This was my fourth year of A to Z challenge and that very much is the reason why April excites me. April has been the only month since my blogging journey where I post at-least 26 posts. I am happy for what April does to me. It kind of seamlessly fits into my schedule like a must-do routine. I feel the month has that vibe and zeal to keep it going, no matter what.
I have always had 8 lines poems for the challenge with different themes over the years. I continued to do so this year too. Like every year, I must say, I loved doing this year’s challenge. My 2020 theme was Metaphors and a 8 line poem for each. Looking for metaphors was definitely a challenge. I did not restrict my domain to a specific kind of metaphors. I have used them from literature, history, songs, movies, paintings etc. On few days, I had to struggle on which one to pick and other days had to pick the only available. Some days was ease and some days I kept staring at my screen.
I did fill up the end survey and collected my winner batch. Here it goes:
I have compiled all of my challenges into a short ebook and is available for free download. Save a copy for yourself too! Yay!
I would like to thank all of you for being supportive through April. Every blogger needs a supportive community to sustain, survive and thrive. Thank you all for all the love. Thanks to A to Z team for making it happen every year with growing enthusiasm.
This year I also did A to Z 6 word lockdown stories on Instagram. My Instagram id: prakash.hegade.
I am already late for the theme reveal party but better late than never! This is my 4th year of A to Z challenge and looks like 8 line poem is definitely my thing! Here is my year wise theme from 2017:
An idiom for an alphabet and 8 line poem to it.
Emotions and expressions for life and 8 line poem to it.
Words and phrases from foreign languages and 8 line poem to it.
Here is 2020 Theme:
Metaphors from movies, idioms, celebrities, paintings, songs, etc. It’s going to be diverse as well challenging. But who is not up for it!? I am already excited for April 1. I am rushing out to work on metaphor for A and a 8 line poem for it. What are your plans? Let me know. Hope to reach many from April 1.
It was around 27th of October 2016 and I had seen one of my fellow bloggers writing about taking the NaNoWriMo challenge. I got curious and explored more to know that the challenge was about writing 50,000 words in 30 days of November. That looked challenging, especially with all the professional and personal works. I decided to take up the challenge and hoping time will lead through the path.
At first, the novel was about putting together the disconnected threads. There was no plot. Though I used to blog, I had never imagined writing a story as big as 50,000 words. I was scribbling short stories of the characters that come into my mind, some from experience and some from imagination. Soon, I could see the connection between threads and everything coming together.
For the entire second week of November, I had travels to be made relating to my research work. I lost near to 7 days. When I came back home, I promised myself that I would complete this no matter what. For the entire month, I had a pen and paper with me scribbling short notes and plots. There was nothing else that was in my mind for the entire month. WRIMO India group was supportive and I made the best use of sprints hosted for the entire month. By November 28th, I had reached the target of 50K words. The novel was completed with 53K odd words by the end of the month. That is when the first version of ‘i 4 you’ was ready.
The exhaustion, saturation, personal and professional works kept me away from the first draft at least till March of 2017. Then I got to know about Camp NaNoWriMo which happens every April and July. I started setting targets of 40 hours of editing in each of the camps. As well, started editing whenever time permitted.
I had few friends review it after a few rounds of editing. I must mention and Thank Vishwanath Telsang for reading all the crappy versions and suggesting to me the edit changes. The version which I thought was good to go after around 200 hours of editing apparently was smelly and crappy. I would see even some grammar and spelling issues dancing over the pages. It was frustrating. I could see some unnecessary chapters. After another 100 hours of more editing, the novel had finally come down to 38K words from 53K words.
I then started sending it out to traditional publishing houses. Then came the rejections one after another, some months later, some weeks later and some no replies (a no response for 6 months is a rejection). I stayed professional throughout the journey. I waited until the rejection mail before sending it to another house. I had nothing to do. Just sit and wait. The journey wasn’t easy. I don’t remember anything I did not try.
AROUND FOUR DAMN YEARS.
This story is close to me. I badly wanted this to be released as a hard copy. I knew I had to wait. I knew the writing had to be improved. I knew I had to improve. In the meantime, I had completed 3 more NaNoWriMo’s with passing 3 more Novembers. Gosh, that was a lot of piling! Will I ever get over my pile of unpublished works? Will I be able to edit them and send them out?
