Maid Cassandra Evans was easily in her middle ages, and had worked in the Manor House for almost 20 years, and was perhaps the senior most maid in the entire of the Manor, but she didn’t care for all that. She had a job to do and a Master to take care of, her own master that had saved her from what should have been instant death and misery.
What wasn’t expected, though, was what was seen in the main lounge of the Manor house.
From the ceiling, there were 2 ropes hanging down, both of them tied up into the Chandeliers. Both of those ropes had 2 bodies tied onto it, via the necks, or at least one of them. One was the body of a steward and a driver, in his black and white dress but with enough blood on him for it to splatter on the ground, and the other was the pale, broken figure of Cassandra Evans, with a lot of cuts and other types of marks against her skin, her eyes black, and her lips split. From what was seen, her body was tied via her legs, and she was alive, shuddering and shivering, her breath coming in gasps and her eyes already having run out of tears. Her nose was bleeding and so was her stomach.
The peaceful life of Manor house of Mr. Penton was shaken up with the shocking double murder of his driver and his senior-most maid, Cassandra. There seemed to be no clear motive for such a horrible act of violence.
The Chief of Police, Mr. Free, has taken up the task to find the one responsible and serve justice.
Will he succeed in doing so or will he be too late??
This blog is a book blurb of a novel written by my dear friend, Mohammed Ayya. He currently lives in India, with his wife and child. An author of tragic fiction and children stories, he is known to have a penchant for solitude and philosophy.
To read more about this mysterious case, download the ebook. CLICK HERE
Pondicherry often colloquially called as Pondy is a union territory situated in Tamil Nadu. The place has stayed famous for it has a cultural blend of the French and Tamils. The city is small, well kept, green and not densely populated compared to other cities of India.
I had booked a hotel with Fabhotel Esparan Heritage. The hotel had an antique, old house, fresh wood smell to it. What I loved about this particular hotel were the vibes. Before I share my travel updates, I want to share a misadventure I had at the beginning of my trip (which I conveniently chose not to share with my parents in Bangalore).
Yeah, I started from Bangalore late evening at around 9:30 – ish. I was supposed to reach Pondicherry before sunrise probably at 4 or 5. The thing with me and buses is that I get uncontrollably sleepy and disoriented when I am on them. Early morning at around the same time that I was to reach Pondicherry the driver passes down the bus aisle and yelled “PONDICHERRY” in a thick Tamil accent. I woke up a bit startled wondering where I was when I realized the driver must have howled a few minutes back and that the bus had started moving again. I picked my luggage, rushed to where the driver was seated. I informed him that I had to get down at the Pondicherry bus stop and if he could take me there. Only to find he couldn’t understand a word of Hindi I was speaking.
I tried, again and again, telling him to stop the bus and take me back to the city in vain; he, on the other hand, was so adamant! He drove fast on the highway and dropped me a good two kilometers at the outskirts. At that hour early in the morning, I felt weirdly uneasy and extremely insecure. I did locate an autorickshaw nearby but felt skeptical to board it.
It took all my courage to ask the autorickshaw driver to take me to my hotel and just like the bus driver he didn’t understand Hindi or English! He looked cooperative though. Which helped me clear my mind off apprehensiveness. Racked my drowsy brain to come up with a solution through which I could get him to understand where I wanted to go.
I CALLED THE HOTEL. They didn’t pick up. I tried four times in vain. They picked up eventually. The hotel operator thankfully understood English! Aaargh! He explained the autorickshaw driver in Tamil where to take me! AND I finally reached my destination.
According to my plan, I stayed for two days one night at my hotel. The places I visited are:
MANAKULA VINAYAGAR TEMPLE
SACRED HEARTS CHURCH
LADY OF ANGELS CHURCH
As this was my first solo trip to any given place, I went well-researched. The first events of my trip left me vigilant for the entire trip. I visited most sightseeing places (according to the print-out given by my very cordial hotel operator) on the first day.
