The Liebster Award

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The nomination of the Liebster Award from Mary Kendall (A Poet in Time- A weekly poetry practice: http://apoetintime.com) was a pleasant and unexpected surprise! Thank you Mary- I apologise for the delay, but better late than never!

Being a curious sort of person,  I looked it up and discovered that the Liebster is an internet award which works like a chain and which is given by bloggers to other bloggers. The concept is very positive and aims to encourage new bloggers. (Incidentally it is a German word  and the meanings include dearest, sweetest, kindest etc.)

Blogging changes one for the better- I have been fortunate and honoured to have interacted with many kind and generous people in cyberspace. As a result, today, as the year slowly draws to a close, I feel enriched in life and happier and creatively fulfilled, knowing I have touched a stranger’s life and perhaps enriched it in turn.

The set of rules involved in accepting this award are brief:

1.  Thank the blogger who nominated/ awarded you.

2. Link back to their blog.

3. Copy and paste the Liebster logo onto your blog.

4. Answer the eleven questions put to you by the person who nominated you.

5. List eleven random facts about yourself.

6. Nominate and link to at least three other blogs which you enjoy. (the nomination upper limit is eleven)

7. List eleven questions for your nominees.

8. Inform them by leaving a comment on their blog.

So, these are the eleven questions that I was asked by Mary and my answers to them:

1. At what age did you realise you liked to write?

Quite late. When I was about seventeen. One day I saw a purple coloured wildflower and was moved enough to write a poem. It never saw the light of the day, but that was my defining moment.

2. How important is family to you? 

My children mean the world to me, because they are the closest relationship that I have ever had. Seriously, there is nothing in the world that I wouldn’t let go for them.

3. Which languages do you speak and which do you wish you could speak fluently?

I speak three languages reasonably well- My mother tongue: Malayalam- the first language I learned to understand, read and write. English- my great love and gateway  to the world. Hindi- the lingua franca of my working life. I can understand Tamil and Gujarati a bit  when someone else speaks them, but cannot speak these languages myself. I wish I understood Russian- so that I could have read Tolstoy, Pasternak and Dostoyevsky in original. Of the Indian languages, I would choose Bengali- it sounds sonorous and I love the way it flows.

4. What would be your favourite vacation place?

Scotland. No idea why, but I love Scotland. Even the cold- but only from a distance!

5. If you could time travel, where and when in time would you go?

Assuming time travel in both directions is available, I would choose to go into the past; specifically to a period before the Industrial Revolution. Reason – humans lived closer to nature, more in sync with the seasons. Activities were need based and not want based.

6. What makes you very happy?

Predictably, getting lost in a book.

7. Describe the earliest memory you can recall.

Being held up high in the air as a small child by one of my older brothers. He died tragically young at the age of twenty two or so of jaundice;  I was two or three at that time. I also remember his hospital room and trying to climb  up on the white painted metal bed.

8. What is something that really bothers you?

Hypocrisy and all forms of dishonesty.

9. Tell us a fact about you that most people do not know.

I was a painfully shy child and had great difficulty interacting with people. In fact visits from relatives were such agonising events that I used to hide in dark corners, in the hope that they would go away. (No one would believe this of me today!)

10.What is your favourite treat or indulgence?

Books. Chocolate comes a close second!

11. What book character would you like to have as a good friend?

Tess in Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Her innocence breaks my heart.

12. Who is an important influence on you? (This seems to be a bonus question, being the twelfth! )

Mother Theresa. I read “City of Joy” at the impressionable age of twenty and fervently wished to devote my life in the service of the poor and homeless, as a volunteer. Unfortunately, things worked out differently because the city of Calcutta was a world away from my small village in Kerala and my parents flatly refused their consent. I am also a great admirer of the Hindu saint Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.

Unfortunately, no one who is currently alive.

Eleven Random Facts about myself:

  1. I have difficulty assigning a name and form to God and always felt vaguely guilty about it. Now I know better and understand that it is okay.
  2. My blog post of February 2014 was the first creative writing I did after 1989. A shocking 25 year gap.
  3. I have become interested in Wicca- as a nature religion and not at all in a structured and organised way. As a result I observe nature and the cycles of the moon with much more attention than I used to. In fact, it was really like coming home. There were no outdoor lights when I was growing up to interfere with moonlight and I remember how I used to love walking in the moonlight, or just sit on the edge of the verandah, gazing at the full moon. the flaming orange sky of our tropical sunsets also fascinated me. Both were strange and odd pastimes- I remember my family being curious and asking me what I was doing. Of course, there was no satisfactory answer!
  4. I wish I sat down to meditate regularly- unfortunately I am not at all regular in it.
  5. I do not fear death at all- because I believe it is just a gateway to another realm.
  6. Keeping one’s word is important to me.
  7. Cotton is the only fabric I like to wear. I used to wear clothes stitched from Khadi (the rough homespun cloth made famous by Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian Independence movement) for some years. Availability became an issue and so went back to wearing cotton.
  8. I am a vegetarian by choice since the age of seven. Killing a living being is impossible for me. (Exception: Mosquitoes, which we have in plenty here in India).
  9. I have accepted the fact that it is impossible for me to totally believe and become a follower of any religion/doctrine/teacher/guru.
  10. I am a Third Degree Reiki practitioner; I first learned Reiki in 1997.
  11. I love to make new friends- it really does not matter where they are or if I may never be able to meet them physically.

