Nirvana was earlier called Skid Row — Skid Row happens to be the name of another Heavy metal band that was formed on 1986 in New Jersey. That’s not it, there was another Irish Blues band by the name Skid Row during the 1960s— Phill Lynott and Gary Moore of Thin Lizzy played for this band.
Eddie and the Hot Rods
This band was from Essex and were formed in 1975. They were ardent admirers of occultist Aleister Crowley and they wrote a song that was inspired by his motto — ‘Do what thou wilt is the whole of the law’. The song was called “Do Anything You Wanna Do”, an ode to self-empowerment. What they did wrong was, they had a comicized picture of him on their album cover. This did not go down well with Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin (a follower of Crowley), who we now know as one of the best guitarists in the world. It is believed that this angered Page, and he sent them into a curse.
Do you know who the bassist of this band was? Do you? K E A N U R E E V E S. The day I found out, I listened to all their songs. They even performed at ZEE Cine Awards in India, year 2013.
Florence and the Machine
Florence Welch is one of my favorite vocalists. She is believed to have spent her childhood singing at funerals.
Alanis was an actress as a child. She was on the Nickelodeon show You Can’t Do That On Television at age 10, and appeared in a movie a year later with Matt LeBlanc (Heart eyes) as her boyfriend. In 1992, she moved to LA and was on TV sitcom Just One Of The Girls.
Love the way you lie
Not a Rock band fact but here it goes – It was originally written by the power house of talent, Skylar Grey, but couldn’t record it with Eminem cos she was touring in Dublin, Ireland at the time and couldn’t find a studio to re-record her demo vocals.
Sex Pistols, an English band formed in 1975 became the most controversial band in 1977 for their song ‘God Save the Queen’. The sales figures of this song were rigged and was banned to be played as the top 1 track on television by BBC for ‘bad taste’. They were also kept away from BBC’s ‘Top of the Pops’ as the number one band that week. The song was released just a day before the Queen’s Jubilee, but it wasn’t written specifically for it. 4 decades later, the band opened for the Olympic Games, 2012 in London in the very presence of Her Majesty.
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It goes without saying, we’re living in unprecedented trying times. Times like these are never dreamed of, and as much as we want to fathom or reason the cause behind them, we’re left defeated. There’s so much of information and misinformation floating around the internet, but one thing that particularly caught my attention was people writing and composing music (not Dhinchak Pooja, ouch). How these songs go down the history lane, we’ll probably never know. But there are some songs, that we’re perhaps familiar with, which were originally written to support a certain cause/movement. Some even written during world jolting pandemics; almost like the one we’re in now.
Despedida — Shakira, EP
I’m sure a lot of people know of the book Love in the time of Cholera. I in fact noticed someone’s story on Instagram that read Love in the time of Cholera Corona. This master piece written by Gabriel Marquez is a story that transcends the Tesseract. But the thoughts of the writer were quite divergent. He once said in an interview “Be careful, you do not fall into my trap”. He worked with Shakira herself to pen down the lyrics to this song apparently for the shallow thinkers of the world. The title is a pun; choleric in English also denotes passion or rage. It was written to look like a love story for the mundane readers who only see what they want to see. The song is pure genius—like one of the comments on YouTube aptly describes my thoughts—“I have no idea about what she is saying but, she makes my heart tremble“.
Streets of Philadephia – Bruce Springsteen
This famous song by the legendary Springsteen was the OST for the movie Philadelphia, that released in 1993, almost a decade after AIDS was diagnosed. What a brilliant gift to mankind Tom Hanks is. He plays a successful attorney stricken with AIDs. Antonio Banderas played Hanks’s lover in the film and you can see him talk about the importance/relevance of the movie even now, 27 years later in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
Isn’t it ironic that Tom Hanks was tested positive for Corona Virus (COVID-19)? May he be blessed with good health 🙂
I walked the avenue, ’til my legs felt like stone, I heard the voices of friends, vanished and gone, At night I could hear the blood in my veins, It was just as black and whispering as the rain, On the streets of Philadelphia.
The 1919 Influenza Blues— Essie Jenkins
The Spanish flu, also known as the 1918 flu pandemic, was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic. It almost lasted for two whole years and infected about 500 million people—about a quarter of the world’s population at the time. Ironically, the name of the pandemic is misleading; it did not originate in Spain, but got the name as it garnered a lot more press attraction from the land than it did in France from where it moved. At the time, Spain was not involved in the on-going war, and had not imposed any wartime censorship. The origin of the song The 1919 Influenza Blues is quite a blur, but it was released in the 1960’s much after the world suffered the pandemic. The style seems to be highly inspired by the music in the 1930’s. The lyrics however are heart-wrenching.
It was nineteen hundred and nineteen Men and women were dying With the stuff that the doctor called the flu People were dying everywhere Death was creepin’ all through the air And the groans of the rich sure was sad
Little Boy Blue— Cyndie Lauper
Written in 1987, by Cyndie Lauper and a couple of other writers, was the only song by Lauper that did not make a breakthrough on the charts. Lauper said she wrote this song for a friend who died of AIDS.
The little toy dog is covered with dust, But sturdy and staunch he stands; And the little toy soldier is red with rust, And his musket moulds in his hands; Time was when the little toy dog was new, And the soldier was passing fair; And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue Kissed them and put them there.