According to the natives of Pondicherry, the climate was ‘pleasant’. Although, I felt nothing close to pleasant till evening on both days. It was humid and sticky. Unlike, other tourists I didn’t go to Auroville. I am one of those people who are not fond of meditation centers and spiritual theories, to say the least.
Pondicherry has a relaxed, retired vibe to it. It gives solo writers what they crave the most – solitude from the noise and a fast-paced lifestyle. I had a ball of a time eating alone, observing people and the streets.
PLACES I VISITED TO GRAB A BITE
Had coffee here!
Cafe near Rock Beach
Pondicherry has many stores and shops that sell antique and craft goods. Most of my second day went shopping for trinkets and souvenirs. I bought mini books of quotes from SABDA, fragrances, candles, and incenses from AUROSHIKHA, paper goods from an Auroville community-managed store. Also, JANAKI sells environmentally friendly goods. I purchased a smart bag from there.
I rented out a bike in Pondicherry as I love riding. It gave me the freedom to explore most of Pondicherry on road. Will I visit Pondicherry again? Probably no. Oh yes, but just for the beaches. Some might ask why I didn’t indulge in any water activities or sports activities. Well, I experienced all of it in Andamans (read the blog) in July.
That is a wrap. I hope you liked reading about my travel experience. If you wish to know more, let me know in the comments below. Follow my social media to get updates on content writing and blogs I update not so frequently. LOL. Ok but seriously, follow.
English is a complex language. Especially for the majority of global citizens who are found to be semi-lingual. The complexities of English language widen considerably, as the spoken language and written literature follow different formats.
Grammar is a benchmark for most writers. Most of the times, while writing we make this mistake of revising our written content over and over again. Being sure about writing grammatically correct sentences consumes a lot of time.
Understanding grammar rules are not easy and most of us never got it correct at school either. But what can change for the majority of us is:
TO NOT BE AFRAID TO WRITE INCORRECTLY!
Because, more or less, most of us have to write at some point or the other. The mindset to write grammatically correct content shifts our focus from writing about the crux or core of the topic and instead, maneuvers our conscious to check for tense errors, wrong plural/ singular word usage, missing articles, and sometimes inappropriate use of punctuation.
It can get very overwhelming. But, don’t be afraid to start an article with ‘But’ or ‘and’ or ‘because’. Don’t be afraid to write shorter sentences or longer ones for that matter. Don’t be afraid to use the wrong punctuation. Don’t be afraid to write.
A maturity, to know the know-hows of writing will establish itself only when writing happens like a habit. Conditioning our minds to focus on spreading our thoughts, ideas, and musings, to the world, should hold greater value than incorrect grammar.
In psychology, the concept of communication apprehension explains individuals’ fear or angsts about communicating with others. Well, writers, at large are communicating with a blank document on their computers;
The apprehension likely creeps in, unknowingly. For all types of writers, making a mistake grammatically is an abhorrent idea.
This article is not here, debunking the idea of writing correctly per se. It is here to deliver the underlying truths of writing fears. The grammar bully is in our psyche, which surfaces just when an article has been started.
Start writing to let go your apprehension and to fight the grammar bully. Write because it matters. Some ideas and thoughts are better left written than said.
Where most students straight out of my high school knew what they wanted to do with their lives, I was perplexed. I never had the clarity nor the sensibility to establish an ambition for myself. I didn’t know back then, but now when I think about it I had crazy Existential thoughts and life questions;
Like what is the purpose of it all?
How can choosing a career or making money empower me?
If my destiny is driven by nature, how is living a stable life under my control?
On some days, I wished I could make a career out of reading books if that was even possible. I thoroughly wished it was an option on job listing websites. I don’t have an achievers’ story here, but I will tell you this,
I figured writing can be my forte only because,
A. I think in a weirdly structured manner.
B. Each thought in my mind processes itself into Pros and Cons.
C. Writing is substance visible as content for the world to read and interpret.
D. I LOVE TO READ
Which brings me to tell you that good reading habits can pave the way into expression, either in the form of content or context.
