To Tip or Not To Tip

It is damn confusing every time I go out for a dinner or a lunch. Whether the waiter should be tipped and if yes then how much?  The answer to the first question is yes almost always and second is a debatable topic. I believe that since the waiters are being paid by the hotel, they should not be given tips. Then, the question of how much crops up. It has varying answers. Some people say 10% of the bill, some 15%, some 5% and some say and pay according to their moods, whims and/or depending upon the service. So, this is getting confusing for me every time. I do not support the tipping rule. The morality on the involved is questionable.  After all the people that are working as waiters are not depending on tips and it is not in some sense our duty to tip them. I don’t know…am still confused badly!!

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Why Networking Is Important For All Bloggers?

Still I remember the day when I created my blog. Initially the posts got many likes and followers. Slowly the numbers got reduced. I felt I was alone. I was in a hibernation mode, waiting for my status hike. But nothing happened magically. I was totally depressed and thought to quit blogging. At that time, I was introduced with the power and strength of networking.

Now with almost 3 years of experience and lessons learnt in the journey of blogging, I list out Why Networking Is Important For All Bloggers:

High Traffic Rate

Based on your frequency of posting, there is a high chance for your traffic rate to get increased. Every time when you publish a post, then you are creating data in the web sphere. And social media sites can help in sharing your posts to wider range of readers. That attracts more traffic to your site. It’s like Social Media Karma – If I share others’ posts, I get my posts shared too!!!

Personal Tips: Initially I had only my personal facebook account. Then I realized the need for opening a facebook page for my blog. Next I came to know that Twitter pulls more traffic to your blog. Now I have fb, twitter & tumblr accounts for my blog. My best score would be given for fb and twitter. So what are you waiting for? Go create your social media accounts and get connected to the world.

Extended Friendship

Through blogging and social media, your friendship circle expands. Now you are able to make global presence and a wider reach. Your friendship gets amazing as an extended family. Friendship will provide you directions, guidelines, sharing and caring. They will help you in getting connected with many others. Be happily connected!!!

Personal Tips: I have earned many friends through blogging and networking. Among many, I like to mention a few, such as Srividhya, Anamika, Bilna Sandeep & Corinne who had their initial positive impact on me and my blog. To get more friends, leave positive and encouraging comments on other blogs, reach them out for any suggestions and attend blogger meet ups.

Blogging Community

Blogging includes reading, writing and sharing. There are many blogging communities who support fellow bloggers and motivate them to excel. Write Tribe, Blog-A-Rhythm, Blogchatter and IndiBloggers are my favorites. They help us by providing weekly sharing threads, writing prompts, conducting contests and challenges, hosting linkup parties, publishing guest posts, and blogger interviews. Blogging is nothing but Post, Comment & Share!!!

Personal Tips: Knowing the power of networking, I have a guest post series in my blog – “This Mom’s Life” – an interview type guest post of mommy bloggers. Through that I have got so many wonderful friends. That series is the closest one to my heart. I do welcome guest posts by other bloggers and do write guest blogs for my friends. And this post is one such, done for my friend Romila. Thanks dear!!! Think uniquely, come with creative ideas and do guest posts. Host blogger interviews and guest posts of your favorite bloggers. Reach out to reach better.

Support and Encouragements

Networking assists you with support and motivates you with encouragement. It also helps in Blogger / Brand collaborations. Thus by bloggers can get transformed into influencers. There is wide spectrum of opportunities for bloggers. True blogging is like flying a kite; and networking raises it higher.

Personal Tips: I am happy to share with you all that my dream of becoming a published author is shaping into reality. I have contributed for “100 Moms One Journey”, a book to be soon released by Parul Agarwal. I am also contributing for an e-magazine – “Raising world Children” by Aditi Wardhan Singh. So utilize every chance that comes your way. Accept and do reviews, host linkup parties, provide give-away. Encourage your readers to come back. Always end your posts with a Call-To-Action like share your views, add to the list, suggestions are welcome.

