Friday, December 30, 2011

Winter Reminiscences- To My Fellow Bloggers

Kehno ko, I started blogging in 2009, but the true charms of what has now been endearingly christened as the 'blogosphere' were opened up and understood by me only in the course of this year.Of the 80 odd posts which make Nascent Emissions what it is, roughly 70% have been written this year. As a writer, also as a blogger- since blogging is now emerging as a technically distinct form of writing- I feel I have evolved tremendously in the past one year. Also, I have gone through hundreds of blogs, read more than a few hundred posts, and have felt enriched, amazed and simply blissful while journeying through this supposed endless Universe. I have felt glad to connect with some bloggers at a personal level and have felt gladder to come across bloggers who bear no semblance to any element of mine. Mothers posting pictures of their growing up kids, apprentice cooks sharing their newly experimented with recipes, love lorn hearts ruminating about the priceless moments life gives them, photographers freezing time to display on their blogs, artists sharing the best of their crafts with a world wide audience, nascent poets posting the out pourings of their quill, enthusiastic explorers giving a virtual foray into places yet unheard of, politically charged minds corroborating, arguing, analyzing and educating the uninitiated, inveterate readers promptly posting reviews for the world's perusal- all these are but only some shades which the blogosphere encapsulates effortlessly in its domain. While 'blogger' is still standard and familiar and best for me, services like wordpress and tumblr are the new fads to build a personalized online identity, whether as a writer, a poet, a photographer, or an artist.

I am still this extremely humble species lost amid the world of some seasoned and gifted bloggers. To understand how this world functions, I obviously began by browsing through examples, trying to gain knowledge, and find inspiration. Even before I conceived Nascent Emissions, I already had a list of favorites, a list of veterans I knew I would eagerly follow. When I finally logged into connect with fellow writers in this amazing world, I found awesome support pouring in for me, from people known and unknown. It felt great. The wannabe writer in me, who always felt depressingly suppressed now had a vent, a quite beautiful one at that.

So this post, being drafted just under 24 hours away from a new year dawning on us, is dedicated to the influences, inspirations and the encouragements I met with in the magnificent blogging Universe.

My Favorite Posts from 2011
I read a lot in this year. A hell lot. I was free, unimaginably free for a good 3-4 months in this year, and in that time, I only read. A lot many posts touched me, most of them I have forgotten about. My favorites are the ones which stayed with me, quote obviously.
To Wife- This is the product of the richest imagination I know, so quite effortlessly, it becomes my most read and most favorite post from this year. "But one couldn't call me ambitious, for my dreams are lazy dreams. Instead of ambitious, call me hopeful. And instead of dreamer, dreamy."- I have quoted this line I do not know how many times and at how many places, with due credits of course to the author, Anup Bishnoi. Him, I admire. And even this capacity to admire him makes me feel lucky.
The Shit Called LoveI am cheesy, romantic and a believer. A little fictional narration in this post satiated all those three elements of my being. Written by Rahul Biswas, a blogger with tremendous potential, I love this post for the simplicity of its thought embedded in a very crafty narrative. This, could be the perfect potion for those who because of some unfortunate frictions have forgotten to believe in the 'shit called love'.
Taare Zameen Par - This post has a personal significance for me. Written by Achint Mathur, one of the most self assured person I know, it is a minimalist peek into the lives of three persons I know. This has been written to express, not to impress- and it did make me understand why Achint likes to call himself a thoughtful observer. It is because he is one.
Life And Death- Perhaps the simplest creation of the most incredible artist I know. Incredible and admirable, because I know her art flows in her veins. Besides the beauty in the painting, what I relish is the beauty in thought of this soon-to-be-very-famous,innocent looking, demure little girls called Priyanka Tampi.
Loving...The Artistic Way- This one is my favorite from my own blog, from amongst everything I wrote this year. So nothing to describe about it. It is just the sweetest thought I played with and felt I had satisfactorily put it into words too.

