What is my blog about now?


I completely overlooked the fact that my blog is 4 years old. I should have made a big deal of it considering how quickly my passions oscillate. I am astonished that I haven’t let my blog die.

For the past 4 years, I kept writing without any theme in mind. I wrote about my life, some short stories and lately photo challenge posts. I enjoyed writing. I relished the feedback I received from friends in my real life and the ones I made through WordPress.

The 4 years weren’t smooth sailing,  there were times I thought about stopping. I would always come back though, usually with an urge to get my thoughts on paper.

In January, I took my blog seriously again. I had a few goals:

  1. Write every week.
  2. Generate the minimum traffic everyday.
  3. Comments, likes don’t matter even though they are always appreciated.

I knew that I would always have one viewer on my blog ( Hi Mummy! 🙂 ). But attracting people everyday to my blog was hard. Writing every week is also hard. So far, I have a few irregularities but mostly I have been successful. I won’t admit it was easy, there was a month long gap where I didn’t post anything. But I have to go on since the year’s not over.

For #2, I found two easy ways to get people on my blog: Community Pool and Photo Challenges from Daily Post. However, last week I found out that Daily Post will stop publishing new challenges and hosting pools.

Now, I have to figure out a way to keep my blog alive and post something at least weekly. I can do the latter. I do have enough ideas and content in my head to keep going. My life is exciting enough for me to do that.

I have no idea how to generate traffic. I ought to figure it out someday.

In the months since I started, I realized a few things. I don’t write for the benefit of others. My blog probably never was. It’s mine.

A glorified journal for me to log my important memories and experiences. It was for posting photos I am proud of, for posting short stories I enjoyed writing ( I haven’t done that in a while ).

So this is what this blog is about now: me. It is my attempt to keep something good in my life going. Welcome.

 

Photo Challenge: Prolific


Last Saturday, I woke up at 6am to try photograph the sunrise from Point Chevalier in Auckland. The sunrise was spectacular but this photo became my favorite. Hundreds, if not thousands of dewdrops.

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Prolific Dewdrops lighted by the morning sun

Photo Challenge: Smile


I had to point my camera at something or someone that puts a smile on our face. Well, Zoey does that. She usually finds me when I am coming, she runs towards me: her feet clapping on the sidewalk and stops a meter away so that I have to get close to her to pet her.

black cat surrounded by weeds

Photo Challenge: Rise/Set


This isn’t exactly sunrise, I think the time was 10am. But I think this fits Rise.

Also, I took this with my friends’ DSLR when we were walking Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

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The sun rising behind a hill on a clear day

Photo Challenge: Favorite Place


This is not my favorite, but it certainly is this black Labrador’s favorite place: standing on top of the garage. I have seen him/her so many evenings while coming home but the Lab’s too far away to catch the name or pet.

Black Labrador standing on top of a garage next to the sidewalk
Look at him!

Photo Challenge: I’d Rather Be


This photo was from a walk I did in Duder Regional Park.

I would rather be near the sea, and on a perfect day like this, the shore looks amazing.

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Duder Regional Park, Auckland New Zealand

Photo Challenge: Variations of Bridal Falls, Raglan


I was at Raglan last year when we visited Bridal Falls. I took photographs from various angles. Enjoy!

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Bridal Falls from the top ( Edited by Google Photos Assistant )

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

PS: If anyone has any suggestions on adding watermarks or copyright to lots of images, let me know!

Photo Challenge: Silence, Duder Regional Park


I was out on a hike at Duder Regional Park, East Auckland. The place was great for oceanic/peninsular pictures. Here is one of them.

 

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Peninsular Path

I walked with 60 people who were behind me. This peninsula is one of the (a fortified site) in the region. As we sat for lunch, most people sat under the shades. I explored and found that the acoustics of the region creates a perfect barrier and I enjoyed some perfect silence even being five feet away from 60 hikers.