Monetization

Ultimately every bloggers’ dream is to earn money from their blogs. Monetizing your blog is an art. You have to learn and play safe. Alexa rating, hit ratio, SEO rated posts provides a stronger impact on the blogosphere. Through advertisements, survey polls, sponsored posts and paid product reviews, your income starts flowing. Blogging Thumb Rule: Invest time at present and reap the money in future!!!

Personal Tips: I have recently signed MoU with a parenting website. Also I have started doing book reviews, product reviews and sponsored posts. Keep watching the status of your blogs, get inputs from your readers, learn about various blogging tools and plug-ins, research about SEO techniques. Self hosted websites attracts many brands and companies than the free websites. Invest some time and money to get higher price as a reward.

 Author Bio

Vasantha Vivek loves to call herself as a happy woman, daughter, sister, wife, mother, teacher, friend, mentor, seeker, lover. She’s from Kovilpatti, a small town of Southern Tamilnadu of India. She’s a teacher by profession. She worked as a professor at an Engineering College for nearly 15 years. She has learnt a lot as a teacher. She hopes that she had inspired some hearts during that period.  Teaching is her passion Reading is her love. Cooking is her heart. She enjoys reading and writing very much. She starts & ends her days with reading. She blogs @ “My Sweet Nothings”. She’s guest authoring in various sites like Indian Moms Connect, Monsoon Breeze, Parentous, Women’s Web, mycity4kids & World of Moms.

Featured At:The Times Of Amma, Stories of Motherhood!, Smart Indian Women

To read more stories of Vasantha Vivek, subscribe to her blog: http://mysweetnothings.in

Social Media Links: Facebook , Twitter

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Holi – spreading colors and brightness

“Blue is song, Yellow is music, Green is dance, Red is beauty, White is love & Pink is for joy. I wish all these colors fall on you!”

India, witnessing color of happiness and peace.
Nation comes alive to enjoy the spirit
A celebration of color- Holi!
An experience of content, harmony and delight.

Holika burns amidst merriment and mirth.
Evil overpowered by love and devotion.
A festival to celebrate
An enduring love saga of Radha and Krishna.

Gulal – red, green, yellow and countless.
A day’s canvas – a riot of colors.
Lively crowd running hither and thither,
Rainbow of colors, dashing from every nook and corner.
Disregarding their woe and despair fervent folks,
Rejoicing at the marvel of colors.
A day filled with luster and gaiety,
A day to smear our dreams-
With a splash of vibrant passion colors.
Holi Hai! A spring of unbounded fun and frolic!!

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A Walk in the Rain

Blurb

Love is poison that kills you. Love is elixir that keeps you alive. An unreciprocated love keeps you alive but kills every day. Heartbroken Sunny lives a reclusive life, trapped in the past, living in his memories. He has no complaints about his life but refuses to embrace the present. Saloni is a prostitute who is desperate to earn money by any means. She does not care about exploiting others to fulfill her purpose. Fate unites the loner and the prostitute to embark on a life changing journey of retribution and self discovery. Lovelorn Sunny turns misogynistic after Sandy, the only girl he loved walks away from his life, unannounced. He suffers painful solitude for almost two decades with the relentless haunting of her thoughts. A distressed friend Imran, vows to change his life forever. A surprise planned for his birthday turns into a tragedy that claims the life of his dear friend, triggering a series of unbelievable events. As Imran gets killed by a stranger, Sunny’s calm life suddenly turns into a turbulent storm. With nothing left to live for, vengeance becomes his ultimate mission. His reluctant alliance with a prostitute to trace the killer sets him onto a nerve racking adventure of life and death. Both are bound to a common goal with different motives but destiny has its own motive. A walk in the rain is an intricate tale of intense emotions, driven by hair raising twists and turns.

About the Author

Udai, an IT consultant by profession, is an avid writer and poet. Having good imagination skills, writing became a natural choice for him. Many of his poems and stories were published in school and college magazines. He is currently working on his untitled second book which is a crime thriller.

