Tag Archives: writing101

Ten superstitions that I have grown up hearing

Here’s a list of superstitions that I have grown up hearing, thanks to my parents:

  1. Do not cut your nails on your birth day (.i.e the day of the week that you were born on). Also, avoid Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for cutting nails.
  2. Do not leave home on the day of the week that you were born.
  3. Do not sleep/lie down at dusk, when the evening worship* is going on.
  4. Do not eat anything while the evening worship is on-going.
  5. For girls: Do not leave your hair open at dusk. Do not go out of the house with your hair open after dusk.
  6. Don’t eat any fruits right after bathing. Take a few cubes of sugar and then eat that delicious mango you’re salivating for.
  7. If someone sneezes right at the moment when you’re about to step out of the house, wait awhile and then go. Do not leave right away. It’s unlucky.
  8. It is unlucky to travel if you see bananas before leaving.
  9. It is unlucky to travel if you see brooms before leaving.
  10. Do not touch the front wheel of your bicycle/bike with your feet. Apparently, the front wheel symbolizes God! (Or not, I have no clue.)

The aim of this post is not to bash the customs/beliefs that a large portion of community believes in. I do believe that most superstitions had their origins in something scientific/explainable. For example, one of the other superstitions that the older folk of my family observed was: “Come out of the house and blow conch-shells if you feel an earthquake.” Of course, it is clever to be outdoors during an earthquake. But the conch-shell part included in this ritual was probably to make everyone aware of the on-going earthquake, so that everyone in their houses came out to safety.

Sadly, the silt of the years have covered the logic behind most things and all we see now is blind following of certain rituals.

What about you? Are there any superstitions that you know of? Do let me know in the comments.

*Evening worship: In every Hindu family, the lady of the house (as I have seen in my family and most others) worships the deities installed in the house. The worshipped are mainly pictures/statuettes of the Hindu gods and goddesses. Incense sticks are burned and diyas are lit. Conch-shells are also blown, which is considered very auspicious.

Interested in some stories about superstitions? Read, Women Beware…, a horror story on this blog or buy Bound by Life, my first ebook to read The Vaastu Snake, a interesting tale about delusion and a snake that guards the house. If you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription, you may download Bound by Life for FREE!

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 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!


What book do you want to write?

This year one of the to-do things in my monsoon list was to read five different authors. I am happy to announce that I have not only met the goal but overshot it! Since June, I read these books:

  1. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  3. 1984 by George Orwell
  4. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
  5. Deadly Fantasies by Kelly Miller
  6. Precocious by Joanna Barnard
  7. Nice Things by Jimmy Norman

I loved each of these books in its own unique way. Some raised questions and challenged my views/liking, others I could do nothing but agree at each point. But so far, none of the books made me feel: Yes, I would have loved to write this one! One of my favourite writing-related quotes is:

If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.

Toni Morrison

There are so many books that I want to read. Some because I have heard so much about them. Some because I want to taste different genres. Others merely because I love to read.

Unlike many of you, I have only recently watched the Game of Thrones. But like most of you, I have absolutely loved it. I haven’t read the books yet, but I was amazed at the sheer complexity of the characters created by George R. R. Martin. I respect him for that. If I were to write a book, I would love to be able to create those complex characters, but would I want to write Game of Thrones even if I could? Probably not.

I have always been scared of people and relationships. I understand neither well. People intrigue me, their motivations fascinate me. By the time I make sense of certain actions by certain people, they do something contrasting altogether. Over the years, I have lost friendships without having a proper explanation as to what went wrong. I have become stranger to people who were close once and sometimes I was the one who was responsible.

In most cases, you can not choose the people around you. As I grow and am around other grown people, I constantly worry if I will offend them or would be judged for who I am. So, this masterpiece that I intend to write will probably have complex characters. I want to take a small set of people and look at their life with a powerful magnifying glass. I want to capture the subtle changes that are happening to us every moment, with every breath we take. At what moment does that strand of hair start graying and the skin start to shrivel? At what moment does liking change to love and love to dislike? Can we really isolate events to pinpoint an exact starting time? I want to capture these minor changes at an atomic level. Only, I am yet to figure out how to put this general notion into an actual book. But I think I am getting there!

What about you? Which book do you think you should write? Let me know in the comments below.

bbllP.S: Though I am yet to pen the greatest masterpiece of all times (LOL), I would love you all to read my first self-published ebook, Bound by Life. It is entirely FREE on Kindle on the 9th and 10th. The free promotion starts approximately midnight (Pacific Standard Time) of the 9th, so be sure to download your copy after. Also, Bound by Life is enrolled in KDP Select program until September 20th, so if you do not wish to buy the book, you can simply read it through Kindle Unlimited or borrow it from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Happy reading! 

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)

I Write Because…

I write because I still remember the thrill of seeing my name in print in the school magazine in fourth grade.

I write because years ago my cousin told me that if I continued writing that diary, someday I will turn over those pages and smile at the happy, sad, silly, worried younger version of me. I write because every time I do turn over the pages of my diary, I can see myself writing those words – I can remember the day, the incidents that led to what I wrote, and in those pages I see myself like I can see another person: my face, my expressions with no mirror in front of me and the images are as clear as in HD TV.

I write because I always thought no one understood me. I write because my writing is my way of explaining myself to the world and hoping some day, some one would understand me down to my bones and skin and love me for whoever I am.

I write because I enter a different world when I am writing; I wear a different face, different skin at the time and I can be who I want to freely, without pretense, without worrying.

I write because I am no painter and my writing is my way of capturing the memories for the desolate years of living alone or old age.

I write because what I have to say is important for me, even if it holds no value to the world.

I write because I crave attention. I write because I am no head-turner, but I am desperate to prove I am not as plain as you think I am.

I write because without writing I feel purposeless, dull.

I write because I may never tell you how hurt or sad or depressed I am. I write because my writing is my voice.

I write because I know no other way.