Sunday evening in Surat…

Sunday Is it the day of endings or new beginnings? Across the globe sunday is a holiday. Most people spend their day either relaxing, running  errands or in preparation of the upcoming week. Surat city is no different than any of them. People welcome sunday – the day off !

One thing that is particularly intriguing about Surat is that can be divided into different zones. By zones , I do not mean the geographic division of the municipality corporation . There are stretches in this city where it would be impossible to travel on a regular day. There are some areas where afternoons tend to be most crowded with street shopping or sections near schools that are chaotic during the morning and evening hours. Surat has seen enormous expansion in the last decade, but one thing that still holds true is how sunday is enjoyed by most people in Surat.

Surtis cross the river and are on other side on a sunday!

You will find that areas starting from athwagate all the way to the city limits are overwhelmed with two-wheelers and cars alike. Banks of river  Tapi.

I was born in Surat and have lived 24 years of my life here before I moved to the United States. Back then, city had no malls, couple of multiplexes and a few  3-4 star restaurants that were mostly near the railway station , close to outskirts of the town. During the 90’s other side of river tapi used to be a secluded area, inviting the young college crowd or  elderly seeking some quiet time. A big attraction or landmark used to be city’s leading engineering college SVNIT.  In those days too sunday, typically would  bring in visitors from across the town creating a jubilant atmosphere.

When you talk of surtis, not enough picnic spots cannot be a restricting factor. You can simply spread out a blanket on the footpath and enjoy  with your friends and family.


Sunday Picnic


Even after many years , I am happy to see that sunday remains the day to be enjoyed out with friends and family in Surat. With lot many malls and multiplexes being constructed,  people get ample alternatives to relax .

I captured half a minute video of traffic in the evening around 7pm near Ichchanath Circle. Surtis  are trying to get themselves into mall , movie theatre , restaurant or just park by road side and spend the evening celebrating so that they have recharged themselves enough to start the upcoming week with vigor.



       Sunday clears away rust of the whole week- Joseph Addison

It would not be a perfect end to sunday if it were not for desert. When  travelers return from the sunday outing , dessert shops are awaiting their arrival for a quick Ice-cream or a cake stop ! Something sweet to begin the next week…………



A very happy Sunday !


After 4 years, journey to know the intricacies of dancing began…..


One of the shlokas in Nandikeshwar’s laghu granth ( epic) “Abhinaya Darpana” (The Mirror of Gesture) describes vividness in dancing as,

“Yato Hasta tato Drishti yato Drishti tato Mana
Yato Mana tato Bhaava Yato Bhaava tato Rasaha”


Philosophically,  where your hand goes, the eyes trace the path, your heart cruises along with the glances giving rise to  various emotions and those emotions embellish the dance- generating “Rasa”!

I completed my basic training in Indian classical dance Bharatnatyam in the year 1998 and obtained the degree or Nritya Visharad which is a bachelors in Bharatnatyam form of dance. Lot of literature is available about the dance form and how over the years it has attained the present shape from its lineage that trace to the ancient sanskrit text by Bharata Muni, Natya Shastra.

This blog post is specifically dedicated to those people who like me have been meaning to and either are struggling or just haven’t found the necessary motivation and push to dance again. After getting Visharad I did not continue dancing , the last I danced was in 2004 during a dance workshop. Like many, dance lost its place in my life, with earning livelihood gaining utmost priority.

Years later, to be precise 8 – I met dancing and the feeling was “Hey Stranger, where have you been?, I have missed you!!” During a yoga session, I did dancers pose and the instructor and I were both pleasantly surprised to see the ease with which I could not only get but retain the pose without loosing balance. It was though difficult remembering that dancing had been a very integral part of me for more than a decade!

I was in the United States then but I managed to find a dance teacher, I was skeptical, I was scared and more than that I didn’t want to be graded  and fail .

“You have to be able to accept failure to get better”- LeBron James.

I did taste failure on stage during a class performance in 2013 and almost quit. When you try to dance, irrespective of the dance form, after a decade it isn’t an easy comeback. Your physical strength is not the same and the body does not respond as quickly as it could previously. You are not only trying to bridge the gap of years lost without dancing but you are working against age, age that is acting as an opposing force.

