How To Choose The Best Blogging Platform | Wordpress Vs. Blogger Compared

How To Choose The Best Blogging Platform | Wordpress Vs. Blogger Compared

One of the biggest challenges in starting a blog is, perhaps, deciding which blogging platform to choose. There are many options available: Wordpress, Blogger, Typepad, LiveJournal, Wix, and Tumblr, to name just a few. Some of these blogging platforms are free, some are paid, and some offer premium services in their paid versions. They all have different sets of features and require varying degrees of technical skills to use them.

Most popular of the lot are Wordpress and Blogger, and there’s a never-ending debate on which of these two is better.

To be completely fair though, the debate should be between THREE and not TWO. Wordpress.com (where you don't have to pay for hosting) and Wordpress.org (where you buy the hosting separately) should ideally be considered as two separate blogging platforms.

A side note: At the time of writing this post, my own blogs are all hosted on Blogger. I have made some professional websites too on Blogger, to save on hosting costs for my clients. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you should go for Blogger too. It works for me, but, it might be totally wrong for you.

In this article, I am going to list down some of the key differences between Wordpress.com Vs. Wordpress.org Vs. Blogger.com, and then let you decide which of these three blogging platforms is best for you, based on your specific requirements.


Which Blogging Platform Is Best For You: Wordpress.com, Wordpress.org, or Blogger?


I am giving details of the three main blogging platforms in use today: their usage cost, pros and cons, as well as what type of blogs they are most ideal for.

Hopefully, these details will help you pick the most suitable blogging platform for your blog.

Wordpress Vs. Blogger: Which Is Better?

Pros and Cons of Using Self-hosted Wordpress.org as Your Blogging Platform


Whatever blogging resources you check out on the internet, or even ebooks published by various professional bloggers, they will all tell you to go for self-hosted blogs on Wordpress.org. While there are some definite advantages on using this platform, you need to know that all these premium functionalities come at a cost, and you may or may not necessarily need those features.

  • Cost:
    • None for the Wordpress software.
    • Minimum about $100 per year for domain and hosting. (Depending upon the hosting plan you purchase.)
    • Extra for customized/premium themes or added plugins (functionalities).

  • Pros:
    • Easy to publish new posts, upload media files, and also customize your theme if you have some basic technical skills.
    • Thousands of free themes and plugins are available to choose from. Then you have many more premium themes and plugins you can purchase if you need. There is a plugin that will even help correct your English, if English is not your first language!
    • You have full customization control over how your blog looks (its posts, pages, the navigation bars, all the widgets, the comments section, etc). You can make professional business websites too, including ecommerce websites and portfolio websites.
    • You have complete flexibility in advertisement placements and other forms of sponsored content. Affiliate marketing can become quite easy with some premium plugins.
    • It is completely "Search Engine friendly". Optimizing your post for SEO can become relatively easier with the Yoast SEO plugin.
    • Excellent support from the huge Wordpress community all over the world (may or may not be free though).
    • Storage space is only limited to the hosting plan you purchase. You can always upgrade your plan if you need more space.
    • Wordpress software provides six user levels, with different access rights for each, making it easier to assign roles and responsibilities in team blogs.
    • You can password-protect individual posts, to restrict their audience if required.

  • Cons:
    • Setting up your own hosting requires moderate levels of technical skills. Or you can get a professional developer to do this for you at a one-time cost. In case of the latter, make sure you take all the required login IDs and passwords from your developer, including those of your third-party domain/hosting account. (eg. GoDaddy, BlueHost, SiteGround etc.)
    • Since you purchase the web-hosting space from some third-party (as mentioned in the above point), your blog is not as secure and reliable as hosting it on Blogger or Wordpress.com. Obviously, their security protocols and measures are more advanced and robust.
    • For the same reason, your blog is also more prone to malware attacks and hackers. At times, you might have to pay substantial amounts of money to get your self-hosted Wordpress blog back online again.
Despite the cost and the various technical hassles associated with self-hosting on Wordpress.org, this platform is still the most widely used blogging platform in the world today, because of the versatility offered by it. It is most suitable for:

  • Professional bloggers and business owners.
  • News curation blogs.
  • High traffic blogs.
  • Multi-user blogs with varying access levels.
  • Even full-fledged business websites and ecommerce stores.

Pros and Cons of Using Wordpress.com as Your Blogging Platform


Wordpress.com is where you get to use the free version of Wordpress. All those internet debates you come across, between Wordpress Vs Blogger, usually leave it ambiguous as to which Wordpress they are actually talking about. I personally find Wordpress.com the worst of the three, because it is severely limited in its scope, even for personal/hobby bloggers.

  • Cost:
    • None for a free Wordpress subdomain blog (i.e. xyz.wordpress.com).
    • You get free hosting space of 3GB. You can upgrade the storage space with one of their paid plans.
    • If you want a custom domain for your wordpress blog (i.e. www.yourdomain.com), you will have to upgrade to one of their paid plans, starting from $99 per year.
      (Rates are at the time of writing this post.)

  • Pros:
    • You get free reliable hosting on Wordpress.com servers (free upto 3GB).
    • It is super easy to setup. You can start blogging in 5 minutes. And you don't need any tech-how.
    • Easy to publish new posts and upload content.
    • No coding/design skills are needed.
    • Hundreds of default themes are available for free.
    • Many built-in plugins and widgets, that can be added to your theme easily, and serve most of the features a personal/hobby blogger might need.
    • Support from the Wordpress community is amazing.
    • Provides six user access levels, same as discussed above in the Wordpress.org section, for team blogs.
    • Can password-protect individual posts, for restricted viewership.
    • Basic Search Engine Optimization can be done easily in the post editor.

  • Cons:
    • Extremely limited functionality, unless you pay for upgrades. You cannot even get your own domain without purchasing a plan.
    • You are restricted to default themes and in-built plugins and widgets, unless you upgrade.
    • You have absolutely no access to the theme/template code to modify even the slightest bit of HTML/CSS.
    • You cannot add javascript functionalities, not even the Google Analytics tracking code to monitor and analyze your traffic.
    • Very limited support to monetize your blog. You cannot integrate Adsense or other third-party ad-networks.
    • The free storage space of 3GB is for all your content – text and images.
As you can see, Wordpress.com provides very little scope and flexibility in its completely free version. You can't even make a professional portfolio blog on it, unless you upgrade. This blogging platform is most suitable for:

  • Personal/hobby blogs for those who just want to share their created content with the world, and have no technical skills at all.
  • Small-group blogs that require varying user access levels (e.g. a class assignment).
  • Bloggers who prefer Wordpress hosting over third-party hosting, and so, are willing to buy an upgrade plan from Wordpress, just so they can have it all at one place, with one provider.

Pros and Cons of Using Google's Blogger/Blogspot as Your Blogging Platform


Blogger (or blogspot, as it is also known) is Google's free blogging service. It is the most ridiculed blogging platform in the blogging world, although I personally don't see any reason for so much of hate thrown towards it. I find it pretty convenient and flexible to use, and at a very minimal cost too.