My Favorite Blogs from 2011
This was simple. These blogs I visit everyday. Almost.
Grass On Fire- If there is one person I want to write like, its Anup Bishnoi. You will find exquisite stuff on his blog. Exquisite? Aah! I do not even have words to describe what reading his blog feels like. For me, he is the master. His posts, you would want to read again and again. Richest imagination, grandest language.
Twishmay Shankar (My Life, The Universe and Everything)- He, Twishmay, writes about everything I can never even begin to understand. Surprisingly, his quills not only makes me understand, but fascinates me with the kind of concepts he introduces in his writings. It is the thinker, and the very well read thinker in him that I admire so much. Knowing not just what he writes, but also how he writes has been a treat. And even though he comes across as this exceptionally high-bred intellectual, he is perfectly humble to feedback and criticism. He is smart, and that shows effortlessly in his writings.
Yarn Of ~Words- The perfect virtual hangout for romantics like me. This blog has been nurtured like her offspring by the sweetly awesome author-cum-poet, Aakriti Malik. She attaches herself to her writings, and that is how I like to write. So, in matters of writing (and a few more things), she is like an elder soul sister.The best thing about her blog- no matter how soon is your next visit, you will always find some new and interesting post waiting to be read by you. This blog is her mirror, and it does a beautiful job of reflecting the wonderful person she is.
Aesthetic Blasphemy- I don't know why exactly I like this blog, but I know for sure I do. I do not even know the real name of the blogger behind all the creativity which is splashed across his blog, but he is one hell of a writer, who writes about such diverse things that I would never be able to put his writings into any single category. Creative, and endearing.
An Indian Muslim- I do not, again, know the name of the author. What caught my fancy first was the exquisite collection of quotable Urdu couplets and updates of various Mushairas which the author promptly posted on his blog, and later, I surfed more to discover interesting trivia from the hypocritically secular India's social and cultural and political life. This Indian Muslim is a reporter, observer and a poetry lover- he subsumes in himself all ingredients which make his blog very addictive. I only wish it were updated a bit more frequently.

I Thank
The following bloggers, I thank for liking my blog enough to include in their reading list. I kind of like checking my traffic updates, and I get a good number of readers from all of you. For giving me a little mention in what is supposed to be your exclusive space, thanks a ton!
Aakriti Malik, she pours her heart out at Yarn Of ~Words
Aavika Dhanda, she romances with words at Nirvana
Achint Mathur, he shares opinions at Aman Ki Aasha
Archika Poria, she spreads laughter at The25thHour
Dipesh Mittal, he expresses his thoughts at Tears and Cheers
Rohan Manchanda, he litters his intelligent scribbles at Scribarohan
Saurabh Gupta, he displays his fine penmanship at Almost There...
Shikha Singh, she articulates her beliefs at The Silver Lining

Again, I Thank
The following people, for keeping abreast with my writing, and giving me consistent, constructive and encouraging feedback. If you guys did not drop in your comments, I would not have even known whom am I writing for :)
Apoorv Aggarwal, Sushruti Tripathi, Gopan K, Aakriti Malik, Gautam Kapil, Saurabh Gupta, Jyoti, Rahul Biswas, Kunal, Dipesh Mittal, Achint Mathur, Shakuntala Ma'am, Ebha Ma'am, Pallak Jagga, Mayank Saroha, Tapan Kulshreshtha, Manan Kulshreshtha, Varghese, Cheistha Kochhar, Kanika Chaturvedi, Sanchari Banerjee, Twishmay Shankar, Vrinda Aggarwal, Bhargav, Panvi Poddar, Akshat Mittal, Aavika Dhanda, Ashutosh, Namit Joshi, Nikita Sailesh and all the others whose name I am forgetting to mention here.
My most valuable comments this year came from three people. Giving them a special mention, definitely banta hai!
Ahmed Faiyaz- the author whose book I reviewed left a sweet feedback on the same post. Happiness!
Beni- A girl whose wit dazzles me. Her appreciation simply means a lot!
Anup Bishnoi- A writer I wished I could write like. One comment by him, and I know I jumped in ecstasy.

Heartfelt thanks to all of you, yet again. Hope that in the coming year, you all grow as writers, and as persons too. Stay connected! Keep reading, and keep writing

New Year Wishes with a pretty smile and some chosen flowers. Hope you all like!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sensational Sculptures Made Using Matchsticks

UK-based artist David Mach used thousands of matchsticks to create incredibly detailed sculptures, then burns them and leaves them charred. Mach uses Japanese matchsticks because their heads come in all sorts of different colors, and color is definitely an important part of his works.

