CHARADES WITH SHRAES

A Converse with the Working Mother and a Food Blogger

Today,I have found a mother of six year old and a Java technical lead in a software company who cooks scrumptious food with mouth watering pictures through her lens. Maintaining perfect balance between coding and cooking is something she loves executing. Her feet has got skate rollers with unstoppable passion to learn new things outside her ambiance. Introducing Sowmya Suresh a food blogger from Chennai.





Share who you are sowmya?
I am a working mom of a 6 yr old princess. I am working as a Technical lead and recently developed interest in social Media. I love sharing my interests like cooking,shopping,fashion,makeup.I write my recipes in my blog to share those yummy links with my friends.


Tell me about your strengths?
I'm good at learning new things and I believe that's my strength. Even though some topic is not related to my career or passion,I just research and get updated.


How important is your family and friends?
Friends and Family are important for everyone and I am no exception. My family is very protective of me and I'm very protective of my friends.Since I live with my family, I make sure to meet my close friends when they visit Chennai.


How was your school and college days?
I did not take my studies seriously when I was in school. Yet I stood 1st in my 12th Exams.(Only God knows how).
In college I was an average student. As every engineering graduate, we were a gang sulking about college rules and trying to live our life. Studied in groups and managed to score first class with distinction. College is where I got friends. They stood by me during my tough times and still with me.


How do you handle your pressure and long work hours?
My team and my family helps me a lot during tough times and long hours. When I'm stressed I explore a new dish and cooks it very next day. Cooking is my stress buster. My husband takes care of our princess, when I have a long late day at office.


What inspired you to start a blog for your cooking?
Writing a blog was more of a necessity for me. I had to write the recipes or else I forget it. Also when I post a food in Instagram, I keep getting requests of the recipe. So thought to blog and share them the link.



What is your opinion over organic food tags around markets?
It's a good sign that people started taking healthy foods. But it's sad that we need to spend hell of money to eat those chemical free foods. I wish there should be more authentic organic products to buy with affordable price.


Photos of recipes is very important in a food blog. What gadget you use and how creative you snap those?


I use iPhone and basic editing software for my photos. I prefer taking photos during day with natural light. Recently I am following a pattern to post pictures. Hopefully,it made my profile look good.


Which method of cooking is your all-time favorite?
OPOS and Stir fry are all-time favorite way of cooking and they're very easy and convenient.
For working people, it's almost every day that we have very restricted time to cook and have to eat healthy.
OPOS is One pot One shot. You dunk vegetables in the cooker and leave for few whistles and the Korma is done. I do Vegetable korma mostly this method.
Stir fry is the easiest and most familiar way of cooking. Chop the veggies or cut the meat. Fry them in a pan with some oil, sauces/masalas, salt and pepper. Stir fry goes well with chapattis/rotis , dosa.


Have you ever tried foreign cuisines? If yes what is it?
Me and my husband love trying new cuisines. We have tried Korean,Chinese,Burmese,Thai,Italian,Scottish,British,Czech,Lebanese. Of all the foreign cuisines we tried, we love Thai and that’s our go to food.


Tell me about your mother's cooking style?
My mom is the best cook I have ever known. She doesn’t know cooking when she got married. She learnt cooking from my granny who is a super cook as well. Unlike me, my mom is particular about the method of cooking. For her, e dhal or a simple rasam must be made in particular method. She is an expert in Non vegetarian and she ensures a feast when all of us gather.


How often your hubby helps you in cooking?

It is unimaginable for me to get ready every morning without his help. He cooks well especially, peanut chutney.


The dish which surprised your family and you?
We loved a chicken dish from a nearby takeaway. Whenever my hubby orders takeaway he prefers Bachelor's Chicken. So I decided to replicate it and came out really well. Also, I have posted in my blog.


The dish which you wanna give a try soon?
Me and my daughter loves cheesy creamy pasta. Fromage in chennai is the newly opened best place to have cheesy pasta. Soon to try.


The Dish which your kid loves all time?
Cheesy Creamy Pasta any time.


Your favorite other state/city cuisines?
I am a telugu, so I love AP and Telangana dishes. While in Keto I had to explore lot of Kerala dishes mostly made with coconuts or sea foods which are good for my diet. I love Kerala food as well.
One fruit and vegetable that you haven't tasted yet?
I haven’t tasted Brussels sprouts yet and I want to eat Fresh Blue berries as well.