Review

A walk in a rain is a simple cute story with a lot of sub plots within main plot, giving a feeling of Bollywood movie. The plot has so many things like a movie; boy-girl romance, villains, fights, suspense etc. This book is a roller coaster ride of intense emotions, plot twists and nail biting finish. It’s a tale of love, and retribution of Sunny,Sandy,Saloni,Pooja and Imran, which gets interconnected. Surya, or Sunny as he is known to his friends, is a system programmer. He doesn’t socialise much, a lingering effect of an indifferent father and secluded childhood. But the few friends he has, he cherishes. Saloni is a prostitute forced into the job by circumstances and the greed of others. When fate brings Saloni and Sunny together, they witness the murder of Sunny’s close friend. As Sunny sets off to avenge his friend’s death, he enlists the help of Saloni who agrees but asks for money in exchange. The two set off to catch the murderer. Author has adopted a simple narration, comprehensible to even the first time readers, which suits this YA romance. Characters are well fleshed out. Each one is complex by nature. But then it is their life events that have made them what they are. To understand them one has to understand the underlying emotions that are slowly exposed as one progresses with the story. Each one acts his/ her part well and that in itself is a plus point. It helps one to relate to their actions and reactions. Language is simple much suited to Young Adult. Pace is perfect for the chosen demography but the style needs a bit of fine- tuning.

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The Woman Warrior

A storm whirling up,
Fighting against the odds
She survived the trial
Rising above all

Singing the song of her struggle
that followed her day and night
Yet, she reflected a smile back
Sending out a vigor of a warrior

Pen was her sword;
Words were her move
The memories that brought her weaknesses
She cut them off with her muse

A knight in shining armor
The children thought of her.
She was their fairy-tale
They found a mother in her.

By, Nikita Agarwal

Bio note: Hola! I’ll keep my introduction short and crisp. I am a commerce graduate, who is trying to figure out what to do with my poetry. I love writing poems; this is what keeps me going through life. To give you a feel, I’ll tell you my tale in six word – “’Where are you?’ ‘Searching for myself’.” For more such six word tales, or short verses, or poetry, follow me at – Blogspot   Instagram  and  Twitter

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Work Life Balancing act for #WomanBlogger

Work is always demanding, be it at office or home you’re expected to work for many hours to complete your tasks, and sometimes, the expectation is set to be available 24/7. It’s commendable to excel at your work, but when it creeps into your personal life it can ruin your mental and physical happiness.

You need segregation to achieve balance between your personal and professional lives. Many experts have pointed out, balance isn’t about building an unfathomable wall between your personal and professional lives, but finding ways to connect and integrate the two. Quite often people believe that to achieve success, they must give up their personal life. However, work-life balance is very much possible in a meaningful way.

“I’ve learned that you can’t have everything and do everything at the same time”. -Oprah Winfrey

”Reconsider your definitions. We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to mankind.: – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Excerpts from Google.

Some great vices from the legends, Here is my list of ‘balance your work with life’ and be happy:

  • Time Management: maintain a routine, implementing the daily routine will help keep you on track to achieve the balance you want. Work plays an important role in life. It keeps the life going, school fees paid, vehicles running, bank loans paid. Hence, setting up the day in advance comprising Work, Health, Family and Me-time is all the more important. Right thing at right time will make you happy & healthier.  
  • Learn to Unplug: We live in a world which never sleeps, you are on the job virtually all the time, sneaking on your phone while having a family lunch is a new trend now. But try and turn of f from the outside world, it provides time to recover from stress. It provides the much needed time to recharge, for newer ideas to surface. Ever wondered why writer’s block gets better by unplugging from writing temporarily? Our brain too needs time to rejuvenate.
  • Keep your approach flexible: Do not force yourself to cling on the invisible lines of set standards. Being flexible is as important ingredient in work-life balance as charting the routine is. Keep the ideas flowing; but adhering to strict regime of publishing daily and also managing the other work is tough to achieve. Keep flexibility in your schedule, it will save from last minute rush of meeting deadlines and compromise with quality.
  • It’s alright to be imperfect at times: Perfect idea or thought is a fantasy, in reality there is always scope of improvement. There have been times when I keep scratching my head for perfect blog post, but then after writing for hours realize this is still not shaping up. So it’s alright, accept the flaws and make scope for improvement in the next one. 
  • Defy Envy: a most vital cue for a happy work-life balance, do not let the Envy creep in and destroy your peace. Instead learn from other’s achievements. Many prominent bloggers provide opportunities for newbie to learn via linky challenges, contests, guest columns, etc. Do not hesitate in joining few.

