Tuesday, October 10, 2023


Pic Courtesy: My little one!


I wonder what He was thinking,  
As he stood contemplating brush in hand, 
Wisteria, lavender or iris, 
What hue'll make my canvas grand?
A swish of crimson, a splatter of carnelian,  
And a swirl of coral will do, 
Perhaps a scumbling of fuschia, a smudge of rouge, 
And a stroke of fiery tangerine too!
Better still, let me create, 
A new masterpiece each day, 
For how else will man see beyond, 
The porpoise and graphite and gray?


Thursday, July 27, 2023

Why do I run?

Why do I run?

The mile long track,

Seemingly smooth

And yet

Filled with hurdles

At every block

Why do I run?

For that ten second race,

I train

For years, for days,

Not counting the hours

That I spend

Pulling muscles till they are sore,

Breaking bones till they heal no more,

And yet I run.

That sweat, that blood

Those tears, those fears

That I chose to overcome 

Just so that I may run

Is that a mere illusion?

There's no medal at the end

No one to hold me if I fall

Must I run? 

Or should I just stop in my tracks?

Mid way, give up,

And choose not to run at all.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Future of digital publishing in India.


Peter Drucker, the famous Austrian-American management consultant, educator, and author, once said, that the enterprise that does not innovate, ages and declines, and in a period such as the present, the decline will be fast.


In an age and time when people are not only increasingly consumed by concerns of space but also seem to constantly look to slake their thirst for information through their devices, digitalisation has been the much needed answer. The digital content is so rich and dynamic that traditional content unfortunately pales in comparison.


Traditional publishing involves printing, transportation and distribution costs, in addition to the other costs, which make it expensive as compared to digital publishing. In addition, printing out the material for evaluation, is an added waste of paper, money and time. With the emphasis today being on going green and obtaining gratification at the touch of a button, would there be any takers for traditional publishing?


Contrast that with digital publishing where a good software, computer and internet connection is all it takes to add value to the writer’s effort, and it’s easy to see why it is becoming such a favoured medium. With the wide reach that internet provides, the editing that is possible even after publishing, and the instant user feedback that analytics can provide, there is very little reason to forsake digital publishing. The cheese that got moved due to COVID also created a sudden need to search for cheese elsewhere - shift to a medium that was safe and affordable.


That being said, the question remains whether this is a passing fad or does it actually have a future in India. Technavio, a leading market research analyst, has predicted that digital publishing is one of the fastest growing sectors expected to show a phenomenal growth rate and the key countries expected to contribute to this growth would be US, China, India, UK and France. The report can be read here. India definitely seems to be geared up to rise to the occasion, with consumers rapidly devouring content published by digital media.


The Indian publishing industry itself is predicted to be a $800 million industry in just a year’s time and several thousand million dollars in the next ten years.  Today, the print media occupies a large share of publishing market in India with a much smaller market share for digital publishing. However, with technology entering our lives like never before, the increasing awareness of technology irrespective of class divides, the affordable cost of internet along with the constant need to stay updated are all expected to boost the consumption of digitally published material. There is a lot of push for digitalisation from the government too, which is slowly translating into more consumers.


Authors are turning to self-publishing, as it is simpler, easy to market, target and reach readers and obtain user feedback easily. Audio books have also begun to gain a lot of traction. Online retail, services such as periodic subscription, and open access to various resources, are added bonuses as well. Development in technology has made digital content much more immersive, interactive and provides a great viewing experience.


The future of digital publishing in India seems to be very exciting and full of yet unexplored opportunities.  It no longer remains a question of whether we have a choice to embrace digital publishing, it is more a question of how well we do it!


Saturday, May 20, 2023

Paradise Island -Bali

 A vacation by the ocean has always been my idea of a relaxing holiday. The waves gently rolling before crashing on the shore, the briny wind blowing through the hair, messing it up, and the unending expanse of various shades of blue stretching far and beyond what one can see - is truly what sets my mind free! One can almost hear the song of the sea, melodious and soothing. A vacation to Bali promised all this and more as we packed our bags to the land of idyllic charm and glorious sunsets. 

Negotiating the distance:

There are no direct flights to Bali from India. Almost all carriers have one-stop flights and the duration of flight can vary from 8 hours to 11 hours depending on your layover time. Flights aren’t cheap, but if you book in advance you could save a few precious bucks. 


You can easily get Visa on arrival in Bali. It cost us about 32 euros for each Visa.

A copy of the certificate which shows that you are fully vaccinated against COVID is also mandatory.