Firstly, reading shouldn’t function like a chore but a habit that is indulgent and free from time constraints. The words of the book should engulf you into imagination. There is no such thing as skimming over a chapter or a few pages. When reading happens, you have to flow with the words. Avid readers never consciously read each word in their minds but devour the essence of the story.
Secondly, each book has a story. Whichever genre you choose to pick, the ethos will likely create enthral.
Lastly, the flow of words, sentence formations, and chapter distribution binds into homogeneity. Really good authors know what debunks chaos. It can be very distracting and frustrating to absorb content which lacks readability.
Which bring me to stating why you should read to write well. Besides experiencing the aforementioned, writing will make you conscious about the reader’s expectations of you.
Reading creates an understanding of words and how context can be divided into different paragraphs while writing. Or how phrases can be incorporated into content, or how building climax in writing can generate suspense into reading.
More so, the continuity factor of reading guides writers to create content which is decipherable or understandable. Like, fashion, writing can know no bounds in having a groundwork of desirable trends.
The obvious advantage I miss out here is Vocabulary. Reading devices a thirst for words and meaning.
Sure enough, this blog shall get you into writing or reading or both. If you are already an avid reader, then I hope you feel a connect.
Writing is an art you master only when you write consistently, every single day. It doesn’t happen overnight. To share my experience, in the beginning, I would become weak-kneed each time I would propel myself to write.
And, I think it has to do with me being an Indian; English is not my first language. It’s a language I have grown familiar with, understood it and have come to expressing it over the years. I speak fluently so to say but writing in English, is an endeavor.
As I happen to think in English with a sensibility of an Indian, I have acquired a uniqueness to my writing, which has greatly helped with fighting writer’s block. There are different types of writing, for different audiences; where each reader consumes information in an exclusive fashion. What I advice most beginners who see themselves forming a career into writing is to look out for the following traits within, to help tackle fallibility.
Why has writing been perceived as a daunting task, makes me ponder sometimes. Whether it is society or the education system, or it could be the English Literature faculty at school? I will research deeper into this phenomenon and probably write an article on this website soon. We lose our patience way too quickly at the first stormy onset of writer’s block. Take a deep breath, be well hydrated and clean. Make sure your body posture is comfortable. Start away,
Think about a topic, situation or event you feel strongly about. Let, the comfort zone of your chosen topic soothe you to craft a copy which flows like water on a smooth surface. If, you are making grammatical mistakes or structural errors; don’t look back. Let that flow of thought find its way on paper or on your MS Word draft.
My tip, play a soft background song to soothe your nerves. Don’t let anything stimulate you towards distraction. Trust me, you will let go easily on paper. Continue, till you have reached the end of what you want to say. Then start proofreading and editing your copy.
I hope this sweats out the best out of you.
Start with the simple mantra: I am going to speak my mind and let my thoughts spray on a piece of paper without reluctance.
b. Belief In Oneself
Man! But you gotta believe in yourself. Shoo away the negativity and absurd thoughts. Know, whatever that is you write, will be taken in both good as well as bad spirit. There is no end to cynics and skeptics. Your people who love and appreciate you; will push you towards writing more often and will like, every silly, non-sensical tidbit you write. Don’t look for the audience right away. Write for you. Because your greatest motivator stays within.
c. Never Lose Hope
You will eventually land yourself in a good place. Being hopeful is key. Success knocks at the door of the ones who never give up. Be a hustler. Optimism in your spirit, mind, and thinking will reflect positively on your writing. Remember, You need to count on yourself for the world to count on you.
d. Make Your Own Rules
And stick by them. What making your own rules, do for you? To begin with, they are yours and are not dictated to you. You are the boss of your own content, writing or craft. By following others’ set of rules to write right; this is what you will likely miss out on-
You may have found this term floating around the internet and are not quite sure about what it entails and how you can use it. But again, marketing is a term you understand.
