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ChandraTal: Spitian Folklore

This is a very old story, more than a 100 years ago. There lived a lazy man in the village of Rangrik who was a burden on his wife as he did no work. One day this man decided to go to the Chandra Tal lake as he had heard a lot about it being beautiful. It was far from where he lived & a difficult trek but he thought it would be excellent to escape his wife & her nagging. So he left and walked for many days over mountains & passes. Finally when he was almost worn out he caught sight of the lake. It was indeed beautiful & he was so moved he sat down to play his flute like instrument, & was soon lost in its music.

When he opened his eyes after the number there was a beautiful woman standing before him. She said, “Hello, Gangrup, I am the Chandra Tal Fairy. Your music drew me here. I have fallen in love with you, will you come & live with me in my kingdom. I will love you & keep you happy, if you will play for me & love me.”

So Gangrup went with her to her underwater kingdom & they were very happy there through summer. Then as winter came the fairy asked Gangrup to go back home. He was unhappy & said he didn’t want to go as he would miss her. But she said he would have to go, but he could come back next summer. She would miss him too & await his return. But she warned him not to tell anyone about them else they would never be able to be together again.

Gangrups family was overjoyed to see him as they had thought he had died on the way when he did not return for months. Winter set in and Gangrup drank and slept as always, doing nothing else. One day when he was really drunk his wife was nagging him about some work she wanted done. He turned to her & said: “Shut up woman, don’t nag me else I will go away to the ChandraTal fairy. She loves me.” So saying he downed his drink & passed out.

The next morning he remembered what had happened & started to cry. Everyone was concerned & kept asking him what happened but he just kept wailing. He passed the rest of the winter in mad grief and as soon as summer set in he left for the lake.

As soon as he got there he took out his flute & started to play. Soon enough the fairy emerged. She said: “I have just come to say good bye Gangrup. You broke my heart.” So saying she left. Gangrup fell to his knees & called after her crying. A while later she emerged holding a bundle. Gangrup was overjoyed thinking she had forgiven him. But she said “This is our daughter, born of our love, take her back with you.” So saying she handled him the bundle & left.

Gangrup looked down at his daughter & gasped. She was the ugliest thing he had set eyes on, covered in warts and boils & she was very ill. He didn’t want to touch her but then filial love won & he took her along. However she died on the way. Broken hearted Gangrup took her all the way home.

His family was stunned when he told them she was his daughter from the ChandraTal fairy. He buried her with all ceremony & built a memorial for her in the house.

From then on his families luck changed and they became rich. After all, the little girl was also a Nortin (fairy).

His line is still alive today though they have moved to a new house (the old house still stands in ruins). They moved the memorial to the new house too & it can be still seen today.

Credits:
Photos – Harish and Easha
Story – I first read this story in Spiti Through Legend And Lore by Kishore Thukral.

July 9, 2010   4 Comments

The Red Tent

A few years ago I read a book and it set me thinking about how culture and society has dealt with menstruation. (Yes, you heard me right :D)


The book was ‘The Red Tent’ by Anita Diamant. It was a first-person story of Dinah, daughter of Jacob and sister of Joseph of the Old Testament. Dinah was a talented midwife and proto-feminist. The story revolves round the red tent, which refers to the tent in which women of Jacob’s tribe must take refuge while menstruating or giving birth, according to the ancient law.

The Red Tent seems like punishment and expulsion from home, doesn’t it? But it isn’t, the women in the tent rested, talked, found mutual support and encouragement from their mothers, sisters and aunts. This was their “space”; their “me time”.

Now a culture closer home… The Indian Hindu culture. Growing up I saw and heard of women being ostracised when they were menstruating. There weren’t allowed in the prayer room or kitchen; they ate out of plates kept separately from them. They almost became untouchables. But, this wasn’t the initial intention; the intention was for women to rest and not do any hard labour.

A culture even closer – Islam. Muslim women are not allowed to pray or read the Koran during menstruation. They are considered impure and even unclean during this period.

If you look back at any culture, it’s clear that society then understood that women are at their weakest during menstruation; that they are losing blood; some are in pain and almost all are in discomfort. How can any of this be unclean or impure? To me a woman is at her purest when she’s menstruating, it is one of the surest signs of her having a productive womb.

