Category Archives: Writing101

Day 11 of Writing 101: A Silly Poem

Disclaimer: Today, my dear reader, you’re going to read the silliest poem that I have penned by far. I have been reading Peter Pan recently, so you can guess the inspiration (though, by no means I claim to be JM Barrie). So, if you will excuse my not-so-productive poem (because indeed for the past few weeks I have been doing little other than blogging/writing), I will go try my hand at some other craft, and present you with a more productive outcome tomorrow (or some other day). Sounds about right? Let’s march on then, in rhyme and rhythm!

A Silly Poem


w1o1: Writing 101, A: Arpita (yours truly)

W101: What do you do, when you do not write?

A: I eat through the day and sleep through the night!

W101: And is that all that you do, my dear?

A: Oh, no!  I eat, I sleep and I coo coo, you hear?

W101: Coo coo? What’s coo coo?

A: It’s that word that rhymes with ‘boo boo.’

W101: ‘Coo, coo’, ‘boo, boo’, are you outta your mind?

A: Hey, now you’re being rude and also unkind.

A writer will write and write some more.

That’s all she does and does it some more.

W101: Oh, you’re wrong. You’re so very wrong.

You should take breaks to sing good song.

You do need breaks to get refreshed

And edit that story that’s still half-baked.

Breaks give you new eyes to look and see

And rewrite your stuff with mirth and glee

A: Ah! Now I see why ideas are rare

It’s ’cause my head is so unclear

with too much staring at the empty page

It’s like my mind is put in a cage

Were I to now go and roam in the garden

I’ll see flowers and draw ’em with a pen

I’ll draw a flower and I’ll write a story

’bout a gardener and her pretty blue-berry

But the berries are all bitter and that’s her plight

Oh, please ‘cuse me, I got a story to write!

Got a story to write! Got a story to write!

Then eat through the day and sleep through the night.

The (Thank God for it)  End

A Note to the Reader:

Are you an illustrator? Or a photographer? If you are, I would very much like you to collaborate with me on a short story that I publish on the blog in future. In return, I will publish an interview of you on Scribbles@Arpita, promoting your work and your website. I have previously worked with an illustrator when my story, Grandma’s Photograph, was published in the Story Shack e-magazine. Please check out the picture & the story here. The picture of the woman in the illustration is indeed that of my grandmother! I absolutely adore the illustrator, Ms. Lakshmy, since then.

If you’d like to collaborate with me, please contact me via the contact form given below and we’ll take it ahead from there.

Day 10 of Writing 101: Before She Left

Before She Left

~A Short Story~ 

She was cleaning up the mess in her purse: old bank slips, shopping receipts, bus tickets. She took each out and observed cursorily, deciding whether she’d need it again. Then she tore up the slips in as small pieces as she possibly could and threw them into the bin.

Most of the bills had faded: they were printed on thermal papers.

What’s the point in giving bills which are going to fade, anyway? Aren’t the bills supposed to be permanent documentation?

She retrieved a bus ticket –a six month old one– from one of the pockets. It was from her last trip from her hometown to the nearest airport city. Six months vanished in a puff! Six months since she last visited her parents, her brother, and… him.

She didn’t tear the ticket – it was memory. And it was not on thermal paper. She pushed it into a different pocket in the purse, one she didn’t usually use to put the notes and the coins. There she found it.

It was an inconspicuous looking paper. If she was not scavenging, she would not even have noticed it. It was rolled up like a cigarette and flattened from being put in the purse.

She took it out and unrolled it. There was nothing on the side facing her – a blank page that must have contained how much she had paid at some mall or movie. She turned it over.

There, in blue ink were the lines. It was a written conversation. There were two distinct handwritings: one small, curvy; another bigger, looping.

All of it came back to her. She smiled as she saw herself scribbling it, beside the empty glass of cold coffee and some spilled chocolate sauce. The brown on the edge of the slip was testimony to the playful tiff they had over sipping each other’s coffee. They didn’t care if anyone was looking. They were lost in themselves.