I had to settle. Somewhere. Maybe it’s just me who feels this one is special. Maybe it’s not. Nothing can make a writer happy than the work being read by many. No matter whether they feel good or bad, whether they rate 1 or 5, it’s the number of people it touches and how they feel about it. I gave a final round of edit and reduced the word count to 33K. This had to stop. Somewhere. I had already spent 300+ hours.
I wanted this to be read by as many. I want to be remembered for writing ‘i 4 you’. I want the parts of this novel to stay with as many people as possible. With all the love, I am releasing my novel as a free ebook. You can download and read it. I would love to hear from you on how you felt about the book.
The beauty of being in academics is that you get to live the changing generations. You get to see the generation dynamics. You get to see and experience how things gradually go obsolete. Though the underlying principles of life and phase are the same, the way they get realized differ.
It was minor exam time for students and we usually get relatively free on those three days. I had decided to work on my on-going final edits of novels ‘i 4 you’ and ‘the art of ageing gracefully’. But then, I had this ‘Eureka’ moment to pen down something. There was this endless restlessness until I complete. It then took two days to complete the work along with all the routine commitments. [I had to cut my sleep and the experience was satisfying.]
Here is a novelette – ‘I Fell in Love with an Asshole’. The ebook can be free downloaded HERE. The book got 360+ downloads in 3 days. If you complete the book, kindly leave a review at: Goodreads.
I have started a series post about Data Science (Much talked Buzz word) under the title – “Honest Data Science Talks“. My plan is to keep it least technical. Two posts are up already and first one can be reached here!
This article is Talk 01 of Honest Data Science Talks series. Each talk of around 500 words length, is personal thoughts and deliberations on the domain.
I met these people from a company that claimed to have been teaching AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) to school kids and teachers. No, not even to high school but to lower and primary. Being curious to know what the program was all about, surprisingly, most of it was using a website with simple animation buttons to move objects up and down. I have seen such sites (exact same ones) and tools earlier and they are not new inventions. What worried me most was that AI being labeled as basic programming. Okay, the much more significant concern was fooling out a community of people who really aren’t aware of AI and falsifying the conceptual background.
I had been to a conference in Thiruvananthapuram, and it was my first visit to the city, though I had been to other parts of Kerala several times. After the conference, I had a day off for myself, for I had my plans not knowing yet on where to make it happen. As strange as it sounds, but truer. I had carried my printed novels for editing with a highlighter, colored pens, pencil, scale, small cards and everything else that is required. I checked out of my room (I had to by 11.00 am) not knowing where to head next. I had a bus to catch at 9.00 pm and I had all day waiting for me to throw in some excitement.
I had expected it to be a sunny day like the previous but the rain had surprised me. I had to surprise back to maintain the natural order. I checked out with small luggage that I had carried and run towards the nearest shelter. I could see that it was a coffee house ( Turf Café and Bistro ) but looked like nothing that from outside. I, however, took steps inside with no further thoughts standing there in awe for what I saw.
I really did not want a coffee. However, hoping that the rain would stop, I started looking for something very minimal from the menu, something for 30-45 mins. I ordered a vanilla cream coffee (not sure if that exactly was the name) and sat there with balminess, looking at every corner, which gave welcoming hospitality to the much-needed stranger like me. Then, after around 10 minutes while when the order is almost about to arrive, I have this lighting moment.
“Sir, can I sit here all day long, maybe till 7.00 pm and do my works?” “Yes, sir. You can take *that* seat!” “Thank you.” “I hope you will order something!” “Definitely. I am going to have my lunch, snacks, and everything else here!” “Sure, sir.” “Thanks a lot!”
That is what led to one of my best days ever! I spent my whole day, working with my novel edits. There was also Mr. Bean series being played on a large screen which for me, was incredible writing support. The food was delicious and so were the staff around. I liked the menu and the smiles they offered. That day, for me, was a bliss. I am sure that every writer or a reader like me would agree that there is nothing more beautiful than this.
What makes December 31 special, most probably, is that it is a representative day for what we were last year and the changes we want to see in the upcoming year. While for some, it is a reason to party, for some an opportunity to resolute and start afresh with new beginnings, and some-some so on for the remaining rest. It’s a birthday of ‘hope’ and gives all the reasons to celebrate. The celebration takes its form and favor.