Why am I saying all this, no idea. Actually it was just an idea I felt like sharing and ranting about. So what do you think of some of our cultures? What’s your experience?

Photo Credit: TwitterviewTuesday!

April 27, 2010   3 Comments

Try Everything! – You never know how or what will do the trick…

My little Cuckoo isn’t little anymore; she’s about 10 months old and well on her way into becoming a doggie teenager. As teenagers they aren’t very different from us, she’s getting stubborn, shows attitude… you know the drill.

Lately, due to the summer heat I’ve taken to sleeping with the dogs in the hall. If you’ve ever slept with dogs around, you’d know how lovely it is to feel them around you. However my Cuckoo has a strange quirk, she’s hates weight being put on her. This quirk causes growls quite often at night as I turn about with her at my feet.

I’ve been trying different tricks to get her comfortable with people hugging her or smothering her. One thing I’ve been doing is smothering her 10 times a day and then giving her a treat. This method has shown marked improvement.

Last night however, as I was putting my bedding down on the floor, Cuckoo as always sauntered across the room and plonked herself at the foot of the mat. This triggered an idea in my head as I realised that maybe she wants to be close to me but not on the floor. So, off I went to get her mat and place it next to mine. We both had a good night’s rest with no growls at all.

Why am I telling you this? My learning from yesterday was sometimes the most obvious things to do can be the solution or what seems most unlikely to work may be a great solution.

What do you think? Do you act on the impromptu ideas you get? Do you think a lot before you act on anything? Do you prefer the “well-tested” solution to the “freak idea”?

Photo credit: Chenthil

April 21, 2010   6 Comments

Review: Conducting Twitter Contests by Tony Eldridge

[This post has been posted on the BookBuzzr blog too! For those who may not know I am a Social Media Marketer. I also represent BookBuzzr as the Author Community Manager.]

Phew! I’ve just gone through Tony Eldridge’s Conducting Twitter Contests and first reaction; Wow!

It’s been a quick skim but I already know that I’m going to go back for more. Tony has used a novel way to present his topic; he uses text and video so, you can read; absorb, and then watch and reinforce.

In this course Tony covers –

• Selecting the audience
• Planning a contest
• Pre-contest promotion
• Selecting prizes and setting rules
• Creating a tracking system and contest page
• Launching the contest and promoting it
• Contest end

Saying his course is about Twitter Contests would be limiting it! The course has nuggets of information that will benefit your outcome of twitter even without conducting a contest.

Summation – Tony Eldridge’s Conducting Twitter Contests is a must read for anyone planning a twitter contest!

Read more about Conducting Twitter Contests and order here. Tony Eldridge is a noted Book Marketer; creator of the Marketing Tips for Authors blog and has a free Video Marketing Tips For Authors newsletter. Tony Eldridge is the author of The Samson Effect, an action/adventure novel that Clive Cussler calls a “first rate thriller brimming with intrigue and adventure.”

March 26, 2010   2 Comments

How Grabbon uses Social Influence Marketing

While checking out Facebook today I noticed an ad for Grabbon (facebook ads are definitely getting better). Curious about the deals they are offering in Bangalore, I decided to check it out.

The How Grabbon Works Page says “Grabbon’s mission is to help you find awesome things to do around your city without emptying out your wallet. Leave it to us to find exciting things to do and see amazing discounts off the original price.”

Grabbon seems to have some good deals to offer especially for food. But getting the deal isn’t as straight forward as it seems and therein lies it power.

So let’s break that down – Grabbon offers an exclusive deal every day. If you like the deal you book it by paying a small token amount. However doing this does not mean you get the deal. The deal has a minimum requirement of bookings and only if that requirement is met will you get your coupon. If the minimum number is not reached your amount is refunded.

The key to Grabbon’s success will lie in this minimum requirement. Imagine that they are offering a deal that you really want and that deal requires 10 bookings. At this point, at some level, Grabbon and you have the same need (10 bookings). To get your deal you will pass the information onto your friends and influence them to buy it too. This is where the message goes viral.

Grabbon’s deals are an excellent example of social influence marketing. Everyone benefits, it’s a win-win – the restaurant gets a lot of mentions, Grabbon the traffic and you the coupon.

Have you seen any examples like it? What do you think of Social Influence Marketing? Have you noticed it in your day-to-day life?