The Last Song – Elton John
Elton John reminds me of the ever loved The Lion King – Circle of Life. I have been a fan ever since. This song of his tells the story of a father coming to terms with the sexuality of his gay son amid the news of him dying from an AIDS-related illness. John was believed to have said in an interview, that he was crying all through the time he wrote the music and it was very hard for him to sing it (that’s hard to believe, but the things that move you cannot be explained).
This may be the last thing that I write for long Can you hear me smiling when I sing this song For you and only youAs I leave will you be someone to say good-bye As I leave will you be someone to wipe your eye My foot is out the door And you can’t stop me now
The show must go on – QUEEN
Who doesn’t know this song and the iconic performance of QUEEN at LiveAid, 1985. The song was actually written by Brian May, the guitarist of the band. Thesong chronicles the effort made by Freddie Mercury in continuing to perform despite approaching the end of his life, although his diagnosis with HIV/AIDS had not yet been made public in spite of ongoing media speculation claiming that he was seriously ill.
Empty spaces, what are we living for? Abandoned places, I guess we know the score, on and on Does anybody know what we are looking for? Another hero, another mindless crime Behind the curtain, in the pantomime Hold the line Does anybody want to take it anymore?The show must go on The show must go on, yeah Inside my heart is breaking My makeup may be flaking But my smile, still, stays on
These are just some of the many tributes to loved ones that have appeared in popular culture.
With all the grim that surrounds us at the moment, let’s all hold on to hope. Let’s be sensitive to the ones that we’re losing around us. Yes, we’re all home, but no, this is not our summer vacation given back to us. We have all this time to ourselves, but no, this is not a countdown to when things will get better. This is time for us to contribute to the greater good, while some fall prey to the undefinable danger. Yes, it is like one of those apocalyptic movies we’re living in; but let’s recognize the privilege we’re presented with and utilize it with utmost gratitude.
In a time where women’s day celebrations are about pushing brands through hashtags, videos, or distributing some cliched gifts, it is important to celebrate women in their true essence, and appreciate them each and every day.
While women are scaling greater heights in the current world, in terms of career and personal development, there still are some deep rooted biases within our society that don’t get talked about as much as we’d like them to be.
One of them is without a doubt single-hood. Single mothers more so. Being single might be a choice, a quirk of fate, or a bit of both, and it is not necessarily the dreary state of existence that many people think it is.
I have met a lot of women in my life who have inspired me in ways I cannot put in words. Some influenced my style, some my writing, some deeply influenced my work ethic, some influenced my taste in music and movies, and so many other countless ways. But I wanted to put this post together as an ode to the women who inspire me every day (who happen to be single).
Crescentia Kalpana David
I met Kalpana at work. She always wears a charming smile and is extremely witty. Her love or rather curiosity for history and everything vintage makes her so admirable. After knowing her for a year, I slowly learnt that she is a single mother. The way she handles it is absolutely phenomenal. I did not make any assumptions about her marital status, but she herself opened up to me after our acquaintance grew into fond friendship. Her son is the most beautiful child I’ve ever met, and all credit goes to her. This women’s day I want to give her a huge shout out for being the woman that she is and for inspiring me. I asked her to put in words her experiences as a single mother, and this is what she had to say.
When Priyanka asked me write about how I embraced the life of a single mother, I wondered if I have really embraced being one? If it means introducing one as a single mother, I haven’t done that yet. I just realized that this is probably the first time I am admitting to being a single mother on a public forum. I wish I could say that I was wise enough to realize early in my marriage that it was not working and decided to walk out of it immediately. No, that was not how it was; it has been a long process. But maybe that was for the good because I have no regrets now. This journey hasn’t been easy so far, but it has been smooth compared to the lives many other women. I always believe in counting one’s blessings. So here it goes. To be born in this age is a privilege. If you know me, you will know that I love history. But I won’t choose to go back to any period in the history of any country. Histories of all countries have been terrible to women irrespective of the class or caste they belonged to. I am happy that I am living in this period when almost everything can be done online, and we don’t have to stand in queues to pay bills etc. There are so many career options now; we can own property, travel alone, wear what we like, choose a partner, or choose no partner at all. I am fortunate to have a supportive family and a bunch of very good friends. I especially love that my parents, brother, and sister-in-law have supported me without questioning. I have come across laundry lists of what women should learn or achieve by the time they are in their twenties; before getting involved in a serious relationship, before getting married, before becoming a mother, and so on. Add one more to those lists from me that I realized from the “Aha” moments of my life.
Here are three things that I think any woman, single mother or otherwise, should learn. And yes, you can start learning them at any age.
First—know your worth. Don’t derive your worth from transient stuff like qualification, work, talents etc. You are bigger than all that. Know that you are enough.
Second—know your worth in $$. According to many financial advisers, women and men lack financial acumen. I believe women should learn to invest wisely. Not that I am good at handling finances, but my parents have guided me well. Your financial goals don’t have to necessarily be the ones that the world says is right. They must be inline with your value system.
Third—all women should learn to drive. It helps a woman to be independent.
To paraphrase what J K Rowling said, difficulties strip away the inessential.
So, salvage whatever you can of your life or heart and put them together. Of course, it won’t be the same as it was before it was broken but someday you will see its beauty. You will have to alter your dreams but who among us hasn’t?
