New Year Wishes, Highlights from the Time I Haven’t Been Around, and Something You Might Be Interested In

Long time no see!

Yeeeahh… I’m pretty sure a bunch of you thought that I’d probably never come back here and had eternally disbanded my blogging life, but here I am, so sorry to disappoint. 😉 So I guess I did miss you guys. Though I won’t admit it.

A lot of things have been getting in my way, and I suppose that isn’t an excuse or anything, but oh well.

On the far brighter side, it’s 2019!

…which is pretty great, huh.

Even though today feels just like yesterday and new year parties aren’t a thing for me, and it doesn’t feel like a new beginning and I don’t feel like a new me and it’s all completely and utterly the exact same life I have been living for the past something-teen years.

But I suppose everything starts somewhere, and I know this year won’t turn out half bad!

Happy new year, you guys! ❤

Also, please read this post to the very end! I might have something you would be interested in. 🙂


Highlights from the time I haven’t been around

One

I’ve been doing a lot of Photoshop for the past month. The other day I thought- why not combine my anime interests with graphic design and do something cool? And I ended up with this (which I am extremely proud of because it took over 5 whole hours)

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I admit the face looks a little dopey but… don’t look at that okay

I did the whole thing from scratch (from the drawing to the background textures) and it was exhilarating but super satisfying and that makes up for the exhilarating part.

Two

Let’s see… I also went for another hike a week or so back. It was about 9.5 kilometres and had gorgeous views and I took a whole bunch of pictures. BUT. Something went wrong and now the pictures won’t download. -_-

Anyway these are a few of the better ones I managed to get on my phone.

Note that these pictures are unedited and subject to copyright!

Three

I took the Goodreads reading challenge this year!

Okay, I admit that 50 books is a teeny goal compared to most others, but considering how busy I am with life, it’s not so bad. And the best part is that I read a whopping 58!

You can see my year in books on Goodreads here.


 

Lastly… something you might (hopefully) be interested in

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Where do I start.

My friends and I recently began writing a manga of our own. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, manga are unique, Japanese style comics that are usually read right to left.

For those who are familiar with the term, you could call what we are doing a doujinshi.

But manga sounds much easier so I’ll stick to that.

Anyway we’re putting a lot of effort into what we’re doing, and I’m doing this as part of a group of four. One of us handles the character drawing, one does backgrounds and tiny details, one fills in the black, outlines etc. and I’m basically the one who scans, Photoshops the page into its final form and yells at everyone all the time.

Back to the point- I’m looking for beta readers! Okay, we’ve barely done a chapter yet, and it’ll probably take forever to do the next, and this might not even end up the way we’re expecting, but your support would make me really happy!

If you fill in the form below, I’ll send you a copy of the first chapter by email. I want people who think they can be appropriate critiques for a graphic novel. I would also love it if you spread the word on your blog!

Please note before applying that all of you might not end up becoming beta readers. You might also not end up receiving the chapters as soon as you expect. This takes up a lot of time and the first itself would probably need a month or so before it’s emailed. The story might not even end up having a proper finish or going beyond a few chapters, because we’re all living our own busy lives.

 

I’d like to thank all you guys for sticking with me this whole time. A huge hug whichever kind soul nominated me in Megan’s Best of 2018 awards! The voting is here. 🙂

Adeiu as of now! I’m going to be seeing you again tomorrow for a post I’m very excited to make!

Love,
M

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A Photogenic Hill// NaNo 2018

Hey there, you! Long time no see, eh?

Posts have been going (and are going to go) in a rocky pace for some time now, since I seem to get time to blog just about once a month these days. -_-

Skipping to the main part of the post which you actually came here to see, I went for a 13k hill trek today and it was a morning well spent, because I managed to get a bunch of good pictures.

Before I show them to you, I wanted to announce that I’m doing NaNo this month! I hope it goes okay considering I’m busy all the time. I’m going to re-write last year’s novel (The Wire Fence, learn more here) because it didn’t turn out exactly as I planned. That’s also an excuse for not thinking up something new, so it’s a win-win. 😉

NaNoWriMo 2018 Twitter Header

Anyway, on to the pictures!