He was told there was a parcel for him at the reception. He walked the steps instead of taking the elevator.

The girl at the reception smiled at him. Her name was Tias.

“There’s a parcel for me?” he said, returning her smile. Tias was new here. She matched her nail-polish her with her dresses every single day.

Tias shuffled through the drawer and handed him the package wrapped in shiny red paper. A white paper on top addressed it to him, in neutral print.


A hint of laughter touched the corner of his lips. He shrugged and turned away.

In his cabin, he opened the wrapper, taking care that he did not tear it off. She would recycle it, if she was here. Or better yet, add it to her box of memorabilia. He did the same, put it in his chest of drawers.

But she had never said anything about a parcel in the past month or week. He was sure it wasn’t another of their anniversaries – propose day, first trip together, first kiss etc.

It was a copy of The Fault in our Stars. Of course it was from her. Who else could it be! He turned over the cover page, sure to find a scribbling – after five years together, many things about her was predictable.

There was no scribbling. Instead, there was a paper, pasted on the inside of the cover page.

“Don’t go, please. I miss you already,” it said in his handwriting.

“I miss you already, too! I love you so much; I could never stay away long from you. Promise me you’ll fly to me every other month?” She had written.

“Of course, I will. Loads of kisses. I will visit you every weekend.” He now laughed at the absurdity of flying a thousand miles every week.

He read on:

“Ummmmm. Kisses and hugs. Love ya, baby,” she wrote in her small, curly font.

“Love ya, Cat! Ummmm.”

There was a doodle of a boy and girl holding hands underneath the conversation. She had drawn the guy. He had drawn the girl.

All of it came back to him. He smiled as he saw himself scribbling it, beside the empty glass of cold coffee and some spilled chocolate sauce. The brown on the edge of the slip was testimony to the playful tiff they had over sipping each other’s coffee. They didn’t care if anyone was looking. They were lost in themselves.

Copyright © 2015 Arpita Pramanick

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Day 8 of Writing 101: A (bitter) confession

Disclaimer: I never enjoy being in a  position of giving offence, but I’m afraid this post may not please everyone. I apologise beforehand for this, but sometimes, some things just need to be said. So, please forgive me if the following paragraphs irk you.

Thomas Dohling at Assignments recently wrote this article about how poor reader response to our blog-posts affects us. I could feel his grief, because I have faced the same issue from time to time.

In my introductory post of W101, I said my writing was my voice. My blog is my channel to articulate that voice. I write each post expecting reader feedback. Readers’ responses make the process of writing all the more joyful. I am sure most bloggers would agree with me on this.

I have been blogging on Scribbles@Arpita since March. I recently crossed the 150 followers hurdle. As more and more people follow this blog, I question myself: how effective is my growing follower count? When I had about 50 followers, I had five to seven people who regularly read my posts. Now that I have 150 followers, the number of regular readers may have increased to 10 (excluding the fact that I am currently taking Writing 101, which draws a lot of traffic). So, whereas my follower count has increased three-fold, my regular reader base has doubled, but to no big number. I don’t think you’d call that satisfactory.

That leads me to thinking why this happens? Why do people follow my blog and then disappear, never liking/commenting/interacting on any future post again? I know everyone is busy, but if someone follows my blog, is it not natural for me to assume that the person enjoyed the kind of things I write about and would like to read some more?

For example, before I follow any blog, I take the time to read a few past blog-posts. If I enjoy more than three (on an average), I infer that I like the voice of this blogger and would like to hear more from him/her. That’s why I never follow back every person who follows me. Don’t get me wrong, but there is only a few blogging genres that I like to read about. As much as I enjoy watching movies, I wouldn’t probably follow a blog on movie reviews. I religiously go through my WordPress Reader, reading the recent blog-posts by the authors I follow and giving feedback. It helps me build connections that last long. So, I follow only those blogs which I’d like on my Reader.

