I’m no expert in blogging. But the other day, a Mumbai friend, Nandi, dropped me a call. “I need some help! Are you tech savvy? How do I navigate this thing?!!”

So after school today, I hitched a ride with her seven year old son, Taj, who chattered about tooth fairies and rupees. And in her living room, with a Kingfisher in hand, I introduced Nandi to the world of tags, freshly pressed and blogrolls.

After some technology hiccups, she dug out her binder, filled with stories she had spun over her three years of living in Mumbai. Her descriptions lured me into her world of tipping bicycles, juxtaposed beggars and Brad Pitt, and a husband trying to raise his status amongst his colleagues through tiffin lunches.

She’s obviously studied how to be a writer, but that’s not what impressed me. Nandi writes with her heart. Her skill of adding unexpected twists only serves to propel her underlying message. The few stories I’ve read have a pattern. She starts with a metaphor, leaves the metaphor until it’s erased from your memory, and towards the end somehow the metaphor fades in again, unexpectedly, twisting its way into your heart, leaving you with “aha!” moments and hungry for more of her stories.

I’m looking forward to her blog launch. But more than her blog entries, I somehow picture her future novel, resting on my lap, as I’m lured into her world, Kingfisher in hand.

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I started this blog in July, took a hiatus in August, and leaped back into the blogging wagon on January 2 of this year. I’ve been posting every day since, and I’m pushing myself, and just hoping I won’t stop. (Oh the backlog guilt! I still have 2 series that I haven’t finished!)

I’ve also been exploring the WordPress Site Stats section, and have been quite amused with the posts that have generated the most hits.

So, here goes–

10. Mumbai Scribbles, Day 3 — My Mumbai Scribble photos are inspired by WordPress’s Project 365. My goal is to catalog images every day that tell the story of Mumbai, a place I’m visiting, or something I’m engaged in. Cataloging images has sparked wonder in me, and it’s inspiring me to appreciate what I have every day.

9. Flounder Flops — It’s funny how this entry seems to pop up on the “how to not make flounder mushy” Google search. I haven’t found the answer, but since misery loves company, I hope that some cooks out there have discovered that they’re not the only ones with flounder flops.

8. Broccoli-Mushroom Curry and the Rat Race — I’m glad that many people have found this quick recipe. It’s a healthy no-brainer for busy people.

7. From Louie’s Kitchen: Lemon-Pepper Tilapia — I’m sure Louie would be happy to know that people have been browsing his recipe and hopefully trying them out! I’m surprised that quite a number of my recipes are on my top 10 posts. Maybe it’s time that I go back to trying at least one new recipe a week that I can share!

From Louie's facebook status update on July 14: Todays menu via the garden and friends. Tomato soup (Thanks Sacha) with Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme (Thanks Simon and Garfunkel). Maple Glazed Lemon Squash (Thanks Sacha), Cucumber/Scallion/carrot Salad, grilled Green Squash / Eggplant Sandwich on fresh Sun dried tomato/Parmigiana cheese bread (Thanks Laurie for my French bread pan, I really like it), and lemon pepper grilled talipia (Thanks fish farmers)

6. Greek Garbanzos Salad — Another healthy eat! I also bought these dishes to make my food pop out in photographs. It’s a sign! Time to generate healthy eats again!

Students representing South Africa!

5. Mumbai Scribble, Day 18: International Day — My favorite special event in school!

4. Pig Roast in Nancy’s Graduation — The fourth of July last year was one of the most beautiful days I’ve seen and experienced. This was a happy memory with B, my honey, and his family. Nancy tragically died in a car accident a few weeks before Christmas. But she didn’t die in vain. Her smile, kindness and love have left and indelible impact on thousands of lives.

Louie, Anne Marie and Nancy in the Lapp's breathtaking farm

3. Weekly Photo Challenge: Ready / Mumbai Scribble, Day 28: Kala Ghoda Festival — I love doing the Weekly Photo Challenge. It’s another venue for bloggers to share their creative ideas. I find that many of my followers discover Scribbles through this page.

2. 10 Things I Learned from Dilip D’Souza’s Travel Writing Workshop — I scribbled this entry in less than an hour. It was based on a workshop I took a couple of days ago. Little did I know that it would generate so many hits. I’m still happy to have found Dilip and the group. We’re meeting next month in either Bandra or Thane, and we need to work on our first assignment–pick two travel experiences and write an essay that connects them. What a challenge!

DD's Travel Writing Bus in Elphinstone College

Silent Noise by Saini Johray

1. Mumbai Scribble, Day 27: Kala Ghoda Festival — Never in a million years would I have thought that this photo would generate so many hits. It pops up in Google Images when you type in “Kala Ghoda Festival 2012”. I accidentally tapped into something called “Search Engine Optimization”. Thank you, Google!

In the meantime, I’m on the 10% mark of my blogging goal this year, which is to post every day.

I’m trying. Persevering. Writing. Taking photos. And posting. One day at a time.

It’s the season to plan for travel. Holi and Spring break are coming up, and summer is just around the corner. I’m exploring the possibility of going to Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan. Then, of course, there’s the Indian Village tour, Durshet, Manila, Upstate NY, and maybe another Indian city in store these next few weeks.

I’ve also signed up for a Kala Ghoda literature workshop called “Got them old travel writing blues, momma! A travel writing workshop”. Dilip D’Souza, a well-known travel writer, will be conducting it. I am so unbelievably excited! I can’t wait to hop on the Mumbai train tomorrow morning, search for the Elphinstone College and listen to an experienced writer. I love novelty and I’m earnestly hoping that the next two days will help me take the next step in my craft.

In the meantime, I have a lot of writing to catch up on, namely, the last installment of Mumbai by Night and Durshet, a Happy Accident.