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unedited pictures

Hope you guys liked these! I’ll see you again next time, which will hopefully be soon. 🙂

Some Light-Hearted Poetry

a   h u m a n   b e i n g

find a tune of your own
unlike what everybody’s sung
find new heights to your horizons
and let new stories leave your tongue

seek lands you’ve never been to
let your spirit run wild and free
for to be a human ‘being’
you must do more than simply ‘be’.

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p i r a t e

wooden block for his left foot
black strap across his eye
his heart belonged to the ocean
and his gaze pierced the sky

he was a fearless vagabond
his world existed beyond the shore
he could fight like a tiger
and had ferocity in his roar

but the only things he plundered
were his weaknesses and his fears
and the treasure he was hunting
was his purpose of being here.

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f l o w e r s

sow memories in your mind
and give them all your care,
then reap them like flowers
and wear them in your hair.

enjoy them to the fullest
in all their scents and tints
and press them in your pages
when they begin to wilt.

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Constructive criticism much appreciated. 🙂

For HARPs Round 7
Points: 3+6+2= 11

The Thought Behind Born Free

Written as part of HARPs Round 5
Team: Butterfly, Points: 3+8+2=13

What I want to share with you today is unlike what I usually post. I’ve seen many ‘identity crisises’ going on around the blogosphere, and that has gotten me thinking- what is the identity of my blog?

The reason my blog is called Born Free was initially this- my name itself means free, and I was raised with constant reminders that I was free to decide my course in life and make my own choices.

But perhaps there’s more to the name than just that.

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At a time that feels like so long ago, I used to think that I was misinterpreted and that I was a part some race of people that was impossible to comprehend. And regardless of the fact that I didn’t understand myself in the first place – and probably still don’t – I chose to sulk about how others didn’t understand my mind.

Without having unearthed what was beneath my skin on my own, I convinced myself that this world was full of insolent, selfish jerks who would never try to look at me as I ‘truly was’. Perhaps that’s an exaggeration on the point, but that is what I thought, plain and clear.

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But I can say that time has removed the jagged edges to those thoughts.

My life was never hard. My family and friends and environment saw to that. Well, more accurate than saying it wasn’t hard is to say that it was easy.
Everything came easily to me, I had everything I needed to live a good, content life. And today I can see that the insolence and the selfishness was not in the world that I thought didn’t understand me, but in me.

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So many people in this world are suffering and I chose to wrap myself in a cloak of troubles I had never faced! My life was such a good one and still, I would write of unreasonable gloom when I should’ve been grateful for that perfectly good life!
I should’ve stopped sulking and stepped out into this beautiful world. I should’ve broken out of my cocoon and have realised that I was a butterfly, and plunged headfirst into the world, powered by optimism. I should’ve stopped feeling lost and tried to find myself.

And that is why I want to do more than vent out pointless feelings. I want to acknowledge and spread and create beauty. I want to show my long-gone former self that I did not come to life to be someone who simply sat and complained at nonexistent problems. I want to be more than that.
I was born with hopes and dreams and a chance to make something good from my days. And you were too.

That is why we are born free, me and you.

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Recent Digital Artwork// SIL Challenge #4

In my time as a designer I have been constantly using external sources for my designs, and naturally when I began making my own I was rather enthusiastic.

Do you remember when I showed you this?

frame

Here’s what it looked like before I digitalized it.

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When I took my hand-drawn work and converted it into digital art I was rather happy with how it turned out. It took me a lot of time to do and I was so fixated on doing it that it was almost… meditative?

So I started doing more. And today I’m going to be sharing three pieces of my digital art which I particularly like.

All of these images are copyright-protected. Please don’t use them without credit!

1: DEATHLY HALLOWS

hallows

About this design: I used a similar technique to design Kerys’s blog and I decided to try it on something else. So I brought out some new PS brushes and ended up with this!

2: MANDALA DREAMCATCHER

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About this design: I took the same colours I used for that header up there and used them on some art I’d done almost a year ago. 😀 This was such an elaborate job! You can find the original along with some others in this post.

Original art:

Mandala5

3: FLORAL FRAME

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About this design: I spent all afternoon working on this. 😛 I was not satisfied with the calligraphy in the original sketch and so I decided to change it and ended up adding colour as well!

Original art:

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Welp, I really hope you liked these! I hope to put such art on sale when I begin selling apparel at Pique Studios. Before I wrap this post up I’m going to slip in my picture for Challenge #4 in Hannah’s photography challenge, Springing Into Life.