You can complete the e-customs declaration before you start your journey and carry the bar code generated as a printed copy. That way you'll avoid standing in line for immigration for too long. Here's the link to it: e-customs

Moving around:

Once you arrive in Bali, it is best to hire a local taxi service to take you around. Taxis could cost upward of IDR 7lac or INR 4000 per day. Our driver Nyoman was an amiable fellow, who did his best to talk to us in English, patiently answering our queries and driving us for well over 12 hours per day. The roads are narrow and hence navigating takes hours. But the best thing I noticed was that no one ever broke lane discipline nor did I hear a single vehicle honking. 


IDR or Indonesian Rupiah is accepted for transactions but you could also use Euros or Dollars as easily. We, however, did not find the best rates for Indian rupees, and hence decided to exchange our Euros for IDR instead of INR. The smaller traders prefer to deal in cash. Many places like restaurants, entrance to various temples, parks etc., supermarkets and malls however, accept credit cards. You will be paying an entrance fee to every single place you visit. 

It made me feel like a millionaire, paying for things in lacs! One T-shirt? 1lac IDR - which is roughly INR 550! 

Places to stay:

We stayed at a villa -  Villa Lautan Biru Bingin, with a private pool in South Kuta that we had booked through Airbnb. Kuta is closer to the airport but Ubud is the hub of tourist attractions. Many places of tourist interest are near Ubud. Travelling can be a lot slower staying so far away from the city. However, if you are looking for a relaxing vacation, Kuta is the right place to be. 


Bali has plenty of Indian restaurants. You also get Jain and vegan options at most restaurants.

We had a working kitchen at the villa, so we carried ready to cook meals for breakfast and dinner, and ate at Indian restaurants in the afternoon.

Cruising around Bali:

Day 1:

Tanah Lot temple:

We visited this historic temple on the very first day of our stay in Bali. We were out of the Ngurah Rai Airport at Denpasar by afternoon and decided to visit Tanah Lot before retiring to the villa. 

Tanah Lot is one of the best places in Bali to capture the beautiful sunset. The temple or ‘pura’ as it is called, is dedicated to the Sea God. The temple itself is atop a rock formation, about 200m into the sea. You must wait for the waves to recede and quickly crossover to the temple. The sun looked like a huge reddish-orange ball as it painted the sky crimson before diving into the waters! I have never seen a sun so big! 

There are plenty of shops dotting the way where you can buy plenty of stuff. Make sure to bargain to one-third the price quoted! Go early by around 3.30 pm so that you can shop till you drop, capture beautiful pictures in daylight and finally walk to the temple by 6pm to view the sunset. Shops close by 7pm. 

Day 2:

White water Rafting at Ubud: 

It was undoubtedly quite an adventure rafting at the Ayung river at Ubud. The 10 km stretch takes anywhere between 2 to 2.5 hours to cross and is interspersed with a lot of beautiful scenery to soak in. It has medium rapids for most of the parts. 

We went rafting on the second day of our tour but realised that it was a huge mistake. One needs to descend about 500 unevenly spaced steps of varying depth and my legs almost gave way even before the rafting began! Climbing up another 250 steps after rafting is certainly not what I was prepared for! I spent the rest of my tour in Bali limping. 

Do not miss this wonderful activity at any cost, but schedule it on your last day so that you minimise the strain on your legs. 

Carry your swimwear. There are changing rooms to get into and out of your sporting gear. They also provide clean towels, a meal and pictures taken on the way for a price. 

Bali Swing: 

The Bali Swing is another wonderful attraction! You can enjoy swinging across a carpet of lush green from a considerable height. You can get on the swing alone or with your partner. You can also hire a dress with a long trail and capture the lovely moments on film as you swing in the breeze! 

You can stop to interact with the Luwak and buy some expensive Kopi Luwak, which in case you are wondering, is prepared from coffee seeds ingested and pooped by the Luwak. It is said to give the coffee a unique aroma. 

There are plenty of other attractions in Ubud like the Ubud Palace, Rice terraces and monkey forest. We decided to skip all of that as the rafting and swing took up our entire day. If you have an extra day to spare, you could go back to Ubud and enjoy the above and also shop at the market-place.  


We ended the day shopping for souvenirs at the Krishna Oleh Oleh mall on our way back to the villa. The mall has a huge and beautiful statue of Krishna at the entrance. You can find a lot of gifts to carry back home to your loved ones.  

Day 3 : 

Water sports at Nusa Dua: 

Water sports is huge in Bali. You’ll find surfers coming in from Australia and other places enjoying the breeze and the waves. You’ll need at least half a day if you choose to enjoy all the sports. Bargaining

is a must here too. To give you an example, we bargained a $75 parasailing experience to $30 and were successful in landing it at $35! 