Source: mymodernmet

"This is Sparta!"

Just kidding. This is NIA SPEAKS; but even though I don't have 300 Spartans, I do have 300 followers! Yay!

I'd like to thank all of my followers, new and old. I'd also like to thank anyone who has a Nia Langley business card, magnet, pen, sticker, or keychain. Your support means a lot.

Shout out to my 300th follower, Ally of confessions of the glitterati.

SPECIAL SHOUT OUT to my Street Team: Aliya, Devin, and Jocelyn. You three are awesome! =)

Have a great day! Here's to another 300 followers! *Clinks glass*

1st picture: No copyright infringement intended.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dream Big by Peter Fecteau

Dream Big was a year-long project in which artist Peter Fecteau created a mosaic of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. using 4,242 Rubik’s Cubes. Dream Big was on display for the 2010 ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan placing in top 50 out of 1,700 artists.

For a short time it was the world’s largest Rubik’s Cube mosaic. He created it with the help of YouCanDoTheRubiksCube, First Park Congregational Church, The Student Advancement Foundation and Cooley Law School.

Image Source

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Rainbow Toy Car Installation

The Toy Atlas Rainbow is a wonderful installation of 2,500 old toy cars by UK artist David T. Waller, who won the People’s Award at the Arts Depot Open last year. The cars in the installation are arranged in a circular pattern according to their color, making a beautiful rainbow out of Hot Wheels cars.

Source: mymodernmet

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Winter Reminiscences- Loss!

Disbelief, anger
And a smile.
They who held hands
Apart by a mile.
Love's scary vision
Life's daunting trial.
A moment more of pain
Then grace on a calm heart's isle.

With great things comes the possibility of great losses. 

Our best bet, as I always say, is to live it while it lasts! 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

My Tree In A Fern

The Christmas tree is said to have its roots in the mysterious concept of the "tree of paradise". Of the more credible stories I have heard about it, one relates to Saint Boniface. Saint Boniface was the patron saint of Germany, a missionary who preached Christianity during the 8th century in the Frankish Empire. A legend of the Christmas tree, perhaps the earliest, relates to the time St. Boniface (Apostle of Germany) was sermonizing against idolatry to a tribe of Germanic Druids. To prove that oak tree was not sacred and inviolable, he fell one on the spot. As the tree toppled over, it crushed everything which came in its way, except for a small fir sapling. Saint Boniface conjectured the survival of the fir as a miracle, and proclaimed it as "Tree of Christ". It thence became a tradition to celebrate Yule Tide by planting and nurturing fir saplings.

As a child, I did insist on buying a glitzy little replica of a Christmas tree which I would decorate with shiny bells and stars humming away "Star of wonder, star of light." I knew many carols in my innocent days, which are now fading away from my memory. One which I remember distinctly still is
Long Time Ago In Bethlehem
So The Holy Bible Says
Mary's boy child, Jesus Christ
Was born on Christmas-day
Hark now hear the angels sing
A new king born today
And man will live forever more
Because of Christmas-day.
This carol has a nice chime to it, which recreates all the memories from my school days, where our teachers genuinely endeavoured to inculcate in us the spirit with which the festival should be celebrated. Whether it was those innocent 'Merry X-Mas' cards we made, or the repeated story telling sessions of 'A Christmas Carol'- there is much I miss as I type out this post with my fingers freezing over the key board. Yes, a nice family dinner, complete with a ritualistic plum cake will form a part of my celebrations. What I do not have this year, though, is a nice Christmas Tree- which I really wanted to decorate and which would have added a glow to the otherwise blanketed by winter, lazy atmosphere of my home.

However, not having the tree is not really making me morose for now. In fact, thanks to the plethora of wonderfully positive statuses I have read since oooo hours on facebook, conveying wishes from virtual unknowns to more unknowns, I have this feeling which has begun to grow on me with surprising intensity. I'm being lulled into believing that occasions like Christmas are to step back and invest time on counting one's blessings and making efforts to preserve and cherish them. The wonderful charisma of the Yule festival does, for some signify the impending close of a year- for others, it brings with itself the optimism of preparing and planning for an altogether, yet untouched new year with promises and opportunities we neither know nor can guess about. More often than not, life becomes pretty or ugly simply by what we choose to see in it. Said a very smart man once- 'Twixt the optimist and pessimist/ the difference is droll/ the optimist sees the doughnut/ the pessimist the hole.

