Come on in!

Hi! I’m Justin Raj, a stock broker by profession, is also a freelance Journalist, an amateur Filmmaker and an enthusiastic Marathoner who possesses the ‘bad habit’ of writing too much. And as long as that ‘bad habit’ stays with me, I keep on posting to my blog.

A blogger is basically a tech-savvy writer. He is a keen observer with a sharing mind, not a silent spectator to all events which happen around him. If a reader is a person who loves to gain knowledge, a blogger or writer is one who loves to share his knowledge and dare to speak out his opinions and ideas. Like a singer expresses by singing, dancer by dancing, actor through acting, a blogger blogs his feelings and ideas out. Literally, Freedom of Expression is his shield and the blog is his Sword.

Here in my blog, write-ups are archived in 9 labels. In ‘Sweet and Bitter’ you can read about my diverse life experiences and valuable lessons I learnt from it. ‘Published Articles’ offers you my articles which have been published in Daily Newspapers. In ‘Random Brain Waves’ you can meet up with my random (or at times, weird) ideas. Poetry writing has eventually become a new hobby as well as a part of my blog. You can read my poems in ‘Verses’. In ‘Marathon’ label, you can read about my marathon experiences, challenges and how running a marathon can shape a man’s life.

‘Vlog’ is a recent addition to my blog as I realize the potential future of visual media. Sometimes, a 3-minute video can do the magic of expression than a 3000 word article. In this label you can watch the short films, documentaries, advertisements et al I have made. ‘Favorite Articles’ consists of articles which have influenced my outlook and attitude on life. Being a tireless traveler, ‘Travel’ label takes you to various travel experiences of mine. Conducting researches is a part of Journalism. In ‘Research Articles’ label you can get articles which throw light on various researches I have conducted.

Every life meets with various challenges, diverse experiences and at the end, all those teach us valuable lessons for our future. Wise men learn by other men's mistakes, fools by their own said H. G. Bohn. I learn more by my own mistakes than others. It doesn’t mean that I’m a fool! I learn from other’s lives too. My blog is a platform for sharing not only my life experiences but also the valuable lessons, ideas and poetry triggered by them.

To my mind, blog is a thinking man's tool. Blogging is more a passion than a hobby for me. It is as if talking something to someone somewhere in world. My words keep on talking to the visitors of my blog. I can feel the magic of words! And that’s the power of blogging!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Doore...Doore... - A Musical Treat

Oh...I can't resist myself from sharing this video - a music video directed, shot and edited by some of my closest friends during my campus days. I really love this music video because it was my first attempt to emulate singing in front of camera. Later, I realized that I love to do it again!  

Monday, January 10, 2011

Blog & I

It was in 2005 that I started my blog without even knowing the value and use of it. I just uploaded some of my photos and treated it like a (free) website of my own. It took two long years for me to realize the purpose as well as the power of blogging. 
The inspiration to write for my blog came from nowhere. It was some kind of sudden enlightenment. In the beginning, I wasn’t aware of what to write, when to write and how to write. I could post only one article per month. It was really difficult to get ideas or so called hunches. 
But today, ideas for articles, poems and even short stories hit my head like snowstorm. I’m not the kind of a person who always sits at home or office and write everything on my blog. As a person who always loves outer space, blogging is just a great doorway to discover my inner space. 
I started blogging mainly due to my sheer love for writing. Writing though appears laborious at times gives me immense satisfaction. The three year blogging journey taught me a lot how to write, what to write and how to derive joy not only from writing but also from blogging. 
There is a huge difference between personal journal writing and blog writing. The former is private and the latter, public.  Blogging gives everyone freedom to express and expression is not a silly thing. It demands guts.  
Most of the democratic countries in the world especially India provides its citizens  absolute freedom to express ideas, critique et al. Why is it that only a few exercises this freedom in this free, democratic country? I feel that it may be the lack of time, knowledge or guts. 
It is a matter of pride and joy that some of my mom’s friends are regular readers of my blog. They always appreciate the time and strain I take to share my experiences through my blog. To my mind, sharing is always caring. 
Our life meanders through number of experiences.  Some of them are mundane while others are exceptional or extra ordinary. I don’t find any reason to conceal my emotions, feeling, ideas and experiences. That is the reason I blog. 
I know very well that I’m not an authority on blogging or a blogging expert to give tips to anyone. I’m an amateur blogger who always love to share and I always love to do it when it comes to one of my favorite activities: blogging.  
Here are some of my recommendations for new bloggers:
Consistency: During the days I had started blogging, I could make only a post per month. I thought I don’t have much experiences to share or write about. But gradually I understood that life talks more to us through the most mundane experiences we go through. So, there are more reasons to write today. 
Touch typing: I have number of my friends who started blogging with great enthusiasm and ceased it within weeks. The reason: lack of knowledge on touch typing. Every aspiring blogger or writer should learn touch typing. Touch typing ease the process of blog writing. 
Don’t think about grammar, punctuation or spelling errors: Even lecturers teaching grammar make mistakes in grammar! Who made this grammar? I don’t care! I don’t give a %@#^$! about it! This was my attitude towards grammar half an year ago. 
When my writings had reached a higher level of idiocy; my friends and ‘well wishers’ reminded me to brush up my basic grammar skills. At first I rejected the idea but gradually I started feeling pity about myself and the way of my writing. 
So, today I’m spending a little bit of time to learn grammar et al. Moral of the story: you don’t need to care about grammar, spelling and punctuation. But later you will feel sorry for yourself and take an extra effort to learn it. Every action has equal and opposite reaction! 
Read, interact, observe and imagine: Reading and writing are interconnected. Reading churns out ideas from our brains and by developing ideas we can create good writeups. From my experience, I get inspiration mainly from observing the life of other people and interacting with them. Adding little bit of imagination, we can make our writeups colorful and enjoyable.    
Type a few words every day: It is the new technique I started using since the dawn of 2011. I just type something every day without thinking about grammar, sentence structure and other troubles. After two days, I just revise and edit my jottings. On the third day, those reckless typing and editing give out an excellent post. 
KISS your blog! : People are busy these days. Unless you learn to Keep It Short and Simple (KISS), you will tear down the interest of your readers. I always carried a misconception in my mind that posts which have more words are more intelligible. Today, I understood that writing a crisp, short article is more painful than writing a big article with thousands of words.  It is always better to keep the word count below 500. 
I never monetize my blog. It is just an open space for my personal expressions and I neither want to sell nor rent that space. Happy Blogging!