Dhanya Menon or creative genious or kalaakar as we’d like to call her is my eternal source of sanity and sunshine on most of my crazy days and normal days too. She has a very special place in my heart. She’s the purest and wisest person I’ve ever met. She lifted me up in my darkest moments after a heartbreak. After over two years of friendship, I came to understand that she’s been single by choice and I was awed by it. Here’s what influenced her to pursue life the way she has.
Lot of times, we, the women, have been advised (by people who mean well, of course) to find someone, settle down, buy a home, have kids, and the list goes on. In Indian context, it feels like marriage and happiness are synonymous. But life has a way to show that nothing is forever. I have been influenced by some really amazing single people who have led a rocking life. I remember a charming colleague of my father’s. A polyglot, a man of a sophisticated palate, erudite, well-read, well traveled and a bachelor. He used to get along well with everyone, and women of our colony were constantly plotting to set him up with someone they knew. Of all the things that I remember about him, the foremost is how self sufficient and at peace he was with his singleness. I might even say that his life was rich because he devoted his time to so many things. I remember my paternal grandmother’s sister, who was single by choice and I have never seen anyone as positive and alive. Though she was a woman of limited education, she was a force to reckon with. She was active, a voracious reader of magazines and papers, and would keep herself occupied from the crack of dawn to the time her head hit the pillow. Both these people remind me that being single does not mean being miserable and you are as enriched as you allow yourself to be. For me, being single has been empowering. I have learned being comfortable with my own company. I immerse myself in activities that I enjoy and I’m grateful for my wonderful friends. I have not limited myself just because I am single. In fact, it has been the opposite. I have made my choices and I am comfortable with them. I do not seek validation from anyone, rather I just know that whatever I choose to be at that moment, is fine by me. Being single has taught me this:
Love yourself first, because that’s who you’ll spend the rest of your life with. If you are not happy with your own self, you might never be able to give happiness to anyone else.
I met Ankita when I was 15. I remember her as this stylish girl with the perfect hair. She was always so calm and composed while I was from the notorious lot. Although our acquaintance goes down to far more than a decade, our friendship was limited. But I’ve seen her grow into a woman of great strength and courage with the same charm and poise if not more. She’s a mother of two lovely boys, and watching her dote over them is an absolute bliss. Here’s to her journey towards single parenthood.
Being a parent is a rollercoaster! Raising kids takes a lot of dedication, selflessness and straight-up hard work – if you’re doing it right, that is! ; ) But when you’re a single parent , everything is just amplified. It’s parenting on steroids! 🙂 Double the work, double the disciplining, lots of multi-tasking and barely any “me-time!!” But, hey! It’s also the double the laughter and double the fun!
Luckily, I’ve had the encouragement of my family and friends right from the start who’ve been a strong support system enabling me go out there and chase my dreams while I raise my two amazing boys. Coming from a fairly traditional family, I never ever dreamt that I would find myself being a single parent. Life took me down a rough road, however.
After several attempts at trying to make a failed marriage work, I found myself living back at my mothers’ place while I was pregnant with my second child. Things were not easy at first; it was a bit of an uphill battle. For most part of that year, I was depressed and in an extremely unhealthy mental state. But I knew I couldn’t stay that way forever. I had to pick myself up and hustle both for myself and for my children. So I went back to work while my mother helped care for my new-born.
Thus, began my journey towards healing. I am very aware of the fact that much of my story from then on has been divinely orchestrated. God placed very specific people at various points in my life to steer me towards building myself and my life back up again. Help came in the form of long-lost childhood friends, pastors and leaders, and even acquaintances who quickly became part of my new family!
I’m happy to say I’ve come a long way since then. I have fought, against all odds for my kids to have a safe, peaceful and encouraging atmosphere to grow up in and today, I’m proud of myself for having built that for the three of us! We are surrounded by people who love and care for us and I can’t wait to see all that life has in store!
So if you’re a single mom – Here’s a huge shout-out to you. You guys are warriors. Remember your kids are going to be super proud of you, someday. So celebrate and enjoy them everyday!
Sharon akka, as I’d like to call her is a family friend. I hadn’t even met her until I went to London. Not once in my life. But she was kind enough to offer us a stay when we went on our trip. When I started spending time with her I came to realize all the struggles that she’s been going through. The grace with which she hides her pain behind that charming smile is remarkable. I have thoroughly enjoyed her company, and she continues to inspire me with her ever loving and giving nature. Here’s how she put in words a battle that’s far beyond anything that can be written.
A few of my friends who are aware of my personal situation for over a year now, messaged me when the watched the trailer of the movie #thappad. One of them said it reminded me of you and the strength with which you have been fighting for so long now to get justice for yourself and Ranen.
Domestic abuse breaks you in every way you can imagine, not just your heart, body, and mind. It breaks your soul. With all that brokenness I picked myself up each day and fought. It is the ugliest and the longest process of separation I have ever imagined. I’ve been Ranen’s sole care giver and provider, a single mother with a full-time job and no family around. There’s nothing that we haven’t been through. I don’t know how we survived. My biggest regret has been not standing up for myself and buying this flawed concept of arranged marriage in India. The only regret I don’t have is my blessing Ranen, I get my strength from him. If it wasn’t for him I would not have recognized the things that were going wrong in my marriage and would have probably never come out of it.
I have met people who constantly ask me, “Is this happening because you are Indian? Is it in your culture? I still struggle with the question in my mind, “Am I any less of a human being and is my value as a human being any lesser because I belong to a certain culture?” I wouldn’t have been able to come this far without the help of my family, my mentor at work, and my friends who stood by me through it all.