Inbound Marketing is precisely what you think it is. It is an umbrella term for all kinds of marketing, content creation and promotion done online; like Search Engine Optimisation, Social Media, Blogs, Websites, Discussion Forum, etc.
Whereas, Outbound Marketing is done through TV, Magazines, Newspapers, Hoardings and Sponsorships.
Inbound Marketing happens in circles; to draw an example from a product based brand, diversifying across India: Chumbak.
Chumbak in 2010, started out as a small retail kiosk in Shopper’s Stop, Bangalore. The company hasn’t looked back. Chumbak acquired customers and received great feedback; their product philosophy was cherished as it was unique; colourful. What did they do next?
They built their e-commerce website and started extended their product range and stores in different locations of Bangalore. Today, they have stores in all major cities of India. They got the youth hooked online on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Customers receive updates about new product launches, sales, events and programmes through creative, quirky emails. Surprisingly, Chumbak doesn’t invest at all in outbound marketing.
What do they invest in?
Design, Concept, Colour and Illustration
Targeting the right audience
Branching out; Stores
Chumbak is growing since.
In the same manner, many companies and brands find investing in inbound marketing crucial for the growth of their business. Why is that? Because each one of us is a potential customer who has gadgets at their disposal to browse, locate and discover what is trending locally as well as globally.
Our immediate response or reflex to acquire information has become searching for it online, or to use the lingo, Googling it. Our brain and behaviour have channelled us to incessantly quest knowledge by browsing or reading feeds.
Fun stuff; audiences’ search behaviour and virtual existence can be tracked and located online. Which gives companies realistic figures about their marketing ROI.
What keeps companies and brands ahead in the game?
Content stays as the highest authority for Inbound marketing. But for prospects to convert into effective leads or customers, inbound marketing has to be strategic and planned.
Content relies on keywords, but not heavily so. The written copy must effectively and coherently speak to, talk to and relate to the audience receiving it. The company or brand must have a sure management strategy as to how it plans to attract a potential client. The content Marketing team should vouch for the content to be:
well – planned
Inbound Marketing will have dominance over all forms of marketing in the near future. Businesses and start-ups who plan to grow steadily with an assured customer base should look for the best content strategy, right away.
Talking about my most treasured subject today: PSYCHOLOGY.
You may have crossed all milestones of setting up your business or company or even a start-up. But I bet, thinking about the psychological factors of effective marketing would not have crossed your mind.
Emotions are inherent and purely individualistic. Each person or being has his/ her own set of powerful reflexes and fetishes. We may have advanced in technology, as a society and not to mention education. But we, often times, have failed to embrace the actuality of emotional triggers.
To built the foundation of a great client base, we must, as businesses, understand and reflect inward on knowing how a particular product or service will be received by the masses.
Today, I share 3 tips that will boost your inner, impassive Shrink to reflect better.
Understand Enough To Explain Elaborately
Because it is our business, our company’s service or product, we know what we are offering to our customers, word for word. But they don’t! Ensure, that your website, marketing collaterals, social media and other platforms of advertisements share that information in a direct, explanatory fashion. Your potential client will likely get interested with what you offer if, he or she is sure about the company, its goals and what it is providing.
Understand To Know
At shopping centers, you will find yourself drooling over a new flavor of ice-cream or in my case, I am glued to the attractive stationery section. What I try to say here is this – every subjective or objective thing if channeled accurately has the ability to trigger emotions. That play of feelings in our mind direct us to either buy a product, or read an informative blog, or check social feeds.
Facebook does this best. They have got the global audience hooked to their social media platform. How did they achieve such an inclusion so soon?
Think about it, they understood the psychological aspect of human behavior, that each person is inherently a social animal who loves networking and sharing all kinds of crazy daily tidbits with others. What trumps this interpretation is that they understand; besides sharing all that is to say and do with folks; people on Facebook can unwearyingly keep a check on others’ stories.
