. She felt like crying aloud. But couldn’t! She felt totally numb. Everything happening around her seemed surreal. She knew she was walking but where to, she had no idea. Her face was pale. She couldn’t cry. She just stared infinitely.

At home, her mother was lying down, covered in white. She was frozen. She just sat there in a corner, not able to cry or mumble a word. People came, looked at her mother’s body and her sympathetically, spoke to her, sighed and left. After some time, someone poured some cold water on her and helped her change. Then, her mother was not there anymore. They took her to the crematory and burned her into ashes. She was not bothered what they did with the body! She had lost it completely!!!

A couple of days went by with people coming in and going back without her responding. She hardly ate or drank anything. After a week, there was no one around her. She was all alone. That’s when it struck her hard!!! She realized the vacuum. She realized that she had lost the only kin ever she had on the earth! She realized she was all alone now – at home and in life. She cried and cried till it became night. No one came asking for her.

She cried herself to sleep. She felt a strange pain deep within. But was too tired to even get up from where she was lying the whole day. She was drained out – mentally and physically. The next day morning, Sethu came looking for her. Her boss had sent him there asking whether or not she was coming to work. Prerna was too shaken. She couldn’t think or decide. Sethu understood her condition and demanded that she joined back to work the next day. Like a small disciplined child, she obeyed!

The next day morning, she got up, mustered some strength to make herself a tea and something to bite with whatever was available home. There wasn’t much since they were anyway broke a week back itself. And since she was not going to work, she also didn’t have a penny with her. Nor did she feel like going out to buy something!

A month went by and Prerna was adopting a new routine, one without her mom, without any laughter or life. She was living like a machine. She worked, went home, cooked up something very basic, eat, slept and went to work. She would hardly speak to anyone, not even to Sethu. She became very detached. Sethu soon left the city to seek better opportunities to support his own family. After he left, there was no one who would even smile at her or ask her anything! She didn’t feel anything. She had lost everything along with her mom.

One evening, while she was walking back home, she heard a faint cry. A 2-year old girl was crying on the roadside. It was getting dark and she didn’t know what to do. Though she never bothered to look around her these days on her way to and from work, she couldn’t run away from that cry. There were people moving around, but no one was paying attention to the baby’s cry. Something struck her heart and she went near the child.

She looked down at the crying child who was getting exhausted by the heat and incessant crying. Just as she was wondering what to do, the child looked up at her and asked to be carried by her. She got numb for a moment, but recollected herself quickly and took the child in her arms. They went home first. She gave the child a decent bath, wrapped her in her mom’s saree and fed her with some leftover rice which was all that was available at home.

It was dark outside and the child slept off after it hungrily gulped down the food offered. She kept staring at the child through the night and wondered what to do with her. The next day morning, before the baby woke up, she got up and made some tea and rice with some dal. She woke the baby up so that she could drop her off at the police station on the way to her office. That was her plan.

The baby woke up with a smile first. Then it started looking for her mom and crying. She felt panicked! But she consoled the baby sweetly while still wondering what she was doing and fed her. She wrapped her in another dupatta of hers and carried her to the police station. She bought her a new set of dress from the footpath though she couldn’t really afford it.

When she went to the police station, they refused to accept the baby! No matter what she told, the station couldn’t accommodate a baby and the constable wouldn’t let her leave the baby there and go. She finally had to take her to her work where everyone gathered around her and the baby. She had no clue what to tell them and the boss first. But she finally mustered enough courage to narrate the incidents. Everyone, including the boss, was surprised to hear her out for so long after so many months. She had stopped talking altogether since her mother’s death.

The baby kept her and others busy through the day and the boss didn’t find it disturbing. On her way back, she had now a new problem to solve – what to do with the kid?!! It suddenly struck her mind that there was hardly anything to cook at home. With a baby for a company, she decided to stock some food at least to feed the baby. The shopkeeper was surprised to see Prerna after a while, that too chit-chatting with a baby. He had heard from some others that Prerna had taken the baby along with her the previous evening. He felt happy that Prerna was changing a little positively, at least for the baby.

Once back home, Prerna realized that she need a name for the baby now. She had no clue how long the baby would be with her. So she needed to buy a couple of clothes to change. She made a comfy mattress for her with her mom’s sarees. She could feel her mother’s smell and warmth in the sarees even months after she was gone. She made a quick dinner and fed the baby who was tired after the whole days’ outing.

She was totally engrossed in wondering what to do with the baby when she crawled into her lap and cuddled her. She felt a strange happiness. A smile bloomed on her face looking at the happy child that was smiling at her. She kissed Prerna and soon slept off on her lap. Prerna couldn’t believe that sudden transformation that just happened. It had been months since she smiled or felt anyone’s love. This baby had conquered her heart overnight!