  • Cost:
    • None for a blogspot subdomain blog (i.e. xyz.blogspot.com).
    • None for mapping your own custom domain name (i.e. www.yourdomain.com).
    • You can purchase your domain name from a third-party (like GoDaddy) or even from Google Domains at roughly $15 per year for a .com domain.

  • Pros:
    • You get free reliable hosting on Google servers. (Free upto 15GB per Google account.)
    • You can easily setup your blogspot blog with your existing Gmail user ID.
    • It is super easy to use the Blogger dashboard to publish new posts and upload content.
    • You don't need to buy an extensive upgrade plan just to map your own domain name to your blog.
    • There are thousands of free third-party templates for Blogger that can be used in place of Blogspot default themes. Even magazine style themes and portfolio templates.
    • Blogger allows full access to the template code to modify the HTML/CSS and add “hacks” for various plugin functionalities.
    • It supports javascripts, not within posts directly, but in the widgets and the main template.
    • Allows easy integration with Adsense advertisements, as well as Google Analytics.
    • Basic Search Engine Optimization can be done easily in the post editor.
    • Fully customizable with some webdesign skills. Or you can also get a customized theme, designed by a professional, at a one-time cost.

  • Cons:
    • There are very few default themes and they are not at all suitable for making professional looking blogs, or say portfolio sites. You will need to get a third-party theme.
    • The default widgets in Blogger provide most of the basic functionalities, but you don't have any option to get premium plugins, not even paid ones.
    • Moderate coding/design skills are needed to make any kind of customizations in your blog theme.
    • There is no option to self-host (not even a paid one).
    • Blogger provides only two user levels. So you cannot create group blogs requiring too many different user access levels.
    • There is no option to password protect individual posts.
    • Storage space of 15GB includes all services associated with that Google account (Gmail, Photos, Drive etc).
    • Might get a tad slow with too heavy traffic.
Compared with the free Wordpress.com, Blogger/Blogspot provides much more flexibility and usability. However, I wouldn't recommend it for extensive business websites or ecommerce websites. In my opinion, it is most suitable for:

  • Personal/hobby blogs, for those people who have some HTML/CSS skills.
  • Low-to-medium traffic niche blogs.
  • Minimum budget professional/portfolio websites that just need to establish an internet presence, without requiring any advanced features.
  • Multi-user blogs that don't require too many different access levels.

How To Choose The Best Blogging Platform | Wordpress Vs. Blogger Compared
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So this was a comprehensive list of comparison between Wordpress.com, Wordpress.org, and Blogger. If you are planning to start a blog, this list should be able to help you choose the best blogging platform for your new blog, based on your specific requirements and plans.

Most resources on the internet will tell you to blindly go for self-hosted Wordpress (i.e. Wordpress.org), but in my almost 13 years of blogging, I have seen a lot of different types of blogs, and met a lot of different kinds of bloggers, all with diverse blogging goals. And, as I always say...
In the world of blogging, there is no "one size fits all".
My preferred blogging platform, at the moment, is Blogger. All my blogs are single-user blogs, with low-to-moderate traffic. Plus, I have design skills, so I can customize my blogs any which way I want, at no extra annual cost (besides the domain name).

Nevertheless, your blogging goals, design skills, and requirements could be completely different from mine. As such, please go through this list of comparison between Wordpress.com Vs. Wordpress.org Vs. Blogger.com, and then decide for yourself which of these three blogging platforms is best for you, both use-wise, as well as cost-wise.

If you have been blogging for a while, please spare a couple of minutes to answer the following questions:

Which blogging platform do you use?
Blogger / Wordpress.com / Wordpress.org? Any other?
How has your experience been with your chosen blogging platform?
Are you happy with it? Does it serve your requirements most effectively?
Would you have chosen differently if you knew better?

Here's more in "Blogging"!
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Why Being In Nature Makes Us Happier | 8 Reasons To Spend More Time In Nature

Why Being In Nature Makes Us Happier | 8 Reasons To Spend More Time In Nature

With the advent of cable TV, internet, and now smartphones too, our pastime activities have got more and more confined to the indoors. Many of us spend weeks and months without any proximity to natural surroundings. But studies have shown time and again that spending more time in nature makes us healthier and happier, and not just because of the little bit of exercise we might get in the process!

Taking a couple of hours every week to be in nature - interacting with, or even just observing and appreciating God's creation all around us - can have a marked difference on our happiness and vitality.

Here are 8 ways in which being connected to nature promotes a sense of happiness.

How Does Spending Time In Nature Make Us Happier?


  1. Creates Acceptance.


    Spending time outdoors and interacting with nature, causes a shift in our perspective. We remember that we are not alone, that we are a very tiny part of something infinitely bigger and so much more grandiose. We understand that everything around us has a role to play, and so do we. And that helps us ACCEPT things as they are, which is the key to happiness.

  2. Reduces Anxiety and Hyper-Tension.


    There is something about nature that takes our stress away. Whether it is the deep blue of the ocean or the earthy greens and browns of plant life. Or maybe it is the realization that a force so much bigger than us has created all of this. And, in comparison, all our worries tend to fade away into insignificance. And CALMNESS descends over us, giving a boost to our happiness quotient.

  3. Encourages Us to Explore.


    Being in nature brings out our sense of wonder. The different patterns on sea-shells, the varying colors on butterflies' wings, the shapes in the clouds, a new nest in the trees... we keep striving to discover more. The "new" doesn't frighten us anymore. Rather, it excites us. It fills us with a sense of possibilities. We become more open to EXPLORE. This child-like inquisitiveness is one of the key ingredients of the recipe to happiness.

    How Does Spending Time In Nature Make Us Happier?

  4. Promotes A Sense of Gratitude.


    Spending even a few minutes in nature every day helps you appreciate all that the Universe has done for you. My shop is just a 3-minute walk from my building, but even that little bit of time fills me up with GRATITUDE, as I notice all the trees along the way and the clear blue sky above me. It reminds me of how nature provides for all my needs. Most of all, it reassures me of my own place in the grand scheme of things.

  5. Inspires Creativity.


    You look up any article on dealing with writers' block, and one of the suggestions will be to spend some time in nature! Nature fuels our curiosity. Why do apples fall down and trees grow up? How do birds fly and fish swim? Nature is perhaps the biggest source of INSPIRATION for human minds, and an inspired mind is, by default, a happy mind, because it is fueled by challenges, not burdened by them.

  6. Brings about Mindfulness.


    Spending some time with nature on a regular basis, just experiencing it and observing it, can help us become more grounded in the present moment. Whether we are gazing at the stars billions of light years away, or listening to the birds chirping at our window sill. (In my case, it's the top of my shop shutter! And they are busy chattering away right now, as if the fate of this entire world rested upon their tiny shoulders!) A connection with nature makes us more MINDFUL, which, in turn, promotes an overall sense of happiness.

  7. Makes Us Kinder and More Generous.


    In a research, one group of participants were made to stare at some very tall trees, and another group spent the same time looking up at high-rise buildings. The first group showed a measurable increase in feelings of awe, and demonstrated more helpful and ethical behavior even long after the experiment was concluded. Being in nature enhances our ability to connect with others and feel a part of one whole, making us more XENIAL, thereby increasing the production of Serotonin, one of the four happiness hormones in our body.