Best places in Chennai to fill my tummy with hot biriyanis?
I am not a big fan of biryani. But according to me the best biryani would be from Junior Kupanna .Their Seeraga Samba rice biryani is the best.
If you are a fan of Hyderabadi Biryani, then Paradise biryani would satisfy your soul.


How important is street foods around Chennai?
There is no Chennai without street food. We avoid eating food from street stalls for our diet issues.But once in a while we enjoy the Mushroom masala. It's yum!!!


Share your motherhood and how keen you formulated diet to your kid?


Like every mother we need our children to be healthy and happy,which is a cliché according to my daughter. She will be happy with milkshakes,
icecreams,pasta.Our doctor had strictly advised her to eat healthy foods.So to make her happy I make ice-creams at home. I make Fruit shakes for breakfasts. I make sure she eats at least 5 to 7 eggs per week. Make her finish dinner by 7.30 pm. Water is really important for the kids. During weekends we bet each other on drinking water, the one who drinks more bottles during the entire day will get a treat.
Me and my husband never force her to take 1st in class or win a competition. We ensure that she participates in all activities. We want her to grow up as a good and kind human with positive attitude. Rest she will experience and learn.


How do you think that designing your sari and dress evolve you?
I am not a qualified designer. I have a vision to dress with flowing colors.My tailor brings them to life. When the Saree/dress suits or fits me, or when someone compliments me, my confidence grows with motivation to try new outfits.


According to you who is the best dresser you admire?
Actress Sneha and there are 2 people from whom I get most of the inspirations from, Tharani (Instagram : Teeclutter) and Vithya (Instagram : Vithyahairandmakeup)


The best place in Chennai for shopping attires?
It depends on the budget. Affordable range: Waves,Max,Trends are really good both in Western and Ethnic wear.
Higher range: Zara,H&M,Lifestyle and Fab India. I prefer to shop in these shops only during Sale.


How would you create a menu for both working women and college girls?
Breakfast is very important as it helps to kick start the day. Nowadays, we are too busy to eat breakfast.
For breakfast:
Eggs will be the best quick option.Boiled,Fried or omelette. If vegetarian, A peanut butter shake will keep you full. I always make a batch of glutten free protein powder and store it in fridge. Morning i will just blend the powder,almond milk,few dates,peanut butter.A banana shake is the simplest breakfast you can have. Blend in some bananas, peanut butter, Almond milk, Dates/Honey.
For lunch:


Stir fried Veggies are good enough. Quick tip: You can carry Veggies in the Big box and Rice in the small box. This will help you to take more fiber and minerals than carbs.
For dinner:


Panner/Tofu stir fry with a roti/dosa
chicken (Tandoori/Grilled/Stir fry) with a roti/dosa.
chapathi - Aviyal


Is it good to avoid fat for weight loss?
Definitely no. You need good fat to keep you running. Good fats include coconut oil,ghee,butter,Olive oil. Try replacing these with regular oils.


Can't a girl step out without make up? How important is it?
A girl should be happy for what she is and makeup is something that boosts up her confidence. I don’t makeup all time, I just do my eyebrows, apply lipstick and I'm ready to go out. Unlike makeup, skincare is really important. A massage with coconut oil during night is the simplest and easy thing a girl can do.I suggest women to invest in good skin care rather than makeup.


What will you cook for me for lunch?


You cannot expect a traditional dish from me. So
If Vegetarian, a thali with buckwheat-Beets roti, Paneer butter masala, buttered garlicy herb rice,Twin dhal, a salad and an oats phirni.
If Non Vegetarian, Roti, chicken Fry, Prawn masala, Fish fry, Salad, A lime-Mint cooler



Share your future plans/dream?
I believe in short term goals. Long term goals are not my kind. I get bored of working for them. Right now my goal is to become a Plixxo blogger for which I need to have 1000 followers. I am just working on giving creative content so that I get 1000 followers soon and apply in Plixxo.


What do you like to say to readers out there?
If you have a passion work towards them. At least when you get time or money just start to work. There is nothing wrong in trying. When a girl from a small village gets this much exposure, you too can. Remember "Age is just a number!!!" You're a true friend for yourself and trust yourself.