March 11, 2010   2 Comments

The Mystery of the Suddenly Appearing Holes

While drinking tea this morning I remembered an old incident that got me smiling.

Some years ago when we were kids we bought our first emergency light. Big deal you say; it was a big deal. In those days every one of our friends had one at home but we still studied by candlelight. So, getting this box with switches and lights attached as antennae had us jubilant and always finding excuses to use it.

A few months later a strange phenomenon started to happen in our house. Clothes suddenly started to get holes in them. The holes like the hole you get when you drop a lit match head on cloth. But, only Dad smoked so how did granny and I have holes in our clothes. One day we found a towel with a huge hole, as if it had just melted away. Then just as suddenly as it started it stopped. We were bewildered but there just was no answer.

This repeated over time; the holes would start to appear suddenly and then just stop too. Feel free to imagine all the reasons we gave and got. From cigarettes and matches to birds and ghosts. But after a lot of examining of the towel (our biggest evidence with a half foot hole) we came to the conclusion that it was acid. Only acid could melt the cloth so.

Now the search began with renewed vigour. We kids found new theories every day. One theory was the washing machine was causing it in some manner, maybe there was an acid leak somewhere. Another was the birds – maybe the birds pooped on the cloth and the acid in that melted the cloth. All of these fell apart since for the towel hole we would have either needed an entire bird community or a giant condor.

Am sure you’ve figured out the culprit by now. Yes, the famed emergency light had a faulty battery. So when we took it down to use the holes suddenly started and when thanks to KEB (Karnataka Electricity Board) we didn’t need to, they stopped. Of course it took us a few clothes, a towel, a carpet and lots of time to figure this out, but it flamed such creativity.

So, why am I telling you this… No reason, just…
😉

.

February 22, 2010   4 Comments

Twitter Lists: A Power Tool for Authors

Recently I was invited to be guest blogger on Tony Eldridge’s Marketing Tips for Authors Blog. Being such a fan of Twitter my post is about how Twitter has proven to be a great marketing tool and ‘Lists’ their latest feature only enhances its potential. Read my post: Twitter Lists: A Power Tool for Authors to learn how you can increase your productivity on twitter and engage better with your audience.

February 17, 2010   3 Comments

I, me and my life on my terms…

A few days back I met Ramya [Thanks Ramya :)] to discuss a social media tool, her company was working on among other things. More on the tool in another post; this post is about the rest of our talk.

I had met Ramya through my blog. We exchanged a few emails and decided to meet. Ramya had questions for me that a lot of others have asked on what I do, why I do it, how I live this life, etc… You get the drift. Talking to Ramya was a walk down memory lane and I wanted to take you along. :)

A bit about me – I am a freelancer, have a range of skills, I do my own thing on my own time, travel a fair bit, have all I need, do not work for a corporate company and yet enjoy every moment and live life on my terms. [This is as people see me :D, I do have my own low moments :) ]

Disclaimer: The walk starts now and may be a bit long so if want to turn back now, you can…

I have always been a bit of a rebel, from way back when I remember I wanted things a certain way and wouldn’t settle for less, I did the unacceptable as normal. I remember my first cycle – I wanted a boys cycle and my parents said no, I waited 2 years stubbornly before they relented (it helped that picking and dropping me off at school was getting tedious).

I didn’t want big things, I just wanted what I wanted big or small but mostly it was small. Small things make me happy, I don’t care so much for the quality or brand of stuff as long as it does the job, I don’t care much for money or tomorrow.

Then about 10 years back I started to learn some lessons (lessons to me that is). I realized the value of today, of now, of each moment. I figured that money had no value because it can’t buy happiness, peace or love. Ok no more gyan, I’m sure you have these answers too. :)

Anyway so going on, I caught the travel and biking bug in my early twenties almost about the same time. Then on I started to crave to be free, to not have to work, to do my own thing…. I was not happy with the way my life was and so I started to plan to start anew. I quit my job as a corporate trainer and with 30K in hand I set out to travel in 2006. The plan was to travel as long as possible and when I ran out of money come back. But what did happen was I got a travel writing job on the way and they paid me to travel, I met some great people who sponsored some food and stay, relatives & friends boarded me for months and some friends who even travelled along. What did happen was I travelled for 8 months before I finally came back home.