What I infer from the poor regular readership of my blog, in spite of the growing follower count is this: Most bloggers follow blogs on a whim. Say, I publish a picture of a cute cat in one of my blog-posts and immediately a few cat-lovers follow me. Sadly, I am probably never going to publish a cat-picture again, because it was once-in-a-while post. My regular posts are probably still going to be about self-publishing, fiction writing and some personal anecdotes. So here’s what I would say to the blogoworld:

  1. If I publish a cat picture (or a dog picture, for that matter), DO NOT FOLLOW ME. If I suddenly publish a cooking recipe, DO NOT FOLLOW ME, because my blog, in all honesty, is not about those. Those are truly once-in-a-while features, when I feel I have something cool to share and do not want to create a whole new blog to accommodate the craving to write about it.
  2. You don’t have to follow me just because I follow you. Seriously. I follow you because I like what you write, but that doesn’t mean you’ll like mine too. And I understand that.

Sometimes I think, wouldn’t it be great if all the the hundred and fifty people following my blog commented regularly on my posts? Sadly, utopia doesn’t exist. But we all do strive to reach it. So, on my part, I will try to make my blog-posts more consistent, so that readers can easily relate to it. As for you, dear reader, please take note of points 1 and 2 above before you hit that Follow button. I will be deeply grateful to you.

What about you? How do you deal with the high-follower-count-low-regular-reader-base syndrome? Would you make any changes to your blogging style to remedy this? Or do you have a message like me for your readers as well? Let me know in the Comments.

Day 7 of Writing 101: Homecoming

“There is more to a boy than what his mother sees. There is more to a boy then what his father dreams. Inside every boy lies a heart that beats. And sometimes it screams, refusing to take defeat. And sometimes his father’s dreams aren’t big enough, and sometimes his mother’s vision isn’t long enough. And sometimes the boy has to dream his own dreams and break through the clouds with his own sunbeams.”
Ben Behunin, Remembering Isaac: The Wise and Joyful Potter of Niederbipp

I was putting off going to the bank for as long as I could. But my daughter, Anita, is persistent. A new bank has come up near our house, and Anita suggested my husband and I create a joint account there. She has been pestering us about it ever since she came home on a break from office.

“Think about it, Ma. You hardly visit that old bank of yours. Why? Because it’s so far! This is near. You can deposit money on your way back from a walk.”

Today’s kids! They know their money better than they know themselves. At least mine does. Last week, Anita did all the necessary applications for creating the account. She had us sign numerous times on a form she downloaded and accompanied us to the bank to submit it. Today, we’re going to make the first deposit to the account. My husband was supposed to come as well, but his knee started to pain again. I used this as an excuse to skip the bank visit, but Anita wouldn’t budge.

The bank is about seven minutes walk. Along the way, Anita keeps blabbering about how much her insurance covers, how much she has kept in fixed deposits, etc.

All my married life, I never bothered about banks. My husband made not much more than was needed for us to get by. The meagre amount that we saved had been used up in Anita’s education. Somehow, this left a huge impact on her – she has made it a mission to have money in the bank. She wants to be prepared for emergencies. I respect her thinking. But I am too afraid of technology. Everything is computerized these days.

When we are inside the bank, Anita fills up a form for something called a remit card – it has to be used for depositing money. This bank does not have paper slips for deposit.

When we are done with the procedure, we are handed a green-coloured card.

“So, this is not ATM card?” I ask Anita.

“No, Ma. It’s a remit card. You can only make deposits with it. With ATM card, you can withdraw.”

Anita was insistent that I apply for the ATM card as well, but thankfully, cash withdrawal can still be done using paper checks! I want to avoid complication as much as I can. All those news about people being robbed after withdrawing cash from ATMs gets to my nerves. Then if you lose the card there’s hell to pay. I lost a SIM card once. We had to go to the police station for the general diary. God! They had so many questions. What a hassle!

Anita and I stand in the line for depositing cash. People, bored people, are standing in front of me. They look at their phones, touch and type. Screens and screens and screens. Mobile screens. Laptop screens. TV screens. All eyes are on screens now. Even the older folk like me have smart-phones. Whenever we meet a smartphone-savvy woman, Anita makes it a point to remind me why I should get one too. I couldn’t care less.