Alright, so now I am happy, and looking forward to not just a day, but a whole week of fun, optimism and celebrations, till I settle down into a new year with some new responsibilities and some old dreams firmly planted in my heart and mind. What is the most beautiful thing about Christmas for me? It is the description defying aura which this festival builds around itself. So powerful is the spirit surrounding the festival, that it ensnares all- who own this festival and those who simply choose to flow along with its bliss. I began my Christmas by making a wish- a secret and seemingly impossible, but a wish nonetheless. Baking a cake is next on my agenda. Calling friends, catching up on missed details will form a sure part of my day today. And when I am done laughing and sharing this festive mirth, a Christmas movie, tucked away in front of the tv in a warm quilt on my couch, would just be great to end my day with. Should it be Its A Wonderful Life? Or, no. Since romance is the flavor of the season, may be Serendipity, with all its lucky coincidences, and faith igniting madness would be a better prescription for my romantic health.

And for all the lovely people I know, and who know me- I wish you a very happy holiday season! I hope you all have the best time of year today, and still better times as more days and years go by. May you create the happiest memories for yourself and others, and learn to value everything of value in your life. Count your blessings, if you are to celebrate the day as I will. May be, share with me what are the things that make you feel blessed, or simply happy for existing. The love and blessings of our parents, the warmth and comfort of near and distant family and the infinite care/concern/love showered on us by a few close friends are the common blessings we all should be happy about. I know I can witness life's largesse in the small blessings it bestows on me. I can imagine my whole  elusive tree in a little fern which serves me more than that tree as a favorite bookmark surviving all the seasons of a year. I'm sure with a little effort you all can see God's infinite  grace too.
Psst...for all my special ones, and you all well know I am talking about you, I do remember you all in my prayers. No kidding. I actually do. 

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference."

Friday, December 23, 2011

Winter Warmth

Giving gifts is essential. Call me a nutcase for it, but I firmly believe and maintain it. I read somewhere, that gifts are better than promises. I do not know under what dimensions, but this seems like an uncannily true line. Now, gifts do not always have to be tangible. At times, they can be in the form of just gestures. In either case, what counts for me is not the size, cost, color, texture, usability, et al, of the gift- but simply the thought behind it. Thoughtfulness is what separates a perfunctorily exchanged gift from a truly special, heart warming, talking,loving gift- which someone would adore and remember for centuries (as we may delineate time under the influence of cheesy romanticism)

So why these random murmurings today? Well, in the past two days, I have been blessed with two new people in life- each who brought a different kind of gift-cum-gesture for me with his/herself. While what they gave me was really special, what was more special were the people themselves. They, I am forced to believe, were the actual gifts the holiday season brought along for me. A little something about them.

A Listener
She has elaborately mentioned details of our first meaningful tryst on her own blog, Yarn Of Words, a perfect virtual hangout for hopeless romantics like me. So,what I will tell you of Aakriti Malik, an elder sister for me, is not that she gifted me an image of my own while she sat in front of me; but that she blessed me with the valuable comfort of listening to all my ramblings without judging me in the least. Yes, it is a blessing to be able to stumble upon someone unexpectedly, who connects with you instantly at more levels than you can recognize at once. And if the same person also is an amazing listener, who promises not to judge you while you share thoughts and angst intimate to you, who respects you even for your mortal shortcomings, who wants to hold your hand as you start shivering a little under the influence of your own uncomfortable thoughts- you know the moment you are living is a gift. A rare, special, precious one.

The fact that we have the same proclivities, same phones, same kind-of crushes, same convictions, same romanticism ingrained deep within us only adds to the beauty of what we shared in the short time we've known each other. At times, what we write for ourselves curiously answers the other person's predicaments. I've known her from my pre-blogger days, as a senior in college- but its only here that I could connect so beautifully with such a beautiful person. So even though I have hated online interactions for taking the soul out of human attachments- blogger made a reverse process happen for me. Online interactions, for once, intensified attachments for me. And sure as hell am I glad for that!

