Kindness is the superhero we all need – in 2022, and beyond…

As one writer shared: "Which brings me back to the original question – is there a Hindi word for kindness? Maybe there is and maybe there isn’t. It doesn’t matter. From the doctor who treated my family for free to the folks in the Jain mandir who gave us nutritious meals – it is our common humanity, our innate kindness that held us together. There was no reason for people to open their hearts at a time when all of us were stretched, but everyone still did."

To other writers, and your wonderful writing – thank you for these precious words

I want to celebrate other writers, no matter what stage of the writing journey they are at - whether they are just beginning, or are established names, or those who write without aiming or yearning for any 'success' of any kind. I want to celebrate their hard work, compliment them (I usually leave a comment, a like, some feedback) and most of all, I also want to share their writing with other readers. Writing is hard work. Whether you are writing a blog, a new report, a feature story, a personal essay or a book. I don't think I will ever hold back on complimenting - a fellow blogger, a journalist, an essayist, an author or anyone who writes - if I come across writing that reflects hard work and craft. Of course there may be jealousy - why can't I write like that? Or why didn't I get to do a story like that. But over all of that is genuine admiration and joy for the people who write, and for the stories that resonate with a wide variety of people.

What is authentic travel?

Many of us - as travellers, service providers, storytellers and content creators - have heard the term 'authentic travel' or authentic travel experiences. But you will know that the term is rather fluid and subjective. It could mean different things for different people. However, more and more travellers are seeking authentic travel, which in some ways would mean travel experiences that are more real, immersive and genuine - as opposed to those that are stage-managed or touristy in nature. A lot of service providers are also trying to cater to this demand.

The time we jumped off a bus in Malta

We made it to the portico and paused to take in the six columns and the two bell towers flanking them. But it was when we stepped inside that I felt like Alice in Wonderland. Or perhaps I had consumed magic mushroom? The interior of the dome was spectacular, coming alive in a beautiful gold, white and blue. As I stood wide-eyed and open mouthed, a man who must be in his sixties came to me. He pointed at a board and smiled. “Miraklu. Miracle.”

World Mental Health Day – writings at the intersection of personal and professional

One particular feedback that I received from a reader (on Jerry Pinto's interview) will always stay with me. She wrote: "“I always thought no one can ever understand me because my situation and my life experiences have been extraordinarily different. Not all in a good, extraordinarily different way though. But after reading Jerry Pinto’s interview here, I think he will definitely understand me. His words moved me to a place of quiet acceptance of all that I felt and experienced in life. Thank you for sharing this. I feel a wonderful sense of kinship with the author. Kindred souls of the same world. His words are so gentle and kind.”

The Write Creed E24: Slow journalism, mental health, adoption and grief in The Good Story Project with Prerna Shah

This past week, I got my first podcasting experience. No, I did not create a podcast, but I appeared on one. I spoke with Eisha – a media professional who works with different mediums – about storytelling, helping other people tell their stories, and we also meandered on topics like grief and guilt.

I admit, I was slightly nervous. When I was in university, studying literature, a classmate had said to me – “Your voice reminds me of the ‘announcement lady’ on Indian railway platforms. The one who says, Gaddi platform number do se ab platform number teen pe ayegi. The train would now arrive at platform number 3 instead of platform number 2.” I did not how to take that feedback, and was conscious about the way my voice came across. But I admit I did nothing to change or work on it. I think I still speak in a similar manner, and my voice retains my Indian accent.

I am not sharing this incident to fish for compliments in a roundabout way. For me, it is rather about a realisation that I really hadn’t ‘heard’ my own voice the way one does when you play a podcast and hear yourself speak. It was a good experience, and I loved the fact that the conversation was easy and natural. When you are speaking with someone, one thing leads to another, you are perhaps more relaxed and open. Willing to share so much of your life and experiences. Willing to let the conversation take a turn and delve into territories that might be difficult to speak about. It is these aspects that make a podcast such a lovely medium to have conversations, interviews, and also for reciting stories, poems and even full-length novels.

As always, I am open for feedback – both constructive and critical. So don’t hesitate if you have a suggestion or two.  Kyunki,Gaddi number ek blog ke platform se podcast ke platform par pahuch chuki hai. Because train number one has now taken off from the blog station and is about to arrive to the podcast station…”

(Sorry, couldn’t resist that last bit!)

The Write Creed

Prerna Shah is a Dublin-based writer, blogger and journalist. In July 2020, right in the middle of the Covid19 pandemic, she and her friend Swati Subhedar startedThe Good Story Projectwhich is a storytelling platform that allows ordinary people to write about their lives. “A safe space where interviews, personal narratives and features could be conducted with balance and empathy.” In this episode of The Write Creed, Prerna and Eisha talk about the need and scope of slow journalism and then meander through topics of mental health, loss, adoption, grief and guilt, while weaving their own stories into the conversation.

Suggested reads:Jerry Pinto’s pieceandAmandeep Sandhu’s interview

#thegoodstoryproject #prernashah #thewritecreed #mentalhealth #loss #grief #death #adoption #covid19 #pandemic #swatisubhedar #narratives #journalism #slowjournalism #guilt #bipolardisorder #virginiawoolf #empathy #balance #support #writingheals #dublin #mumbai #vadodara #lucknow #mumbai #gujarati #ordinarypeople #everydaylives #sushantsinghrajput

Check out E24: Slow journalism, mental health, adoption and…

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A lunch-time laughter fest in Sweden — my travel tale on DanVenture Travels

Yesterday, I had a thought-provoking conversation with a friend. It was about what people want from their travel and holidays. I know what I want. Travel fuels my imagination and is also the inspiration for the many stories that I tell. But it is also about creating memories. With family, with friends, and to be … Continue reading A lunch-time laughter fest in Sweden — my travel tale on DanVenture Travels

Indian men, cooking and kitchen chores – Covid-19 and beyond

Sharon, who is based in the US, wrote: “My partner never helped me in the kitchen nor household chores for the last 10 years. He was pampered, spoilt and completely unaware. Covid-19 quarantine has been a blessing. [With] work from home, he realized how much I do at home which was unnoticed. Now he is the one who does dishwashing, kitchen cleaning, laundry which has made it so easy for me to cook and manage the house better. He only makes coffee and fried egg. You need passion to cook, and I don’t think he has it or will try to cook. My husband is not proud of himself for not helping me all these years. Better late than never.”