How was my interview?

Honestly, It's been long time I have spoken about my interests, my passion to others. This is a great feeling and motivates me too. Thanks for asking about my school and college days. It was an opportunity for me to think about those wonderful memories. I hope I inspire at least one person and help him/her come out of their shell.

Thank you Sowmya Suresh for this brilliant interview. Hope you readers enjoyed her journey.


Do connect with her through

BLOG

INSTAGRAM



Bated Breath

Lonely Bird Without a Navigator

How many times?
Should my heart break into fragments,
Some days I feel,
Like I live too long with same dreams,
Watching sun rising and setting,
Recurrent tides roaring high and low,
This life,such an unplanned journey,
Don't know how far my shadow escorts me,
It feels like I'm back to my infancy days,
With my heavenly sleep on hold,
Waiting with bated breath,
To see how this story unfolds my journey,
Where my eyelashes never divorce each other,
Because this is all about One Single Life.






CHARADES WITH SHRAES

A Talk With Author Romila 

Welcome to my another session of interview #CharadeswithShraes. I think it's enlightening for readers to feel like they're part of this chat,reading others stories after all no two stories are same. 

This interview is to generate some thought,appreciation and discussion of this interesting person. Her character is designed to offer and inspire an opportunity to readers and writers with her words circling up to bring ripples around you.She is a surprising and satisfying blogger in content,quality,diversity and critical approaches.I'm happy to interview the versatile blogger and an author Romila Chitturi from the city of Pearls,Hyderabad. 





1] Tell us more and new about you Romila?


I am a huge admirer of Apple products & TED sessions. I read poetry every day. I have a penchant for shoes, hair accessories and stationery. I make the world’s best tea & coffee – a compliment I often receive from guests or people who have had them. I have an untreatable sweet tooth. I enjoy eating and making desserts. Urdu literature & music are a big part of my life. Anything and everything about Paris city makes me so happy.


2] What inspires you to write?


No matter how much I love writing; there are some days when I depend on inspiration. In fact, I would argue that inspiration is not just a desirable thing; it’s an integral part of the writing process. Every writer needs to find inspiration in order to produce inspired writing. And sometimes, it can come from the unlikeliest sources. Blogs are one of my favorites, of course. Aside from this blog, there are dozens of great blogs on writing and every topic under the sun. I like to read about what works for others — it inspires me to action! Fiction is my favourite, but I’ll devour anything to find some inspiration. If I’m anywhere public, whether at a park or a mall or cafe, sometimes I’ll eavesdrop on people. Not in a gross way or anything, but I’ll just keep quiet, and listen. I love hearing other people have conversations. It has served as a model or inspiration for later writing.


3] 14yrs of blogging, what's your opinion on the lifespan of blogs?


Forever. Yes you read it right. If you write daily and regularly with honesty, trust me, your words will turn immortal. My very first blog post which is safe somewhere in my laptop remains one of my best posts despite the fact I wrote it in the year 2004 (thought it is a small write up). Just like books, blogs or any written content remains eternal.


4] Your ambitions into the world of writing career?


It was never my childhood dream to be a writer; I never thought I will become one until unless I gave a shot by writing an article for my school magazine followed by newspapers, magazines and websites. I can call myself as blessed writer as my words/opinions have been successfully accepted by my readers. 5 books as an author is my ambition, I have come out with 3 and 2 more will happen soon.


5] What was the hardest thing about writing your book "Between the Pages"?


Editing and re-writing few stories. I had written them in span of 4years from 2013 and tucked them in my study table drawer and it was only in mid July I decided to bring them out in book form. They were initially 15 stories in the final draft, picking up which ones to get published was another tough work for me. I am delighted I came over these hardships with patience and efforts.


6] Have you ever got writer's block?

No.

7] How much research went on to sculpt your 3 E-books manuscript?


A lot of research which cannot be measured in quantity but quality of the content proves everything. First 2 eBooks are the outcome of the annual ATOZ Blogging Challenges which I took part in 2016 & 2017. The challenges really helped me to walk alone and come out of as a winner. The success of my two eBooks pushed me to bring out my third book on short stories.


8] How long it took to complete?