Hope you like my tips on Work-Life Balance for #WomanBloggers. Thanks for reading and please share your thoughts with me on www.gleefulblogger.wordpress.com

Guest post by , Dipika Singh

About her: GleefulBlogger (Dipika Singh) shares her candid thought through her blog: www.gleefulblogger.wordpress.com her areas of content revolves around woman empowerment. She has donned many hats, from studious kid on the block to a full time romantic, from serious censoring role with International Banks to lecturing MBA aspirants. Now, she’s hands on mommy and a full time blogger.

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How will you #BeBoldForChange ?

Today, the world is celebrating the ‘International Women’s Day’ and I, being a woman is feeling thrilled but more than that – I am feeling thoughtful of why are we celebrating this day and exactly, what purpose are we fulfilling by dedicating this special day to the women? Are we really getting something out of it? On Googling, I came to know that “International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.” (Are we really moving towards gender parity?)

I also got to know that the day has been occurring for well over a century now and is growing from strength to strength but looking at the present rate of crime against the females; I am unsure whether we would ever close this gender gap.

No matter what gender and age group you belong to, look for possible ways how you can bridge this gap and help emancipate the condition of female gender – all over the world and across each section of the society. There are 100 of ways that you can do to do your bit for this movement but I believe the following pointers are the fundamentals, which could strengthen the progress of this broad vision that we all have seen.

Support other woman

I recently read this wonderful quote – “There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.” ~ Madeleine K. Albright

For a few minutes, I gave it a thought and realised how unwelcoming we women are to our female bosses. Whenever a woman with great leadership skills tries to make a point, how she is perceived as ‘Bossy’ by her subordinates. This is disheartening to know that most of those who think like this are females only. And, through experience, I come to this conclusion that the cause of this attitude among females is jealousy for the other woman. If a woman won’t support the other woman then, how we can think of other gender to show support to us. If we all women together stand for each other then, no other force can pull us down. So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.

Raise your voice against crime

Never ever seal your lips on seeing even a minute crime against the woman. I strongly feel – if you don’t raise your voice against the crime done to woman, then you are encouraging it and it is going to be more dangerous in future. For you and for your people!

Don’t be a victim

They say – women are the weaker section of the society but I am of the opinion if a woman gathers all her inner and outer force then no one can stop her and face her. If you are molested in the public, then retaliate without feeling embarrassed. It is not your fault; the one who did wrong to you should feel ashamed. If you are emotionally and physically abused in your home – STOP it right away! You are capable of fighting for your rights and you deserve equal respect in the society.

Practice what you preach

We all talk about gender parity and show concern for the falling sex-ratio but how many of us are really doing something to balance this gender gap? How many of you have thought about supporting an orphan girl child? How many of you really wished that your first child be a baby girl? Or, how many of you have celebrated the birth of a second girl child? The point here I am trying to make is – if we really want to change the condition then it is important that we practise what is being preached and discussed year on year. Adopt a girl child. Stop killing female foeticide. Respect the other woman.

Be the change

Here I am remembering the popular quote by M.K. Gandhi – “Be the change, you wish to see” to emphasize on the importance of initiating the change from within. It’s very important that to encourage others to follow you, you take that first step. Dear men and women, if you really wish to see the change then, it’s high time that we all bring some changes in our lives and deeds. Take that small step and see how it changed your life and the lives of others. Do you want education for all? Then, do something for this – start educating that poor girl child of your house-help. It is these small things that can bring big changes for the future generation.

This year the theme of IWD is #BeBoldForChange and each one of us are required to take some action to accelerate gender parity.