A Smile. A Huge, Persistent,  Persuasive Smile.
This was the second most amazing gift I received in a span of two days. More than just a smile in fact. In parts, I have a sequestered existence. With that, I have my sequestered old world notions, a crippling inability to get over things which the technology driven world is leaving behind. Having my ecological austerity in the right place, I still love the whiff of paper. I have always favored greeting cards (the tangible, paper-made ones)  as an amazing mode of conveying simple and warm thoughts, at times even without any reason or season. My ill luck- in the past one and half years (I remember distinctly), only 3 greeting cards have made their way to my collection (In my charming younger days, around 30 cards could be exchanged on any single occasion). To make matters worse, out of those three, two I bought for myself on MY birthday. Desperation, you see.

However, deeply thankful am I to an ever smiling and outrageously humble person, who goes by the name of Rohan Manchanda, for recently making that significant addition to my collection. A year my junior, Rohan, besides being one of the smartest, is also one of the humblest species of BITSians I have come across (oh yes, he totally belongs to that distinguished institution), While I was preparing to greet him with my foul morning temper, exacerbated by the fact that I was a little cross with him over something, the thoughtfully prudent Mr. Manchanda gifted me some colorful scribbles in a dainty little card. If I were a little less sleep deprived, I might have sat down and giggled as I read through the first line of his creativity. It could be my compliment of the year. But, that put aside, I was happy to have made a new friend who was capable of sharing contagious smiles. Himself a brilliant writer, Rohan has been a constant source of not encouragement, but enthusiasm behind many of my recent writings. And the kind of respect he has held towards me, despite me not seeing any reasons behind it, has given me those secret, narcissistic moments of bliss.

Thank you Rohan and Aakriti Di. December began on a particularly morose note for me this year. I sense that changing.
Thank you Saurabh, for just lurking around and being the support I often forget to acknowledge.
Winters feel pleasantly warm now :)

Over 100,000 Views!

Another goal has been reached!

First, I would like to thank each of my followers. I also want to thank those who've read the blog, those who took the time to leave comments (anonymous or not), and those who stopped by...even if it was an accidental visit.

Thanks again, everyone! Here's to another 100,000 views.


Picture citation:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

"World's Most Beautiful Marriage Proposal"

I saw this video a few weeks ago, and I thought I'd share it with you all. I didn't think I'd watch the whole thing, but...I watched the whole thing.

Here it goes!

Now, this is cute, isn't it? He thought of everything! The dress, her family, the ring. What a great story to tell the kids! The only thing that could've been a problem is if she thought the dress was hideous...or if she said no.

What if she said no?! What if she didn't want to get married right then? That is something I hope was taken into consideration.

If my boyfriend tried to pull something like that, I wouldn't know what to think...or do.

Ladies, what would you do if your boyfriend proposed to you like this? If I didn't want to get married, but I was in front of all those people, I'd probably say yes to the engagement, but no to the immediate wedding. That's just me.

Anyway, here's to Justin, Nikki, and their marriage. *Raises glass*

I hope you enjoyed this!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

2011 National Geographic Photo Contest Winners

National Geographic has announced the winners of its 2011 Photography Contest, and the images are nothing less than stunning.

Shikhei Goh of Indonesia was named the grand prize winner for his image of a dragonfly entitled "Splashing." Goh will have his photo published by National Geographic and receive a $10,000 prize and a trip to National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., according to a press release.

National Geographic reported that they received over 20,000 submissions from both amateur and professional photographers in over 130 countries. Submissions were judged in one of three categories: nature, people and places.

Source: theatlantic

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Perfect Bride by Brenda Joyce- A Review

I had no inkling when I bought this book for an unbelievable bargain price of Rs.25 from a shady corner in Janpath flea market that I am going to be in for such a treat. This book, however, surpassing all my expectations took me on a glorious journey of romance and passion, one I am not likely to get over for at least some months to come.