You can ride a jet-ski, or a fly-board, go scuba diving ,or snorkeling or if you are afraid of going deep into the sea, choose a dive walker which is great for beginners. You can ask for an instructor for all sports at no extra cost, if you are scared to go alone.



Uluwatu temple:

This is another great spot to capture the sunset. The temple is dedicated to Rudra and sits atop a cliff with waves crashing at its feet. It is believed that the powers of the trinity - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva - merge here. You can take a climb up to the temple and click pictures but entering the sanctum is prohibited except for worshippers. Short clothing is prohibited and one is required to cover themselves with a sarong given at the entrance if the clothing is not suitable.  . 


Kecak dance: 

In the same premises as the temple, you can also watch the acclaimed Kecak Fire dance. There are two shows at 6pm and 7pm. Buy tickets for the show before you explore the temple and get in line for the show just as you finish exploring.

This dance is an enactment of the Ramayana. Amidst chanting by a troupe of 75 male dancers, you can witness the golden deer Maricha ensnare Rama, while Sita gets kidnapped by Ravana. Though it is a story we are very familiar with, yet watching artists dressed elegantly as Rama, Sita, Ravana, Hanuman, Jatayu, Lakshmana and other characters, takes you to another world, enthralling you with their dance and expressions. 

Day 4:


GWK or Garuda Wishnu Kencana cultural centre:

This temple dedicated to the Kencana or Vahana (transportation vehicle) of Vishnu - Garuda, is a must see spot. You can spend at least half a day here clicking amazing pictures of the huge Garuda statue, rock formations and natural beauty.

Hire a buggy which will drop you at the cultural centre and then take another buggy to the museum.

You can take couple photographs by professional photographers, dressed in Balinese costume or family pictures by professionals captured in specially designed studios. You can also watch up to 15 performances if time permits and enjoy lunch at the in-house restaurants.   

Kuta beach: 

After GWK, we headed to Kuta, to relax at the beach and also street shop. The entire area is filled with shops. We found a 100% cotton store selling pure whites. It was quite a find and we splurged on all kinds of white clothes that had an amazing feel and wear quality. 

Day 5:

We decided to do nothing except relax on our last day in Bali before heading back to the airport. The villa was amazing and we could have happily spent another day or two simply idling in the villa. 

What I loved about Bali:

What’s not to love! Every bit of Bali was amazing, the experiences were varied and fulfilling. 

I noticed that most houses had a huge Ganesha Idol at their doorstep. The in-house temple called pura is usually placed in the garden or outside the house and consists of a tall pillar with a seat for the deity. Every morning, the housekeeper, named Made, brought in a plate with a daily offering called canang sari - a small square shaped box made of tender yellowish white coconut leaves, containing wild flowers in various colours, rice, leaves, some fruit, biscuits and a cigarette. She would light an incense and offer it to her deity along with the canang sari placed on top of the tower, another one at its feet and one outside the main house door. 

Nyoman, our driver and tour guide told us that Balinese people both men and women have just 4 names based on the order of their birth, Wayan or Putu -the first born, Made - the second born, Nyoman -the third born and Ketut -the fourth born. If there's a fifth born - the order repeats! Wayan Balik or Wayan again/repeat and so on!

Like I mentioned before, people maintained lane discipline and there was some unspoken, strictly no honking rule. 

Bargaining was fun! Everyday we got bolder, bargaining for prices as low as we could go.We kind of became an expert by the end of our trip or so we thought!

The weather was beautiful! I expected it to be hot and humid as it is a coastal region, but the month of May was pleasant and not once did we feel itchy and sticky. In fact it was cloudy and rained too! But don’t skimp on sunscreen, because you are outdoors all day. Wear comfortable loose clothing or better still go with an empty suitcase and buy stuff there.   

Bali does not have tall skyscrapers like other Southeast Asian countries, but the old houses, narrow streets, huge statues of Hindu gods everywhere you see and culturally rich heritage gives this place an old world charm that can only be experienced.     


I felt our duration was shorter and I would have liked another couple of days to just leisurely go around the place a little more. We could not cover all the tourist spots, especially the Goa Gajah Caves, Ulun Danu Beratan Temple and the Ubud Palace for paucity of time. 

But Bali truly was one of my most favourite vacation spots. The long sand beaches, lush greenery, deep blue waters, glorious sunsets and wonderful people, all made Bali a quintessential paradise island!

Have you visited Bali? What was your favourite spot?  Tell me in the comments below.    

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