  8. Improves Our Health.


    Exposure to nature has scientifically proven benefits on our physical and mental WELL-BEING. It strengthens our respiratory and cardiovascular systems, and alleviates depression. It relieves the attention fatigue and "burnout" caused by constant information overload in these times of ubiquitous technology, and restores our depleted mental circuits to their normal health.

Why Being In Nature Makes Us Happier | 8 Reasons To Spend More Time In Nature
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These are just a few benefits of being in nature... 8 ways in which spending more time in nature increases happiness.

Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, says
"nature is fuel for the soul".
His advice to us is that when we feel tired and reach for that cup of coffee, we should instead go for a stroll in the park.

Nature makes us "feel more alive". No matter how busy our schedule may be, we must always try and spend some time outdoors to appreciate the beauty and oneness of nature around us.

How do you make time for nature in your life? How do you ensure to spend some time every day in nature? Do you have your own vegetable garden to nurture? Or a dog perhaps, to lead you in search of rabbit holes? Or are you a part of some photography group that holds weekly "photo walks"? How do you get your daily dose of nature?

Book Review: Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight by Rujuta Diwekar

Book Review: Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight by Rujuta Diwekar

Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight, by Rujuta Diwekar, teaches you how to lose weight without giving up all your favorite foods. No crash dieting, no carbohydrate deprivation, no unbidden cravings. Losing weight doesn't mean having to go hungry. Losing weight is not so much about WHAT to eat, as it is about HOW MUCH to eat and WHEN to eat. And that, in a nutshell, is what this book is all about.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through those links, I will receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. (Many thanks, if you choose to support me this way.)

Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight

Author: Rujuta Diwekar
Genre: Health, Self-help, Fitness, Diet, Food, Nutrition, Weight-loss
ISBN13: 9788184001051
First Published: 2009
Format: Paperback, 288 pages

Book Blurb:


It’s the book that’s taken the country by storm. For the first time comes a diet book from Rujuta Diwekar – India’s pre-eminent sports science and nutrition expert and the woman behind Kareena Kapoor’s sensationally fit body – that teaches you how to lose weight without giving up on the samosas, kebabs and gulab jamuns.

All you have to do is follow four simple rules to eating right. Soon you’ll be eating all you want – and still shedding those kilos. Full of practical advice, fascinating insights and funny anecdotes, Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight gives you the ultimate zero-deprivation diet.
I bought Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight, by Rujuta Diwekar, quite a few years ago, based on exceptionally high recommendations from several people I knew personally. And even though most of the information in the book is quite logical, I still couldn't understand all the hype about it. First of all, here are a few things that didn't impress me:

  1. The language in the book was too 'Mumbaiya' for my taste. Perhaps, this kind of over-casual tone appeals to some readers. It was a turn-off for me.
  2. The author keeps throwing in names of her high-profile clients to impress/dazzle the readers. Frankly, I don't care. I bought the book to learn about losing weight in a healthy manner, not to read up on her impressive resume. This obvious attempt at flaunting was a bit irritating for me.
  3. Then there was this huge section (rather a complete chapter) in the beginning, devoted to writing off other weight-loss systems. There was so much negative writing about other weight-loss programs and clinics that I almost put the book away. (Talk about over-doing something!)
Coming now to the actual content of Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight, i.e. the information for which people buy this book. Well, personally, I didn't find anything new to take home. The facts/concepts presented by the author are the same ones that you keep seeing off and on in newspapers and weight-loss websites on the internet, i.e. eat shorter meals, eat more frequent meals, don't skip breakfast, eat light dinner, etc. In short, very generalized knowledge. No life-changing philosophy, at least not for me.

Some of it was pretty good advice - like crash diets do more harm than good, so do carb-less diets, and that we should stick to what we've been eating during our growing-up years because our digestive systems are familiar with processing those foods.

Rujuta also highlighted the psychosomatic causes of weight gain - stress and lack of self-love. That, I think, was the best takeaway from her book. Being into Reiki healing, I already know of psychosomatic reasons for various health issues, including obesity, but, not many people would be aware of this concept. So yes, this would be something new for most readers.

Book Review: Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight by Rujuta Diwekar
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However, some of the advice given in Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight was not very practical. For example, eating every two hours. Not everybody will be able to do that. It would mean that you spend practically the entire day preparing and then eating your meals! Also, the few sample menus she has outlined in the book will require a full-time cook, but all of us are not "Page 3 celebrities" like her high-profile clients! The best that a common man can do perhaps is split his usual 3 meals into 6, i.e. divide the same meal in two sittings instead of just one.

One really good advice in the book is to "cook your own meals". Fry your own chips, have an aloo-ka-paratha instead of a ready-made burger from McDs, go for those home-made fried suhalis and mathris instead of the packed cookies & biscuits, and the halwa or kheer in place of ready-to-eat pastries and doughnuts! One - you'll probably be too lazy, most of the time, to do so much cooking, so that you'll decide to go without them! Two - in case you do feel up to all that cooking, at least you'll end up burning some of those calories! LOL!

My rating: 3 out of 5. Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight, by Rujuta Diwekar, is an okay-ish, but, slightly over-hyped book on diet and weight-loss. It is mostly just a good compilation of basic common sense regarding nutrition. Nothing ground-breakingly new, but hey, it is all in one place, and does save you the internet research time. I would say: go for it, but don't expect to be spoon-fed. Try to get the basic under-lying principles beneath all those fancy frills in the book.

Buy this book from: Amazon.in | Amazon.com
Check out other books by Rujuta Diwekar on: Amazon.in | Amazon.com
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When I Had A "Pink Kurti"

ThrowbackThursday: When I Had A Pink Kurti

I once had this pretty pink kurti, studded with tiny glittering sequins all over the front. It was made of some really soft cotton fabric, and was extremely comfortable to wear, especially in summers. I used to love that kurti so much that I would wear it almost every other day! It was so comfortable it felt almost like a second skin.

Over the years, it lost its former shine... lost all those glittery sequins too. The color faded and became dull. But it became even more comfortable to wear. The feel of that kurti against my skin made me happy without any reason. It made me feel pretty from the inside, even though that kurti no longer had any of its own visual appeal. I used to sleep sounder and more peacefully wearing that kurti.

And then it started coming across at the seams. I diligently worked with a needle and thread and kept sewing it back up, first at one place, then another, then another… and still remained crazy about it. One day, I burnt a tiny hole in one corner while ironing. Sewed that up too, and continued wearing it day after day.

Finally, I dropped some undiluted liquid bleach on one corner (accidentally of course), and the pink was marked by a prominent white patch… a small one, but prominent, nevertheless. And it made me soooooo angry! At myself… at that stupid bleach… at that kurti (for being in the wrong place at the wrong time)… at the whole world basically! I was afraid that I would have to part with it finally… with my most favorite kurti in the whole world!

Some relationships are also like your most favorite 'Pink Kurti'
Me, with my cousins in Guwahati, wearing my most favorite pink kurti

Some relationships are also like that, aren’t they? Like your favorite piece of clothing?

No matter how old and tattered they become, you still feel comfortable in them like no other relationship. They may lose their original shine and glitter, and yet they feel like the most beautiful thing in your life.

They make YOU feel beautiful.