Team Vines

Jewel
Irys
Ariana

This time’s category was Tiny-

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… and the little challenge was Pets. I don’t have a pet so I’m just going to put in a random animal picture I took some time back.

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This photograph was taken during a visit to a slum in Cambodia. Whenever I look at it my heart ends up feeling heavy, and I think it portrays very efficiently how happiness can exist in the most remote of places. 🙂

I really hope you enjoyed today’s post. Thanks for stopping by!

Oh, and before you go, make sure to check out Megan’s 4 year blogiversary giveaway and Clara’s 400 follower giveaway!

Design Pique is Changing// SIL Challenge #3

When I launched Design Pique Studios I began with incredibly low expectations. No kidding.

I expected people to be protective of their mail ids, for one thing. I thought they wouldn’t want to trust someone whose work they hadn’t even seen. I thought that the exposure was very less anyway, so the orders would come at a sluggish pace.

Then I began to get some. Small amounts, as I’d expected, but they came, and I put my entire soul into them. Then the orders began to flood in. And I lost my sanity. But I took them in and developed them, and I worked my way towards now.

Design Pique has been a very important part of my life for the past six months. In those six months I have met customers unique in personality and taste, and even in the way they cooperate. 😉 I have gained what I wanted most of all through it- experience. A lot of experience, that’s for sure.

And now that I’ve come this far with it, I’ve decided where I want to go.


How is Design Pique changing?

I’ve come to realise that this platform can do more than remaining an outlet for my passion for design. In a month or two’s time, Design Pique Studios will become Pique Studios.

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Pique Studios will continue to have the free blog designs and book covers it offers, along with animated videos, art prints, apparel, products and more to come. The work ethic will be entirely rethought, the process made easier and quicker and much more versatile.

Well, what can I say? It feels amazing to watch my design studio grow and I can’t wait to see it move beyond being just that. A huge shoutout to all of you who’ve been so supportive- I’m more grateful than you’ll ever know. 😀


I hope you guys are looking forward to the changes that are to come!
Now that we’re through, let me quickly put in the pictures I took for challenge #3 in Hannah’s photography challenge, Springing Into Life.

Team Vines

Jewel
Irys
Ariana

The spot on Vines is still open, so you can go here and tell Hannah if you’d like to join in.

This time’s category was Light Pink.

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This photo has an interesting story- We were travelling this one time and I came across the best sunset I had ever seen. Where I live the sunsets are, sadly, bland and lifeless, so I was naturally taken by this one and had to get some pictures. 🙂

The category for the little challenge was Sparkly.

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The picture is an explanation enough, don’t you think? 😉

Thanks for sticking around, and the best to everyone taking part in SIL! Hope to see you again next time.

The Change Award, The Month, and The Hiatus

When I first began to get tagged for awards and such, I used to be super ecstatic. That’s when laziness took over. It’s been the ruling party for so long, but now, the opposition (me, basically) decided to make a move.

Today I’m going to be doing The Change Award, a really neat tag by my good friend Gracie, in celebration of her well-deserved 500 followers! *confetti*

So this time, I’m going to be taking a different angle. Since these questions are rather thought-provoking and I like making things unique, I decided to write my answers in verse. 😀

The Rules: 

  • Link back to me, as well as whoever nominated you (check)
  • Include this: I, Gracie Chick of A Light In The Darkness, created this award to highlight the importance of young people taking responsibility for the future of their world. The Change Award also gives them the opportunity to share with others what they believe in. (okay, I suppose that does it)
  • Answer the questions below (I’ll get to that)
  • Nominate as many people as you like. (that’ll be at the end)

Okay, guys, let’s plunge right in!

Make a list of the things you want to change about schools.

May learning not imprison us
But rather set us free
May grades not be stamped on us
Like they’re our identity.
May we be taught that what we’re learning
Is really for the good
And the reason to seek knowledge
Is not simply because ‘we should’.

Make a list of the things you want to change about local communities.

May kindness be a weapon
Over society’s constant hate
May people learn to respect opinions
And learn to coordinate
May hearts welcome each other
And love, not lies, be exchanged
And when we look back later
May we beam upon the change.

Make a list of the things you want to change about the world, your world.