The Perfect Bride is seventh in the sequence of de Warren dynasty books- historical romance penned by the much loved spinner of compelling tales of passion- Brenda Joyce. In the beautiful and flowing language of Joyce, it narrates the love story, of Blanche Harrington and Rex de Warren, a perfect English woman and a damaged war hero. Blanche is a fine, dignified, composed and graceful woman, who ails from a dark past. She has a family fortune to manage, and hence an immediacy to marry and settle down with one of the 228 suitors lined up for her. She, however, has always been smitten by an old family friend, Sir Rex de Warren. On his part Sir Rex is also more than fond of Lady Blanche, but he is the classic de Warren hero- intense, regal, powerful and not easily the emotive one. He, I reiterate, represents the classic hero from English historical romances- he is a recluse, not for once wanting to adhere to or participate in the customs of English polite society. He has a tortured past, a heartache and a lost leg, and he prefers the confines of his estate at all times, abhorring any company except for that of the charming Lady Blanche.

Common friends connive to bring together Blanche and Rex, but the scene of their re-acquaintance is what neither of them could have imagined or wished for. Upon her visit, Blanche finds him in a compromising situation with his maid. He, of course is flushed with awkwardness and embarrassment. But that is where the beauty of their latent love becomes visible. Their fondness for each other is based not on physical attraction or lust, but enormous mutual respect for each other. The forgettable reunion is soon left behind, and a tale of haunting romance is set on course.

However, here is where the flames of Lady Blanche's dark past are reignited. This is the point of 'crisis' in their love story- but this is not the stereotypical impediment you would expect in the way of two lovers who yearn togetherness. 'Sanity', for all you lovers of romance, would not form one of the usual hindrances in the consummation of a love story. Blanche, as we come to know, has been rendered incapable of all emotions following the traumatic death of her mother. She has an unnatural composure; more apt to say that she is simply passionless. Rex de Warren, with his inveigling persona, however, changes that for her. Their growing intimacy leads them to a night of intense passion, following which Blanche's emotions reawaken, and that too with shocking intensity. Her heart, which she deemed was hard as glass, undergoes an admirable thaw under Rex's embrace, but not all for good. Accompanying the new found feeling of love and passion are horrifying memory trips back to the death scene of Blanche's mother. She has episodes of dementia. She shrieks. She's petrified. She discovers that all truth about her mother's death had been concealed from her. She feels she is losing her sanity day by day. And the only way to protect her, she feels is to shut herself from all feelings of love which are beginning to melt her hard acquired equanimity. In a desperate logic acquired from panic, she decides to run away from everything that caused these paroxysms of insanity to ruin her peace- including Rex.

Thus our lovers are torn apart. In the almost velvety narrative, I found myself many a times weeping, many a times frustrated, because more eager than them was I to see Rex and Blanche together. This love story was unique in many ways. The underlying emotion, the desires, the end might remain the same for most mushy romances, but the path this book treads on was definitely not run-of-the-mill. Here we are not talking of love at first sight, or some mundane physical attraction which leads to intensified lust and passion. Here we encounter long sustained, yet dormant feeling of love borne out of remarkable mutual respect between the protagonists. 'Sanity', as I mentioned, as the main conflict in the storyline adds another dimension to the intrigue which compels a reader to keep turning pages. You would, however, want to pause a few times to absorb the beauty of certain heartwarming scenes described unto perfection by the seasoned love ink of Brenda Joyce.

My favorite parts in the book begin after the introduction of the conflict. That is where the narrative acquires pace. And what might touch you most is the point in the book where Rex decides to watch over and take care of Blanche as she battles her terrifying memories, knowing very well that he is the person keeping her away from himself. So, in order to help her, he needs to restrain completely his emotions for her. It is concern, care and selflessness which then helps sustain whatever little love they had experienced in each others embrace.

Sigh. It is a lovely read. A perfect wintry read. Tucked away in your quilt, with moist eyes and a cold red nose, trust me, this is the book you want in your hands even if you're half as much a romantic as I am.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Reuters Best Photos of the Year 2011

From the uprisings across the Arab world to the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan, there was no lack of news in 2011. Reuters photographers covered the breaking news events as well as captured more intimate, personal stories. In this showcase, the photographers offer a behind the scenes account of the images that helped define the year.

Source: reuters