To most of my family what I had done was mad while I was doing it (later it was something to brag about) but they supported me. I met some amazing people who gave me insight into myself and the world around me. I had come back with a lot of data and numbers. I realized that I didn’t need a lot of money but wanted a lot of time; I became a freelancer.

I started out doing proofreading and language editing and soon moved on to writing scripts and storyboards for learning modules. Before long I was working on website content with a lot of research involved. Sounds like a lot of work? It was most times but I loved it, I also loved saying no when I wasn’t in a mood to work.

I worked with Spiti Ecosphere an NGO in Spiti in the Himalayas for 5 months and came back to continue as a freelancer. I had met the man who was ‘just right’ for me, and we fix like a puzzle. I got an opportunity to market BookBuzzr a free online book marketing tool. When I started out it was a challenge, I had in my travelling lost touch with the internet and had to learn a hell of a lot and let’s not mention marketing. So I did what I do best, learn new stuff. BTW social media is fun and amazingly challenging.

So this is where I am today…

Disclaimer – Here on there is gyan, you can turn away now if you want to :)

To be a freelancer, according to me these are needed.

– You need to find out what you want to do. This is the toughest but you also can do it by trial and error :)
– You should make sure you have no financial obligations or at least have enough saved for those.
– Be open to less money more time. There are no guarantees of jobs here.
– Tell all you know about what you do. Word of mouth is the best way to get jobs.
– Setup a blog and get a website.
– Learn and set yourself up. Build a reputation.
– Work ethic and conscience is very important as there will be distractions galore.
– And having a supportive family and friends is a plus.

I love my life and how I live it. True I haven’t got a plan for 5 years from now but am sure I’ll figure it out on the way. I don’t have a huge bank balance but I know that somewhere somehow I’ll make as much as I need. I live a somewhat minimalistic life, I question everything as ‘Do I need this?’ and act only when the answer is ‘yes’. Above all I have a great life-partner and family who understand me and what I want to do and love me enough to set me free.

Photo Credit: Chenthil

January 22, 2010   13 Comments

Review: Sendible – A Multi-Platform Social Media Scheduler

I am constantly on the lookout for good social media sites and here is my latest find.

Sendible helps you to connect with your friends, family, customers and co-workers by sending all types of messages from one place – now or in the future. I took a quick look around and liked what I saw though it still can do better.

The sign-up was pretty easy and clean. Had to wait a while though for the confirmatory email. The welcome page has a listing of all the sites you can schedule on, and there are quite a few. You can post on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter among others. You can also schedule Blogs, Email and even Flickr.
sendible12 Before being able to use any of the services, you will have to enter details of the networks you want to use. You can connect not only to your Facebook profile but also your Facebook pages. That’s a nice touch!

You can import your contacts from most emails services. Sendible supports Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo or you can use a .csv file. The process is simple and easy and you also have the option of selecting which contacts to import. The Address book is well spaced out and easy to navigate.

The email setup is easy to use and even lets you blind copy everyone if you are mass mailing. The Multi Message allows you to send/schedule on multiple platforms and when scheduling you can also make messages recurring to act as reminders, however the scheduler right now only lets you go upto 30 hours. Hope they soon include days, weeks and months.

The sms scheduler allows only 160 characters and lets you get all replies to your sms as an email. A great marketing tool! However you have to buy credits to use the sms feature, hence not free :(

Sendible seems to be the only tool I have come across recently that allows multi-social network scheduling/posting for free. (I use SocialOomph quite a bit and I hate the fact that Facebook scheduling is not free). When scheduling status updates you can include URL’s and images too!

Sendible also lets you setup reminders for yourself by email or sms. Though am not so kicked by this as I can do this on my phone or outlook as reminders anyway.

On repeat login you will get to your homepage which is quite nifty. At a glance you can see scheduled messages, tasks and birthdays. You can also send out quick emails and status messages.

Something to note is that all messages will have ads in them unless you have a Sendible Pro account. The paid service also offers an newsletter sign-up widget for your blog. The widget adds the customer data to your Sendible list and so you can schedule and send out your newsletter right from here. You can even customize your newsletter and send them to select groups.

On the whole a great social media scheduler! It caters to almost everyone’s needs.

Photo Credit – Sendible

January 21, 2010   1 Comment