I want to seize every joy
And fill it into cartons
And take it to my inner world
And finally care for its gardens
Then I want to pluck their flowers
Before they wither and fall down
And proudly place them atop my head
Like a flower crown.


Now that that’s done, here are my nominees (I have tried not to include the ones already nominated, so there)-

Madi
Arunima
Michele
Rutvi
Rae
Rebekah
Lissa
Clara

I’m sorry if I missed you! If you want to do this, there’s nothing stopping you. 😉


Highlights from January

I GOT SO MANY DESIGN ORDERS I ALMOST DROWNED IN THEM

My average bedtime is now 11 pm. I suppose that’s enough said. -_-
So far I’ve had 20+ clients, all in a matter of three months from starting Design Pique Studios, my free web design service! Okay, it’s getting hectic, but sometimes I have to admit that hectic is fun. Plus, it’s one of the main reasons I haven’t been around in a while.

Right now, the site’s on hiatus because it’s getting too much for me to do at once, plus I’ve got waaaay too many exams coming up next month. But some new updates to the site since I first created it is a video which you can see on the home screen, plus a Portfolio page for all my projects.

I STARTED ATTENDING ALICIA SOUZA’S DESIGN MENTORSHIP PROGRAM

Okay, you have NO IDEA how excited I was about this. A couple months back I entered a mentorship program, and I was all over the place when I found out that I got selected and- maybe you should check out my post on Design Pique in which I talk all about it and drive you mad. That’ll be much easier.

I READ FIVE BOOKS (working on it), AND BOUGHT THREE PHYSICAL ONES

Haha, five books is nothing for some of you, I know. BUT with my crazy life and orders and assignments from my program alongside, that’s saying something.

Also, we bought three books. OH, COME ON. We never buy physical books. My dad always insists on ebooks because they don’t take up too much space. If you want to know what made him change his mind this one time, it’ll be quite a bit of a story.

We were on vacation to Bombay, and then somehow we figured that there was a certain “book street” in Colaba (read more about that here). I had no idea what that meant. Being a curious family, we decided to check it out.

If you’re a book lover, this is one of the reasons you have to visit India.

It was- you guessed it- a complete street lined with tons and tons of books. Secondhand books. For about half the usual price.

Naturally, I went cuckoo, and so did my dad.

source

MY ART RATE WENT DOWN AND THEN… IT CAME UP

I hardly did any art in January. And, well, this probably doesn’t count as a January highlight, but today I took part in a painting competition in our locality. It was conducted by the husband of a late artist, which made me feel nice about taking part.

There was no theme, and I had no time to think something good up, and what I ended up with was… this. Excuse that it looks sort of dark.

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Another little detail is there were three age groups and one winner was to be chosen from each, and my painting won in my category. 😀

I’m not going to talk too much about what my prize was, because I don’t like talking about things like that. But I would like to mention that it included a paintbrush which that late artist used to use, and I will treasure it forever. ❤


The Hiatus

Yep, the worst part.

Orders are too much for my puny being to handle. Plus exams. And then there’s life. This site’s going to be taking a bit of a rest for a few months, but hey, a few months! I’ll be right back in late March. I may sneak in that occasional post, with updates or something like that, and I will be reading and commenting on your posts, but no consistency.

We all need a break once in a while, hm? 😉


Thanks to all of you for reading! See you here again in March, and I hope you have a lovely day!

signoff

What the Sea Tells Me

On our recent vacation, which was the main reason for my absence throughout December, we visited the sea twice. Once it was for a ferry ride and once it was to visit the beach. And while we were there, I remember my mom randomly asking me a question- what do we learn from the sea?

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And this question isn’t just any old question. Think about it, what do we learn from the sea? Logically speaking, there can be many philosophical angles to this question. For instance, my mother said that the sea tells teaches her to break through her boundaries and to reach beyond the limit the world has set, the way the sea crashes against the shore, seeking to leave it behind.

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When I mused over it for a while, a poem I had previously written popped into my mind. I said that the sea showed me how there are both rises and falls in life, both ups and downs, but they are both parts of the ocean of our lives. The disruptions and joys that we experience from time to time, when seen from a broader perspective, are only parts of it, and they are what makes it whole.

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And so I followed my train of thought here, and I am eager to know where it will lead you. So here’s something you can do when you have nothing else on your hands- think about it, and tell me, what does the sea tell you?