And special.

And safe.

And loved.

And they make your nights more peaceful, and your dreams more hopeful.

And every once in a while, you accidentally damage or stain or tear one of those relationships. It feels so painful. You feel angry with yourself... so sooooo angry! And scared, of even the thought of having to lose that relationship!

You wish there was any way you could undo whatever you did. But there is no such way. You can NEVER undo your past. All you can do is apologize to the ones you hurt and make amends for your mistakes.

I had to sew the tears and the hole in my kurti by myself. I had to clean up all the stains that I’d made. The sooner I did that, the easier it was for me. As they say, a stitch in time saves nine. But one stitch or nine, it had to be done by me.

That is the law of life.

You make mistakes, and YOU learn how to make up for them. When you make dents in relationships that matter so much to you, then YOU have to figure out ways to repair them… whether it takes you one stitch or nine.

Do you have a relationship that is like your most favorite 'Pink Kurti'?
Do you have a relationship that is like your most favorite 'Pink Kurti'?
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As for my pink partially-bleached kurti, I still couldn’t give up on it. I continued to wear it until Dad finally decided he’d had enough of it, and just ripped it up in shreds! Sighhhhh.

Well, clothes are like that. Wear and tear leaves its mark on them. Fabrics aren’t meant to last forever, are they?

Thankfully, relationships aren’t like that though!

Age doesn’t wear and tear relationships like fabrics. On the contrary, it makes them stronger. And every time you damage a relationship and then put in adequate effort to apologize and make up again, you actually add an extra layer of strength to that relationship, enabling it to withstand a bigger “earthquake” next time.

As a matter of fact, some of the strongest and longest-lasting relationships I have seen in my life are the ones where the people involved were often 'fighting' and then 'making up'!

Because in those relationships...
  • they knew that it was okay to make mistakes,
  • they knew how to say “sorry” and make amends for their mistakes, and
  • they also knew how to forgive the mistakes!
Those relationships really make you feel comfortable like nothing else, because you don’t always “have to be at your best behavior” in them, you don’t feel constantly judged in them, and you’re free to make mistakes in them, as long as you’re ready to apologize and make up… regardless of whether it takes one stitch to mend, or nine…

So tell me now... do you have any such "pink kurti" you'd do anything to save?

Here's more in "#ThrowbackThursday".
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And here's more in "Relationships"!

10 Types of Weird Profiles You Come Across In Online Dating In India

10 Types of Weird Profiles You Come Across In Online Dating In India

Online dating? That’s easy! You just sign-up on one of the ‘firewood’ or ‘online cupid’ kind of apps, upload a couple of ‘digitally enhanced’ pictures, write a few words in your profile, and that’s it! Just start swiping left and right! You can do this from anywhere—your home, office, a cab, a boring family function, even from your bathroom! What can be simpler than that?

True. It does sound easy. Thousands and thousands of profiles, all available at your fingertips. No more going to a coffee shop or a bookstore or that popular departmental store at the other end of your town, just so you could finally have your own “meet cute”! Online dating saves so much time, doesn’t it?

Sighhh. I wish it were that easy.

The biggest challenge in online dating, especially in India, is the insane number of weird profiles you’ll find, on every online dating app and website. To meet one genuine profile, you’ll need to first sift through at least a hundred of such weird profiles there.

Here are the 10 types of most weird profiles that you probably will come across on online dating apps and websites in India.

10 Types of Weird Profiles You Will Find In Online Dating In India


  1. The “Oh hey! Another social media app!” type profiles.


    These people obviously don’t know the difference between social media apps and dating apps. So they sign-up on every dating app they get to know of, with their entire family album in the profile pictures, complete with spouse and kids. And if you’re really lucky, you could even get to see one (or more) of their wedding pics thrown in!

  2. The “professional daters”.


    Professional dating?” you ask! “Dating has become a professional thing now? God, I AM OLD!

    Relax. You are not old. It’s just a fancy term used by professional hookers (tech savvy prostitutes / escort service providers / sensual masseurs & masseuses) who use these online dating apps and websites to find more business.

    What can I say! It’s the world of entrepreneurs these days, and the internet has opened up a lot of opportunities for those who can think out-of-the-box! But this is definitely one of the more common types of weird profiles you will find in online dating in India these days.

  3. The “discretion guarantors”.


    Needless to say, these people are there for hookups and ONS. (That’s abbreviation for “One-Night-Stands” in the online dating world!) They could be single or married, but they are most likely into non-monogamy or polyamory.

    Some of them make really tall promises in their bios. They not only guarantee discretion, but also “100% satisfaction”. WOW! Such confidence in their “skills”! The only problem is that you usually can’t “see before you try”, i.e. most of them don’t put up any profile pictures.

    Weird Profiles That Make Online Dating Difficult In India

  4. The “arranged marriage” type daters.


    This is one of those types of profiles that make online dating in India so difficult. These people confuse online dating apps with matrimonial apps. That’s quite understandable in India though, ‘coz, let’s face it, there really is a LOT of pressure here on getting married! But, God! Their enthusiasm for commitment can be really scary sometimes!

    You chat with them for one hour, and they’ll already be singing duets with you around trees (in their minds). Two hours, and they’ll not only start dictating YOUR life (“don’t eat non-veg”, “wear traditional Indian dresses”, etc etc…!) but also begin planning THEIR life around you (“I think I will move out of my parents’ place into my own flat which is currently rented out”)!

    Three hours? Well, they’ll probably find out your home address by then and arrive with full band-baaja-baraat! So you might not want to stick around till then. Or do, if that’s what you’re looking for too. I don’t know.

  5. The “collectors”.


    These people have zero interest in dating. They will send and accept “likes” from anyone who seems to have a presence on social media, but they won’t invest any time or effort in conversations.

    Why? ‘Coz they’re usually the “wanna-be social media influencers”. They probably have an Instagram account, or perhaps a YouTube channel, and all they want is more “followers” and “likes” on those accounts.

    But collecting social media followers on a dating app? Yeah, why not? Didn’t they teach us in school to “not leave any stone unturned”?

  6. The eternal “self evaluators”.


    Another one of those types of online daters in India that could put you off online dating completely! Unlike the collectors, these people won’t even bother to send “likes” on these online dating platforms. They just “accept”. And that’s the end of story. Usually.

    One out of ten might just exchange a few messages with you before ghosting you. One out of 100 might even go as far as to exchange phone numbers and have a couple of very-obviously-disinterested conversations with you, before ghosting you.

    So why are they there then? I don’t know for sure, but I have a theory. I think they’re there to know their current “market worth”, whether they still have “it” or not, whether they’ve got any takers or not… you know. Probably gives them an ego boost or something.

  7. The “to be or not to be” types.


    They really can’t seem to make up their mind whether they want to be in this “online dating thing” or not. So they keep disappearing from the apps every once in a while. They don’t login for weeks at a stretch. Some even deactivate/delete their profiles completely. Sighhh.

    Who knows what’s going on in their minds? Maybe they’ve found someone worth pursuing seriously. Or maybe they’re just too busy. Maybe they’ve been hit with a tsunami of interested “likes”, and find themselves completely overwhelmed by it. Maybe they’re too scared. (The “dating chickens”?) Or maybe they don’t even believe in online dating deep down. (“Cynical chickens”? Exactly!)