My nominees for the Liebster Award-

1. Sacred Space: For the meticulous research and excellent writing.

2. Live on Impulse: For the genuineness of emotions and writing.

3. Gratitude: Covers a range of varied topics, architecture being the author’s favourite.

4. Thinking Man– Brief and brilliant!

5. Swathi Manoj– A young and promising talent.

Here are your eleven questions:

  1. If you could meet one person from the past, either an ordinary person or an important historical figure, in whose company you could spend one day, whom would you choose? And why?
  2. Do you have a favourite quote? If yes, which is it?
  3. In which part of the day do you feel a natural delight?
  4. Given a choice between the seaside and the mountains, where would you choose to live? Why?
  5. Do you remember your first day (okay, early days will also do) in school? What are the memories which are in the forefront?
  6. Do you remember when and where you first watched “Sound of Music”? (If you have not, then you can substitute any movie which you loved).
  7. Can you pick five words which would describe you best?
  8. Which is the most important quality that you seek in a friend?
  9. Do you love old houses? Why?
  10. Which is your favourite genre of music?
  11. If you are inside a fairytale and the good fairy grants you the wish of having a lifelong, endless supply of ONE thing, what would you choose?

I know the writing may seem a little daunting- but it is fun and you end up knowing more about yourself too, when forced to think aloud.

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9 thoughts on “The Liebster Award

    • Thank you, Andrea. 🙂

      About Wicca- The term Wicca is not at all well known in India, to the best of my knowledge. Nor are its rituals. Isolated urban communities might be there- a lady in Kolkata, very vocal in the media, Ipsita Roy Chakraverty, terms herself a white witch and states that she was initiated into a Canadian tradition. Her book was one of the first I read, but it put me off, unfortunately, given a slightly vindictive voice and the love spells.

      However Goddess worship is prevalent in india; as you may be aware. The forms considered are those of Lakshmi, Saraswati and Parvati. Durga too.

      I would not presume to call myself a Wiccan- possessing neither the knowledge nor formal initiation/training. But I have been reading a lot on the ethics and solitary practice of Wicca. Marian Green, Marion Weinstein and Robin Wood are three writers whom I found especially fascinating.

      Thank you for your interest. I look forward to your wonderful posts in the New Year.

      Have a great year ahead!

      • Thanks Sylvia – Marian Green is one of my favourite writers on witchcraft – it was from her I learned that witches weren’t just imaginary, but it was a path that could be followed.

  1. Andrea, I forgot to add that in some remote villages there is still witch-hunting in India. The victims are always women (poor and illiterate, naturally!) who are suspected of having brought harm to the community or an individual.

  2. You are an interesting person. For a moment I thought it was I who wrote this sentence: “I have accepted the fact that it is impossible for me to totally believe and become a follower of any religion/doctrine/teacher/guru.”

  3. Sylvia, it was lovely to read your responses to my (12!) questions posed to you as part of this award. What I love about this new (still new to me) world of blogging is ‘meeting’ people like you through your blog. It takes me to a very different part of the world and to a different culture. Just reading all the languages you speak or at least know something of really dazzles me. I look forward to checking out the blogs you chose to nominate in turn because I’m sure they will be very interesting to read, too. I enjoyed your answers and learning more about you. I know the amount of writing for this award is a bit daunting, but it does let people get a deeper understanding of who you are, and you are in control so you can choose to reveal or not reveal what you want. Your responses were excellent.

    I’m not at all into Wiccan traditions, but I have always loved the moon and, like you, have always gazed at it quite more than most people probably do. When there is a full moon, I always feel I write better.

    Enjoy your visit away in January. Safe journey.

  4. Purabi Dutta Chowdhury says:

    I loved your answers. And I agree with you that blogging makes you a better person. Actually, I feel any creative writing leads us to self-realisation at some level. Will eagerly wait for your future write ups.

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