Photo Challenge: Growth


I took this photo a long time ago as I was walking to work with my Huawei Y5 phone camera. Spring time meant a lot of flowers and this one was great, a perfect flower growth. Check out Daily Post for the prompt.

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Low Resolution Flowers

Weekend Coffee Share: Graduation Week


If we are having coffee, I will talk all about my week. It was full, filled with different people of different background and different perspectives. It also was the week when I graduated with a Masters of Engineering.

The past weekend has been one of the best weekends so far. It was filled with great weather, a great conversation and two free music festivals. I was headbanging in one and dancing in another. Firstly, it is my first Christmas in a Christian country and the city is festive. Every house is adorned with lights and Xmas trees & I just love looking at the bright houses after dark. According to my friends I have to visit Richman street in the city (aptly named as it is an affluent area).


(Sorry for the shaky cam)I attended the annual Auckland Christmas in the Park. It was was cold & raining lightly but I was surprised to find a lot of people attending. The numbers increased as evening turned dark. The event had a host of native artists performing famous international tunes and a few Maori songs. I kind of love the native songs and I am slowly exploring the country’s artists. One of my favorite songs after I started discovering Kiwi artists has to be ‘This Life’ by Fly My Pretties. The song is in English but there is definitely a Kiwi vibe in the song.

The event was closed by a great fireworks display. Then I went on to checkout the fair in the park, which was closing down at the time but was still lit up. I think the lighting made for a great photoshoot.

 

 

Next day, I went to the North Shore specifically for a alternative rock music festival called ‘Devonstock’. The festival featured around 5 bands with varied genres and at least 2 of which were still in college. I was shocked at the music they were able to produce even if I found their stretched out guitar solos a bit annoying. Because of the event I got to know about some more up and coming NZ artists and found a new favorite song.

 


I graduated from University this week. Finally, after almost 10 months of struggles and hardwork, I did it. I have to thank a friend for convincing me to go. I loved the event fully and the next day, I got an award to recognize my work over the year. I am awaiting photos for the event but this is the award:

 

Graduation

 

 


Yesterday, I went with some new friends to Piha Beach. Two big things: the beach is black in color. The seawaves foam when crashing at the beach. The wet sand ripples when stepping on it, it is like walking on a stretched piece of cloth, with the area around the feet changing its texture because of the weight. It was my first road trip after a long time.


I heard one of the best jokes yesterday. I know a guy who works at Green Peace NZ. His team made a mocking video of NZ Prime Minister Bill English and at a party, my friends’ boss got a little drunk. He felt bad about the mocking video.

So he decided to text the Prime Minister to apologize for the video.

THE PRIME MINISTER TEXTS BACK!

“Its all good mate, all in good fun!”

I couldn’t stop laughing at that for minutes.


I finally went for a bike party. I have been increasingly involved with different biking groups in the city and yesterday was another one. It was disappointing. We met at a park, used a public BBQ for dinner and roam around. It was good but I couldn’t just stay at one place. They went about very slowly, talking and chilling while I couldn’t wait to just go somewhere.

Nonetheless, it is one thing I can tick off.


If everything I did was not enough, today there was a pre wedding celebration. I had two choices, sit awkwardly or dance awkwardly. I chose dancing awkwardly and it was a great decision.

I am just thinking of my week to come, I don’t know what will I do now.

Cycling: A Paradox


In the recent months, cycling in Auckland has become one of my favorite activities. At the same time, I have come to loath this activity too. I love cycling down-slope, even though my nerves fire up whenever I ride in such high speed, I am glad I bought a cycle. When I cycle up-slope, if I ever do, I curse my decision to buy a cycle in this sinuous city. I love the fact that I can ride really slowly around the places, the coastal areas and enjoy the view. But I hate it when some other cyclist overtakes me in their absolutely amazing cycle. I love the wind on my face as I cycle. I just hate it when I have to cycle against strong winds.