I, through my blog DigiMother, pledge to create awareness about work-from-home options for mothers so that they can build work-life balance. I support and will forge women advancement. What action would you take to bring that change?

Take that action NOW!

Written by, Neha Jain 

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6 things you can do to encourage your favorite budding Indian writers

Most people assume that authors are a money-minting lot leading glamorous lifestyles. Well, some if us fit the bill but the percentage is abysmal. The sad truth is that most authors make little or no money from their books, or atleast not enough to sustain themselves. And yet, we write for the sake of passion, to express ourselves and tell stories that have been knocking at our insides, waiting to be shared with the world.

As a reader, you probably have a few favorites – some popular and mainstream, and some niche and lesser known. If you read a book you liked (especially if it’s by a newbie), here’s what you can do to show your love for the author.

Buy. Don’t borrow or ask for free copies: Buying a book is literally the best thing you can do for an author. More sales mean more royalties for the author, which in turn mean more publishing opportunities and motivation to write more books.

Give their books as gifts: If you know someone who shares your reading tastes or would relate to a particular book, give them out as gifts. Not only do books make for meaningful gifts, you will be simultaneously helping an author score new readers.

Share the love: Authors need all the exposure and cheering they can manage and then some. Whenever you buy a book, try to post a picture of it on social media channels to let your connections know what you are reading. Who knows, someone might find it interesting and buy a copy for themselves!

Write reviews: This cannot be stressed upon enough. Every time you buy a book online, try to leave a review and rating. It doesn’t have to be long and detailed – just a simple “wonderful read” will do. Online bookstores such as Amazon tend to promote books that have a higher number of reviews and ratings, and yours will definitely add weight. It only takes a couple of minutes, but goes a long way in helping an author with book promotions.

Spread the word: Liked a book? Don’t keep it to yourself! Let everyone know what you loved about it and why. Was it the theme? The author’s style of writing? The storyline? The characters? Don’t hold back from spreading the word about it – you’re after all doing your bit to keep the art of reading and writing alive.

Write them fanmail: Authors practically live off this kind of stuff. Most of us might say that we write for ourselves, but we constantly seek validation from our readers. An earnest compliment, therefore, can quickly chase our blues away.

Author profile

Shuchi is the author of two romantic comedies – ‘Done With Men’, and ‘I’m Big. So What!?’. She freelances as a writer, editor and blogger, and runs a writing firm called the Pixie Dust Writing Studio. When she’s not writing, Shuchi likes to travel, read and bake awesome cakes. Find out more at http://www.shuchikalra.com. You can also tweet to her @shuchikalra.

 

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I Am Big So What!?

Blurb

Is it only in India where people don’t realize that starting a conversation with, “Oh, you’ve put on weight!” is incredibly rude?
Perhaps I should respond with “Oh,
you’ve become uglier!” so they get the point.
From stores that do not stock clothes my size to unsolicited advice from neighborhood aunties, my life—quite annoyingly—is ruled by the numbers on the scale.
What’s the big deal about being big? You may wonder.
Well, quite a lot, actually.
For starters, you get dumped by the only man you’ve ever loved, social situations go from awkward to embarrassing within seconds, and don’t even get me started on the family’s never-ending search for a suitable groom. They just don’t make men my size these days!
Nevertheless, here I am, about to meet Suitor No. 7. Begrudgingly, of course.
Ride along as I navigate the crazy arranged marriage market. And trust me, it’s crazier when you’re more than a little curvy.

About the author

Shuchi Singh Kalra is a writer, editor, and blogger based in India. She writes for publications and businesses, and also runs a writing firm called the Pixie Dust Writing Studio. Her first book, Done With Men, featured on the Amazon bestseller lists for two consecutive years.

