Fame or anonymity?

This week Fandango asks;

If you could, would you want to be famous if it meant sacrificing your personal life and privacy? Why or why not?

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I think most sane people would answer no to this offer.

Why not?

First the pros;

Being famous means that everyone knows your name, well almost!

They may treat you like a celebrity and make concessions for you.

It will give your ego a boost to be recognized by people and them wanting to take selfies with you.

You’ll be invited to parties, galas, first-night events, etc

And perhaps with fame, you’ll also get money, as in rich and famous.

The cons;

Everyone will know who you are and your every movement, action and word will be judged by them.

Privacy will be a long-forgotten dream.

The number of people who like/loves you may be less than those who hate/dislike you.

You’ll be so busy that you wouldn’t have time for yourself, your family, or your friends. Fame means being everywhere, at the same time.

And when the fame starts to fade with time or changing circumstances, you will feel down and dejected.

Do who will choose fame over a fulfilling life where you can be yourself.

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In response to FPQ # 192, hosted by Fandango

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Still reading books…..

This week Fandango asks;

In the days before the internet, before WordPress, before Facebook and Twitter and TikTok and YouTube and binge-watching on Netflix; in the days before having the world at you fingertips with newsfeeds on mobile phones, before…well you get my drift…I used to devour between three and five books a week. Mostly novels.

With all of the distractions mentioned above, do you read books as much nowadays as you used to ten, twenty, or thirty years ago? Why or why not?

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Let’s not go back not 20 or 30 years ago but only about 4-5 years. Before I started my blog, I was still reading a few books a month.

If I don’t find a new author, I’d re-read old favorites. Books have become quite expensive these days so I’d buy from old books stores or borrow from my aunt. She’s also very fond of reading.

My issue, as I see it that I like to read books from authors I know. Spending money on a book by a new author and then not liking it is a waste and I don’t want to do that. When my daughter gifted me kindle, it became easier to buy books that aren’t available in the stores here. I found a new writer, Louise Penny which was recommended by my daughter, and loved her books. I also found new writers via recommendations from my WordPress friends, some written by them like Paula, Jeff, Mason and Mich.

When I started blogging, my time for reading books was cut down. Now I only can manage one or two books a month. Some months not even that. There are a few half read books on my kindle that are making me guilty as I haven’t finished them yet. Marilyn’s 12 foot teepee and Ritu’s marriage unarranged are among them.

Reading books is great, but so is reading blogs. So I spent my time reading the blogs I follow. And of course writing my own posts too. But I do need to go back to reading more books.

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Written in response to FPQ # 191, hosted by Fandango

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Regretting my decisions?

Have you ever made a decision on a whim that turned out to change your life? If so, what was that life-changing decision? Can you imagine what your life would be like if you hadn’t made that decision?

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I am sure I’ve written about this before too.

I got married when I was in 4th year of my 5 years medical degree. Though it was not a decision made on a whim, it did change the direction of my life completely.

The decision to get married was made because my father wanted it so. In my culture, marriages are often arranged by parents and the children comply. So it was that just before my 4th year exams, I got married. I did have plans to complete my degree after marriage but fate stepped in and for one reason or the other it didn’t happen.

From my dream of becoming a surgeon, I ended up being a wife, mom, and now a grandmother. I never regretted my decision and have used my medical knowledge all through my life, helping my family and friends with my ( free) advice and often practically too.

I feel that I’ve contributed a lot towards maintaining good health of my family and if I were a qualified doctor, I might have not been that helpful for those around me due to the demands of my medical profession.

At the end of the day, I do feel that this was what was destined for me and I never hanker after what could’ve been.

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In response to FPQ # 187, hosted by Fandango

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My best ( recent- ish) vacation

This week for FPQ # 184, Fandango asks;

What was the best vacation you ever took and why?

What I wrote in response to FPQ # 8, (“When was the last time you did something for the very first time? What was it that you did?”) would be what I’d write in response to this weeks Question. So I’m sharing my post here again;

Last year ( 2017) I went with my best friends to Visit Istanbul, Turkey. It was the first time that I went abroad with my friends, just a girls trip.

It was November, last year that I and a couple of my friends made the plan to visit Turkey, specifically, Istanbul.

There were many recommendations for traveling to Istanbul. It was cheap, the people were friendly and it was a place of historical interest. Not that we were so hooked on history but who wouldn’t want to see the palaces and churches that attract millions of visitors every year.

The trip was, all the traveling time inclusive, of a week. A friend had researched all the places we should visit, complete with a travel itinerary. We decided that we would visit only Istanbul and explore the city as much as we can.

Dolmebaché Palace is situated on the side of Bosporus straits. It was an amazing place. A luxurious and grand palace, residence of the sultans. It was the last place we visited on our trip and it wouldn’t have been complete without this visit.