Trigger Those Emotions And Build A Connect
In my previous post on Boost Your Brand Voice I share my thoughts on how Titan Company builds a connect through well-illustrated, chummy stories.
But there are other ways of building catharsis. You need to find what works for your company or business. Answer people’s innermost questions. Connect your product or service through strategically and uniformly conditioning people’s mind by;
Having catchy taglines
Contributing towards a social cause
Sharing your start-up story
Sharing how you plan to grow your venture
Why you, your company/business or presence matter in the larger scheme of things
And once you have this, my friend, you shall see slow but effective progress in,
Most monumental companies know what ticks and clicks with their client/ customer base. It is high time, you should know too!
In the day and age of hashtags and ‘U versus you’, when e-commerce is taking over 3D shops, content marketing can be a total game-changer for your business. Good quality content represents all that is your company and its products/services, it establishes your brand ideology. With just a few well-chosen words, you get to directly communicate with your consumers.
What exactly is ‘good content for marketing‘?
When your content is getting too long, too boring or too filled with grammatical errors – that is when you have officially lost the good content tag.
While looking at product or service descriptions, advertisements, captions etc; consumers will generally gravitate more towards concise yet clear content. The better you portray what you write, the more people will not mind reading and in turn having a look at it. With retail dynamics shifting online, sellers are devoid of physical contact with their customers.
Good content is like your online window display, it attracts people towards your business and piques the interest of passers-by.
Don’t rely on amateur writing; like other aspects of a business, professional help in content marketing can truly elevate the look and feel of your brand.
Charismatic writing and personality are what you look for in your sales team and is what you should be looking for, in the words of your content creator.
Online or offline, make content king; for he represents your entire kingdom!
In this post, I am going to list out few of my favorite brands and share my views on how they uphold the very image through effective content marketing, powerful images, responsive templates, and strategic business goals.
Zara speaks fashion through a soft, and bold play of colours and textures incorporated into the design. It’s a clothing line for women, men, and children. Women and men in almost all photographs carry a strong, plucky, upfront kinda look. Maybe, Zara takes their clothing line way too seriously, and so models are expected to carry such a look too. This brand’s philosophy, I assume is to say less by saying more. Check out the website. The website layout too is very minimalistic and not peppy. They keep followers engaged through social media, especially Instagram and Youtube.
You will also find the product descriptions of each piece of clothing written in a factual, descriptive manner. No pompous extravaganza of words there. Zara is not for everybody, and in not too many words they get the message out; straight enough.
Has the most delicious, mouth-watering cuisine. Unlike most restaurants, this one has a barbecue pit embedded right in the centre of each table. They offer live grill of a vast variety of starters, both veg, and non-veg. You don’t place an order in this restaurant. You only have options to choose between veg or non-veg. Once you have belted enough of the endless starters, they invite guests to savour their taste buds with a delicious buffet. It is truly a nation for barbecue lovers.
You need to book your spot beforehand and choose from their pre-meditated time frame; the time which suits you the best. Speaking of brand, the management is very, very hospitable. The starters keep pouring in; through the course of my visit there, the attendants kept asking many a time, if the food was good, was I comfortable, would I like anything off the menu and the like.
The restaurant is truly charming and optimally uses technology. They have their own mobile app. What I like best- unlike most commercial fast food brands is that this restaurant maintains the quality of served food.
Barbeque Nation is booked out most of the time! They keep their customers engaged and wanting for more through networking effectively on social media and Youtube.
Titan Company is the parent company of brands like Tanishq, Skinn, Titan watches, Titan Eyeplus, Zoot, Sonata, Mia Collection and Fastrack. Titan offers long-lasting durable products. You can trust the brand for they offer great service and have responsive customer care.
I have owned many Titan products. I love how they engage customers by evoking overwhelming, touching life stories to die for. Their advertisements are warm, affectionate and chummy.
Plus, Titan Company’s products are inspired. For instance, the Raga collection of watches for women is inspired by women who love to wear their watches as pieces of jewellery to create a fashion statement. These watches look outstanding with ethnic Indian wear.