Review

It was during friendship day in 2016 when my buddy of decades gifted me a copy of I Am Big So What!? by Shuchi Kalra for the reason as he had read my tweet exchange with author Shuchi. He felt I should be reading her book. I did not read her first book Done with Men, so this book happens to be my debut reading of Shuchi and I must confess she did not dissapoint me. Thank God. Due to medical reasons my body keeps playing with me on weight side and there are stances when I have been asked by fatty aunties “Oh! You’ve put on weight, you should hit the gym soon” and these fatso ladies were the same who told me ‘ If you dont eat well and put on weight, you wont be able to have babies’. Rude, very rude. It was easy for me to connect with the book. I love reading books which give me a feel that the characters are talking to me directly and Shuchi’s way of writing in first person format gave me that feeling. This book is story of Roli Kapoor, a freelance graphic designer and her fight with obesity. It’s about her desire for love and acceptance. She experiences a break up with Ronit and Kabir makes an entry in her life. Is Kabir her true love? To know this you should read the book. Talking of my own weight’s ups and downs, this is a slow process and this is one of the part the book talks about, apart from highlighting the importance of healthy lifestyle and eating. Very interesting and entertaining book with detailed writing and narration made me read the book in 2days. I loved the cover of the book, especially the bag. Thank you buddy K for gifting me this book.  I can actually say now that Shuchi is a friend whose book I have read.

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On being a Woman

 

Femininity is a word that is difficult to say and tricky to understand for me. God has made each person (male or female) showing that there should be dissimilarity between the two. As women, it is our dependability to let our femininity shine. But what does that mean? Do I need to have my nails colored and makeup applied? Is it a crime to enjoy and play cricket? Am I a letdown if a continental dinner is not on the table by 7 pm?

Much of our discernment of what it means to be a woman is shaped by our view of the woman’s role in history. An old adage says timeless lady is known to others as righteous. She is trustworthy and hardworking. She cares for her family, helps those in need, and speaks with intelligence. Woah! Oh my good lord that’s a lot to endeavor for! Is my femininity, then, characterized exclusively by outer appearance and actions, as today‘s media would like to say; or is it characterized by a God-given inward worth I am expected to plant?

To be frank we women haven’t really changed from generation to generation. Proper etiquette, suitable dress, dreams and aspirations, available jobs and societal privileges have transformed, but a woman is still a woman no matter what historical age she lives in. Throughout history, though, judgments about what femininity means have changed but I am extremely thankful to be a woman of 2017. I can go to work in the morning, play sports in the afternoon, clean house and cook dinner all before getting dressed up for an evening of fun with my friends. My parents have not arranged my marriage yet nor am I so fraught to get married though I want to be swept down romantically by Prince charming. I am not likely to sit silently at social gatherings. I have had the opportunity to not only attend but also earn my PhD degree from the college. Yet these have not always been privileges available to a woman. In my opinion, never before women were afforded as many freedoms as we currently enjoy.

I would have never survived in Victorian and era wearing corsets, petticoats, bustles and hats, hair piled high like really high.  They were commended for their resilience and capacity to hold fast to the model of femininity characteristic of their day; but no, that wouldn’t be the place for me.

Neither, though, would I have been at ease in the midst of the modern “feminist” society. Why do women try to present themselves as men’s equals? What do they have to prove? I don’t think women are weak and helpless, yet many women spend their lives trying to look and act just like men, but why? I guess they just want a chance to be treated as a man, but they’re not men and shouldn’t struggle to be one. I don’t know about you or other women, but I would enjoy having someone else hold the door for me, carry my luggage, and fix the plumbing and appliances. Could I do all of those things for myself? Absolutely yes. Would I take pleasure in the chance? Not in the least.

I would say to every woman, delight in the independence you’ve been given to be feminine. Pin your hair up; clutch on a fabulous set of pearls or diamonds; don a beautiful dress that twirls; sport a pair of fabulous heels. Femininity isn’t just an outward mark but an inward quality that comes from being comfortable, even satisfied, with being a female. For me woman is clearly feminine, who is strong and capable. That is the picture of femininity, the set standard for which I strive. I am thankful for the opportunities afforded to us as women today. No matter what generation you live in, God’s kindness, sympathy, and precision make it a blessing to be more than just a plain old woman.

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