A Blogger Deserves Respect

I am a personal blogger, not a performing monkey.

It seems obvious to me but it appears that I have to clarify this to certain people. Just because I share snippets of my life online, does not give you the right to sit in judgement on me. I create & share things that I write. It is a privilege to be read, certainly. But I think, it is also a privilege to read. I respect my readers and I think I deserve that respect back.

Why do some people think its okay to say anything to you because this is an open blog? It may be an open blog but it’s my blog and it’s open because I keep it that way. I have every right to shut out spammers, trolls or detractors if I so choose.

I’m spelling it out just to be clear. My blog is my online home and I welcome you to it. Don’t take advantage of my hospitality or I’ll have no recourse but to throw you out.

Indiblogger Dove Women Bloggers’ Meet – I Feel Pampered!

This post comes up really late. It’s not easy to write about an event, considering the number of details that there are to take in and if one wants to be sure to get everything into a nice, readable post and not just list out the schedule. The last weekend went by in a blur of Indiblogger meets. The first was the incredible MasterChef India 2 meet, which I’ve already written about. The next day, I got spiffed up to go to the Four Seasons hotel for the Dove Indiblogger Women Bloggers’ meet.

A week earlier, I had received an email from Indiblogger, asking if I’d like to try out Dove’s new Damage Therapy range. 2 days later, I received an exciting large box which yielded the following:

  • Dove Damage Therapy Shampoo
  • Dove Damage Therapy striped Conditioner
  • Dove Damage Therapy Hair Serum
  • Dove Damage Therapy Hair Mask

The whole lot was packaged in a big make-up travel kit and filled with gold confetti. Say what you might, but there is something about attractive packaging that a woman just can’t resist. It really adds to the pamper experience of cosmetics & beauty products.

I hesitated for all of a few seconds before taking them to the bathroom. I don’t really have damaged hair (*fingers crossed*). But what woman can resist a brand new set of beauty products, especially when they’re nicely packaged? :-D

I tried all four products that day. By evening, I was astonished at my hair. Now I have naturally straightish hair, that’s quite reasonably supple and smooth. It also tends to get oily very quickly so I actually wash it everyday and use a very mild conditioner to take care of scalp itch. I’d tried the regular Dove shampoo and conditioner earlier but gave them up because they made my hair too greasy and limp. But the evening I tried this new range, left my hair actually swishing and rustling like the models’ hair in the ads! I really haven’t gone back to the Wella shampoo & conditioner I used to use before, even though they’re almost full to the brim, my having bought them a scant week before. I just can’t resist how the Dove range makes my hair feel.

On Sunday, I went for the actual event that launched the new range, its communication and interacted with women bloggers. As with the MasterChef India 2 event, this one also had a definite agenda and structure for the day. I got there at around 11:30, when the event had already been set up. The stage was empty but already people were milling around. At the back of the hall, behind curtains, a makeshift salon had been set up, complete with hairdressers washing & styling hair already. In another curtained-off corner, a mini-spa was already under way with women getting foot massages, manicures and pedicures. True to Indiblogger meets, there was a display screen right at the stage that ran a live track of tweets about the events and listed who had just walked in.

The event began with introductions of each blogger, an Indiblogger staple. This was followed by a short talk by the Dove team. The striking contrast in a formal, business presentation within an informal, unstructured environment like a blogger meet was, I’m afraid to say, almost funny. I realise that this talk was necessary, considering the whole point of the meet was to promote the brand. So it’s a good thing that the presentation didn’t go on for too long. I am guessing the aim was also to provide the bloggers with some message cues to write about in their posts. For future such events, it might be useful to include handouts, press kits or even just printouts of the presentations, for bloggers to take back.

A week later, I’m still a little hazy on the details of the day’s schedule but I don’t remember being bored even once. The spa and salon went on, in parallel, with women getting their turn according to order of registration. Along the way, the Indiblogger team conducted mini-contests (longest hair etc) and handed out prizes. The live feed also served to connect various bloggers & groups to each other. Lunch happened somewhere along the way, an exotic Thai spread with standard 5-star additions of Indian cuisine. I managed to get my feet massaged but because I turned up late, had to wait to the end of the day for the hair pampering.


Post-lunch, I had a chance to host a short discussion on blogging among the bloggers. We touched on things such as embarassing blogging moments, SEO, being taken seriously as bloggers and popular blogging themes. I really enjoyed this segment and if anything, I only wish it could have gone on a wee bit little longer. It takes awhile to draw an audience out, especially bloggers who may not be used to talking about their writing when they’re not hidden behind the comfort of a computer screen. A blogger meet’s prime value, at least right now, is to be able to connect with other bloggers, swap experiences and share insights. Still, it gave everyone a taste of what a blogger meet could be and went on long enough to unearth a few jewels (SEO tips, theme-blogger groups etc).

This was followed by a Q-and-A with the Dove brand person, herself a remarkable endorsement to the brand, considering her beautiful hairstyle. A few tips from that session:

  • Use the conditioner after every shampoo. Rinse off excess after use.
  • Use serum after conditioning on towel-dried hair for best results. Do not wash off.
  • Use hair mask once a week, after a shampoo. Do not use conditioner and serum on these occasions.
  • Smaller pack sizes of the products may soon be available. The hair serum could be used as a travel pack item for quick styling.


The last item on the day’s agenda was a treasure hunt, which really perked up any flagging spirits that may have been left, after a packed day. We ended with the chartboard-as-comment space, another Indiblogger staple.

In sum, I had a lovely weekend, courtesy Indiblogger. It’s always delightful to meet other bloggers and if there is good food, fun things to do and freebies (hehe!), that’s bonus!