I am next in line to deposit the cash. I push the green card in Anita’s hand.

“What, Ma?”

“You do it. I can’t.”

“Of course not. You’re doing it.” She thrusts the card back in my hand. When did she become this stubborn? What if I do something wrong?

“I will guide you. It’s no big deal, you see.”

“You better do it. I promise I will watch carefully.”

“No, you can only learn by doing it. That’s what you told me when I was in school, remember?”

The man in front of me leaves the line. I cringe inside. Anita pushes me forward. On the counter in front of me there is a small machine, slightly bigger than a calculator. It has numbered keys, like in a calculator. And one red, one yellow and one green key. Behind the counter, a banker, a man with black-rimmed spectacles, is shuffling pages and typing into a computer.

“Here, swipe the card in this slot,” Anita tells me. I never noticed the small vertical slot on the side of the machine.

I put the card and run it along the slot.

The display reads: Please swipe your card.

I swiped it, didn’t I? What is the meaning of this message?

“Not this way. Here, let me put the card in the slot for you again.” Anita re-inserts the card and holds my hand in hers and draws the card along the slot. This time, the machine gives out a hopeful result.

Anita guides me through the next steps.  I type, with trembling finger, the amount I will deposit. Then I press the green button thrice. But where do I put the money?

“The cash, madam,” the banker says, as if reading my mind. “Five thousand rupees, is it?”

“Yes, yes.” I hand over the notes to the banker.

With a whirring noise, a paper slip comes out of the little machine. One end stays attached to the machine.

“Please hand over the counterfoil to me, madam,” the banker says while examining the five hundred rupee notes.

“Tear off the slip, Ma.”

I fiddle at the machine. The paper is so stubborn, it won’t come out. Oh, God! Can I do one thing properly? Why on Earth do these people make simple things complicated? Somebody please give me the old deposit slips!

“Madam, hurry. We don’t have all day,” says the man behind us in the queue.

“Here, let me do it, Ma. It’s simple, see?” She bends the paper towards the keys and tears it off at an angle. The paper gives in easily.

“There are small teeth on this side which cut the paper,” she says, “but if you do it the other way…”

Anita goes on explaining to me how I was doing it wrong. But I am not listening anymore. I am tired of feeling incompetent every day. Every day there is some change. New laws. New technology. The older I get, the more difficult it is to cope. With Anita so many miles away, my husband and I are lonelier than ever. Helpless, too.

On our way out, Anita says, “Wasn’t that cool? No paperwork. No hassle!” She is smiling. She is content with the inventions of her generation. She is proud of digital technology.

I look at her. She breaks out into laughter. “You should see the look on your face, Ma. You look like you have the flu!”

I feel too weak to say anything. My daughter pins her hands on my shoulders and looks at me in the eyes. “I know it is difficult for you, Ma. But trust me, it will get easier,” she says, “Especially now that I am here to guide you through everything.”

“Well, you won’t be here next week when your office starts, will you?” A stubborn tear makes it down the corner of my eyes. Anita hates to see me crying. She gets all furious. But I feel so lonely right now, I can’t help it.

Anita smiles. The smile touches her eyes. She had the same smile when she came home after winning the Best Sportsperson award in school. The same smile when she got her job and flew away to a different state. She wipes my tear with her finger and chuckles.

“What is it? Tell me.” I feel a rush in my blood. What is the girl thinking?

Anita takes out a white envelope from her bag.

“Ta-da!” She waves the envelope in the air before putting it in my hand.

“What is it, Anita? What is in the envelope?”

“My offer letter. I got a new job, Ma! Here! Now your daughter will work from home!”


“Really, really, really!” She gives me a hug in the middle of the road.

My daughter links her arm with mine. We walk on.

Sorry, she walks. I am flying! I am flying along the edges of the clouds.

Copyright © 2015 Arpita Pramanick

Day 6 of Writing 101: Where do you write?

