Sunday, May 23, 2021

Tips & Tricks for Viral Instagram Reels! #BornOnInstagram

 A few months ago, Instagram invited me to be a part of 'Born on Instagram: Reels Edition'. Via this initiative, I get to attend workshops, interact with the team and learn how to produce better content. I thought I should share some of the useful things with everyone here. I am totally hooked to reels, making as well as watching. Each time someone tells me they smile when they see my reels, they look forward to mom and son reels on my handle or that I made their day - I know, that I am doing something right. And then, for me, it not about the 1m views, but even that ONE smile. Here are some tried and tested hacks you can try:


So my mind was blown by this hack. Many times you may not want your reel to be a part of your feed or grid for aesthetic or other reasons. When you publish a reel, allow posting on feed, and after publishing remove the feed preview. Your reel will still show to all your followers on their feed. Try it, it works.


I love my iPhone 12 Pro's wide camera. The 0.5 allows you to capture so much more in every frame.  I had no idea that I just had to pinch my screen and zoom out to be able to use the wide-angle to create reels too! It makes life so much easier!


Transitions, transitions, and transitions! Whether you jump, clap, throw something at the camera or block it using your palm - transition reels are always a super-duper hit! Everyone seems to love the before and after outcomes! Try it - it may feel difficult in the beginning, but you will soon get a hang of it and get seamless at them transitions! (I myself am still getting there).


There are dance, singing, talent, or funny challenges to copy every other day! So if you're not able to think of content, you can always try your own version of the fun challenges! I love the dance challenges the most - they look dope, and it helps me come out of my comfort zone and try to match the steps. You must have seen the Riko Riko Challenge, Iko Iko Challenge, One Dance Challenge etc on your feed in the last couple of months They are so fun!


Instagram bought on the famous Tik Tok duets in form of remix wherein you can copy, react to or do anything fun and creative by remixing anyone's reel! You can also allow others to remix your reel by checking allow remixes option on your reel - you may disable it as well if you don't want others remixing to your original reels.

Know of more guaranteed, sure-shot tricks to successful reels? Mention them in the comments and I will try them out next.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

My vaccination experience - dose 1

Vaccination for the age group of 18-44 was announced on May 1st, soon after which Maharashtra government also announced that vaccination would be available free of cost in the state. Slots soon started opening up on the COWIN website as it became the fastest fingers first game.

People I follow on Twitter went for their vaccination and shared updates of a seamless, smooth experience - which helped encouraging others. Of course, getting a slot itself is very frustrating - follow Twitter to know what time will the slots be released. I myself tried a few times unsuccessfully, it was my brother who booked a slot for me.

Some tricks to book:

1. Use incognito mode browser.

2. Ensure you have a fast internet connection.

3. Use a laptop/desktop to book instead of the phone.

4. Log in a few seconds before the given time and refresh till you find the slot, enter the correct captcha, and book.

5. Don't be choosy about center and time options - make those decisions in advance else it only takes a few seconds for the slots to get full.

What to keep in mind before going for vaccination:

There is no official communication made, but generally be well-rested, sleep well the night before, have a nice healthy meal beforehand. I would also advise you to inform at work - as you will need to rest for a day or two.

What to carry to the vaccination center:

1. The ID that you used to make the booking (Aadhaar/Voter ID/Pan/Driving License etc)

2. A pen (some places request you to fill a form or sign and you don't want to use their pen)

3. A small water bottle (Mainly because of the blazing summer, though I would suggest not removing the mask at all as far as possible).

4. Your phone and earphones (You may have to wait for a while, especially if you're alone you may get bored so you want to have some music or movie to watch).

5. Make sure you double mask - surgical disposable mask inside and cloth mask over that (don't double mask with the same type of mask).

6. Small Sanitizer bottle - to use frequently after you have had to touch any surface.

Before you leave your home, make sure you double-check the address for the vaccination center - for me, it was confusing as it just said Gaondevi on SMS so I thought it was Vashi, and just in nick of time I realized it was Panvel. Even google maps did not have the correct information for UPHC and luckily my cabbie knew the vaccination center.

At the vaccination center:

  • My center was UPHC at Panvel, Raigad and it was a small town-style place where they only spoke in Marathi.
  • Upon arriving I joined a queue to show my registration SMS and get a token.
  • After which I have to take a seat and wait for the announcement of my token number.
  • Social distancing is all upon you - there are many chairs and it's totally on you how far you can keep yourself from others waiting along with you.
  • During my time, most of the chairs were full so it was not possible to maintain a 2-feet-distance, but everyone seemed to be double-masked.
  • I did see the security guard remove his mask for a short while, and another person where his mask below the nose - I was highly discomforted by both.
  • They announce token numbers in batches.
  • I had to wait for almost an hour for my number.
  • Then I was taken to another queue where my secret password (that you get when you register) was asked if I had any health concerns, was pregnant or lactating, my name, age details were taken.
  • We were asked to remove our shoes before heading inside and asked to take a seat.
  • There were separate rooms where the vaccine was being administered, I was called within a couple of minutes.
  • The nurse/professional informed me that she was administering the COVISHIELD vaccine and gave the jab on my left arm and put a cotton swap and asked me to hold it but not rub or put pressure, and then go outside and sit. She also gave me 2 paracetamol tablets - to be taken at night and in the morning the next day.
  • Soon another nurse called me, took my name, age, location details again. She asked me to throw the cotton swab in a bin, checked my O2 levels on an oximeter, and then asked me to wait for 15 minutes (not 30) at the waiting area near her.
  • This area soon got crowded too, with no social distancing again. She asked everyone if anyone is feeling dizzy or discomfort of any type happening.
  • After 15 minutes, she took my name and said I could leave.

