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Best Articles of On My Canvas From the Year 2020-2021

Best Articles Published During On My Canvas’s Fourth Year (August 2020 — August 2021) 

 

My blog On My Canvas just turned four. Congratulations to me and to all you brilliant readers who give me a reason to write every day.

Read the above link to know about the indefinite travel journey I’m on, another big news, and the five lessons I learned in four years of blogging.

Though every blogger publishes a list of their best articles at the end of the year, I wanted to list my best articles at the blog’s new year — that’s August. As I published the first article on On My Canvas in the first week of August, this month marks the beginning of a fresh year for my blog. 

Below you will find a list of both my best life ideas and travel blogs from the year 2020-2021. Hope you enjoy these heartfelt stories and lessons from the year gone. 

I have many more travel journeys and growth hacks coming up. I also send a carefully curated newsletter every Friday. It includes my latest writings, books, and articles by brilliant writers, inspiring videos, quotes that find me from around the world, important and relevant news, and other updates. Those who have already subscribed have been receiving my writings and briefs on my indefinite journey.

Do enter your email below to subscribe if you would like to receive the letter straight in your inbox. I’m also found on Twitter (most active), Facebook, and Instagram. Hope you will join me there.

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And now onwards we go. 

 

 

 

My Top Life Inspiration Articles From On My Canvas’s Fourth Year (August 2020 — August 2021) 

 

1.  The onset of Our Indefinite Nomadic Journey, Crossing Barricaded Indian State Borders, and Fundraiser Campaigns (Pocket) — My account of the beginning of a new adventure and what it brought along.

2. 42 Handpicked Marcel Proust Quotes On Habits, Love, Desire, Misery, Memory, and Little Joys (Pocket) — Marcel Proust quotes that I found too hard to ignore: collected from Vol 1, In Search of Lost Time (also known as Remembrance of Things Past).

3. 43 Times When Proust Blew Our Minds With His Precise Understanding of Human Composition (Swann’s Way) (Pocket) — The most insightful writings on human composition and the sweetness of life from Swann’s Way, Vol One of In search of Lost Time By Marcel Proust.

4. Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own – Meditations on Writing and Life (Pocket) — A curation of lessons on writing and life from Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own essay. Read this if you don’t want to read the essay.

5. Read This If You Think You Are An Emotional Fool (Pocket) — This research-backed guide on understanding emotions gives definite advice on managing emotions intelligently to live a better life.

6. A Definite Guide to Meaningful, Healthy, and Mindful Living (Pocket) — A researched, experiential, and detailed guide to purposeful, mindful, and healthy living. Includes lessons from Ikigai exploring awareness.

7. Best Non-Fiction Books I Read in 2020 (Pocket) — I write because I read. I unlearn because I read. I grow because I read. Here are some of the best non-fiction books I read in 2020.

8. Best Fiction Books I Read in 2020 (Pocket) — Some of the best fiction books I read in 2020. From Anna Karenina to the Greatest Urdu Stories Ever Told to Huckleberry Finn, you will find all fiction genres here.

9. How to Find Your Passion – Playing Devil’s Advocate (Pocket) — A definite guide on how to find your passions, hard questions to ask yourself to confirm your passion, and how to follow your passions.

10. 21 Books to Change Your Life – They Changed Mine (Pocket) — Did anyone ever ask you to read books to change your life? Here are the 21 best life-changing books that changed my perception of life.

11. Excel in Your 30s With These Life Lessons (Pocket) — Life in your 30s would seem like a roller-coaster. Read my experiential and other-thirty-year-olds-suggested life lessons to excel in your thirties.

12. Read This to Sleep in Your Storm (Pocket) — Read this inspirational piece to know how to keep your life together all the time and sleep even in a storm. Start small, but start now.

13. Break The Routine, Sometimes (Pocket) — A personal-experience-driven and researched guide on why we should break the routine sometimes for our good.

14. Make Someone Happy In These 47 Ways (Pocket) — Do you know how to make someone happy? Need more ideas? Use this list of 47 simple things that make people happy instantly. Try them and see for yourself.

15. The Narrative of My Writing Life in Mashobra, Shimla (Pocket) — Though this piece can be marketed as a travel guide to Mashobra, I consider it the live account of a writer’s life who is writing while exploring the mountains with her partner. I’m learning a lot about relationships and human beings on this nomadic journey and here I share the best part of it.

 

Psssst: If the links are too many to read (I know), click the Pocket link to save it to your account. New to Pocket? It is an online diary of everything you have to read. I’m also starting to get used to it. Gone are those days when I used to keep fifty-seven Chrome links open. Hope you entangle some of your threads too. 