How can we contribute to making life better for single women/mothers?
Steer clear of biases.
Keep yourself from probing questions about someone’s martial status.
Stop making assumptions over what you see on social media.
If you know of a couple that’s separated, never be convinced with one side of the story. Be mindful of what you say to either of them or friends in common.
Be more empathetic.
Sometimes people just need to be heard, they’re not always seeking advice.
Stop holding yourself up on a moral high ground because life has been different for you.
Sampling songs has been around for a while, and is an acceptable practice if done right. I am not sure how many of the ones I’ve listed here are legally done, but here are some that caught my attention.
Messing Around — Pitbull feat. Enrique
This song was playing at a club on a friday night. Something in me told me I knew this song and I Shazammed it immediately. It said Pitbull feat. Enrique. But I knew it from somewhere else. I got home and looked it up and it was ‘Take it on the run’ by REO Speedwagon. Turns out Messin around includes a sample from the 80s hit, from the album Hi Infidelity.
| I heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend who Heard it from another that you been messin’ around |
Nevermind — Nirvana
I’ve been a huge fan of Nirvana. Their song Nevermind is almost a slowed down replica of Eighties by the band Killing Joke. Apparently, Nirvana initially considered holding off releasing the song as a single. Killing Joke considered legal action, but the unfortunate death of Kurt Cobain, stopped them from doing it. The lead singer of Killing Joke later said, “…It’s a short f — king life, mate — we could be going fishing or doing something sensible,”
One of my favorite vocalists, Dave Grohl, the drummer of Nirvana and the front man of Foo fighters, happens to be a big fan of Killing Joke, and he chose to help them out by playing drums on their 2003 album titled Killing Joke.
The Pretender — Foo Fighters
The intro to these songs does sound similar— and I found this gem. I was so glad to see there were other people who saw the similarity. I don’t know if this could be really categorized as ‘sampling’, but every time the intro to The Pretender plays, I end up humming Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin instead.
Best Song Ever — One Direction
OK! THE WHO has to be the greatest band that’s out there, and I never thought anyone could have replicated or sampled their songs.
But turns out One Direction has done it. The song Best Song Ever (Really? Don’t think so) sounds like one of my favorite songs of all time — Baba O’ Reily. Although I am a huge fan of Harry Styles now, I was never particularly a fan of One Direction. I never listened to any of their songs.
The Who were quite furious when they learnt about this song, and wanted it to be taken off of YouTube. But the One Direction fan base took to twitter and started the #Donttouchbestsongever trend. The song is still up on Youtube with a whopping 652 Million views.
Locked Out of Heaven— Bruno Mars
The first version of Locked out of Heaven I heard was Khaya Cohen’s audition on The X Factor USA 2013. She rendered an acoustic, slow version of the song. I went to YouTube to find the song. When I heard the original, I found the guitars to be glaringly similar to Roxanne by The Police.
When I started reading about it, I discovered Bruno Mars had in fact no problem with the comparisons. Neither do I, both songs are great 🙂
It’s My Life — Bon Jovi
This is not particularly about sampling music, but if It’s my Life is your only favorite song by Bon Jovi (because it played on repeat on iTV), then you’re missing out on some really good music made by the band. The lyric in the song, “…It’s for Tommy and Gina who never backed down”, is actually a reference to a song from the 80s called Livin on a Prayer.
Livin’ on a Prayer hit №1 in 1987, and stayed there for four weeks. It’s the tale of a working class couple, Tommy and Gina, who struggled to make ends meet and vowed to ‘…hold on to what we’ve got’. Ever since, the names of the two characters have become a part of rock mythology.
Wild Thoughts — DJ Khaled ft. Rihanna, Bryson Tiller
When I first listened to this track, I realized it was literally Maria, Maria by Santana. The song basically samples Maria, Maria, and you can’t miss it. For a second I thought maybe Wild Thoughts was bringing back this classic hit of the late 90s.
This song has been a catchy hit ever since its release, but a lot of young people listening to this new song probably wouldn’t know the connection, so here it is. Carlos Santana is counted among the 25 Greatest Guitarists of all time.
Have you discovered any other songs that sound similar? Let me know.
Hope you enjoyed reading this. I will be writing more content like this.
It’s the valentine week. I remember I wrote an article for the Hyderabad Times in 2011. It was called ‘ A Single Day of Love’. I was single then, and I spoke to my seniors about this idea a week before Valentine’s Day. The article was about how people were embracing their single-hood and were going to indulge in doing things they love the most and are passionate about. I think the message I wanted to drive home was that people need to be happy with themselves first, and then find someone who’d make them happy.
Cut to the chase. I recently turned 30, and I am single, which is not a bad thing after all. But people will tell you all kinds of things cos you’re now ‘old’. All the things that I am going to be writing here are out of experience, either personal or of people in my close circle.
Dating at 30 is visibly very different from dating in your 20s. You may call these tips, but I am no one to advise you. These are certain observations I have made and convolutions that I have tried to resolve while I try to live my life to the fullest.