 

Dear Inhabitants of Planet Earth…

Let me start by saying that I am just another regular human being in this chaotic world. I have two arms and two feet, two ears and two eyes, just like you. I also have an intricate and functioning body system, the way you do, a gift from nature that I can never fitly compare with anything else. I have feelings, I have rage, I have breakdowns. Today I have a thought to share, because if a regular human being’s ranting is important in the very least, every other being is capable, possibly even more capable, to think the way I do.

This post is unlike anything I have written here before. I have never had a take on writing about serious social issues, but there’s a first time for everything, huh? Looking at the situation we are in right now, I believe that voicing my opinion is important because it is viewed from an angle very different from the one we all look through.

Dear inhabitants of planet Earth, after spending a good time thinking about this, I have a message for you.

You are scientists and artists and doctors and engineers, businesspeople and coders and linguists and teachers. Everything mankind could never have imagined when it came to being, you are today. You are developing, evolving, ever-changing. You are a species with growing ideas, a population with unconditional needs. But have you ever stopped to think…

Aren’t we parasites to the Earth? We suck away what she gives us without a care in the world, without regarding in the least the dangerous amounts we take away from her. How can we claim to be any better than the mosquitoes and leeches that live on our blood? Perhaps, in the case of these insects we hold so lowly, we will only find but one or two on us occasionally, and even then we don’t rest until they are killed. Imagine seven billion mosquitoes sucking at your blood, seven billion leeches crawling over your body. That is what Earth is enduring. That is what she has been holding on her back for centuries, a mass of parasites selfishly tugging away all life from her. And you say she is unclean, you say she is polluted! Is it not you who took everything from her? How can you rip off everything that makes her beautiful and call her ugly?

Maybe you are harassing her and you don’t even know it! I know I am, I know everyone is, in some way or the other! How? When factories rip away the resources she gives and spit out piles and piles of human pleasures, does Earth enjoy it very much? Yes, sometimes it is necessary, for things like toothpaste and soap and more of such, but is it necessary all the time?

People will say “Plant a tree” or “Switch off the taps when not in use” or “Don’t waste electricity”, but really, for every tree planted, hundreds are cut down. For every drop saved, innumerable are sent down the drain. Don’t get me wrong- What people say is true, but it is what we have been told for decades. Today’s carefree generation does not want any more advice, but a reason to care.

And have you thought about that? Why care?

If nature really is a living entity, if you title her your Mother, does she deserve to be treated this way? Is this life a game in which you take as much as you can from her and turn her away? Mass factory production, brutal flaying of life-giving trees and filling their space with tar and cement, this is all stripping of what she has to give us, and when we take more than she can bear she keeps on giving- Do you need more reasons to care?

So what can I do about it? You say. You can get a sapling and pot it, but of course, there isn’t the time. Or you can switch off the lights when not in use, but hey, you never even leave them on! There are millions and millions of things you can do, but most of them are boring and you don’t even know some.

No, I am not going to list out the endless list of things, I am going to tell you the one, simple, doable thing that if done by everyone will actually make an impact…

Do you really need those piles and piles of clothes? Next time you go shopping, think about it. Do I need this, really? And this one single question can do wonders to the world. Before asking your parents for a new mobile, think about it. Do I need it, really? All this production, all this tearing away from Earth nonsense, it is we who can put an end to it. It is we, the population with unconditional needs, who can change the world together if we reduce them. No, you don’t need that pair of jeans to stay alive. You don’t need a new pair of shoes to survive. If you find the life of this noble giver more precious than all of your leisurely possessions, then vow to make a difference!

Today, right now, close your eyes for two minutes and declutter your mind, separate things into what you need and what you don’t. One person can’t change the world, but we can, together.

Please do share and reblog this post and spread the word. Don’t be a parasite, the world needs you!

BIBPC the Fifth, Category Seven (Time is Bugging Me)

Seven. That means the end is near.
Mm… that came out wrong.

So apparently this is the seventh category of BIBPC and there are… *counts* zero categories left. Wow. Time is annoying. Fast and annoying. Like bugs.

Uh… that doesn’t matter. What matters is that Pineapple now has 607 points and hasn’t lost the lead. Yaaaaay. *confetti*

team pineapple bibpc

This time’s category was Tiny. Continue reading BIBPC the Fifth, Category Seven (Time is Bugging Me)