Few things that held me together as I walked through the path


 I practiced Yin -Yang yoga and Pilates. Even today every opportunity I get I find time for it. Yoga helps break the stiffness in the connective tissues. In yin-yang holding poses/asanas for longer durations – few minutes and suryanamaskars at a rapid pace helps you condition your body. Not many realize that though dancing is a very good form of exercise it generates lot of fatigue and weariness of different body parts that are extensively used. Like a sports person you have to be nurturing yourself through diet and other exercises to prolong your years in dancing.

Renowned Bharatnatyam dancer Late Balasaraswati has said,

” Bharatnatyam is a artistic yoga that is natya yoga for revealing the spiritual through the corporeals”.  (1)  


When you trying to make a comeback to dancing, it is essential that you find the right mentors and gurus or teachers to guide you through your journey. As strenuous as the path is without them , it is impossible to go beyond a few steps. I have been very lucky  to find such mentors and gurus for both yoga and dancing. Though Indian Classical dance has evolved over time one thing that is still a very innate element is the Guru-Shishya Parampara. Guru has a stature paralleled to the Omnipotent and at the same time Guru becomes your family.  To quote 15th Century saint and poet Kabir,

“Guru Govind dou khade, kake lagoon paay,
Balihari Guru aapno, Govind diyo batay”

which literally means, when both the God and Guru are standing together, whose feet should I touch first to get the blessings- I would have not know God without your teachings.

This also leads to the third and the most fundamental necessity to become a good dancer Meditation.


As dreary and boring it may sound, dancing; and not just indian classical dancing, requires you to be one with your soul, which means you need to be aware of every single twist and turn of your body. To put in words of one of my dance mentor’s and a friend “Listen to your body”. You cannot do that until your mind has quiet down. There is so much noise in and around that we seldom feel our own breathing. The only way to filter  excessive noise is through meditation. Meditation does not mean you need to go through a rigorous practice, its always phenomenal if you are following one . Meditation for dancing is before each dance session if you can sit for 15 minutes either in simple padmasana (Lotus pose) or any other that is comfortable to you with your eyes closed and try to quiet down, feel your breath it’s proven to be beneficial.

Last but not the very least, attend workshops, training sessions, watch other dancers perform and try to understand the techniques and variations they are bringing to the form of dance . I have followed this tricks and tactics and it has helped me a lot. I would say after 4 years I started my regular dance practice without wearing out every other day. Recently, I attended a dance discussion held in my hometown Surat, India by renowned artist and kalaguru Shri Deepak Mazumdar and a 2 hour session by him, told me that there is a lot to learn, a good teacher is always the best student. I hope to share my learnings as I go deeper ………


All, my yoga sessions ended with the sound of om – to end this blog post  OM


  1. Shri Bhaskar Menon & Smt. Radha Bhaskar , 2013, "Ananta Nrityam",Ahmedabad, India, Elite Printers



What is content writing anyways?

Let’s traverse through the waves of Content Writing!



This blog post is inspired by my last four months of work as a Content Writer in an I.T. firm. I came across the job profile and never knew that there is such a profession called as being a “Content Writer” Ain’t that cool! I come from the most mundane profession; I am an engineer who spends hours in front of the screen designing a circuit. The job advertisement of content writer immediately caught my interest. Creative writing in the form of personal blogs is something that I have been doing regularly. Hoping that it would open a whole new avenue for me I decided to give it a try as a profession.

While in the job, I wrote different kinds of content during the initial on-boarding phase. There’s where I learnt that as a content writer you write a Press Release- for public relations, email campaigns, website content, case studies, manuscripts for videos and webinars, blogs, posts for social media like facebook and twitter. As exciting and challenging it was, it left me with a lot of unanswered questions, to be pondered upon. Some of them definitely made to this blog post.

Does content writing require a team?

Most definitely yes. It is difficult for an individual to be able to produce all aspects of a good content within the limited time frame. Say as an example a blog post, it’s not only the article itself, it usually begins with the required research and unless it is a technical or a product description there is a step that precedes it, which is what should the blog topic be? In today’s digital age, it has become imperative to optimize your content so that it has larger visibility online. You need to implement what is called as search engine optimization (SEO). Use of publishing tools and techniques will make your content more readable.

It’s a well-known fact that “A picture is worth a 1000 words”. Picture helps convey the story behind the act easily, not just that, it helps retain your audience’s attention. Aside from that, what’s worth the content that has not bounced off from several brains in a room, imagining, arguing & discussing on a messy white board and coming to congruency!