    One thing is for sure though. These people think too much.

  8. The “shy ones”.


    The “shy” daters are the ones who won’t put their own photographs as their profile picture on the dating apps. Maybe they think they’re too ugly. Maybe they really are too ugly. Or maybe they are in a profession where it could be embarrassing for them to be seen on an online dating platform.

    So you’ll get to see pictures of sceneries, their pets, a silhouette image maybe, or a partial profile (like a close-up of their eye perhaps), or long shots where they aren’t recognizable. They could even put up free stock images on their profile, or pics/screenshots of random strangers lifted from Google/elsewhere.

    If they are genuine though, they will most definitely have a presence on Google search, have valid social media accounts, and phone numbers with clearly recognizable Whatsapp DPs.

    Weird Online Dating Profiles You Need To Be Wary Of

  9. The “mysterious ones”.


    You can’t really know for sure whether they are who they say they are. They may be real, but there is a strong likelihood of deception too. These are the online dating profiles you need to be really wary of in India. They could belong to one or more of the following sub-categories:

    • Those who have sketchy or blank social media accounts, usually just on Facebook.
      They may be real and just not into social media, but they could as easily be “con-artists”, like the Ricky Bahl of Ladies Vs. Ricky Bahl. DO NOT share compromising photographs with them or enter into any monetary transactions or legal contracts on their behalf.

    • Those who don’t have any social media presence at all.
      Again, they could be genuine and an “internet dinosaur”, or they could be fake. The next two points might shed some more light.

    • Those who won’t exchange phone numbers.
      They are most likely already married, so they obviously can’t have you calling at any odd hour and risk their spouse answering your call.

    • Those who will exchange phone numbers, but, have a generic Whatsapp DP and won’t do video calls.
      They are most likely using someone else’s pics on the dating app. They don’t look like that.

  10. The “déjà vus”.


    The rarest of the rare kind! The chances of finding this type of weird profile, on an online dating app or website in India, are extremely low. You seem to share an amazing “connect” with them—similar interests & values, get each other’s jokes, always know just what to say—feels like you’ve known each other forever!

    A “match made in Heaven”? Maybe. It’s very much possible, as long as number 9 is not true. But if they are a “mysterious déjà vu”, then I’m afraid, you’re probably being “pranked” by a close friend—someone who knows you well, hence the instant “connect”.

    If you’re lucky, you’ll be ghosted or explicitly rejected before you get even a hint of the truth. If you’re not… well then, enjoy dealing with the pain of betrayal, of this cruel invasion of your private & personal, mental/emotional space, by someone you deeply trusted, and of being duped, not by a professional “con artist”, but by your own friend.

    Oh, and it doesn’t end there. You eventually ALSO get to deal with the pain of the realization that “none of it was real”. That sense of déjà vu, the “connect”, any of the compliments you got, any of the shared “cute moments”… everything was just a figment of your friend’s imagination. A lie. ALL of it. It wasn’t “good while it lasted”… it “never was”. And, as if that wasn’t enough, you are also “minus one friend” now. Sighhhh.

10 Types of Weird Profiles You Come Across In Online Dating In India
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So yeah… these are the 10 types of weird profiles that you probably will find on online dating apps and websites in India, along with some genuine profiles too, yes.

Please don’t let my post discourage you from finding your “soul mate” through the medium of internet. On the contrary, let it arm you with knowledge, for “knowledge is power”. Let it act as your “safety jacket”, while you venture into the perilous waters of online dating, in dear old India!

Good luck!

Please do share your experiences with online dating, if you’ve ever tried it.

And don’t forget to pass this article on to a friend/family member who might be or is thinking of trying online dating, especially in India.

Here's more in "humour"!
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And here's more in "#TenOnTuesday"!

Do Our Loved Ones Connect With Us In Spirit?

Do Our Loved Ones Connect With Us In Spirit?

I first published this post on December 20, 2015... a day after my mausi (mom's younger sister) passed away... just 33 days before my mom's 19th death anniversary. (Yeah, bit of a cruel coincidence there, in terms of the dates of their passing.)

Well, words didn't seem adequate at that time, in being able to express my grief. Hence, this post originally comprised of just the following two sentences and this photograph...

The two sisters were finally reunited yesterday... up in the heavens... after almost 19 years.

My mom and my mausi...



Today is mausi's birthday, and while I was thinking of her, I hunted for this old post on my blog, to look at this photograph again. (My mausi is the one on the left.)

Felt like it was time I completed what was left unsaid back then. So, editing this post today, and republishing it, for #SundrySunday.

Oh, and while we're talking about cruel calendar coincidences, let's list them all here, shall we?
  1. November - Mausi's birthday
  2. December - Mausi's death
  3. January - Mom's death
  4. February - Mom's birthday

Yeah.

Confession time: These winter months tend to be a bit heavy for me, emotionally, as compared to the rest of the year. And even though life goes on as normal on the outside, and you wouldn't be able to notice any visible difference in me during these months (Aside from the fact that I start disappearing into my shell gradually!)... on the inside, I am at my most vulnerable state. (That's probably what causes my "hibernation" in the first place!)

Anyway, it's taken me almost four years to talk about my mausi here after she passed away. Losing her felt kinda like losing mom all over again.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, 'Maa - si', she was like my last remaining link to my mom's spirit. When I used to talk to her on phone, (usually from my shop, when I went back after lunch break) I often felt that my words were somehow reaching my mom too, through her.

It seemed like she shared a similar energy signature with my mom - the same kind of warmth and understanding, same kind of support and caring too.

I still feel her presence sometimes, just casually around me, when I'm at home. And even though she has never visited me here in Jaipur, it feels like she's right at home here, talking to me about mundane routine stuff. I can hear her calling out my name, giving me instructions, sharing ideas, random stuff... although I can't make out any of the words except for my name.

And while the rational part of me knows that these are nothing but wisps of memories from Kanpur, floating into my consciousness now, and sort of superimposing on my current reality, the dreamer in me takes comfort in this feeling of still being watched over by someone who loved me unconditionally.

Do Our Loved Ones Connect With Us In Spirit?
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Have you also ever experienced something similar about someone close who passed away? Have you ever continued to feel the presence of a loved one even after their soul departed to heaven? Do you believe that the spirits of our deceased loved ones may connect with us after crossing over to "the Other Side"?

Soft And Creamy Scrambled Eggs Recipe | How To Make The Creamiest Scrambled Eggs With Milk

Soft And Creamy Scrambled Eggs Recipe | How To Make The Creamiest Scrambled Eggs With Milk

For over two decades, I've had this fuzzy memory of mom making a super soft and creamy egg recipe that required milk and stuck a lot to the cooking utensil. As far as I remembered, she used to call it 'scrambled eggs'. But when I grew up and learnt how to make scrambled eggs, I found out that people here (i.e. in India) made it with chopped onions and tomatoes, and called it 'bhurji' in Hindi.

