Sharing your writing


My second semester of uni started this week. I’m taking units in Freelance Writing {which is more about critical reviews} and Short Fiction Writing. Since commencing this course last year, I realised one of the most challenging things and yet, most worthwhile, is sharing your writing. You think it would be easy given that I’ve been blogging for close to 8 years. After all, I have random people from across the globe reading things about my personal life, my rants, my flaws and my attempts at creativity. But you know what? That’s easy. Because I don’t get to see any of you while you are reading my blog.

On the other hand, having to read out my attempts at creativity in a class of about 20 people and get their constructive feedback is quite daunting. No one is ever nasty; people are too nice for that. But at the same time, you cannot help but wonder what they might be thinking. As writers, we are our harshest critic. Most of the poems, short stories or flash fiction attempts I’ve posted here, have been done so quite apprehensively. I’ve been able to hit the post button though because, in the end, I figure if people don’t like it, they just won’t comment. Plus not seeing your reactions really helps!

When you write, it’s not just a story. It’s your story. It’s your baby. It’s your creation. And while you can be your harshest critic, you can also be your baby’s staunchest supporter when evaluated. Or you might take it personally and feel like you are being criticized. And neither of this is helpful if the goal is to hone your writing skills.

I know that in order to become a better writer, the workshopping at university is going to help. In fact, it is required. I am trying harder this semester to get out of my comfort zone and read out some of my writing. In the process, I am being a lot more vulnerable. I am opening up. I’m taking a big risk.

Sharing my writing is going to be tough.

But whoever said that things had to be easy?

How are you when sharing your writing? How do you deal with feedback?

Do share!

***Linking with Ann for Things I know, Robo for The Lounge and Grace for FYBF***

Photo License: Copyright All rights reserved by jpc79. Photo accessed from here.

Until next time,



Out and about in Macquarie Pass National Park

A couple of weekends ago, I organised a hike with a few friends down to Macquarie Pass National Park. I’d never been there before and was keen to explore the tracks. Plus, there were supposed to be creeks or rivers which meant we had swimming options on a hot summer’s day.

Macquarie Pass National Park is about an hour south of Sydney between Albion Park and Robertson. It is located just off the Illawara Highway. We started by hiking the Clover Hill Trail which was to be about 7 kilometres and includes a fair bit of rock hopping and scrambling. Not having much a detailed map, we didn’t end up going too far. We lost sight of the track about 2 hours in and decided to return back. The path was quite slippery due to rain in the previous week. Luckily for us, on the day there were several people canyoning in the park and also a fair few SES workers on some kind of training. We managed to learn about another walk from the leader of one of the canyoning groups.

We believe this was the Cascades walk but we could be wrong {as there were no signs!}. This hike was about 35 minutes on a narrow trail in some parts to a wonderful pool at the end. We spent over and hour here swimming and enjoying the cascades and also had lunch at this spot. Turns out, it was a very popular spot for families too.

Compared to some of the other hikes I’ve done in the last few months {Overland track, anyone?!}, this was relatively cruisey. We finished around 3 p.m. after commencing at about 9:15 and this was all done at a leisurely pace. Just some photos from the day:

Macquarie Pass National Park

The start of the hike

Macquarie Pass National Park

Huge boulder


Macquarie Pass National Park

The Pool on the Cascades Walk

Macquarie Pass National Park

The pool an hour later. Packed with canyoners

It was an enjoyable Sunday with friends enjoying nature without being too exhausted. If you have a chance, make sure you visit the area. It’s pretty gorgeous and supposedly, a bird-watcher’s delight.

Where have you gone hiking recently? 

Do share!

***Linking with Malinda for Wednesday Wanderlust and Ms Mystery Case for Worth Casing Wednesday***

Until next time,



On unusual names


I have spent most of my life spelling my name out for people. Yes, I am one of those people who has an unusually spelt name and it didn’t matter whether I was in Oman, India or Australia, I have had to spell it for everyone {In case you haven’t guessed it, Sanch is only part of my name}. But my dramas with names doesn’t end there. I have always had to explain my last name too. You see, my last name is not my family name. It’s my father’s first name.

Growing up, not only did I not have a middle name {for most of my friends, their dad’s first name was their middle name}, but I also didn’t have a surname or family name. I’d leave the ‘Family Name’ section of forms blank and put my first and last names in the ‘Given Name’ section. Then would ensue the story about why I didn’t have a family name. Because even among Indians, it is uncommon to not have one.

Apparently, there’s a certain group of south Indians who do not have a family name. The daughters take on their father’s first name as their last names and later, their husband’s first name {yes, very patriarchal but I’ll try not to go there here}. The sons on the other hand, will have the ancestral village name and the father’s first name as their first two initials followed by their first name. In other words, it would go something like K. S. Ramesh. Where K would be the village and S would be their dad’s name. I guess I should thank my stars I wasn’t born a boy! Try explaining that to everyone!

I’ve gone through school years having some teachers initially think my dad’s name is my name because of the order in which it is written on the roll call. And I’ve had to go through that spiel of not having a family name. This no-family name became a problem when I came here to Australia and applied to get a driver’s license. They wouldn’t accept my last name in the ‘Last name’ section of the form as my passport {my only form of photo ID} didn’t have anything in the ‘Family name’ section but had both my names in the ‘Given names’ line. Fortunately for me, there was another RTA which agreed to let me do it as they had to have a last name and well, my 17 letters long ‘given name’ would not fit.

I have stopped being pedantic and now fill in the Surname or Family name section with my last name. It makes life easier. Yet, it always surprises people when I tell them it’s my dad’s first name. And I repeat my narrative about names.