Cruise on the Bosporus; It was a lovely experience with a round trip , starting from the part of river near the Topkapi palace traveling towards the golden horn and then returning to the starting point. While on the cruise, we were informed in English about the places we were passing by and their historical significance.

Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque; The historic Topkapi palace, ruling seat of the Ottoman Empire was built in 1459. It’s a fascinating place, alive with the historical atmosphere and kept is great repair by the administration. Right next to it was Hagia Sophia, initially a church which was converted into a mosque when Turkey was conquered by Sultan Ahmet in 1414, A D. It is now a museum.

The blue mosque is familiar to many as one of the most pictured landmark of Istanbul.

Grand Bazaar/ Spice Bazaar; Both are adjacent to each other in the older part of the city. Going there is like stepping back into the past. One feels as if we are in some medieval eastern city, or in a movie like Aladdin!

But though the place seemed mysterious, there was no mystery about all the shops and the shoppers. The place was teeming with tourists from every nation on the earth, haggling with shop owner about the prices. The shoes were selling everything from spices, tea jewelry to garments bags and beautiful hand crafted porcelain pieces. The famous Turkish lamps made out of multicolorEd glass and other hand painted souvenirs were in high demand.

We made a few trip to the grand bazaar and had to restrain ourselves from buying too much of these arty pieces.

A trip to Istanbul cannot be complete without visiting the Istaklal street and Taksim Square. The heroes memorial in the Taksim Square attracts a lot of photographers, taking selfies or asking passerby’s to take their pictures. Right in front of the memorial we the famous Turkish Doner Kebabs.

Istaklal street with its street cafes, clubs and impromptu dance performances was a treat to visit. All the western big brands have outlets on The Istaklal street.

The Turkish people are extremely friendly and welcoming. The food there is appetizing and flavorful. The people are quite health conscious and eat plenty of fruits, pomegranates are a notional favorite.

So this was one thing that I did last year , which I hadn’t done before.

Have you visited Turkey?

Please share your experiences in comments.

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Re-share; Fandango Provocative Question #15

This week’s Fandango is reposting FPQ # 15, and I’m sharing my response to it again with some modifications ;

This week’s provocative question is based upon a quote by Bertrand Russell, the British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, essayist, social critic, political activist, and Nobel laureate. Anyway, Russell, who died in 1970, suggested that…

“The fundamental cause of the trouble is that, in the modern world, the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubts.”

Do you concur with Mr. Russell’s perspective? Why or why not?

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Absolutely right. What seems sad to me is the fact that this statement is more than fifty years old and things are not the same, they have deteriorated much beyond this point. Almost all the people (well, mostly all) who are in a position where others can and do listen to them, are very sure of themselves. But are they saying something intelligent, wise, or even rational? No, not at all, or perhaps a very few of them are.

As I see it, a foolish person doesn’t think ahead to see what will be the consequences of what they say or do. So they go ahead without fear and don’t have a thought to spare for the consequences of their deeds or words. They would believe anything they read on social media, or whispered in their ears without verification and spread it around. They would base their actions on unfounded information, with this faith that it is 100% accurate.

A wise person will think, weigh and rethink what they are going to say or do. The results of their actions are important to them so they will hesitate to take any. And here lies the problem. They’d waste too much time in measuring the wisdom of their actions, that the time of action passes and it’s often too late.

If you are interested in answering Fandango’s Provocative Question, you can do so at his blog, Fandango of This, That, and the Other.

Written in response to;

FPQ # 15

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My TV viewing habits

This week Fandango asks us about our TV viewing habits.

I’ll answer these questions together instead of separately.

I live in Pakistan. And we have 4 TV sets in our home. One in the family lounge, and three in bedrooms. It’s not that we need so many TVs but when we upgrade to a newer model, instead of selling the old one at a fraction of the original cost, we put it in one of the bedrooms. The latest one was the one my husband bought for our bedroom when I had my surgery. He felt that I might need some entertainment because I’m almost bed-bound.

Before my surgery, I’d only watch a movie or a serial with my family, as family entertainment. I didn’t watch tv regularly as I preferred to blog. Now since I have too much time to kill I typically watch either a movie a day or a few episodes of some show that takes my fancy. I’d recommend “Blown away” as it’s a lot of fun and the episodes are about 25 minutes long.

I never watch the news if I have an option to walk away from it. All news is depressing and demoralizing. I don’t like live tv either as I don’t remember the times any show is aired. My entertainment of choice is Netflix as it’s the only platform that offers a variety of shows and movies that interest me. We do have Amazon prime here but it’s being aired from India so most of the content is Indian and not in Hindi that I understand but in regional languages, which I don’t.

I’m waiting when I’ll be able to go to a theater and watch the new Thor and Topgun movie. Perhaps the new Minions too.

In response to FPQ # 175, hosted by Fandango

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How long is too long?