And no, Pocket didn’t pay me to write their review. Thank you for asking though.

 

 

My Top Travel Articles From My Canvas’s Fourth Year (August 2020 — August 2021)

 

1.  Shoe Shopping in Karsog Mandi – Things Nomadic Writers Do (Pocket) — The Story of The Lost Shoe and a failed attempt at buying a new hiking pair in Karsog Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh. Insights into the nomadic writing life.

2. What a Dam Did to the Tattapani Hot Water Springs (Pocket) — What a dam did to the Tattapani hot water springs and how is this small village of Mandi district surviving on the banks of River Sutlej.

3. Cubbon Park – Bangalore’s Eye Candy and My Green Oasis (Pocket) — This picturesque Cubbon Park Bangalore article will surely make you want to check out this green oasis in the otherwise crowded city of Bangalore. Enjoy!

4. We Dared to Hike to Shikari Devi Temple (Mandi Himachal) On Our Own (Pocket) — Our story of hiking to the Shikari Devi Temple, Mandi, Himachal on our own. The guide covers everything you need to know about the Shikari Mata trek.

5. Pangna Village Will Amaze You (Mandi Himachal) (Pocket) — A detailed and nature-filled description of the historical Pangna village, Mandi, Himachal. You would be surprised how much you don’t know.

6. Admiring the Super Flower Blood Moon From Mashobra, Himachal Pradesh (Pocket) — A memoir of watching the super flower blood moon of May 2021 from Mashobra village of Shimla Himachal Pradesh. Enjoy the blood-red moon.

7. An Itinerant Writer’s Life in Mashobra, Shimla (Along With Things To Do) (Pocket) —A detailed guide to the village of Mashobra Shimla. The guide goes as a writer’s narrative who is living, writing, and exploring Mashobra.

8. Amazing Karnataka – From Ten Years of Travel (Pocket) — An in-depth guide to the best places to visit in Karnataka along with extensive information on the history, language, food, culture, and transport.

9. Sunny Picnic at Kanag Devi Temple, Theog (Shimla) – Pastures in Obscurity (Pocket) — This Kanag Devi temple guide takes you from the Fagu and Theog villages of Shimla to the green pastures of Kanag that outsiders don’t know about.

10. Relishing Crunchy and Soft South Indian Dosas (Pocket) —A colorful Introduction to the crunchy South Indian Dosas. Here I talk about my dosa journey, the various kinds of South Indian dosa, and a simple recipe.

11. Hiking Down to the Leopard-Infested Gorge in Mehli Shimla (Pocket) —Memoirs of hiking down to the leopard-infested ravine from the Mehli village in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.

12. Can You Believe This Is Bangalore? (In Photos) (Pocket) — Unseen Bangalore images from a plethora of day outings in Bangalore City. These are not your usual Instagram Bangalore photos.

13. 5 Tried and Trusted Online Organic Stores in Bangalore (Farm+Homemade) (Pocket) —Tried and trusted online organic stores in Bangalore that deliver fresh, preservative-free, and personalized fruits, vegetables, and groceries.

14. Homestays in India – Pros and Cons, Tips, and Tried Homes (Pocket) —This one-stop guide to homestays in India includes how (general and) Indian homestays work, cultural differences, pricing tips, and tried homes.

15. A Stunning Sunset at Mandalay’s Irrawaddy River (Pocket) — Myanmar sunsets are to die for. This is a narrative photo essay on a stunning Mandalay sunset witnessed on the banks of the Irrawaddy River.

16. Blunders I Made as a Novice Traveler – Backpacking Tips Included (Pocket) — I made many mistakes as a new traveler and beginner backpacker. This backpacking guide narrates my journey and lists essential backpacking tips.

17. 12 Myanmar Traditional Food– Eating My Way Through Burma (Pocket) — A guide to the best of the Myanmar traditional foods and experiences. Read this Burmese Food blog for delicacies including and beyond Mohinga and Shan meals.

18. Chile Visa Fiasco – When I Was Stranded at the Bolivia-Chile Border (Pocket) — Traveling to Chile? Read my story of getting stranded at the Bolivia-Chile border and my race to La Paz to get a Chile visa within a day.

19. Starting an Indefinite Road trip (Pocket) — The onset of our nomadic journey in the second wave of Indian Pandemic, crossing barricaded state borders, collective helplessness, and fundraiser campaigns.

 

Which one from the above 2020-2021 articles is your favorite? Let me know in the comments. 

On My Canvas Turns Four – Big News and Five Lessons Inside

Celebrating Four Years of On My Canvas – Learnings and Updates

 

Phew! 