Let your guard down
At your 30s you’re at the prime of your life. I was recently having this conversation with a friend, who’s going through a divorce in his early 30s, about how when you’re young you are unsure about what life holds for you. You’re just starting out your career, and let’s agree for the most part you’re broke. But when you’re in your 30s, you’re earning well, you have your career in place and are self sufficient. You indulge in good things because you can. You’ve figured out a way of life for yourself. A lifestyle like this is very addictive. You get so used to your own company, cos life is comfortable. Comfort is always appealing. In this process, you distance yourself from emotions. You forget to appreciate the presence of another person. In simple words, you have your guard up high. You’re scared to alter your lifestyle for obvious reasons.
But, hear me out and let your guard down.
Remember how when you’re a child you’re not scared of having a fall. It’s the same with emotions; you are vulnerable at all times, 20s or 30s. Let go off these inhibitions and let people in. Get acquainted with your emotional self again and discover like minded people. Honestly, uptight is such a turn off.
Steer clear of biases
I cannot believe how taboo the term ‘divorce’ is in some of our communities. I personally hadn’t considered this a possibility; as in it never crossed my mind if I would consider dating a divorcee. My cousin and I went over this and realized, it was not likely that we’d come across a divorcee in our early 20s. But in 30s, it’s a possibility that cannot be averted. I have made it a point to steer clear of any bias that I may have had until now.
Move on from your past
Maybe you were a mess because of what happened with your ex. But that doesn’t mean you are always going to be one. I hear people saying ‘Oh, I wish you had met me earlier, when I was not so broken’. Forget people, I myself am guilty of saying this a couple of times. But you will not always be broken. Time heals everything, and it’s important to leave the hurt behind as you heal. You are not expected to recite your heartbreak story on your first date or your second or your third. You’ll know when the time is right; but just don’t be pulled down about it.
An understanding of who you are/Know what you want
When you’re in your 20s, what you wanted may have been very different from what you want now. I knew exactly what I wanted from my first relationship; I wanted to be with this guy and I put love above everything else. But things changed and we started to evolve into two very different people. I realized, what I wanted was actually only what I thought I wanted, not exactly what I wanted. I wanted to be the giver of affection, and I enjoyed it. But after a point, I had nothing to offer; I was exhausted. That altered the way I looked at things.
It’s always important to keep rediscovering yourself and identifying the things you want.
Do not time-box anything
We get a lot of grief for not having our life sorted because we haven’t found the ‘one’. But no good can be reaped out of being stressed about a particular timeline. We need to stop time-boxing these things and let things flow at their own pace. Just be assured that it’s your sanity that matters.
Age is just a number
As cliche as it can get but there is so much truth to this. Age is after all just a number. You may fall in love with someone at any point in your life, and in the most unexpected way. No matter what the age (or the age gap), what matters is the fact that you’re in love with the person and see a future with them.
If you know what you want, then never settle for anyone that you’re not into just because they fit the bill. Of course nobody is perfect, but don’t run into something that you may regret later.
Wear your heart on your sleeve (Be honest)
When I say this, I mean be as raw as you can. Like I’ve written before, I think baring all insecurities becomes a challenge as you grow older. But be honest about your likes or dislikes. About your past. About your status. About your identity. Dishonesty is also a turn off.
No, you don’t have to reveal all about yourself on your first date. But when you have a connection with someone and think things may go forward; find the right opportunity to tell them what they need to know.
Listen to yourself
Listen to yourself. Your hunches are your best guides. You may want to seek opinion of your friends and family but you know best what you want. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Some of my girlfriends always advise me not to be the first one to text, but that’s not who I am. If I want to text someone first, I would go ahead and do it. You may have your own quirks, own them and be yourself.
Just cos you’re 30 doesn’t imply you need to do boring things. It’s also very easy to get caught up thinking about the future. Maybe you haven’t met the one, you’re not married, and you don’t have kids yet. You may have certain expectations, but it’s never okay to project it on every person you meet. Give more of your mind and heart to having fun. Find things that interest you and do them together with the person you’re getting to know. Also, at this age, you know exactly what you enjoy. So it becomes clearer to chose what you want to do.
Of course I put together an outfit for this post. If you know me, you’d know my love for pleats. I’ve been on a spree of buying all things pleated and my latest buy is this lovely champagne pleated skirt. I paired it with a black solid blouse that has some drama going around with its sleeves. This definitely could be an ideal outfit for your first date.
City sidewalks, busy sidewalks Dressed in holiday style In the air there’s a feeling Of Christmas Children laughing, people passing Meeting smile after smile And on every street corner you’ll hear Silver bells Silver bells It’s Christmas time in the city Ring-a-ling Hear them ring Soon it will be Christmas Day!
This carol that I’ve known since a kid started to make sense when I walked through the beautifully lit streets of London.
If you’ve read my first blog post of 2019, you’d know my year started on a brilliant note. Landing a new job, making new friends, rekindling old friendships et al. But in the midst of all this I missed out on travelling to any new place. I was literally stuck in Hyderabad; part of the reason was just me being lazy. But my plans to visit London kept me excited.
Going to London was always a dream; but visiting this gorgeous city was not the only reason I was looking forward to. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’d know what else I was excited for. It was for ALTER BRIDGE. I have been a huge fan of the band; ever since it came into being – from a quartet called Creed to Alter Bridge. Remember the ‘My Sacrifice’ days? I somehow knew if I had to choose any band that I’d travel to watch live, it would have to be this one.