The first eBook – 4months of 2016
The second eBook- 3months of 2017
The third eBook – since 2013 and book came out in September 2017


9] As a writer, what would you choose as mascot?


No mascots but I am inspired a lot by writers/authors from every generation/century from Shakespeare era till today.


10] Your experience as a self published author?


All my three books are self published on Amazon. It is free and relatively easy to publish a book on Amazon as a Kindle e-book. And fast! It takes about 12 hours to appear on Amazon for sale. You control the whole process from start to finish and retain all the rights to your book. More people are buying eBooks which hints if you write well, you will have sales. This method of publishing is very comfortable for me and I am glad few copies of my 2nd and 3rd book have been sold.


11] Your thoughts on good/bad reviews?


The review of a book should tell us what makes it fine without declaring that it surpasses the discovery that peanuts make good butter, and will remain at the top of “The Best” lists for decades to come. There are such books and they are, and should be, held in high esteem. The reviews that I don’t like are the ones that kick a book onto the freeway with the hope that it will end up as road kill. There are people who disagree with me, but when I have spent years on a work, and found a place with either a traditional publisher or through the laborious process of self-publishing, the book surely deserves more than a deadly slamming.


12] Steps you have taken to market your books?


My first eBook was not promoted well to be frank. The reviews and reactions have been very limited. My 2nd eBook on micro poetry was handled and marketed well with the support of my online and offline connections & network and I am blessed that it has been a blockbuster hit. My third book is for sale on Amazon, as I am not giving out any free copies to anyone, the promotion is slow. I have not made my marketing plan yet for it. Hopefully I will once few more copies are sold.  


13] Best software app or program you used for outlining or drafting for your book?


None. I did not use any app/program for any of my books. All have been written and worked on paper first and then the final draft was typed.


14] What projects have you undertaken currently? Any new novel on the way?
I do have some ideas buzzing in my mind but I am not sure if I can make them work into a 200 pages novel. If it works positively in my favour, I will surely make an announcement.


15] What do you enjoy most about your work?


Definitely when I type the final draft of the article and the reviews/feedback from the readers on the same.


16] Best way you have found to monetize your blog?


Paid posts.


17]How to get loyal followers to our blogs?


Loyal friends make loyal followers – this is very simple.


18] With great friends come loyal foes. What do you have to say to your critics?


I accept them in the same way I accept compliments. I have nothing against critics. It is not necessary that every reader has to like your work.


19]Describe your blogging style?


Direct, personal and opinionated


20] Have you ever felt exhausted on blogging or writing?


No. Never. If I don’t write I feel exhausted, I cannot think about not writing every day.


21]Where do you see yourself as an author in the next five years?


More famous, more accepted and better in my work.


22] What are your favourite literary journals?


None. I don’t read any literary journals.


23] It seems like your fashion style has been good always. Your best/worst outfit in past?


I love fashion and I like wearing clothes that make me look good and comfortable. Worst outfit – a snake print pajama! I wore it for few weeks and it scared people who ever saw me in this. Best outfits have been my designer salwar kameez suits. I am very happy in a pair of shorts and t-shirt given any day.


24] How much does your tattoos mean to you?


I have been fond of getting inked since a teenager. I have 5 tattoos. My first and second tattoo - my name and the Latin phrase – alis volat propriis were inked in 2015, followed by my moon sign (Pig in Mandarin) and sun sign ( Scorpio in Greek) in 2016 and in August 2017 I got a star with Ishq – translating to Love ( in Hindi script) tattooed. Every tattoo is special as all of them are a part of my personality.


25] Why should people read your book?


My first eBook had me sharing my thoughts on random topics such as antagonists in literature, to blogging, origin of the number zero and the birth of the city of Rome, the lack of education to support organ donor programs and the disappearing greenery in our ever expanding concrete jungles and the next eBook had 26 beautiful micro poems (many of the readers, had no idea what micro poetry is and they confessed that they learnt about this form through me) and my new book has stories, where you can learn the strength of emotions between the pages of mixed feelings. My books will broaden your understanding of the world or help you get through a sticking point in your life.


26] Do you take yourself seriously?


Yes! If I did not, I would not have been in this place today. I strongly advise people to take their lives seriously. We get one life, enjoy every moment and live happily.


27]If you could pass a advice to future authors out there reading this interview, what would it be?