Have you got an unusual story with your name? Do you have a middle name? 

Do share!

***Linking up with Kirsty where we are confessing about middle names and Alicia for Open Slather this Monday morning***

Until next time,



On Compassion #1000speak

We live in a world where we seem to have become desensitised. We hear of wars in countries far away and feel sorry for a moment, maybe a day. We read about torture, of children dying, of people killing one another in the name of religion or ethnicity or just plain stupidity, of children being abused or mistreated. We deal with racism, sexism, discrimination based on abilities or disabilities. And somewhere along the way, maybe to protect ourselves, we stopped taking it in.

We lost that will to help out. Sure, we probably shook our heads in sympathy and chatted about the evils in the world at the lunch table the next day, but did we really do anything about it? Did we make an effort to make even a small change?



It’s the small acts of kindness and compassion that are a starting point. Not all of us may be able to save some of the children in Pakistan or Syria or Nigeria {how I wish we could!}. But we can start by showing compassion to our fellow human beings around us.

We can offer our seat on the train to the tired person standing next to us.

We can spend time to listen to someone with a mental illness non-judgementally.

We can buy a coffee for the person in line behind us.

We can help a neighbour mow their lawn.

Or offer to babysit a busy friend’s kids.

We can let a person go through ahead of us in traffic.

We can volunteer our time with sick kids, the disabled, the elderly or animals.

We can genuinely compliment someone.

We can spend time with an elderly grandparent living by themselves.

Or help the little kid on the street ride their bike.

Most importantly, we can teach the next generation the importance of being kind and compassionate. We can teach them that it is part and parcel of who we are as human beings. Hopefully, this will make the world we live in, a much better place. A place where people begin to pay it forward. A place that is more compassionate and filled with kindness.

After all, it doesn’t take much effort to be kind every day.

How do you show compassion in your daily life?

Do share!


I am participating in the 1000speak movement by writing about Compassion. Do join us. Link your posts here. Stay updated by joining our Facebook group. Read more about the #1000Speak movement and how it began here

Until next time,



Cats as pets

If you had told me ten years ago that I’d be the owner mum of two cats in the future, I would have laughed out loud. It’s because I have always been a dog person. I even knew the kind of dog I wanted as a pet — Jack Russell or Mini Foxie {or a cross} or a Beagle.

Growing up, my parents weren’t fans of having a pet. I put it down to their OCD of needing the house to be perfect. Anyway, back then, I befriended all the stray dogs on our street. And there were a fair few. I remember once trying to sneak a puppy as a pet where a few friends and I took this stray puppy and placed him {or her?} in the unoccupied balcony on the ground floor in our building. He remained our pet for a couple of days before adults found out and we had to let him free. I vowed at the time that when I had a place of my own, I would have a pet.

In 2009, I finally did have a place of my own. But I wasn’t in a position to have a pet. I tried having a fish. But he didn’t last too long. Finally, in 2011, I decided I would get a cat. Why a cat when I was a dog person? Well, living in a unit meant it’d be harder for me to get permission to keep a dog. Plus, I thought it would unfair for a dog to be inside a unit. I had started warming up to cats a teeny bit after receiving some affection from a friend’s cat.

I looked online and found a vet advertising rescue kittens for adoption. By the time I went to see the litter, there were only two kittens left. One was a quiet timid one. The other — the whinger according to the staff — was a lot more playful and swatted my hair, purred in my arms and tried to nibble my fingers. I was smitten. And that’s how I welcomed Pebbles.

She was delightful and I had no idea how much fun a cat could be! I fell in love with her as I watched her crazy antics and her clinginess and affection. And yes, she was a whinger all right. About 4 to 5 months later, I started feeling guilty that I left her home alone all day while I was at work. I figured she’d like a companion.

That’s how I decided on getting a second cat. I visited a rescue in Sutherland that had more than 20 cats to choose from! How in the world are you supposed to choose?! Anyway, this one kitten of 16 weeks was a purr-ball. He purred constantly and there was something really sweet about his face. Eventually, I decided on him even though my heart was torn.

Along came Buttons and unfortunately, he and Pebbles didn’t really get along initially leading to a lot of stress on my part. Fortunately, just as I was thinking of adopting Buttons out, they began to get along or at least tolerate one another which was a huge relief for me.

They are both now 3 years old and not a day goes by when they don’t amuse me in some way. Buttons is supremely affectionate and a real sook and gets along well with everyone. He thinks he’s a dog sometimes and loves having his belly scratched. He is a smoochy boy and loves to cuddle up in bed at night. Pebbles on the other hand, is a mummy’s girl. She is wary of strangers and can be highly anxious. But she is very affectionate towards me. She loves stealing my food and playing fetch. I reckon she is the more intelligent of the two and unlike Buttons, responds to her name. They both seemed to have missed me heaps when I was away earlier this year and were very clingy when I got home.




I cannot imagine what my life would be like without either of them. They helped me get over my past relationship and kept me company during stressful times in my life. Somehow, they seem to know when I am feeling off and need a cuddle. Since having my cats, I have also found that most cats are affectionate. I will always check out the RSPCA cats at my local Petbarn and spend time playing with them and wishing I could adopt more. I have moved over and become a cat-person {though I still love dogs!}

Ten years ago I never thought I’d have cats as pets.

Now I can’t see my life any other way.

What pets do you have? How have they impacted on your life?

Do share!

***Linking up with Tegan over at The Lounge today and Grace for FYBF***

Until next time,



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