When Alter Bridge announced the release of Walk the Sky I saw their Instagram post and I happened to share which also had their walk the sky tour dates. So a friend of mine who lives in the US, asked me, Are you coming here? I saw that message and I thought for a bit, well going to the US would not be possible but I could go to London and that’s how the plan came into being. My friend Paul and I jumped on the idea and booked our tickets to the concert in a jiffy. It was all coming together – I was going to visit one of the beautiful cities in the words, watch one of my favorite bands live, and do it all around Christmas time. Although my friend happened to get married later last year and couldn’t accompany me. But my dear friend Dhanya aka creativegenious agreed to join me.
We flew Eitihad airways via Abu Dhabi. It was my first time ever boarding an Airbus A380 and it was massive. We did have an itinerary in place and had tickets to a couple of well-known attractions booked in advance. But heart of hearts we knew that London is one of those cities that demands you allow days at leisure in your itinerary to explore on your own and that’s exactly what we did.
For the first couple of days, we were utterly touristy and went to Madame Tussaud’s, The London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge among others. The rest of the time we wanted to explore the city.
Christmas time in London is almost overwhelming. It was my first Christmas away from home. The Christmas markets are such a delight – bustling with tourists of course, with yummy food to hog on and a series of shops selling creative stuff. The energy is infectious.
Central London is a place that you can walk for hundreds of hours and still find new things to do. It just makes you want to embrace everything English.
We met a few friends over for lunch at Salisburry, a pub – short for public house (Did you know that?). We had the best pub lunch ever – Classic Fish and Chips and British Chicken & Woodland Mushroom Pie. Well, it took me a while to get the name right – check it out here SAWZ-bər-ee. I read this somewhere – If pubs in London had sexes, then the Salisbury would definitely be a lady. It’s so ornate and grand in Victorian style and has also been used to film a few movies. The place definitely has my heart; cos it happens to be the place I downed my first cider; a big deal for a teetotaler like me 🙂
We walked around Covent garden, touted to be a must visit for anyone who loves shopping. Through the craft stalls at Apple Market, all the countless street performers, plush stores, and eateries. There was also a Huda Beauty pop-up *Heart eyes*. Here’s an interesting site I found – Things to do in Covent Garden.
I seemed to be writing this not to the key, cos I can barely remember what we did on what date. But what I do remember is that the Alter Bridge concert was on the 21st. I was waiting for it since June, duh! The concert was happening at the iconic O2 – and we were staying right across it, on the other side of the River Thames. We took a cable car to get to the venue. The O2 is H.U.G.E. The enormity of it will take your breath away. We walked a fair amount to reach the arena at which the concert was happening. We reached early and were lucky enough to save our spot up in the front. The Raven Age, filled in for Seven Dust, who couldn’t make it to the UK tour. The Raven Age are a melodic metal core outfit from London and I quite liked their music. Then came Shine Down. Honestly, I wasn’t a fan of this band before this concert but I definitely I am one now. If a band is wondering how to put on a great show, they should look no further than Shinedown. The production, set-list, and overall performance were nearly impeccable. What showmanship by Brent smith. I loved their outfits too.
Of course Alter Bridge was everything I was hoping for and MORE. It was a day to remember; I legit teared up. They played all of my favorite songs – Wouldn’t you rather, Come to Life, Isolation, Blackbird. And of course a brilliant set of acoustic numbers – In loving Memory, Watch over you, and OPEN YOUR EYES. I have watched Myles Kennedy live with Slash and the Conspirators, but being an Alter Bridge fan – I just had to see him play with Alter Bridge. His voice is inimitable.
Needless to say, I also had the best Christmas eve ever. After much anticipation about attending the Midnight eucharist at St. Paul’s, because of the shut down of public transport, my friend Sunny made it happen by driving me to the cathedral. Before we could head to the service, we walked around Leicester Square and made our way to Chinatown. We had some brilliant food there that also involved me tasting duck for the first time; also thanks for my foodie friend. Services at St. Paul’s cathedral are open for all; I had been researching that for quite a while. However, we decided to reach as early as 10:45 PM for the 11:30 PM service, and yet found ourselves standing a never ending queue. Each time we moved forward, we kept ourselves, “Did we make it?” And we DID! We were among the last few who made it, in fact. The cathedral in all its glory, was far beyond beautiful. I have no words to express its grandeur. Also, photography was restricted indoors, so sadly I couldn’t get any pictures of it. The midnight eucharist was something that I had been looking forward to; since I go to an anglican church here in Hyderabad too, it was great to experience it first hand in England. Christmas Day was equally special, spending time at a local church who were kind enough to have us over for a classic English lunch.
The rest of my stay just happened to fly by in a jiffy. We shopped a whole lot on boxing day. We covered all the major shopping avenues – Westfield Mall at Stratford, Harrods (bought a ton of make up from there – will probably post a video about it soon), Oxford street. We even happened to walk around Elizabeth street, Belgravia to check out all the pretty cake, jewellery, and clothing outlets.
But the best part of my trip, which was totally unplanned, was when my friend took me to the Ain’t Nothing but Blues Bar in Soho. Soho happens to be the buzzing entertainment district in central London. Walking into a blues bar and interacting with people from different places, who were only there to enjoy the good music, was something I had only dreamt of. But thanks to my friend who took me there. I mean thank God for people who have similar taste in music as me.