This week Fandango asks us;

Do you have a preference with respect to the length of blog posts you read? Does the number of words in a post affect how you read it or even if you will read it? What is your average post length?

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I think what I could glean from my stats, my average post is 154 words long!

I was never a long content writer and with time my posts have become shorter on average. The main reason is that I mostly write poems and they are as a rule, short. And if I do write opinion posts, I try to keep them short and avoid repeating myself.

As far is reading long posts is concerned, it all depends on the subject matter of the post and how it grabs my attention! Also, the availability of time plays a big role in my ability to read long posts. Some stories, though long, are so interesting that I don’t even notice how long they are. But dry, sermon-type of posts aren’t my cup of tea and I usually skim through them. There is one notable exception to this and these are personal stories. I like to read when bloggers share their experiences and it is an opportunity to find a common shared issue or experience.

This post has 230 words!

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In response to FPQ # 174 , hosted by Fandango

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Where would I live?

This week Fandango provocatively asks;

If money were no object and you could live anywhere in the world, where would you want to go and why?

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The Lahore fort

Choosing where we live has to be viewed through a few considerations;

•Comfort

•Familiarity

•Money

•Social interactions

I am very comfortable in my own home, in the city I was born and uprooting myself at this age to live someplace else is not an appealing prospect.

I am familiar with my surroundings here, I know where to go if I want to buy something, watch a movie, or go just for a long drive with music blaring from my car speakers.

With the world economy in the state it is, money is tight everywhere, but living in Pakistan, life is not that expensive even now. If I compare prices in the USA to those in Pakistan, except the petrol/ gas prices, we still are way cheaper here. Our way of cooking is also such that we can eat more in less money.

The most important thing at my stage of life is social interaction with family and friends. And for all the C money in the world, I wouldn’t want to go and live in a place where my family isn’t around me or I cannot drop in a friend’s house for chitchat! This I think is a factor which would decide where I live.

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Written in response to FPQ # 176, hosted by Fandango

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Hiding one’s identity

This week Fandango asks us;

How do you feel about online anonymity? Do you believe that when people are hiding their real world identity, it encourages them to misbehave or to be offensive? Or does it allow people to reveal who they really are or possibly how they would choose to be and act all the time if they could?

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I blog under a pseudonym. I have revealed a lot of details about myself but not my real name.

When I started blogging it was an impulsive decision and I hadn’t given the matter much thought but I had heard of people getting harassed because of the opinions they share online. This made me use a version of name that’s similar to my name. And at first I kept everything about myself secret. My origin, my religion and where I live. Gradually I revealed a lot of details about myself, even shared my picture on my blog because I felt safe here.

Another reason for keeping my identity hidden was that I used to express my opinions about politics, especially Trump on my blog and I didn’t want any repercussions from that too. Being anonymous gave me the freedom to express my views openly without any fear of repercussions.

These were my reasons for keeping a part of my identity hidden. As for the first part of the question, do I think that people behave worse when their identity is hidden?

I don’t think this is the case for most of the people I’ve met here. Anyone who is going to be obnoxious will be irrespective of if they are using their real name or an alias.

Anonymity does give a sort of freedom but the true nature of the person behind the mask comes through sooner or later.

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Written in response to FPQ # 168, hosted by Fandango

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Revisited- Fandango’s Provocative Question #106

FandangorepostingAprilI’vealreadyansweredquestionIpostingresponse

FPQWelcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question.

Blogging is a medium of words. All of us who blog are wordsmiths. We use words almost exclusively to express ourselves, to tell our stories, to weave our tales, to write our poems, to help others to understand and possibly even appreciate our perspectives.

In the real world, words can take on different meanings depending on context, inflection, facial expressions, body language, and other countless factors. But in blogging, such visual cues are, for the most part, absent. Thus, the challenge of conveying your intended tone and the underlying meaning of what you write can be daunting. It gets down to the age-old writer’s dilemma. Is the content what matters, or how the content is portrayed or presented?

So, as we are all writers who use words to paint pictures, my provocative question is simply this:

In the context of blogging and writing, what do you think is more important: what you say or how you say it?

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I think this question is very pertinent to the bloggers. What we write is equally important as how we word it. Unless the language is very simple and the expression totally bald, it can be misconstrued by the reader in many instances.

For this very reason, I use simple language, stating what I want to say as clearly as possible. It is correct that I mostly write poetry and in a poem sometimes the meaning is lost in phrases. But I do try to be as concise as possible.

It does take a good writer to reach the heart and engage the mind of their readers all the time and I am not one of those. I have started writing my blog just above 2 years ago and am still learning to communicate well. But as most good writers advise, use as few words as possible and make the meaning clear.

I myself have experienced this issue that even after reading a post or poem many times, I wasn’t able to get a clear sense of what the writer is saying.

So my 2 cents worth of advice is to be as simple and clear as possible so that we can convey our thoughts and opinions without them being misunderstood.

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