Image Source: Internet

Friday, January 07, 2011

A Calm Comfort Zone

It is a remote village situated nearly 10 kilometers away from Thrissur town in Kerala. This village- the place where I can freely scream: “I’m home!”- has recently featured in a reputed newspaper as one of the coldest parts of Kerala. This place is also popular throughout Kerala as the launch pad for the political life of legendary K.Karunakaran. Kerala Agricultural University’s College of Horticulture and other affiliates are located at this place providing employment to number of villagers.  
Above mentioned are some of the popular features of this serene and beautiful spot but personally, this village is very special for me.
It is where I spent most of my school days, where I fell in love for the first time, where I weaved my dreams, where I gained friends for a life time as well as lost some of them in course of time. This is the place where I always love to stay when I come to Kerala. But, due to unfortunate circumstances this place remained as a mere visiting place for some years for me.
Only after completing my Masters’ degree recently could I stay in this beautiful place for a long time. Now it is the time to relax a bit after 5 years of vagabondage.  It is really surprising that this place and its people haven’t changed since I had left this place for higher studies and work. Sometimes it seems like clock never ticks in this place.
The bus stand and the junction are very popular even during my school days. In those locales, school going boys and girls wait for their buses, some boys ‘strategically’ position themselves and give out some naughty gestures to beautiful girls who respond with their blushes and smiles.
At times, especially in evenings, local guys fight over silly issues. Both young and old enjoy drinking toddy at the nearest toddy shop. Happy news! - Toddy shop has opened again after the closure for few weeks following a toddy tragedy in another district a month ago. 
The scenario has not changed yet. Even the color of the paint of some shops and even bus stand is still the same. It was really surprising to see the same people sitting at the same position at the bus stop! Old are still old and young are still young like evergreen heroes and heroines of celluloid.
I noticed some changes though.
Recently during the local Panchayat elections, some candidates with big moustache and beard came to my house as a part of political campaign. After speaking to them for some time, I realized that they were my old school mates. When I asked about their new makeover with moustache and beard, they told it is just for bringing a matured look on their face! “Hey Justin, you are still the same, no change!” one of them told while departing.
Nowadays, health consciousness has gained wide popularity among the people here. A few years ago, I was the only person (and some stray dogs for company!) who jogs in the morning through the rubber tree plantation. But today, I got the company of some middle aged people. There are pretty young girls too who provide good amount of ‘motivation’ every morning.
My world was always faster. But the life at my comfort zone is always slow paced. There is no hurry scurry in the life of the people here. People, mostly men, go to work in the morning (most of them are daily wage workers) and comes home at night. They sleep and wake up early. You can’t find lights on in any houses after 9 PM.  Life is so serene and peaceful in this place. My life has also slowed down after staying here for just few weeks.
“India’s heart lies in her villages” Gandhiji told once. Those words are true to a great extent. You can feel the beauty and serenity of a village life only after spending a very long time in urban areas. It is really nice to be in a serene, beautiful and peaceful village in the midst of a rapidly changing world. It is always a matter of pride and happiness that you can reach out for a calm comfort zone at any time whenever you need a retreat, isn’t it? 


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