So I thought it would be apt at this moment to inspire myself with quotations that illuminate, as I plod along this lonely writing journey–

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” — Marcel Proust quotes (French Novelist and Author, 1871-1922)

“We may run, walk, stumble, drive, or fly, but let us never lost sight of the reason for the journey, or miss a chance to see a rainbow on the way.” — Anonymous

“Travelers, there is no path, paths are made by walking.” — Antonio Machado quotes (Outstanding Spanish Poet and Playwright, 1875-1939)

I’m taking a brief hiatus from my Mumbai Night series. I’m just so excited and a bit high that I’ve passed the one hundred mark on two counts, which translates into I’ve officially entered WordPress geek-hood. The blogosphere is new to me so I’m still focusing on content content content, while finding my way through tags, giving constructive feedback to other blogs, and using my blog reader .

But today, I’m taking the luxury of pausing and celebrating that I’ve written 107 posts! I’m delighted! But I know also know that it means I have to raise the bar. So I’m off to my next goal of writing 200 posts, hopefully with better writing and photos. (Help help help, Daily Post! I miss your inspiration!)

Here's proof!

I was also surprised this afternoon when I saw that I was about to pass 100 site views today!

More proof!

I know it sounds like a low number but it’s a big deal for me! I waited, obsessed, until I saw “99 site views” and then “102”! When I looked at my referrals it said (not verbatim): Google Images Kala Ghoda Festival 2012. Of course, I searched it and found the photo of my favorite sculpture from yesterday–

I love technology! I love WordPress! I love Google image!

But tomorrow is a new day. A day to sober up and pretend my site views are zero. A day to search for travel adventures around the corner, camera case slung around my shoulder. A day to squint, strain my eyes, crave for quiet, write, slap out my editing knife, and practice practice practice. Write write write.

Whether anyone reads or not.

Consider this a half-blog entry.

Louie with B at Friendly's

I’ve been thinking about Louie’s hat. I’ve been thinking about how Louie’s hat has been traveling all over the East Coast visiting family and friends.

Verrazano Bridge

I’ve been thinking about Louie’s hat, which is some sort of autobiography, and have even challenged him to take a traveling hat photo a day.

Louie's wedding anniversary in Don Pablo's restaurant, New Jersey

There’s also a picture in my head, a picture of a children’s book. A children’s book about a traveling hat. Or a picture book that seems to be about a traveling hat, but is actually about Louie’s life. Perhaps for Faithie and Eli and his other grandchildren.

Consider this a half-blog entry. A seed idea.

For a future picture book.

So now for the real list! (Heart beating fast in chest.) In my previous post, I mentioned that I bought this book in a Colaba bookstore–

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a list of sights, tours and restaurants that I would like to experience. Once I’ve posted an entry about it, I’ll make the list item a link so I can share my experiences with you.  Hope you enjoy this adventure as much as I do! 🙂

Sights and Museums:
1. Matheran
2. Wine Tasting in Nashik
3. Vasai Fort
4. Mumbai Port Trust Garden
5. Kala Ghoda
6. National Gallery of Modern Art
7. Jehangir Art Gallery
8. Prince of Wales Museum
9. Crawford Market
10. Dhobi Ghat
11. Mohammed Ali Road
12. Chor Bazaar
13. Kamala Nehru Park
14. Chowpatty Beach
15. Juhu Beach
16. Mani Bhavan
17. Sanjay Gandhi National Park
18. Gorai Island

Tours
1. Reality Tour’s 1 Day Village Tour
2. Reality Tour’s Mumbai by Night Tour

Restaurants
1. Bade Miya
2. Samovar
3. Busaba
4. Cafe Churchill
5. Ling’s Pavilion
6. Woodside Inn
7. Moshe’s Cafe
8. Tea Centre
9. Britannia
10. Mahesh Lunch Home
11. Kebab Corner
12. Highway Gomantak
13. Mia Cucina

Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.–Unknown

I wasn’t sure whether to call this the Mumbai or Maharashtra bucket list, but considering some of the destinations are outside of Mumbai, I’ve decided to broaden my horizons and name my bucket list after the state instead of the city.

But before I embark on my bucket list, I want to take a detour on the topic of blogging. I started this blog in July, hoping to cook and log my healthy eats. I stopped in August because priorities at work demanded more of my attention, then hopped back on the blogging wagon on January 2. I was a wreck in December 2011. I was fat, and full of negativity and resentment. During the holidays, I slept half of the time, recuperating, tapering from twelve to fourteen hour workdays, while watching a haze of Star Trek in between.

But on January 2, in the internet cafe at the Detroit airport, I started to write my first entry for the year. It’s been 24 days and I’m still writing. Right now, it’s not about being perfect in my prose or photography. (Hide the whip, Sacha, hide the whip!) It’s just about being comfortable with writing and taking photos and not feeling pressured to figure out the manual settings of my digicam. It’s about reading other blogs and books and joining the conversation and expressing my appreciation for other people’s work. I’m still figuring out how to navigate the WordPress blogoshpere and feel like I’ve walked into this exciting new world, with diverse voices, ideas and new ways of rendering photographs.

I’m also trying to photograph different aspects of Mumbai every day, which means that I have to get off my soft Goregaon East butt and ride trains to South Mumbai, chase sunrises, and make conversation with strangers. It’s only been 24 days but because I’m on a quest to know my current city and document its complex layers and beauty, I’ve become more positive, more alive, and more in love with Mumbai. I’m hoping that this passion drives me for the next 24 days!

Last Sunday, yes it was a perfect Sunday!, after saying goodbye to Arlene and Annabelle, and fading into a sea of tourists in Colaba, I found myself inside a store, buying this book–

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps if I make my bucket list, and commit to visiting the places in my list, I’ll learn a little more about the city I will one day leave behind.