Writing is about half skills that you can learn. The remaining half — as in all the arts — can only arise from something ineffable called talent. There are days where I have difficulty writing altogether, so I’ll switch to editing my stories rather than trying to create them. Never assume it is someone else’s job to fix your mistakes. Find all the errors first, and deal with them yourself. The more polished and refined your work is, the more favourably it will be received when you’re finally ready to present it. When it comes to the hours or days you’ve reserved for writing, make sure you stick to your guns. Consider it sacred. I’ll admit there’s still a hell of a lot more to say on the topic of writing tips, but what it all comes down to in the end are three things I believe writers need to remember above all else: Patience, Perseverance, and maintaining your sense of Purpose.

28] Create a slogan for you?


I am here to win!


29] Asked to cook a dinner for your favourite person. Whom would you invite and what would you cook and why?


I have always cooked for myself or for my parents and no one else. Coming to my favourite person, I would invite my best friend K and I would cook Chicken, Kashmiri Pulao and Gajar Ka halwa – easy to make and tasty to eat.


30] Biryani or Chinese cuisine? Why?


I love both. Being a Hyderabadi, my first choice obvious is Biryani. Do I need to give a reason? I am a foodie, Biryani tops my list.


31] Most hated chore on household chore list?


I don’t find any dislike/hatred towards any household chore. In my maid’s absence I do all the work, otherwise the dusting/minor cleaning and laundry is done by me. In fact I like cleaning the dishes.


32]Topic you love to debate with Arnab Goswami?


Arnab who? I definitely want to know. Jokes apart, I am always open to debates, if that is Arnab or Barkha or anyone else, it makes no difference. Topic can be religion.


33] How was my interview?


I am now so used to give interviews but this one was/is different as you shot me with so many varieties of questions. I loved answering them.


Let's wrap our interview with some rapid questions to Romila-

1. Do you google yourself?


Yes.


2. Be honest, how often do you wash your hair?


4 times a week because my hair turns greasy within 10hours after shampoo and I just cannot tolerate oily head and scalp.


3. Do you write alone or in public?


Alone. I cannot concentrate writing in public. I don’t understand people who write in public cafes/parks and other places.


4. Where can we find you online?


Twitter - @romspeaks


5. How did you get to be so witty, funny, and good looking?


I have totally impenitent sense of humour which is all the time impulsive. I make people cry with happy tears with my expressions. Am I good looking? The credit goes to the face wash, gold peels, gels and the makeup which I use. My wittiness is NOT in my DNA, it an exclusive god blessed quality.


6. What is your favourite extension in your internet browser if you use any?


I have three favourite extensions - Alexa Toolbar (for sure), last pass and Quick JavaScript switcher


7. What is one of the things you would put on your “bucket” list right now?


Christian Dior Lipstick


8. If a movie was made of your life what genre would it be, who would play you?


Romantic Comedy and I would like Natalie Portman to play me.


9. How many books have you read so far this year? What’s your current read?


45 + and I am currently reading Dan Brown’s Origin.


10. What compliment does people give you the most?


‘Your eyes are really beautiful’.


11. If you could teach any grade or subject what would it be?


Subjects: Business Management, Economics and Communication skills


12. What is your favourite song?


Yaaram – one of the best songs written by Gulzar.


13. If you won a million dollars what would you buy?


How many million $’s did I win? I have a huge list – a luxury car, tickets for a world tour, lots of designer bags and investment bonds for a happy & crisis free future.


14. What was the last film you watched?


Humpty Sharma ki Dulhania


15. What is better: certificates or experience?


Experience certificate


16. What is better: being organized or attention to details?


Attentively organised


17. Sex?


As a classification I am a Female. Otherwise as a noun referring to sexual activity, it is dreamy, juicy, likable, romantic, worthy and yummy.


18. iPhone or Samsung?


iPhone (and I own Samsung too)


19. Four things you would change about yourself?


I would want to be taller, have a clear skin, lose few kgs and have that perfect bikini body.


20. New York City?


For cheesecakes


21. Last item you purchased?


4 bottles of Coke zero – I am addicted to diet drinks.


22. What impresses you?


Intelligence, good vocabulary & pronunciation and knowledge.




Thank you Romila for precocious interview!

Connect with Romila through her