The market in Greenwhich, where we went to the next day, had this interesting vintage pop-up with the loveliest of blouses. We discovered a new place called Dark Sugars; I say new because my friend hadn’t been there earlier either. The Ghanaian chocolate shop uses cocoa beans straight from the owner’s West African homeland and combines them in a creamy hot chocolate with all sorts of fun, fiery and downright delicious flavors. I got home and looked them up and found this interesting story about how the eatery came into being – Dark Sugars. Camden market was another interesting spot, with quite a peculiar crowd (punks and bohemians). It was filled with sellers of art and off-beat fashion. It’s where I tried my first sushi dish too, thanks again to my foodie friend. Going to Camden was not on my itinerary but it was definitely worth it. Read more about it here – Camden Market.
On my last day there, we took the risk to drive to Cambridge and it was the best decision ever. We left for Cambridge around 9 AM and reached the university town by 10 AM. Started our day with a good Egg Benedict and walked around the quaint city. The best way to cover the town in a limited tune is by punting across The River Cam, and we did exactly that. Our punt chauffer was quite witty and kept us entertained with his humor mixed with some interesting history lessons.
There a lot of misconceptions that the sun never comes out in London, which is not entirely true. When the sun does come it, it’s glorious. And luckily we had our good days, while we were there. It can get a little bit gloomy, but keep your spirits high so they won’t be dampened by the weather.
There are a lot more stories I could write about, but I know for a fact I am still so in love with the city of London and I hope to visit it sometime soon again. For now, I’ll settle for a glimpse of this quaint city; with all its contrasting architecture and ever confusing weather.
Or probably just go there the next time another one of my favourite bands is playing, maybe Foo Fighters 😀
I am so grateful for Sharon akka and her lovely son Ranen who were our lovely hosts; they made the trip even better ❤️
It’s been quite a journey. Thanks to everyone who stuck around, and everyone who joined me mid-way through these two years.
It all started off in a bizarre way for me; not just blogging but this whole inclination towards fashion etc. Back in 2012, one of my seniors at university was working on her thesis and her topic was fashion blogging – I never really got to read it (which I should), and I was fascinated by the idea. While in my third semester, I wanted to write a paper on fashion blogging for our cultural communications class, but the idea was met with a big NO. I eventually ended up working on some other topic – It was about the cultural nuances of the most popular shopping street in Secunderabad – James Street. Let’s leave that discussion for later.
This fashion and beauty frenzy version that you see of me on my socials doesn’t go back too long. I won’t be ashamed to admit, I was such a tomboy. I was in fact dragged to the parlor during my college days to get my eyebrows threaded just one day before our freshers’ party. I did have an eye for good clothes/style but I made a lot of horrendous blunders too. Fashion grew on me, slowly over the years and here I am.
Every time someone asks me ‘how did blogging start for you?’, I say it was through Instagram and not the version of Instagram that we see now, but the novel platform that it was back in 2013/14. 2013 was when I started working, and could afford a smart phone. It was then that I started investing in better clothes or rather say I was able to since I was earning for myself. Makeup then for me was just lipstick and a good compact – my favorite compact back then was the one from Lakme in the shade Coral, which costed only Rs. 99/- (and there were only four shades, Lakme really hasn’t come a long way even now). It was a time when a lot of budding artists were sharing their work and when Hello Hyderabad started. Zuvam was one of the co-founders of this beautiful initiative. All of a sudden people were editing with various filters (not native to Instagram) and that lead to the start of VscoHyderabad. Both these accounts used to feature pictures from across the city. They organized a series of meaningful meet-ups – Karthik, Meghna, and Sandhya were the pioneers. I took on the one post per day challenge, and used to religiously click pictures everyday and post them with relevant hashtags. I got featured a few times on these pages, and also in one of the little book released by VscoHyderabad. That’s how my Instagram gained traction. Our evening breaks at work were when I would coax my friends to click pictures of me and post them on Instagram, back when I didn’t even know #OOTD. So it was a mix of pictures of the places I went to in and around the city and the clothes that I wore.
During this phase, a lot of people would reach out to me and ask me to start a blog on fashion – talk about where I buy my clothes from, how I style them etc. Since I was already working, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to give my best to it because, let’s all agree – it is not an easy job. Although writing has been a passion, and it comes to me naturally, I did not want to venture into something that would force me to budge on quality.
Nonetheless, October 28th marked the birth of this little baby of mine – Rad All Day. I posted a poll on Instagram and about 87% said YES – they wanted me to start a blog. It did more than just convince me; that I could do it.
It has been quite a ride for me; I never thought ‘fashion and beauty’ would be something I’d be talking about in my life when I grow up. From fighting snide remarks about my complexion since a very young age to now, where I am asked for the right shade of makeup to use: I think I have come a long way. Also, this balancing act hasn’t been easy. Everyone at my work place thinks I make a huge amount of money with what I do in my blogging world, and everyone in the blogger community thinks I make way too much money, so I don’t need to make money out of blogging. I once had someone encourage their child to befriend me because apparently I get an unlimited supply of new clothes and makeup. Sigh. If only that was true. But the sad truth is, the blogging world has changed and how. There are people out here, and here only for the freebies. The key to being successful is to be real and most importantly just be yourself.
I have posted a poll on my Instagram, if I should start a YouTube channel and the response has been overwhelming. I will probably do that, but it is going to take sometime as it requires a lot more hard work. I am going to sign off by quoting one of the responses I got to my question on Instagram ‘What kind of content would you like me to create on YouTube? “…Content as real as you already create here.”