That egg bhurji looked, and tasted, nothing like what my mom used to make. It looked like pieces of hard-set curd, tossed with onions and tomatoes, whereas the one that my mom used to make was like the most perfectly creamy custard. We had them on toast, seasoned with salt and pepper. And while the Indian egg bhurji is also quite tasty, I never stopped wondering about how mom made those creamy scrambled eggs (if at all they really were called that).

In December 2016, I finally decided to google it.

I must have gone through at least two dozen recipes for scrambled eggs, both on YouTube, as well as on recipe blogs, but they were all the bhurji style recipes. Even non-Indian recipes, on YouTube, yielded that same curd-like texture, instead of the creamy texture I remembered from my childhood days.

Finally, I landed on the video of Gordon Ramsay's scrambled eggs recipe. It seemed perfect! Just what I'd been looking for! The most deliciously soft and creamy scrambled eggs from my childhood memories!

Creamiest Scrambled Eggs On Toast Recipe

With great excitement, I tried this recipe in my kitchen for the very first time! And, on a scale of 10, I gave it a 9 for softness. Why not a perfect 10? Well, it dries even after you take it off the heat. So by the time I got it on the toast and took this picture, it wasn't as melt-in-your-mouth soft as it looked in the pan. Oh! But it was definitely that same assault on the senses that had been preserved in my cellular memory even after 20 years!

Of course, I've made it many more times since then. I just take it off the heat a little earlier, and it comes out perfect now.

Here's Gordon Ramsay's video for making the most perfectly soft and creamy scrambled eggs. DO watch it before you attempt this recipe for the first time.



As you probably noticed, Gordon uses cream in the recipe. But I normally don't have cream in my kitchen. So I used milk instead (like my mom did). Here's how I made it...

Recipe For Soft And Creamy Scrambled Eggs With Milk | Scrambled Eggs On Toast


INGREDIENTS:


Eggs
Butter
Milk
Toasted Bread Slices
Salt, pepper, any other seasoning

METHOD:


  • Break the eggs into a heavy-bottom pan.
    (TIP: I used a shallow non-stick pan the first time, which made the mixing very difficult. Best to use a deep saucepan or wok/kadhai).
  • Add a little butter. Then put to heat. Medium heat worked best for me.
  • Keep whisking. As Gordon says in the video, you have to really work at it.
  • If it starts to get too hot, just take it off the heat (as he does in the video) and keep whisking.
  • When it's almost done, add the milk while it's off the heat. Mix well.
  • You'll know that it's done when it starts looking creamy like custard.
  • Spread on toast. Sprinkle salt and whatever seasoning you like. Munch away!

Soft And Creamy Scrambled Eggs Recipe | How To Make The Creamiest Scrambled Eggs With Milk
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Sorry, I haven't got any intermediate pictures of the recipe. I was, well... "working at it", as Gordon says! So couldn't click any pics!

Oh by the way, one time I also added grated cheese after the milk. It tasted even more sinful and heavenly! Sighhh! I wish I had the metabolism to take in those kind of calories on a regular basis!

Anyway, do try out this recipe for soft and creamy scrambled eggs with milk, and let me know how it turned out for you. If you make it any differently, please share in the comments below. I would love to learn new styles.

I share food stories, tips, ideas, and recipes, every Friday. You can sign-up for my FREE Weekly Newsletter below to receive them directly in your inbox.
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Here's more in Recipes from miss_teerious!

10 Zen Takeaways from Albus Dumbledore | Most Inspiring Quotes By Professor Dumbledore

10 Zen Takeaways from Albus Dumbledore | Most Inspiring Quotes By Professor Dumbledore

I don't understand why so many people have written-off the Harry Potter books as "kiddie fiction" without even reading them! I personally find these books to be a storehouse of zen wisdom. Every single book in the series is full of amazing insights into life and people. There are dozens of inspiring and thought-provoking lines in every single book, that force you to change your perspective about life, about people, about relationships, about everything basically.

Earlier, I shared my list of 10 Favorite Harry Potter Characters. And I mentioned in that post that selecting only 10 characters was so difficult, because there are so many other characters of this series that inspire you and touch you.

Today, I was originally planning to share 10 Zen Takeaways from the Harry Potter series... 10 most-inspiring quotes from these books. But that turned out to be downright IMPOSSIBLE!

So I narrowed it down to only Professor Dumbledore... 10 inspiring and life-changing quotes of Professor Albus Dumbledore, the greatest wizard of all times, from the Harry Potter series.

10 Zen Takeaways from Professor Dumbledore


  1. “To the well-organized mind, death is merely the next great adventure.”
    — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
    Death doesn't scare those who are wise. For them, it is just another step in the natural progression of things. The Hindu philosophy, the Buddhism philosophy, both talk about rebirths. And about the eternity of soul. Fear of death is, therefore, only for the ignorant.

  2. “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”
    — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
    Friends, and family, and relatives, and colleagues, and yes, our bosses too. It takes a great deal of courage to say "NO" to any of them. Even when we know what they're doing is wrong, we still try to avoid a confrontation as far as possible.

  3. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
    — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
    Day dreams, fantasies, they don't get us anywhere in life. Only action does. Life is right here. Life is right now. Nobody can change the past. And nobody knows what will happen in the future. There is no point in living in either the past or the future.

  4. “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
    — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    You may have big, impressive degrees from foreign Universities. You may hold big, powerful posts at your workplace. But if your choices in life are based on narrow thinking and short-sighted goals, then none of this matters. At the end of the day, you are measured not by your potential, but by your actual performance.

  5. “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
    — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    Remember to turn on the light. That's all there is to it. Human minds can hold only one thought at a time. The moment we think of something else, the previous thought disappears, until we consciously choose to think of it again. So whenever we are unhappy, we just need to REMEMBER to think of something happy.
  6. “Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.”
    — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    One world. Nothing is impossible to achieve if we all focus our energies towards it, together. No cultural or language differences can be a barrier. 'Destination, Determination, Deliberation!' Together, these 3Ds will take us anywhere we can dream of!

  7. “Youth can not know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young.”
    — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
    Whenever I see parents who expect their kids to be more understanding and mature, I honestly feel like giving them a piece of my mind. "You can't relate to what your kid is going through, despite having been there yourself! Yet you expect him to display a level of wisdom that you've acquired only NOW!"

  8. “Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth.”
    — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    Youth may lack wisdom, but it more than makes up for it with its courage and determination and resilience. Just give them a chance, and more often than not, you'll be surprised at what they can accomplish. Have a little bit of faith.

  9. “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”
    — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
    Words are magic. How true is that! One person wounds you with his words, at times so deeply that your soul may bleed for years. And another person heals, again with just his words. Such mysterious and powerful magic!

  10. “It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it.”
    — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
    As I mentioned in my post on 10 Personal Skills Of Narendra Modi That Truly Inspire Me, the moment you become attached to power, the moment you let it get into your head, is the very moment that marks the beginning of your downfall.

10 Zen Takeaways from Albus Dumbledore | Most Inspiring Quotes By Professor Dumbledore
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So there were my top 10 most inspiring quotes of Professor Albus Dumbledore from the Harry Potter books... 10 priceless nuggets of zen wisdom that you could takeaway from Dumbledore, regardless of how old you were.

Which of these are your favorite too?
Which of these Dumbledore quotes have impacted you the most?
Do you have any other such favorite inspirational and powerful quotes of Professor Albus Dumbledore?