Should the content change as per the reader?

Let’s call this as recycling. Once for a assigned task I wrote an email at least 4 times, with having different receivers and senders. Though the primary idea remains the same, the structure and language changes significantly. To quote Josh Bernoff’s iron imperative from his book “Writing without Bullshit”,

“Treat your reader’s time as more valuable than your own”.

You don’t just want to write something and send it across, you want be assured that your readers or followers look forward to email/articles from you. It is beneficial to know your readers beforehand, treating them all as same is usually not a good practice.

Should content have intent and a set goal?

In engineering, when a product takes shape it is designed to meet specific requirements and then tested to some measures. Sometimes even customer feedback is sought. This leads to improvement, like a closed loop system. Similarly, writing content without an intent and goal does not guarantee improvement, growth and maturity in the writing.

Having either of them alone does not suffice, if you have set an intent you want to know what went wrong that did not produce results as you had expected. You want to have performance measurement criteria, have some stats and do the analysis for working towards betterment.

Do content need to have references or validation?

Content writing is less stringent due to the social and moral responsibility it carries as opposed to journalism. It leaves more leeway for presenting thought to the readers. Tweaking of the content is possible when you are content writing where the sole liability is either of the writers or the company that the writer is representative of. Though if use of quotations, research data, and previously published article is used it is best to reference it. It protects you from infringement and let’s the reader know how well researched and proven the published content is.

With such methodical writing, as content writer does creativity gets lost?

That’s where the challenging nature of job portrays itself. Like any other job, writing assignments will see a decline in the outcome unless you pay attention to the creativity factor. Good thing about content writing is you are not merely stating the facts but creating a story around the main idea. Though you cannot digress much from the central theme you can creatively nurture and develop the content. Based on my past experience, if as a content writer you are adamant to not loose creativity, I think Sean Connery’s saying “There’s always a challenge to keep you motivated” will be the mantra where your challenge will be “sustaining creativity”

Why this blog post?

The idea behind the post is to spread my learning and may be bring the beginner drenched content writers to the shore again, and see the vastness before they decide to dive in deeper.

"Step into the scene, and let it drip from your fingertips" - M. J. Bush


How do you celebrate Christmas?

For me.……………………….

How it all began?

“Jingle bells, Jingle bells , Jingle all the way
Oh what fun it is to ride , In a one-horse open sleigh”

That’s exactly how it began for me ! It was going to be a day off from school, I did not know what christmas is … I was told that if I be good, I will receive a gift on the morning of 25th, Santa Claus gifts all the good kids. Indeed ! I wasn’t small enough to fall for my mom’s story neither was I old enough to not wait for the gift! And there it was, on the morning of 25th I woke to a neatly wrapped gift  besides me and parents that could not help smiling……

How did it continue ?

Gift tradition did not last that long , since Santa Claus was not the one delivering it, but christmas cakes became a part of the tradition at my home in India. Being a hindu Indian, christmas is  not celebrated but my liking and the fact my parents never really objected , the festival shaped itself very uniquely. Christmas for years continued to be enjoyed with cakes and evenings were spent going out to see beautifully lit streets and shops.

“Starting on the 25th with a  bright cheerful note it lasted till the end of the year” Slightly longer than Diwali! Over the years of fierce battle to choose between the favorite festivals, I can say Christmas won!

About 2 decades later…..

A tradition was formedfor the past 10 years or so , christmas tree is put up every year


Christmas of 2017


The decorations does include gifts received during christmas- like Legolas!, Cake still continues to be an integral part of tradition and a newer addition has been christmas carols.

I was lucky enough to spend a decade in the United States and for last 3 years of my stay volunteered  at the “Garden of Lights ” celebrations during christmas. Definitely no better way to spend !

Besides the fun and festivities, christmas has a religious significance to it. It is celebrated on the 25th of december as the birth anniversary of Jesus of Nazareth, a spiritual leader whose teachings form the basis of christianity. Though Bible does not include the actual date of birth of Christ, it has been celebrated on the same day ever since.


Christmas is a time to be celebrated with family, with warmth and love and the gifts

To Quote –  Charles Dickens

Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home! 
To know more about the facts behind Christmas,

Merry Christmas !