Sharing some of my favorite looks from the last two years here:
Thank you for all the love and support. I will be creating more content and I am hoping you guys will love it.
Also, won’t forget to share more music with you guys. Currently obsessing over this new track by Coldplay – Feels like the good old ColdPlay. Get what I mean? Yes, minus the Chainsmokers Haha
This blog post has been sitting in my drafts for months now, and I decided to finish up today, a gloomy Friday morning. This look has been one of my most liked on my Instagram.
My love for anything lace has been clear and blunt. I still vividly remember paying endless trips to ‘Cheap Jack’ in General Bazar with my mom to pick up the perfect lace fabric for those dreamy outfits.
All of 12, I remember putting together an outfit that I had in mind; a flared lace skirt, a solid shirt and a lace crop jacket to go with it – all in peach. It was my go to outfit. I would want to wear it to every place we go until I finally outgrew it. Ever since, I’ve not really owned a full lace outfit as I grew weary of anything mildly flimsy. Wearing something sheer or lacy meant factoring in a lot of things; the delicacy of the fabric, the translucency et al – just too much work.
However, when @women_and_dresses sent across this beautiful dress it made me oh so nostalgic. I readily agreed to style it and I think it is safe to say that I cannot seem to part from my love for lace after all.
I think my Instagram speaks a lot about my new found love in beige and neutral tones. I feel like I’ve been leaning towards this aesthetic a lot lately. Keeping it simple and minimal. And of course, the gold brogues; I have had so much love coming from people for these. I picked these up from Ajio over a year ago. I’ve been hunting for them in black but haven’t been successful 😦
Let me know how you like the new look on my blog 🙂
First of all, I’m sorry for being so erratic with my blog posts. Call it the repercussions of a new job or sheer laziness, it has only resulted in me being inconsistent with my writing. Yet, you guys have shown me so much love on my Instagram.
If you aren’t already following me on Instagram, a friend and I recently took up the #DesiforaMonth challenge. For the longest time I have been told I might not be able to carry off traditional/ethnic clothes. A few weeks ago I posted an #ootd picture of me in a red kurta and a bindi and I received responses like ‘Oh my God, you and desi?’. So it was only right for me to take up this challenge.
The timing couldn’t have been any better either, as it was the perfect time to pull out all our cotton kurtis for the summer.
And no, this doesn’t mean I went shopping for clothes just to fulfill the challenge. I literally pulled out clothes (that I probably would have not worn otherwise) as old as 8 years and tried to style them differently.
Honestly, these past couple of months have been particularly overwhelming and handling blogging while working had become a bit stressful. I literally have more than five posts sitting in my drafts; I either have not stringed the right words together or do not have the right pictures for them to go live. Anyway, here I am, trying to edit this post the nth time only cos I promised myself I won’t sit on it any longer.
I started blogging while I was working with my previous organization and it was easy to figure out how I would make time for blogging as I was well aware of my schedule and my commitments. However, after I moved organizations, things changed quite a bit–from work timings to time spent on commute. Starting a new job is always challenging, isn’t it? There’s so much involved in it – learning about your job, learning about what is expected of you, learning of the people who work there and most importantly making new friends. Luckily enough, I have always made some good friends wherever I have worked. More so luckily I have found a fashion enthusiast at my current company and hence this #DesiforaMonth.
She’s a powerhouse of positivity and has an infectious laughter. Follow her at devils_angel2511 on Instagram. Our everyday climb down the stairs just to get a good picture was definitely worth it as we had at least a dozen others sporting their desi best and flaunting along #DesiforaMonth.
Owing to my metabolism, I have always been a petite skinny girl. I found it very difficult to find ethnic clothes that fit me perfectly and so I’d get most of them stitched. But the horror with some tailors needs no introduction; it’s like they were born to ruin your clothes. Anyway, of late, I have found online shopping sites like Ajio, Myntra, and Jabong house some really lovely ethnic clothes in various sizes — size that fits me precisely.
From the outfits that I am wearing, most of them are from Ajio (Ajio own), AND by Anita Dongre, Sangria, and Project Eve. The #indowestersn look, shirt with the ethnic skirt seemed to be quite a hit with my followers. 🙂
Thanks for all the love again. I will be back with a new post; sooner than I did this time!
When people ask me if my hair is naturally straight and I tell them it’s not; they look at me in utter disbelief. I’ve realized that over the past few years, straightening my hair had become an everyday thing. I got so used to it that one of my biggest nightmares was a power cut in the morning. 🙄 In all honesty, short hair is high maintenance and not the other way around. The key to keeping your hair from damage, despite all the heat, is to invest in a good straightener and of course regular hair care. I recently got a chance to be a part of Himalaya Hair Care’s #4FabulousHair event. We were treated to a very relaxing 4-step hair care regime that included oiling, steaming, shampooing, and masking (conditioning).
One of the most important hair care steps is oiling. But it is also important to allow the oil to seep into your roots. During winters, I suffer from severe dandruff and heavy hair fall. But ever so often, I find myself strapped for time and cannot dedicate enough time for oiling. However, I figured, tying a hot towel around your head after oiling is a good exercise to follow. It allows the oil to seep in instantly. You can leave it on for about 5 minutes and wash your hair off.
I have been following this routine for a couple of weeks and it has really been helping me.
I hope you guys will try out the Himalaya product range soon and also my little tip. 🙂