My first tryst with regular writing was writing in my diary. My cousin got me addicted into it, saying some day when I grew up I would look at those daily entries and laugh at who I had been years ago. The prospect excited me and I followed his suggestion religiously.

I wrote and wrote and wrote in my diary, taking note of every simple incident that happened in school or at home. If I went somewhere and could not take my diary, I would feel so bad about not being able to document that day. Eventually, I had to devise code-words to shield my diary-entries from my mother’s prying eyes – apparently, little kids aren’t supposed to have any secrets from parents!

My father used to get diaries as gifts on New Year’s Eve, and each year I eagerly waited for a diary of my liking to appear. I had no interest in the big, broad ones. My diaries were mostly the size of a paperback.

Even after I moved to college, I wrote in the diary. I had graduated to writing melancholy poetry by that time, besides writing what my new friends and roommates were like in the  diary. It was a different sort of peace to hold a pen in my hand and fill up the words. I felt at home writing about my days, in spite of how I was feeling.

In the second year of college, I bought my laptop. It was a whole new experience. Gradually, I saw the difficulty of storing too many diaries in my tiny room. Word documents were cleaner, you didn’t have to scratch through words you didn’t mean or want, and you could password protect them. Ever since I joined online communities for writing – I had another blog as early as in 2011 – I have written major stuff on my laptop – novel drafts, short stories or even some drafts for my blog-posts and all of them are in this folder named Writing Closet which lives on my desktop screen.

I also take notes in my phone, in an app called Evernote. But I am not so comfortable with the 5 inch screen. I prefer writing longhand to clumsily touch-typing on the QWERTY keypad of my phone.

At the moment, I am writing sitting at the table on which my desktop computer is placed (the laptop is with the brother for now). This table is my solitary corner and I feel like I am writing into a typewriter as I press the keys on the keyboard. Laptop keypads are hardly as comfortable as this one! This is so much more tangible.

I still scribble in my diary, from time to time, when I feel like holding a pen. And the craving comes without warning. I guess I will never have enough of filling up white pages with my handwriting.

I have read about writers heading to coffee shops or other such places to write. I have never done that in my life. Maybe, eventually, I will find a place for me!


What about you? Where are you most comfortable writing? Let me know in the comments section.


This is my 78th blog-post on Scribbles@Arpita. I have received regular feedback from you all ever since I started blogging. Though the response was low initially but it has picked up with time and I do thank you from the bottom of my heart for spending time on my blog. Please take a moment to take this poll. It will help me decide on future topics. For reference, you may browse through some of the posts on this blog before you vote! 

Day 5 of Writing 101: Home Sweet Home

In the Day 3 post, I talked about home and whether being happy on my own, far from home, made me selfish. If you read it, you’d know I sound quite sad and guilty in the post. The post elicited some wonderful comments from my blog-mates and helped me explain myself to myself. I’d like to share one such comment with you. Thanks Annie for this one:


I’d like you to consider the underlined sentence in the above comment, because that brings us to today’s topic.

Home is a person. If you’re lucky, home is yourself.

All my life, I have complained that no one understood me. Not my parents. Not friends. Not cousins. Not nobody. I had tastes I did not find common with anyone else: I loved reading story-books – my mother would call that a waste of money and storage space (Don’t judge her by that, please, because she was all up for buying textbooks. Reading for pleasure was something she did not understand). I liked writing. Almost none of my friends did. I enjoyed solitude, no one else cared.

Most of my life I have spent in futile attempts of finding a person with whom my wavelength matched, someone who could understand me without me having to explain everything. As it is, I am my own best friend. Not so long ago, I joked with a friend, “I’d rather marry myself than someone else.” The best thing about being your own best friend is that you know yourself. You know what pleases you and you know what hurts you. You try to prevent situations which may make you feel bad. You do things for yourself that no one else would do.

Even as a child, I was okay if I had to be away from home without my mother. My mother thought this was a selfish trait. To this day when I go somewhere, though I miss home very much, I can get equally comfortable wherever I am, if I choose to. So hell, yes, home is indeed a person. And I am one lucky gal!