One weekday….


In my pursuit of exploring new Surat, restaurants have gained a high priority. Unlike some of the western countries, where eating out is not considered luxury, or merely a means of celebration, to be able to find a good casual sit-down place used to be a challenge in itself. Either the eateries  turn into hangout places for the college goers or close down due to slow business. With changing times , economic growth and increasing need of adapting to a better living regime, you are likely to see lot more occupied food outlets than previously.

Last week I had a rough day and not being in a mood cook, i started walking in search of food- had a few restaurants in mind which are in about 1 km radius from my home. I let the inner instinct , govern my feet. After a few temporary halts and walk back  from the usual place to get a sub I ended up in this Deli cum Cafe called the Rangilu Cafe. I had eyed this place for a while, though wasn’t sure what would be on the menu.. pastries and coffee- yet another coffee shop? but to my surprise menu had much more to offer. Check out for yourself ( . I ordered a vegetable grill sandwich with coriander and a mocha. It tasted good and was filling.

I particularly liked the decor of the place, brick wall paper gave it a rustic feel complementing well with antique hanging clock and Paulo Coelho and Ayn Rand books on the corner shelf. Music was a little loud, live guitarist would have just filled in the empty space and it would have been a prefect representation of the ever urbanizing India!

There were only two other customers besides me. It was tranquilizing- brought back memories from one of my most frequented and enjoyed sandwich shops in the U.S. “Potbelly Sandwich Works”.

If you are in need of a break from the routine, want to spent some quite time or hangout with a friend Rangilu Cafe should be on the the list to consider from. It’s conveniently located close to Sargam Shopping Center near parle point, (,72.7773464,14.94z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x484932013d90f5b2!8m2!3d21.1706027!4d72.7886372).

Not to mention it is worth the penny spent! Happy relaxing!





Navaratri – nine nights


“Dholida dhol re vagad, mare hinch levi che , ” keeps spinning in my head during these nine days which literally means  “Play the beats, I want to dance” Its a festival of light , colors, dance, music – celebration of harvest and victory of good over evil. Festival that is celebrated  in different parts of India during the same time of the year for varied reasons exhibiting the multicolored culture of the country.

On  the 8th day of  festival, also known as ashtami or Durga Ashtami  rituals of worshipping Goddess Durga are performed celebrating her 8 “shaktis”- power. It is considered to be the most auspicious of the nine days. It is believed that on this day Goddess Kali appeared from the forehead of Durga to kill  demons of Mahisasura.

Pictures from visit to one such celebration in the state of Gujarat are inserted in the blog post. Street was  decorated with “Rangoli” , beautifully lit with Diyas where the traditional state dance “garba” was performed. Dancers dance in a rhythmic style  going in  circle around the idol of Goddess  Durga . As seen in one of the photos, are 108 diyas, typical to ashtami worship.

10th day also known as Dusshera or Vijayadashami marks the end of 9 days of celebration , victory of good over evil and onset – prelude to Diwali where Lord Rama returns home after victory over Ravana (symbolizing evil) – one of the shades of Navaratri celebration in northern states of India

For more read on Navaratri and Dusshera celebrations in different states of India please read


Long Hiatus


I moved to Surat,Gujarat in January 2016- my hometown where I was born and lived 24 years of my life, after staying for 12 years in the United States. Other than few old areas of town the city seemed unfamiliar and unwelcoming . I found it extremely difficult to stay, shop, eat, or put in better words live.

I was an american within , with the Indian mask on the outside where passers by would not know whether to help me or laugh at my strange – out of place ways of doing things.  I lived in the city for 4 months before I moved to Mumbai for work and I started to breathe again! Work , and the new city gave me an opportunity to explore ways of life in India.

It reminded me of Suketu Mehta’s book Maximum City – Bombay Lost and Found. To quote from his book “Somewhere, buried beneath the wreck of its current condition—one of urban catastrophe—is the city that has a tight claim on my heart, a beautiful city by the sea, an island-state of hope in a very old country. I went back to look for that city with a simple question: Can you go home again? In the looking, I found the cities within me.”
After moving to Mumbai I kept coming to hometown every few months.
As a soldier would say “after about year and a half of acclimatization” I am ready to explore the city as a new resident, a new neighbor in the streets.

I hope during the exploration I will have more findings of the new city and more blogs to share.