She knew that someone might come looking for the baby anytime. The next day morning, she checked with the station if anyone had come asking for the baby. As expected, no one had! She made some calculations in her mind and met the boss once she reached her workplace. The boss was surprised to see her come to talk to him.

“Sir, can you shift me to your factory? I don’t want to live here anymore. Now that my mom’s not here, I want to go away.”, Prerna asked her boss. He was shocked first. But quickly responded, “Give me a day’s time Prerna. Let me see how I can help you out. I understand your situation.” He hesitated whether or not to smile, but Prerna’s smile relieved him of the trouble. She seemed happy. After

After she left, he checked with the factory supervisor and arranged a job for Prerna there in the neighbouring village. He was considerate enough to arrange an accommodation too as he understood that she wanted to start a new life with the baby there. By afternoon, he called up Prerna and said “Prerna, I couldn’t be happier! I have arranged your job in our factory and also an accommodation where you can peacefully stay nearby. Don’t worry! We are there with you.” He felt content for having done something for that poor soul.

Prerna felt relieved. She sold whatever she had to the neighbours and shifted to the new home soon. She named the baby Supriya, a name Sheela loved a lot. With Supriya around, Prerna soon became a doting mom like Sheela. She woke up to see the smiling bright face of Supriya and felt her warm hug all day through. Her boss was very considerate and allowed her near the factory premises where it was safe for the kids to play. Prerna could attend to her anytime as long as she made sure her productivity was never down. Within a month’s time, she had totally transformed into Supriya’s mom. None of her co-workers could guess that Supriya had adopted Prerna as her mother.

Prerna was back to being a happy soul once again. Though she managed to save enough  to buy that mobile she always wanted to, she instead happily spent it on some dresses and toys for Supriya. She would play with Supriya just the way Sheela used to play her. She would wrap herself in Sheela’s saree whenever she wanted more strength. The sarees still had Sheela’s scent which gave Prerna the motivation to keep going, for the sake of Supriya if not anything else! The vacuum was always felt in her heart. But she found herself too engrossed in keeping Supriya happy.

Sheela was happy too, to see all these from above the sky! She wanted to shout out to Prerna that she too had adopted her one day decades back. That she was also in despair, till Prerna came into her life. She was happy that this little angel had found her angel who had helped her come out of her despair. She knew that just like her, Prerna would also soon become the real mother of Supriya.

Sheela was smiling from the sky, just as Prerna was pointing at the brightest star to Supriya during dinner time.

plant-2318936_1920.jpg

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Personal, Short Stories - Fiction

When you fall in love! (And they don’t even know!)

Falling in love.. strange isn’t it? Love is the most amazing emotion in the world and yet we say falling in love! Hmm it is as strange a feeling. You fight a lot against it, you refuse to admit it, but it finally wins over, whether the other person admits it or not! And then, you fight to win over your love 😊

This strangeness is what love is all about. Though the emotions seem strange, the ones in love are definitely not strangers! Here’s a love story:

Disclaimer: Love stories may seem similar. Well, mom stories too seem similar 😁. But every pair (hopefully so) of lovers find their love unique just as the mom would find her baby unique. So even I feel this is a different love story to tell!

Falling in love was not so simple! After an year of constant fighting with her own mind, it finally struck her hard that indeed she was in love! Strange it was – till recently she never believed in love; never thought of herself as a lovable character; never gave herself away as a ready-to-fall-in-love teenager; never wanted to disappoint her parents! And yet, she didn’t have a choice but to come to terms to the fact that she was already very much head over heels in love with him😍😍😍

And now began a bigger struggle, not to reveal her love, not to let him know she had a huge soft corner, not to let anyone realise her vulnerable side! It broker her heart into a thousand pieces when he asked her help to propose to her friend! At least, she thought let it die away with me! Let that fire die on its own deep inside! Not that she was afraid of telling him. But she didn’t want to feel bad getting in his way of his newfound love. She found it stranger to fathom that everyday though! Was it love? That’s when she realised this was indeed love to the core!!! 

She was done with everything – enough of bothering about everything else! She knew that was it. But all that seemed so one-sided!!! That’s when she decided to let it go. Let go all apprehensions, let go the fear and live it up. She decided to enjoy being in love, though one-sided! She was fine with him not reciprocating. Little did he know! It still broke her heart to see him talk to her. She didn’t let her smile fade away as it would definitely give away her emotions. 

They were the best of friends since day one in college. He was probably her very first boy-friend! They shared an amazing friendship which she didn’t want to lose. She even refrained from talking to her best friend who was away with her studies lest she knew she would be caught off guard! She knew she was in love and had decided to enjoy being in love whether or not he reciprocated. There’s a strange kick in it.