 

 


 

“He is still so short”

Everyone would talk about me “make him ride a cycle, that will give his growth an impetus.” I never was a fan of cycling, especially because learning to cycle meant falling down a lot and I didn’t want to get hurt. But whenever anyone would talk like that about me, I wanted to learn cycling. In my family, everyone is at least 6 feet tall. I was not tall at that time and I was slightly afraid that I wouldn’t be able to catch up to my cousins and siblings. So one fine day when one of my aunts said that line, I decided that I will learn cycling.

I learned cycling when I was in grade 9, and my learning curve did not include lots of falling. The few bruises and cuts I got were eclipsed by the joy of learning something I never thought I would do.

And to this day, I have not found any scientific correlation between cycling and getting taller. However, I don’t care anymore as I am taller than everyone in my family. Not really that tall in Auckland though, the people here are gigantic.

 

 


 

When I went to Hamilton, I was mesmerized by the green pastures that stretched for miles and miles. However we were driving at more than 100 kmph so there was hardly any time to actually absorb the views. I knew that if I was cycling or walking, I would have more time.

My first home in Pakuranga (East Auckland) had a great coastal cycleway. Almost every chance I got, I would be there cycling as slowly as I can, but not walking as I had a cycle, to soak in. The sounds of waves crashing into the rocks, the chirping seagulls(do seagulls chirp? I don’t know) and gushing wind. It was bliss.

Then when I would be heading to a friends’ place or the church I would again ride, this time fast as I was on the road. Every car that whooshed by me would be terrifying, especially on the bridge that I always had to cross. I never got used to that.

New house (West Auckland) and luckily I no longer have to cross any bridges. Only here, I saw other cyclist and damn they are fast. They would out pace me as if I am standing still and every single one who did made me want to go faster. It took me a while to grasp the truth: they are better cyclist on better cycles (their tyres offer less friction). I hate that and I want to go faster.

 


 

My first cycle was whatever leftover from my brother. He brought it and then after sometime hardly used it. We didn’t maintain it much I realize now. He had also custom painted it, if I could call it that. So when I started learning, I had to fix it up first and then ride around.

I rode it to my school, but for some reason I no longer remember, I stopped using it. We sold it off as scrap metal. Years later, we brought a scooter and at that time I was applying to many universities. Then, I wanted something for myself as well but I wanted a cycle again. Only for some reason, I never bought it. Money was not an issue, I had started earning and a cycle is cheaper than a scooter. With months passing, I got my visa and I left for Auckland never really buying a cycle. However I knew there are great pathways for cycling here.

Brought my first cycle here with money saved, and immediately did something stupid: tried to ride up-slope. Never have I ever been so tired. It took me a while to remember how cycle gears worked but I still never did try up-slope again. I always dragged my cycle to the summit and had a breathtaking panorama of the entire city now trough of the valley below.

Maybe there is a metaphor in there somewhere but I would just leave it as that.


 

With a couple of issues in my cycle recently, I vowed to ensure that my cycle is always properly maintained. I have put too much efforts in cycling to just drop it off now. I Google for every small thing, YouTube for tutorials on how to adjust the dérailleur. Maybe I am being excessive but I do love cycling. And sometimes I hate cycling. Maybe it is not a paradox but just me being lazy.

PS: Excuse my bad photographic skills

 

Street Art while cycling #nz #cycle #maori #streetart #auckland

A photo posted by Mayur Wadhwani (@mayurdw) on Jul 14, 2016 at 6:32pm PDT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cypress Thank You


I’m confused about what kind of post this is. But this is definitely not a directional/instructional trek post. (I got lost a couple of times myself)

I have had enough. I needed to prove something. To whom I didn’t have the courage to ask. But yeah I had to make a point. And to do that I climbed a mountain. Or hill actually.

And so I went, alone, to a nearby hilly area in Mulund, Mumbai. Cypress its called famous among college students as a making out rendezvous (couples there should at least clean up after they are done. I saw enough packets) So with almost no guide other than mighty internet and no known route I began my climb with water and Parle G!(they are a life saver) a huge umbrella because it was raining when I left home, which I later strapped to my back along with my bag as a two handed sword.