It has been four years since I published the first article on On My Canvas. From then on, these four years have been a non-stop roller-coaster ride. From the first year of impenetrable determination but absolute ignorance to helping out other bloggers from my two years of blogging journey, and the third year of accomplishments, I’ve come a long way.

The journey started with writing. But every artist needs an audience. I want to thank you all — my beloved readers — who have helped me make the blog the meaningful resource it is. Though I know On My Canvas has to reach a lot more people, I really appreciate the love and support I’ve received so far. At least, I have not been hit by spoiled tomatoes or stinky eggs.

 

killing me with tomatoes. long due.
Long due.

So thank you! 

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Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own — A Meditation on Writing and Life

Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own Quotes — Wisdom on Writing and Life

 

Virginia Woolf was once asked to speak about women and fiction.

Woolf wandered the streets of London, sat by the riverside, pored over shelves full of books in the British Museum, went to luncheons, and considered the then state of literature. While working in a constricted space in that London where women weren’t even allowed to walk on turf paths in colleges (only men and students could), Virginia created a masterpiece on why there were limited women writers and even more limited writings by them.

Woolf delivered the lectures in October 1928 at the women’s colleges of Cambridge University. Published in September 1929, A Room of One’s Own is an essay based on those lectures.

Woolf went back to the works of Proust, Shakespeare, Emily Bronte, Jane Austen, Aphra Behn, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, Kipling, Keats, and many more known and unknown writers to understand the truth. She read fiction written by women and studied her contemporaries’ books. She contemplated why the writing of men scorned women and if women were writing good fiction.

In the essays, Virginia emphasized — while showing her detailed thought process — “that a woman needs money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

In addition to being a seminal work on feminism, A Room of One’s Own is an infinite pool of wisdom on writing and life. In the essay, Virginia Woolf argued passionately and statistically about how cultural, spiritual, and financial restrictions may limit our creative freedom.

Given the essay has so much to read into, I will only delve into the lessons on life and writing that Woolf was so benevolent in sharing with us.

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Best Non-Fiction Books I Read in 2020

Out of the 48 or so books I read in 2020, 25 percent — that’s only 12 books — were non-fiction. The rest were fiction books and children’s tales.

I started reading non-fiction in 2017 when I started this blog On My Canvas. I always read stories and novels, but nonfiction wasn’t a big thing around me. Not that reading fiction was a trend in my social circle either. I can count the selected few readers amongst my friends, batchmates, and colleagues at my fingertips.

There was one guy in college who loved Shakespeare and read philosophy. There is a poetry lover and creator who is still a great friend. Some of the elites from Vidya Mandir and other high-class Delhi schools could talk about Mark Twain and J.R.R Tolkien but only seldom did I see them with a book. Or maybe I wasn’t noticing books at that time myself. 

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Best Fiction Books I Read in 2020

 

I write because I read. I grow because I read. I can never be bored because I read.

Out of the 48 or so books I read in 2020, 75 percent — that is 36 books — were fiction. The rest were non-fiction books, children’s stories, and travel books.

Even though most of my writing is personal growth and travel-focused, I also write short stories and personal essays.

And for any kind of creative writing — travel, short stories, and even self-development — reading fictional books is crucial. Otherwise, how would I know how to describe a scene on the street or a conversation amongst two people sitting in a cafe? How would I keep the articles interesting and give them a story arc? A beginning, a middle, and an end, you know.

Apart from helping me write, fiction short story books and novellas are interesting and entertaining. They teach a lot about the history of the world. Fiction books also unravel the behavior and inner workings of human beings. (These 21 books changed the way I understand life.)

So while The Outsider taught me how straightforward life can be, Gora and Anna Karenina showed me a lot about the desires and limitations of human beings while telling the history of India and Russia. I wouldn’t have known so much about the Brahmo Samaj and the Russian high class if not for those two books.

I’m thankful.

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Three Thriving Years of On My Canvas – And Future Plans

And just like that, On My Canvas completed three thriving years on the internet.

Congratulations to us all who have been part of this budding platform through which I want to spread love, life, and hope. I cannot thank my readers enough for sticking with me all the while, for sending me immensely inspirational messages day and night, and for asking me to write more and more. On some hard days, I could not have done it without your endless emails and witty comments.

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21 Books That Will Change Your Life – They Changed Mine

Did anyone ever tell you that you should read books to change your life? Actually I would go as far as to say one of the synonyms of personal growth is reading.

I started reading non-fiction and fiction books sincerely only for the last four-five years. But in this duration, I read some books that shifted the course of my life. They exposed me to unbelievable facts. They laid open the science that I didn’t know exist. They told me stories I could never imagine. They made me cry like I hadn’t before. They made me laugh as if I had nothing to worry about. They accompanied me when I was lonely. They unfurled the greatest lives. They told me life can be lived in many ways. They reassured me that it was okay to be who I was. But also that I could grow.