What about you? Is the closest relationship that you have is with yourself? Let me know in the comments.

Bound by Life is still free for a few hours until midnight Pacific Standard Time, so if you haven’t downloaded a copy yet, please make sure you do right away.


Day 3 of Writing 101: Am I Selfish?

My mother tells me as a kid I was never upset when I had to be away from home (e.g visiting aunts with Grandpa). I was content wherever I was, never asking after my mother or little brother. Mother says I am selfish. I don’t know if that’s the right word to describe me, but I do have an ability to think I’m home wherever I am staying. How I did it when I was young I do not know, but now that I am older I do it by choice. If you’re cursed to live away from your family, you better do it with a smile on your face. There isn’t much to look forward to in Life otherwise.

The largest chunk of time that I have been away from home was during the four years of college. I visited occasionally, yes. But I never felt home at home anymore. I felt like a guest in my own house, one who comes to visit but leaves eventually. I hated this feeling. I hated that I had to leave the peace of our tiny home to live with people who did not care two hoots for my feelings and emotions. But I had no choice. I had to complete my degree. I don’t know if selfish is the right word to describe me, but I did miss home. Badly.

Even now that I am home, feeling at home typing into my laptop sitting on my favourite red stool (how the word came to mean such different things, I wonder!), I miss home already. This day, next month I will be in a different city, on the second day of my new job and my parents would be in a train back home after dropping me off in that unfamiliar jungle of unfamiliar faces. Maybe you’ll call me a baby for being so clingy. Anyone beyond twenty is supposed to be grown up; after all eighteen is when we are all adults. But indeed, age is just a number. In my mind I am still the teenager post-high school, taking a bus with my father to a new city to start college. Even after having lived with strangers for four years and becoming “friends” with them, I am not ready to face the unknown. Uncertainty makes me nervous. I cringe inside, because I know that I have no control. No choice either. In all honesty, I am even less prepared to leave now than I was four years ago when I started college, because I know now what I can expect. I know that no matter how kind people seem, it might all be a facade, a mask. I have never been too good with people, or relationships for that matter.

The hardest thing about goodbye is all the things you didn’t say.

That’s a quote from a friend’s Whatsapp status. The biggest regret of my life is that even though I have lived so many years with my parents under the same roof, I know so little of them. I know so little of their aspirations, their dreams and their desires. As long as I have known my mother (whom I am closer to than my father), I have known her as a mother only. Until very recently, I could not see past her motherhood for the woman that she is. And now that I have started to see, it is almost time for me to leave. I fear I will never have the time to know my parents as well as I wish to. It is sad that only few years back, I did not even care enough to know my parents. Now, the word selfish does make some sense.

There is nothing like your parents’ love. There is no treasure greater than your own family. To value these is the secret to real happiness. It sure took me time to realize it, but I will still have time to make amends, won’t I?

The clock is ticking!

Indeed, the clock is ticking. In about three hours, my ebook, Bound by Life will be available for free on Amazon! Do you use Kindle? If you do, don’t forget to download your copy of Bound by Life. I am eager to hear your thoughts on it.

Update: Bound by Life is now available for FREE on Kindle! Be sure to download your copy!


Day 2 of Writing 101: What I Like

Here goes my list of likes, in no particular order:

  1. Blue eyes
  2. Long hair
  3. Use-and-throw pens
  4. Good old diaries
  5. Cotton-puff clouds floating in the royal blue sky
  6. A tree full of fruits
  7. Winter gardens
  8. First rains after hot Indian summers
  9. Early morning wind against my skin
  10. Old black and white photographs
  11. Interviewing authors!
  12. French: The Language and the Way of Life (though I know very little about both)
  13. Tyrion Lannister (Sorry, that one is not a ‘what’)
  14. Fitting blue jeans
  15. Calendars
  16. Bengali art films
  17. Intellectual conversations
  18. The drowsiness before falling asleep
  19. Story books
  20. Personal anecdotes
  21. Lists! My lists. Other people’s lists! (Hint. Hint. Nudge. Nudge)