Here's more in "Books"!
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And here's more in "#TenOnTuesday"!

This is my last post for A to Z 2019.

I have attempted this challenge twice before, and published one kindle ebook out of it. You can get it on amazon: A to Z of Blogging: Take Your Blog To the Next Level.

Happiness Begins With You | If You Want To Live Happier, Start Putting Yourself First

Happiness Begins With You | Start Putting Yourself First To Live Happier

Today's post is especially meaningful to me, because this is something I'm personally struggling with right now. Putting myself first. After years and years and years of putting everyone else and everything else first, I've finally decided to put my foot down and become "selfish" (if that's what it is).

Most of us grow up learning to put ourselves second. This "martyr-type" syndrome is ingrained in us right from the beginning. Especially with females, at least here in India.
"Let the old people eat first, then the guys and the kids, then we can eat."
I've been watching the ladies in my extended family do this since I was a little kid. Naturally, this, then, shapes up into your own belief system, doesn't it?

You grow up into adulthood, and you still continue putting yourself second-place everywhere. And eventually, some of you realize what is going on, and you start dissenting with this.

But that makes you hate yourself. Because you are not as much of a "martyr" as you are expected to be. You are "selfish". You are thinking about yourself. When all your life, you have been trained to NOT think about yourself.

Which means that there is clearly something wrong with YOU!

That's when you start becoming unhappy. Eventually, it starts showing in your body too, in the form of various illnesses.

I don't understand.
Why on Earth is it so wrong to think of ourselves at times?

Are we any less important than others? Were we created by mistake? Don't we deserve to exist and to occupy space?
Why are we always expected to compromise? On the food. On our personal space. On our favorite TV shows. On our career. Everything.

Why do we always have to be so accommodating? Even of other people's shit?

Why do we "sell ourselves short" in practically all spheres of life?

Just a faulty belief system that we were brought up in.

Happiness Begins With You | Start Putting Yourself First To Live Happier

I don't have any kids, but if I ever do, I just hope I can teach them that their happiness matters too, that they have as much of a right to live freely and fully as anybody else, that there is nothing wrong in thinking about yourself at times, about putting yourself first at times.

6 Ways In Which You Should Start Putting Yourself First, To Become Happier


  1. Your feelings are important


    I remember when my mom passed away. I was 19. The eldest daughter in the family. I was told NOT to grieve, but to be strong, as my family depended on me to look after them. Worst possible advice that you can ever give to a teenage girl who has just lost her mom!

    From a very early age, we are taught to repress our feelings, invalidate them, judge them into right and wrong. That is just so idiotically stupid! I don't know who came up with this brilliant idea, but all it does is create confused individuals who can never seem to get their shit together!

    Our feelings are the medium through which our higher-self/intuition communicates with us. And we are told to block this communication channel altogether! Or even to second guess it, doubt it! How does that make any sense at all?
    Your feelings ARE important. If something/someone makes you feel bad even the slightest bit, then it probably IS wrong. No two ways of looking at it. Let nobody convince you ever that your feelings are wrong.
  2. Your dreams are important

    "No need to see such big dreams okay... job, career...!
    Your in-laws will decide after you are married! Just learn how to cook and take care of the house!"
    Unfortunately, that's still the sad reality of most households in India.

    The movie Chak De was based pre-dominantly on this concept. And more recently, in Dangal, when Aamir Khan tries to guide his daughters to achieve their full potential as professional wrestlers, he has to face the wrath of the entire community!

    Women or men, why should anybody need to sacrifice their dreams for family? What are families for anyway? Are they supposed to help us chase our dreams, or are they there to chain us and pull us back from them? If it's the latter, then why have a family at all?
    Never sacrifice your dreams for anyone. It only builds resentment. You can always let go of one dream because some other dream is more important to you. But let your feelings guide you.
  3. Your work is important


    Raise your hands if you have faced any of these situations!

    • Husband's parents are visiting. So naturally, the wife has to take an off from work.
    • "Working from home? Oh then you can easily juggle your schedule to accommodate us."
    • "It's just writing, for God sake! You're not doing anything serious!"
    • "This is handmade... who's going to pay so much for this!"

    Whether you're a housewife or working, junior executive or top management, formal employee or a freelancer or an artisan, your skills are unique. What you bring to the table is unique. What you create is unique.
    Never let anyone underestimate your skills and what you do. Never EVER let anyone convince you that what you do is not important enough.
  4. Your needs are important


    In April 2016, when I was taking physiotherapy for my injured shoulder, my therapist told me that usually, women my age never regain full movement of their shoulder, because they don't take the time out to do the exercises, and they don't give it the rest required. They are just so busy looking after the family, that they don't even give their body time to heal. Some insight, huh? But what he said was quite true.

    There is nothing wrong in taking care of the people you love, catering to their needs. But your needs are important too. And you have every right to take care of your needs first. This is not some Mythological epic saga, and you are no "Daanveer Karn" that you have to take care of other people even at the cost of your own basic needs.
    You have every right to ask for whatever you need, and you have every right to receive it. Be it help in something (for me, it's usually shopping), or some special food constraints, or a "timeout", or even just your personal space for an hour or two.
  5. Your "me-time" is important


    Family, kids, parents, customers, clients, boss, friends, neighbors, they are all important. But so are you. I learnt this the hard way. When I opened my store, I was working 7 days a week, from 10 am to at least 9pm. Sometimes even later. Plus all the housework. And I didn't take a vacation for almost 5 years after opening my shop! #facepalm

    As someone mentioned to me a few months ago, "even a machine needs yearly maintenance". So yes, the stress started showing eventually.

    We really do need to make time in our day to exercise, rest, recuperate, go out with friends, enjoy our music, watch TV (and yes, we have the right to watch our favorite TV shows too), and pursue our hobbies, whatever they may be.
    Yes, our hobbies ARE very much important! And yes, it is completely OKAY to spend money on our personal hobby blog, if that's what we want and can afford it! Let nobody tell you that it is a waste of money!
  6. You are important


    There are so many people around us who go out of the way to talk us down, show us, at every possible occasion and in every possible way, that we are "less", that there is something totally wrong with us, that we don't deserve any of the good we have in life. That we are just not "worth it". Not worth returning calls, not worth doing something nice for, not worth showing up on time (at times, not showing up at all!), in fact, not even worth basic respect and kindness.

    Unfortunately for us, our schools teach us so many things that we never ever use in life, but they don't teach us about people. Especially about how to recognize and deal with narcissists.

    People who really love you NEVER put you down. They go out of their way to make you feel special and loved and cared for. They don't go out of their way to make you feel small and insignificant all the time.
    You ARE important. And you deserve to be appreciated and respected. Let no one take you for granted, EVER.

Happiness Begins With You | Start Putting Yourself First To Live Happier
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These are the 6 ways I recommend, in which you should start putting yourself first. At least, this is what I have started doing since last couple of years. Some people may not like it at first, because they have been used to being put on the pedestal until then. But eventually, if they genuinely care for you, they WILL turn around.