Some dance, fireworks, Some read, social networks, Some family, blog, sleep, Some something else, beep, A cake, a celebration, a peace.
I am a person who always needs a metric and check. It has worked with me well, for earlier, I used to organize with a periodic task list and now I align them all with my year resolutions. The resolution plan also has contributed to the effectiveness and satisfaction factor. Oh, I so much have fallen in love with January 01 for it brings the passion, love towards commitments, and new beginnings. I started having resolutions since 2017 and it has worked for me most amazingly. Here is what happened in 2018 and then here is how I wrapped up 2019. Below are the works I would want to work on for 2020 with my utmost commitment (And of course, I really want to improve with my blogging commitments, like I used to do two years ago).
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Task Set 01: Writing
1.1. Write at least 100 blog posts on itsphblog 1.2. Post 50 technical blog posts on itsphbytes 1.3. Take up A to Z Challenge in April 1.4. Participate in NaNo-Camps in April and July 1.5. Continue working as ML for NaNoWriMo 2020 1.6. Post 30 short poems on Instagram
Task Set 02: Publishing
2.1. Give final edits and get NaNoWriMo 2016 novel titled – i 4 you published 2.2. Revise, edit, revise, edit and NaNoWriMo 2019 novel titled – The Art of Ageing Gracefully published 2.3. Publish at least five ebooks through Smashwords
Task Set 03: Reading
3.1. Take up Goodreads challenge and read 20 novels 3.2. Read and explore two new domains in depth (Life Sciences and Digital Society)
Task Set 04: Research
4.1. Read 50 or more research papers 4.2. Publish 5 research papers (academic, research, management) 4.3. Build four new models related to research area 4.4. Implement 5 workable components for Knit Algorithm
Task Set 05: Profession (Academics)
5.1. Design and deliver two new courses (Semantic Web and Functional Programming) 5.2. Improve Coding profile (complete Basic CodeChef DSA certification) 5.3. Take up and complete 5 courses online (MOOC) 5.4. Design and deliver courses in unique environment (DSA, MT, APS)
Task Set 06: Profession (Industry)
6.1. Provide 30 meaningful internships from Knit Arena 6.2. Host Knit School 2020 6.3. Host 2 events from the company 6.4. Grow as Technical Lead at Transil (Internships, design, research, consultant, technology etc. )
Task Set 07: New
7.1. Conduct 3 workshops on various topics 7.2. Travel to two new places 7.3. Cook 5 new dishes 7.4. Work on building meaningful components for kids growth and development (dedicating to my kids) 7.5. Start and complete at least 3 new series/soaps
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What are your resolutions for new year? (if you already have made one, if not I would recommend to do one, or more).
Ten simple rules for the better world. Ten simple rules to make ten more. 2020 could be it all if 2019 wasn’t. While some are living in memes, some have been one.
1. Get Physical. Run, exercise, and stretch. Exhaust yourself with physical tasks at least three days a week. The jobs of sitting in front of wired screens are slowly killing us.
2. Degree and Education are Different. Anyone can get a degree. Not everyone is educated. Next time you voice out for something, make sure you have read and understood it in holistic. Be an educated literate.
3. Time is Sexy. Don’t make people wait. Whatever end you are in. It’s funny how people can sit at home and do nothing for hours but cringe to wait for two minutes in a queue.
4. Seasons are Fucked Up. Nothing will change by posting and talking about it. Awareness campaigns are equally shitty useless. Everyone now knows.
5. Do What Educated do. Read and Write. Period.
6. Communicate and Commute. Write meaningful emails and talk sense. Know and use the etiquette’s. Cut the slang usage. Use cars wisely.
7. Social Media. It’s not everything. It’s nothing. Don’t just start living there. Not everyone needs to know every single thing you do.
8. Happy and Myth. There is a gigantic difference between you being happy and others thinking you are happy. There are people for whom cooking is the happiest thing to do and they do it every day.
9. Make New Resolutions. Often. Create a year bucket list and work towards checking all of those and ten more. Break it down to monthly and work seriously towards them. Be careful about distracting glitters.
10. Dream and Aim Big. ‘Big’ don’t need motivation or any inspiration.