Post vaccine:

Vaccine Day: I felt fine the day I got the vaccine shot, just a bit tired which could be because of being out in the heat and waiting. I took a Dolo 650 at night and went to sleep.

Day +1: I got up with a fever and left arm where the injection was given paining so much that I could not even move it properly. I had my morning Dolo 650 and went back to sleep. Fever returned again at night - but it was always low-grade 100 degrees Fahrenheit for me.

Day + 2: Did not have a fever anymore, pain in my arm still there but I was back to work (work from home of course).

Day + 3: Felt much better overall, but topical pain at the injection site was still there.

Day +4: I observed that the topical pain at the injection site was accompanied by tenderness, redness, felt warm to touch and I asked others in the family if they also had such. None of them did. I then consulted the COWIN helpline, my doctor friend, and a third nearby doctor - all of them telling me that I seem to have had injection inflammation. Anti-inflammation medicine prescribed for 2 days.

Day +5: Anti-inflammation meds seem to be working, all above-mentioned symptoms are still there but much less than Day +4.

Things to learn from my experience:

1. Try to opt for a center that someone else has visited and okay'd. (In terms of social distancing, language spoken, overall cleanliness and hygiene and comfort).

2. If you have to travel far to the vaccination center, make sure someone is accompanying you (I had my husband accompany me  - just in case you don't feel too good afterward).

3. I would also advise that not everyone in the fam should get vaccinated together - because you may all be feeling under the weather for the next couple of days. Always split so that one half can look after the other, especially if there are kids at home. My husband will get his later, and by then I can look after him.

4. At the center, please ask them what are the possible side effects you should look out for (they all differ depending on which company's vaccine you are getting). Also ask them what should be the treatment/remedy for that side effect.

Next dose:

At the center I visited, the gap between 1st and 2nd dose for COVISHIELD was mentioned as 45 days i.e. around 6-7 weeks, but soon after it has been announced that the new recommended gap is 12 weeks i.e. almost 3 months after the first dose. I will update this blog once I have more clarity on that front.

Making Peace With Death

I am making peace with death,

After all one or the other day, we all have to go.

I am making peace with death,

Because I cannot force my loved ones to be caged at home.

I am making peace with death,

This caged life seems to hold no purpose.

I am making peace with death,

The world is anyways not livable anymore.

I am making peace with death,

After all, we are all just statistics that make no difference.

I am making peace with death,

Are we even worth saving?

I am making peace with death,

So that when my turn comes, I am prepared.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Mango Pudding Recipe - Easy & Yummy!

 Mango season is loved by all! Come summers, we await feasting on the king of fruits - mangoes! Specially Alphonso! I grew up with a few traditions that I still try to keep up after years of marriage. Mango sandwiches (yes, slices of mangoes inside slices of buttered bread), aamras and mango pudding are some must-haves! I have been making the mango pudding on my own in the last couple of years, but never wrote down the recipe and I thought, why not share the pure joy with each bite this layered pudding is! I don't usually go by measurements, but I will try to make it as easy for you as possible.

Servings/Portions: 6

Time taken: 1 hour + 2-3 hours of chilling in the refrigerator


Marie Biscuit: 2 small packets or 1 big packet, any kind.

Butter: 1 tablespoon

Mango Pulp: Of 4-5 medium-sized mangoes

Mango Pieces: Of 3 medium-sized mangoes, chopped into small pieces

Milk: 2 Litres (to make the fresh paneer)

Sugar: Half Cup (For the chenna)

Vinegar/Lemon Juice: To make the paneer


Chenna (Paneer):

  • Start by bringing the milk to a boil, once it is boiling switch off the gas.
  • Put 1-2 teaspoons of vinegar/lemon juice to curdle the milk.
  • You should instantly be able to see the curdled milk and water separate.
  • You can add few cubes of ice to slow the process so that it doesn't over curdle.
  • If you have your own method to make paneer that differs from this, by all means, go for it!
  • Now collect all the curdled milk and hang it in a muslin cloth, draining all the water away.
  • Let is hang for around 30 minutes.

Biscuit Layer:

  • In the meanwhile, take the Marie biscuits and break them into pieces and grind them into the mixer/blender.
  • Do not over grind them to make them too fine, we want them to be a little grainy.
  • Pour this into the bowl you will set your pudding in.
  • Add 1 teaspoon melted butter, 2-3 teaspoons of milk and if you want, 1-2 teaspoon of mango juice to soak the biscuit powder a little.
  • Press the biscuit mixture to the base of the bowl, our first layer is now ready.

Layering the Pudding:

  • Next, take the mango pulp you have prepared and add a layer of that. Do not dilute the pulp by mixing water/milk. Do not add any sugar either.
  • By now your hung paneer should be ready to use. Remove it from the muslin cloth, break it into smaller chunks. First, blend the sugar to make powdered sugar, and then add the paneer to it and mix till you get a nice 'cream cheese' like paste.
  • Now layer this chenna above the mango puree layer. This needs to be done gently, carefully as you may mix the layer of chenna with mango pulp if you apply to much pressure. Gently cover the entire area. 
  • Now finally decorate and fill the entire bowl with pieces of fresh mangoes! Chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or more. When ready, serve into smaller bowls. It will be a little messy, but the combination of biscuit layer + pulp + chenna + mango pieces is just melt-in-the-mouth!


  • You can change the proportion of layers as per your liking, a thinner biscuit layer, or a thicker chenna layer as per your liking, just make as much quantity. 
  • Also, do not use all too ripe, too sweet mangoes - a sweet and savoury taste is more fun, so I like to add some just-ripe mangoes which are a bit tangy!
  • I have never tried making these with another type of mangoes, so cannot be sure how it may taste - but feel free to experiment and let me know via comments!