You don’t know what is out there until you read. And then the ghosts don’t leave you alone, ever.

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9 Creative Writing Tactics to Enrich Your Travel Writing

My Top Travel Writing Secrets That I Probably Shouldn’t Share.

I have been writing about travel for close to two years now. When I started this blog, I wrote on personal growth and life inspiration. But because I travel a lot and enjoy writing about nature, people, and experiences, I began writing travel articles on On My Canvas.

When I first ventured into travel writing, I was horrified about putting down a sad solo travel story of Thailand or a photo essay because I didn’t know how to write about travel. I didn’t have the right tools. I remember telling my partner that I would need a lot of time to write good, relatable travel pieces that readers will enjoy.

As a beginner travel writer, I wrote subjective pieces like why I travel and my thoughts on the Cambodian dictatorship. I was always inclined towards penning down personal essays based on my travel experiences, such as this Panchapalli Dam memoir, rather than writing about the five things to do.

Some of my travel writings turned out to be good and some were bad, as expected. So while this piece on my love and hate relationship with India won me many accolades, I am still ashamed of this Vietnam Photo Essay.

As I wrote and published frequently on my past trips such as Southeast Asia, and my nine-month South America trip, I started getting a hang of travel writing.

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Thinking of a Career Change at 30? I Quit My Job, Too

Why I Quit My Job, Shelved My IIT Computer Science Degree, and Started Writing

 

A software engineer by education, I was once a coder and an investment banker, but now I write full-time.

In this essay I talk about my six-year-long journey of thinking of a career change, why and how I quit my job, and finally went through a career change at 30.

If you are looking for a career change in 30s, I would recommend you read this piece for I have given an honest account of my own journey from coding to writing.

Let’s read.

*

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2 Years of Blogging – My Best Advice for New Bloggers

It doesn’t seem like yesterday that I started On My Canvas.

Two years ago I returned from South America after a nine-months-long solo trip through the continent’s most stunning places.

A constant itch to write, events (quitting my job, taking writing workshops, and applying to creative writing programs) prior to my trip travel, and the time I spent contemplating during the journey brought me to the conclusion that I should write full-time.

I love writing. Stories bring me to life — so why not write something that adds value to others?

I had worked hard to achieve many desired and undesired goals (cracking IIT, dragging myself through a Computer Science degree, juggling corporate jobs). I braved to live a lifestyle unapproved by the collectivist society of India. I was almost 30, unmarried, had quit my investment banking job, and traveled the world alone — that’s not a typical scene for an Indian girl from a middle-class family of a small town in North India.

Now was the time to put my journey and struggle to someone else’s use.

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27 Writing Tips for Novice Writers – Write Better

I was one of the novice writers (I still am) until three years ago when I quit my investment banking job to experiment if I could write for a living. While I was over thinking about the integrities of my invisible writing career, I decided to travel to Chile and teach English there. People say that a new environment and immersive travel experiences provide you the right motivation to write.

Andean landscapes took my oxygen away, Chilean children stared at me when I enunciated the English name of their beloved palta, my host mother fed me pyramids of bread and cheese, and Spanish dumbfounded me. But during this chaos, I managed to write every day.

In the past three years, I have written (almost) daily, published regularly on my blog and on Medium publications, earned a living by writing for freelance clients, have published poems out of which one has been accepted in a book, have contributed to big and small websites, have send stories and articles to magazines and newspapers, and have become a top writer on Quora and a top Travel Writer on Medium.

Has writing been easy?

Are you joking?

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Hold on Even After Your Hands Bleed – For That Is The Only Way to Succeed

You would encounter sharp rocks jutting out of every mountain you wish to climb. Let me show you through my perseverant journey as a budding writer, that why do you have to keep going on even if your hands bleed. Never give up. Fight for your dreams. That is the only way to succeed. 

You start. You are exhilarated. You shriek at the top of your voice from the roof of your confidence. You laugh from your stomach. You give long motivational speeches to your friend about how they need to start living. You wake up singing a tune about the morning sunshine. You look forward to Mondays because life has taken a route that you could only dream about.

People say you are inspiring. They applaud you. Your friends like and share everything you post. They read everything you write. Some of them even help you correct the grammar. You are glad as being corrected by friends is better than being ridiculed by your other readers.

You don’t worry about the money, yet, as the savings save you. Your family is appalled by your decision. But they don’t say anything this time. The last time they did, their words dug a deep valley between you two.

Your Mac is your new Nietzsche. All your philosophy seems to pour out of it.

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