Now I should explain how I went up and the route I took, but unfortunately I don’t have any pictures for the said route. Cause it required me to kneel use my hands for support in climbing. And I’m a little confused too.

I’m a novice in trekking and hiking. I have been trekking in Pune area and they have always been amazing. I am better than most of my friends and I can say this because of the 7 to 8 treks I have done, I never slipped. My breath gets labored but that’s okay.

So I knew the way to the top would be upslope. So I saw a path and I took it, a dried out waterfall is a sure shot way to reach the top. Alas, I’m severely out of practice. The route which would have been done in 30 minutes took me an hour, me all the while sweating and puffing and more than once scratched from the scrubs. (I should have worn full tracks) “Almost there almost there” was the only thing I kept telling myself. And I couldn’t go back the route that I came. I wanted a different route. With the absence of rains and the occasional sunshine today was really hot. Winds did what they could but it didn’t help much. I was tired when I reached the hill top, I planned on screaming “I did it” but I was too tired to do so. So sat on a stone, caught my breath and tried to pacify my heart which I was afraid would give in.

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The Top of the Hill, there’s my bag near the stone where I sat

I ate the Parle G biscuits. Yes, they are a life saver. The tiredness quickly washed away, crunching sound somehow amplified and reaching my ears. I kept looking around. And the views were spectacular. The hills stretched from left to right, a lake mostly Vihar right in the middle of them, enclosed like a water held in palms. Another lake was partially visible behind the trees. The city Mulund was behind me, obscured by the tree growth.

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The Panorama From Top
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Mulund

Just being on hilltop gives a great feeling. ‘I did it’ is an understatement, the accomplishment gifted by the heavenly view all around you. The artistry of Creator. To add my awe of the nature, I noticed the butterflies.

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The First Click
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The Second Click

Small, multivariate and fickle. Fickle because they couldn’t decide which way they want to fly. My eyes traced their random flight unblinking to not miss them. Green orange and white. And they deserved to be clicked. Because it was a while since I have seen any butterflies in my area. Even though there’s no lack of vegetation I hardly ever see butterflies. Funny I never noticed that till now.

Highly sensitive to movements around, my efforts to have a great photo of them were mostly in vain. Some serious control of my limbs and patience and I was able to click some trivial pictures. If you are in any way as impatient as I am, trying clicking their photos. Slowly, steadily. It is difficult.

Coming down was rather hilarious. Being alone makes you wanna start a monologue with yourself, asking which way and let’s go. And i did the monologue loudly because I knew there would be no one to overhear. Same idea here too, just pick the path which is downslope. And I’m sure I got lost. But I didn’t care much, because I saw the city in front of me so I knew I’ll figure a way out. Not a very good tip if you are trekking in a place totally aloof.

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Somewhere downstream

Like I said a new route I took, telling myself I’ll see where it goes. Luckily it was downslope and I was in right direction. My ankles and calves in pain, not because the climb was arduous but because I was out of practice and weak. I went slowly, and the sound of waterfalls greeted me in a while. A small waterfall, merely a tickle, was exhilarating nonetheless. Cold but not too cold. I washed my face and legs, drank some water too. Careless to drink but it was flowing water(and I need to go to a doctor for a checkup I know)

And here is the funny part: while climbing there was a signal tower at the start. And that is what I was looking for while coming down, though the trees severely limited my line of sight. Almost to the hill base I saw people heading up a different direction from where I came from. I traced their paths and reached the gate from where I started, near the temple, completely bypassing the signal tower(there is always a temple either at the peak or at the base) Again, this would be a whole lot less hilarious if I was trekking in a remote area.

I had fun. The tiring journey giving me nothing but satisfaction and much needed change of scene. With a huge smirk on my face, I came home tired, hurt and thirsty.

With a nagging question, why were other people going in a different direction. Did I climb the wrong hill?