But love cannot be hidden. She could see the evident changes as classes reopened after the holidays. Her heart filled with happiness though her consience felt bad that her best friend’s love seemed long lost! She even asked him once, trying not to be apparent 😊. But his smile gave it away that he knew what was going on.

Now the struggle became even more worse!!! Now she was scared, of having to listen it from him, of having to go through a harder struggle, of having to completely surrender! She knew, the moment he would say it, (it was just a matter of when as she could feel it too) she would break apart – partly with happiness of her first ever love and partly because of the pressure it would put on her thinking of her family. She knew it would be heart-wrenching and that’s why she was happy with her one-sided love. At least it would only burn her, not anyone else, not him in particular!

That was her love! A one-sided love, which soon flourished into a relationship, marriage and family. Let me tell you a secret, she would have been happy even if it just remained a one-sided love. A strange pain that remained sweet; a longing that never realised! 

There’s a strange kick in one-sided love! 

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Personal

As Memories Flood In!

As Memories Flood in, I wait to be carried away

As I lay still, I get carried away

Not by those four closest to me

But by the memories that fill up my mind.

As I lay there, unable to move, eyes closed and ears open

I can see myself running around my neighbours’ house

Laughter and happiness filling the entire atmosphere

Suddenly there’s a change of place and I reach some other place

I strain to recognise it, and suddenly I realize

That’s where I spent the rest of my childhood!

It’s a huge mansion, cut off from the neighbours

It fills with people and laughter sometimes every year

I can see myself eagerly waiting for my cousins to arrive

My joy is boundless when I see my litle cousin running into my arms

It repeats with my neices and nephews too

By then I am nowhere in the scene

There I lay in a hospital bed, and my bundle of joy beside me

Time flies so fast; he has grown up as tall as me!

So have the little babies, all of whom I have lovingly caressed!

I open my eyes and can see some eyes looking at me longingly

I can feel two hands holding on to mine dearly

He has always done that, I can still feel the warmth

I drift away again along with the sweet memories that flood my mind

A mix of emotions pass through my mind

 Happiness, sadness and loneliness; but never despair

Suddenly I feel proud, for not having despaired all life

For not having cribbed for things I never could enjoy

For not cursing others for what I did not get

For never wasting time over what they would think

I feel proud, of having been able to live a somewhat content life

A life which could have been different, had I changed a few decisions 

I feel happy for not having done that and to challenge myself

To push a little more to achieve whatever little I ever yearned

I look back at things I missed 

I still remember why I chose to miss them

More memories try to rush in as I am overwhelmed

I smile on the flash of light thinking that’s another phase flashing in front

But I see something more, or nothing ahead?

It’s just plain light flashing ahead

Is that how the end feels? I wonder and smile

I am happy and content, to leave everything behind

There’s not much if you ask me what all

A few sad faces would sum it up all!

And a roomful of memories left behind

I will add on to them as a memory cheerful and bright

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Personal

The Grandma In Nighty

If you ask me what’s happiness, I would say it is being able to enjoy what you love the most, just the way you love it! Don’t bother about what the others would think or say. Don’t bother about who’s looking at me! Don’t bother about what would they think of me! And that’s exactly what I found today at the beach – A Grandma enjoying the beach waves in a Nighty!

We were a dozen from the family who went to the beach which was an old ritual for us which we missed for many years! The beach was so crowded, we found it difficult to identify those standing near us. So many people, so many kids, so many young men and women, all enjoying the waves in different waves.

Some were standing away from the water, not to get wet and yet enjoy the sea – of people and water! Some were totally drenched, floating away along with the waves. Some were playing touch-me-not with the waves and could be seen running away when the waves would try to catch them!

That’s when I saw this happy face playing with the waves. She was a lady, probably a grandma, with grey hairs, happily enjoying the beach waves in a nighty. I still don’t get it whether it was her age or her attire that caught my attention. But I won’t forget the childish innocence, smile and happiness I saw on her face when a huge wave came and got her totally drenched. She was not bothered about what others were thinking of her. She was not even bothered whether people around were looking at her 😀

What an attitude – Bindaas. That’s what they say in Hindi! Though I couldn’t take her picture, I won’t forget the contentment I saw on her face as she enjoyed the waves. Like a little child, I saw the innocence on her face which made me feel happy too.  That’s how we should be, Bindaas! Why bother what others would think of us? Why bother what the other person is talking about us? Just be yourself and enjoy your life. Be happy and spread the happiness around.

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Personal

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 245 other followers

Follow Food For Thought – Think. Analyze. Decide. Execute. Enjoy!!! on WordPress.com
Follow me on Twitter
Blogs I Follow