The photographs in this post and more of the event can be seen on Facebook, Google Plus and Flickr (starting here). The tweets of this event can be seen at #dovespa.

Reverb 10.2: Redundant Habits

Yesterday’s Reverb 10 prompt had me thinking for awhile without a satisfactory answer.

December 2 - Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
(Author: Leo Babauta)

Could I really be that efficient? My days aren’t all the same but most of them involve the following activities:

  • Sleeping
  • Eating
  • Hygiene & grooming
  • Swimming
  • Email
  • Facebook/Twitter
  • Blogging
  • Writing for deadline-based assignments
  • Working on the novel
  • Phone conversations
  • Meeting friends
  • Cultural activities (movies, events, literary discussions, festivals)

Even when I’m not writing, I am doing something that either triggers off ideas or rekindles inspiration or relaxes/supports my system in being able to stay creative and energetic.

And this is a tremendous realisation. Last year, after I quit my job, I agonized a great deal over the inefficiency of my schedule. Being used to as I was, to a tightly-packed day with at least 8-10hours of work ending in tangible deliverables, it was a paradigm shift. I found it very difficult to accept the idea that I could not, try as I might, write for 8 hours a day or even daily. I could not set a daily word/chapter goal and hope to realistically finish it.

It’s been over a year and I’ve made my peace with some of that now. I do something involved with writing every single day. Some days I’m just bursting with new ideas and I spend those just listing them out or spinning unfinished pieces. There are odd moments, concentrated bursts of creativity where I can see a story or a chapter or a post literally materialize in front of my eyes. Since I now have the luxury of time and a computer at my disposal, I usually get up and jot it down immediately. These don’t happen often but often enough to keep me hooked to the pursuit of the creative spark. And finally, the majority of the days see me able to write a little, think a little, talk a little and work a little. The bulk of the boring stuff like fact-checking, housekeeping, mail management, editing, cleaning up and actually posting happens then. It’s a more fluid rhythm than I was used to in the corporate world, but it is a rhythm nevertheless.

I guess I don’t really have a redundant habit that doesn’t contribute to my writing and that I should drop. Which can only be a good thing. :-)

Ideamarked: November 2010 – Nostalgia, Romance, Identity Theft, Fashion, Street Photography, Geek Humour & Kids

It has been a busy month, what with the domain issues and shifting back to WordPress. Actually, I don’t regret it. This old template (I’m hoping at least a few of you recognize it from having been my readers since then) triggers off old moods and inspiration and I feel freer to write about a lot of things that got buried under the gleaming-gloss of a fancy template and a hotshot domain name. This can only be good.

The Idea-smithy on Facebook idea continues and I’ve been posting links. It’ s a little trickier than the XX Factor Facebook page. XX Factor concerns itself with very specific topics and areas and it is is relatively easy to tell what would appeal to the readers of the blog. But The Idea-smithy is a lot broader, greyer, flexible in its nature. From its inception in 2004, it has been a rantfest, a scribble-pad, a poetry corner, a personal diary, a writing journal and a photo-blog. The posts encompass poetry, fiction, cityscapes, photographs, cartoons, humour, writing exercises, link-and-editorials, reviews and a lot of generally uncategorizable stuff.

I’m still grappling to define this blog the way I struggle to define myself. Tell me, my dear readers, old and new, what do you like about The Idea-smithy? What are your topics of choice? What do you hate? What else would interest you?

I’ve taken some chances in the first month of link-love on Facebook and here’s what I came up with. Your inputs are not just welcome, they’re vital!

  • Writers, romance-lovers, diehard M&Bers, hear ye!: A writing challenge looking for synopsis and first chapter of a novel (via Harlequin Enterprises)
  • This one did the rounds on email a few years ago and all of us in our twenties (then!) sighed and said, “That’s my life!!!”. A landmark net-pop culture reference: The Quarter-life crisis (via Caltech)
  • A strange case of identity-theft: Is someone stealing your tweets and your identity? (via Soma Ghosh)
  • Many of these gave me goosebumps. The related ‘women’s regrets’ one didn’t do that. Strange that is: The secrets regrets of men (via Lemondrop)
  • OMG, if only these were available on the streets, they’d be I Style! I would love to wear The Gateway of India or even The Bandra Worli Sea-link!: The architecture of statement rings (via (via Republic of Chic)
  • Whacky remixes in packaging!: Hommade Undies (via Chhavi Noticed This!)
  • Toilet humour and yes, it is funny!: Accurate Toiletry Instructions (via CollegeHumour)
  • Slightly outdated (which is ancient in internet terms). Appropriate for the month of the release of The Social Network: What Your Email Extension Says About You (via CollegeHumour)
  • I LMAOed. Then I wondered if I was too much of a geek because I understood every single reference in there:The First Fail (via CollegeHumour)
  • Mommy-bloggers, unite! You aren’t alone!: Shit My Kids Ruined (via ShitMyKidsRuined)

BlogAdda 3: Protecting Your Privacy

My third post is up on BlogAdda. Last week I talked about how to build accessibility for a blog through feeds and link-sharing mechanisms. This week I take a look at the exact opposite.

While the internet opens you up to a broad range of people and experiences, it also leaves you open to a number of undesirable elements. Fortunately, filtering mechanisms are available that can help you tailor your online presence with the level of accessibility and privacy that suits you the best. Privacy is as relevant an issue as accessibility and I felt that after talking about how to make one’s blog visible, it was vital to know how to also protect oneself online.

(Click here to read the post)

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