Is a home furnishing store. Ikea believes in organizational, movable, flexible, sturdy, eco-friendly furniture. Ikea stores are Disneyland for working people and budding entrepreneurs. The company uses soft colours for furnishings that can be mixed and matched. Products can be easily assembled.
The brand promotes functionality of furnishing over the extravaganza of high-end interiors. The products are very reasonably priced.
About the Brand; Ikea connects with the larger customer base of working people living in smaller spaces. They use powerful images, like this picture below to state their unique taste. They engage customers through influential content that lay greater emphasis on functionality and ease of use.
Jio is a mobile network operator in India. The brand name ‘Jio’ meaning to ‘live’ in Hindi, launched its services in September 2016. It has the highest user penetration in India. Most Indians use the Jio network as it offers free 4G services, free local and STD calls; and to add to their kitty, they offer a free download of thirteen applications.
Jio speaks it brand through unlimited offers and promotions. The company heavily runs advertisements on all forms of media be it print, virtual or offline.
For each one of us writing comes as an extended, implausible thing to do. In the beginning, it almost feels like a forced attempt to express oneself, express feelings. Especially now, when writing has taken such a leap; virtually.
But for me, It’s more or less like committing myself to exercise. To explain myself better, I am going to draw similarities between physical health and good writing practices.
I started with researching upon the best asanas for my body type and then trying them out at home. And through incessantly probing the internet, I sadly discovered my fitness level to be: Beginner!
I started researching all kinds of blogs online that gave me the confidence, perspective, and understanding of quality content. And offline, I scrambled through many libraries.
I set myself a schedule to practice Yoga every day in the morning. Waking up early was a challenge I had never thought of;
I charted how to systematize and schedule writing content. I chose a topic, jotted down key elements of the article, drew a memory map of important facts that needed mentioning and lastly, the tone of voice.
To follow a routine is the most difficult task. Self – motivation doesn’t come easy. My reinforcement to doing Yoga was – “I want a slim waist to flaunt skinny jeans with my belly flashing through.”
Self – motivation to write right, happens only with practice. I always make sure I am writing every day. Not only does it hone my skills to better express the topic in hand but also improves vocabulary.
I reached my goal soon enough! Because perseverance is the key to achieving the most difficult tasks.
Well, with writing there are no measuring scales. I may write for years and still would be improvising. What keeps me going is readership engagement and feedback, at all times.
If this analogy helps you tackle your writing dilemmas, I am more than happy to help. Check this list of tips to help you fight bad content writing techniques.
I thoroughly research the web, and books in the library for any given topic. Books are my go-to most of the times. At other times, I rely on my Kindle. Trust me, research helps! You will get to know how different people approach the topic you are planning to write. I recommend keeping a dictionary handy.
List of words
This tip is not mine but of my elementary school teacher. She suggested always listing out keywords, adjectives and other words that can help with writing an article. For a single blog post, I jot down 50-60 unique words. This surely helps with writer’s block.
The word count
Decide upon a word count. Writing can get very exhilarating, and sometimes having a word milestone can tackle overwhelming feelings. Especially when I reach the end of an article, I have a sense of accomplishment that my floating thoughts and expressions are finally in print! If I happen to cross the word limit, I am super happy with myself as I get more room to edit!
Tone of voice
Resounds with consistency. A good writer ensures the tone of voice to be uniform throughout the article. And that’s because it improves the readability of the work.
Check, check and check. I likely spot four to five errors and mistakes through each round of proofreading. As a rule of thumb, I proofread my article three times for errors. Later, when I think the article is good to go, I run it through Grammarly.
Mostly, I spot a sentence or two which are amateurishly structured. So, editing and revising those bits improvises my prowess.
I hope this helps you tackle you content writing dilemmas. If you have further queries, drop an email at email@example.com
If you have other tips that help you write better; share it in the comments box below.