Yes, this is very difficult to do. Yes, the people around you, who are affected by your sudden change, will not make it any easier for you. Yes, you will come close to giving up so many times. But remember:

  • You are stronger than you believe.
  • You are more beautiful than you think.
  • You are loved by many more people than you know.
  • You are more amazing than you could possibly ever imagine.

So just:

ACCEPT yourself as you are, BELIEVE in people a little bit, FORGIVE those who don't make through this transition in your life, and be GRATEFUL for those who do acknowledge your worth in their life.

Do you ever put yourself first? Or is it always about the others and their needs?
Do you feel exhausted and worn-out all the time? Ignored?
Do you hold you head high? Or do you let people use you all the time?

This is my 25th post for A to Z 2019.

I have attempted this challenge twice before, and published one kindle ebook out of it. You can get it on amazon: A to Z of Blogging: Take Your Blog To the Next Level.

5 Must-Watch English Movies Set In Foreign Countries That Xenophiles Will Love

5 Must-Watch English Movies Set In Foreign Countries That Xenophiles Will Love

A Xenophile is a person who is attracted to all things foreign... foreign people, cultures, and customs. If you are a xenophile, then you will love watching these 5 English movies that are set in foreign countries, and give a glimpse into that country's culture, life, and people.

While there are thousands of English movies that are set in various countries all over the world, not all of them show much about the culture of those locations. Some are simple love stories, like Letters to Juliet, some may be rom-coms, like Leap Year, and many others are more focused on fantasy than the place's actual culture, like The Great Wall and The Forbidden Kingdom. There are also full-fledged action movie series based in different foreign locations, like The Fast and Furious series, or the Bourne series.

I am not touching any of those movies in this article. This is only about movies that actually show something about a foreign place's culture. Here are 5 such must-watch movies for all xenophiles.

5 Must-Watch English Movies Set In Foreign Countries That Xenophiles Will Love


These are 5 brilliant movies for all the xenophiles among you. If you love knowing about foreign people and their culture, you will fall in love with these movies. I have made a mix of genres here - comedy, romance, action, drama - they're all in here.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through those links, I will receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. (Many thanks, if you choose to support me this way.)

  1. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel series (2011/2015)


    5 Must-Watch English Movies Set In Foreign Countries That Xenophiles Will Love: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

    Seven British retirees come across an online ad of a newly restored hotel for elderlies, called "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel". Impressed by the ad, they decide to "outsource" their retirement to this luxurious but inexpensive seniors facility, on the outskirts of Jaipur, India. On their arrival, however, they find that it is not so luxurious after all. But their host, the young and optimistic Sonny (Dev Patel), makes up in charm for what the hotel lacks.

    At first, they are all overwhelmed by everything... the "loud" people of this country, the spicy meals, and of course, the dilapidated hotel, but soon, they are completely taken over by Sonny's exuberance and India's vibrancy. We watch them adjust to their new reality, even as Sonny deals with his own personal issues. And somewhere along the line, many different stories get entwined.

    Watch The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and its sequel,The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, on Amazon Prime Video.

  2. The Last Samurai (2003)

    In the face of an enemy,
    in the Heart of One Man,
    Lies the Soul of a Warrior.

    5 Must-Watch English Movies Set In Foreign Countries That Xenophiles Will Love: The Last Samurai

    Set in the 1870s, in Japan, The Last Samurai tells the story of Captain Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise), a cynical veteran of the American Civil war, and an American military advisor, who is hired by the Emperor of Japan, to train his peasant army in modern warfare using firearms. The traditional Imperial Samurai warriors, however, reject this Westernization and use of firearms, even as they remain loyal to the sacred dynasty.

    When the ill-prepared army is slaughtered by the sword-wielding Samurais, Algren's life is spared by the Samurai leader Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe), because of his courageous stand in the battlefield. As a prisoner of the Samurais, Algren recovers from his injuries, and also learns about their traditions and code of honor. He finally ends up embracing the very same Samurai culture that he was hired to destroy.

    Watch The Last Samurai on Amazon Prime Video.

  3. A Walk in the Clouds (1995)

    A man in search. A woman in need. A story of fate.

    5 Must-Watch English Movies Set In Foreign Countries That Xenophiles Will Love: A Walk In The Clouds

    Paul Sutton (Keanu Reeves) is a young married US military soldier. On his way home after World War II, he meets a girl, Victoria Aragon (Aitana Sánchez-Gijón), who is terrified to go home to her strict and conservative Mexican family, because she knows they will never approve of her out-of-wedlock pregnancy.

    Paul offers to help her by posing as her husband until things calm down, when he would leave. But during his stay at their place, he not only wins her family's hearts, but also hers, at the same time, falling in love with their customs, and with her. Unfortunately, he is still married. Will fate intervene to bring them together?

    Watch A Walk in the Clouds on Amazon Prime Video.

  4. Hidalgo (2004)

    Unbridled. Unbroken. Unbeaten.

    5 Must-Watch English Movies Set In Foreign Countries That Xenophiles Will Love: Hidalgo

    Frank T. Hopkins (Viggo Mortensen), a cowboy and dispatch rider for the U.S. cavalry, was the greatest rider the West had ever known. But the East was known for its centuries old 3000-mile race for survival across the Arabian desert, the Ocean of Fire, a challenge in which only the finest and noblest Arabian horses ever participated, horses owned by some of the most royal families.

    So they don't take too kindly to the American cowboy who claims that his mustang, Hidalgo, can compete against the world's purest thoroughbred Arabian horses and Bedouin riders. For Frank, this race was not just about money or honor, but about his very survival, and that of his spirited horse, as they try to make their way through the unknown and hostile Arabian desert, and attempt the impossible.

    Watch Hidalgo on Amazon Prime Video.

  5. Queen of Katwe (2016)

    One girl's triumphant path to becoming a chess champion.

    5 Must-Watch English Movies Set In Foreign Countries That Xenophiles Will Love: Queen Of Katwe

    Katwe is a small slum in Kampala, Uganda, and the Queen of Katwe is the story of 10-year-old Phiona (Madina Nalwanga) who lives with her mother and siblings in these slums. It is a distressing portrayal of her family's daily struggles with poverty, until she goes to a missionary program and meets Robert Katende (David Oyelowo), who teaches the local kids how to play soccer and chess.

    Under Katende's tutelage, Phiona goes on to become a top chess player. But you know, it's never so easy to leave your past behind. You have to really fight for what you want. And this movie is all about Phiona's fight, about how she steals her destiny from the shackles of poverty and despair in the slums of Uganda.

    Watch Queen of Katwe on Amazon Prime Video.


5 Must-Watch English Movies Set In Foreign Countries That Xenophiles Will Love
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So this was my list of 5 most-recommended English movies, set in foreign countries, that all xenophiles will love watching. These movies are not just based in different countries, but they also give some glimpse into the life and people of those foreign locations.

There are many more such movies. I will keep adding them to this list gradually.

Do you love watching English movies that show the cultures of foreign lands?
Which of these have you seen before?
Which other English movies would you recommend for xenophiles?

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Here's more in #SpotlightSaturday from miss_teerious!

This is my 24th post for A to Z 2019.

I have attempted this challenge twice before, and published one kindle ebook out of it. You can get it on amazon: A to Z of Blogging: Take Your Blog To the Next Level.