HEM NEWS AGENCY: 5th anniversary + blog makeover

 

London – VIJAY SHAH

Hey everyone,

As you may have noticed, the blog is looking a little different nowadays. Today is the fifth anniversary of its founding (back in April 2012) and I decided that to mark the occasion, I would give the blog a makeover. We got rid of the old theme we were using (Mystere) and brought in a more modern looking one from WordPress, named ‘Plane’. The blog has also been officially renamed. It is now to be known as ‘HEM News Agency’, to better reflect the content and premise of the blog. The old name “The Half-Eaten Mind Blog” is still acceptable however, and we are keeping it as an unofficial pseudonym (not sure if this would be the right word for it).

Nowadays, an increasingly number of websites are going for the flat design trend, shafting the gradients and gimmicks of old and going for a cleaner and simpler look, with block colours and basic typefaces. The Half-Eaten Mind has joined the fray, and I have spent around 2-3 hours creating new headers and branding with the help of graphic design website Canva. I have spent a good chunk of this morning putting the new branding in place (we had massive trouble with the blog header however, wrong size meant it had to be redone, don’t ever take WordPress’s recommended header measurements as gospel, let me warn you!). The branding also applies to our social media accounts and any related sites like Gravatar. The colours I have used (dark green, sky blue, and slate blue, were chosen as they firstly fit well together, and also they relate to the history of what used to be known as the HEM Blog, in terms of the blog’s previous design. As a mark of respect to how we used to do things, I carried over the famous HEM street sign, which was our semi-official logo for a couple of years. Something new, something old, as people who organise baby showers would say.

 

 

We are also introducing new flags at the beginning of our articles. The 7+ year old flags made by FamFamFam (leeched on via StatCounter) will now be replaced by a new set of flags designed by Turkish graphic artist Muharrem Senyil and originally featured on designer’s hangout Dribbble. These flat design-inspired elements suit the new look of HEM News Agency very well, in my opinion.

It has been a great five years at the helm of HEM. I have learnt a lot and made many friends. This blog was originally set up partly to help me enter the journalism profession. While I did not ultimately realise that dream as of yet (stiff competition for jobs!), the blog indirectly helped me score a second job which I have now been working in for two years, as a writer, creative consultant and social media manager for a small consultancy focussed on finance and education between Africa and Europe.

I’m not going to sing like a canary and say it was all plain sailing. There were times when I felt like giving up the blog, as I have now have less time to write on weekends than when I first started. But then I would be giving up my dreams and talents needlessly, and I would disappoint a lot of friends, fans and supporters. I did feel the blog needed a makeover, as it was looking a bit outdated and stale, and hopefully this spring clean and makeover will help breathe new life into this baby of mine.

Don’t worry though, we will still be releasing the same news stories, features and personal blogposts that made HEM what it is. That is not going to change.

I hope you all like the new look and name and please feel free to comment or give your feedback if you prefer.

Let’s look forward to another five years of great news, features and writing, and many more memorable experiences and lessons along the way.

Vijay Shah,

Blogger and editor – HEM News Agency.

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PHOTO MOMENT: Leicester City’s Premier League win

 

A poster circulated on social media commemorating English football team Leicester City F.C.‘s first ever win of the Barclays Premier League, after winning on points. Adorned in the blue and white livery of the Foxes, the poster also shows the names and years of previous BPL cup lifters.

 

IMAGE CREDITS:
Sunny Atwal. 

DIWALI 2015: New HEM festive graphic unveiled

In celebration of the festival of lights, Diwali, which arrives this year on the Wednesday, 11th of November and which coincides with Armistice Day in the UK, the Half-Eaten Mind has unveiled a special commemorative graphic.

The graphic is part of a long tradition on the blog for what is termed in the business as ‘homemade graphics’. Every Diwali since 2013, HEM’s blogger and editor Vijay Shah uses his graphic designs skills to produce special edition graphics which serve as not only a bit of fun and celebration, but also as a tip of the hat to the talent that goes on behind the scenes.

This year’s image is derived from a wallpaper offered by HappyDiwaliGreetings.in and created via image design site piZap. It features three symmetrical and stylised diyas (lamps) arranged over Paisley patterns in a nod to traditional north Indian art. The design carries the official HEM branding as well as a QR code which when scanned with a suitable app on a mobile phone, can take the viewer to the blog.

The graphic will be featured on the HEM social networks nearer the occasion.

The Half-Eaten Mind would like to wish our readers, supporters and the Community a very happy Diwali in advance.

IMAGE CREDITS:
“Beautiful HD Happy Diwali Greetings Images of Diyas” – Celebrate Diwali With Us/Kopasoft (14 August 2015) http://happydiwaligreetings.in/beautiful-hd-happy-diwali-greetings-images-of-diyas.html
“Vector – Pattern” – CanStockPhoto/Can Stock Photo Inc. http://www.canstockphoto.com/pattern-7404553.html
piZap http://pizap.com/

EHI AWARDS 2015: Special event for healthcare IT professionals in London

EHealth Media, a division of the conferences and training brand Informa, is hosting a special event for national specialists in healthcare ICT this October.

The EHI Awards is a flagship awards event within the healthcare IT calendar. This unique and well-subscribed event will bring together more than 700 information technology and clinical professionals from the National Health Service (NHS) along with suppliers of health ICT engaging their customers for a night of celebration, fun and networking.

The evening will be a celebration of the important work that people in IT and informatics help contribute to the running of British healthcare services and the vital role they maintain in enabling services and adding benefit to the NHS in particular. As the 21st century progresses, ICT and technology in general is playing an increasingly essential role to the day-to-day running of NHS front-line and administration services.

English: East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust
English: East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The awards will be hosted at a glamorous ballroom at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel, in the centre of London on the 1st October, 2015. There will be live entertainment from a big name comedian, plus a pre-dinner drinks reception on arrival, a three course dinner, a half a bottle of wine per person, mineral water, coffee, petit fours and late evening entertainment. Attendees can reach the Park Plaza very easily from Waterloo Station and Underground, a five-minute walk away, plus easy access to local buses and taxicabs. There will also be a dinner and music as part of the entertainment.

The categories under which awards will be handed over by a celebrity host are:

Interested parties should send in their entries by Friday 15 May at 4:00 pm at the latest. The event organiser also asks that potential awards nominees attend a judging day on Wednesday 15 July 2015 at the King Power Stadium, Leicester, in order to present to the awards judges there. The event nominations are open to any healthcare IT organisation of any size based in the UK. Entry to the competition is free but tickets for the night are to be paid for.

The EHI Awards 2015 are being organised by EHealth Media in conjunction with Informa Life Sciences, a fellow division of Informa plc engaged in the provision of events and training for experts in the fields of pharmaceutics, biomedicine, and other scientific industries. Category sponsors include Dell, CGI, Lexmark Healthcare, Intersystems, IMS Maxims and General Dynamics Health Solutions.

(c) V. Shah/M. Kampf/MyFunStudio

 

Celebrating our 400th post on the Half-Eaten Mind.

DISCLAIMER: The writer is an employee of Informa plc.
SOURCES:
Informa Accounts, The Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/informa-accounts
Life Sciences Events, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/ls_informa
“Awards ceremony” – EHI Awards 2015, EHealth Media/Informa PLC http://www.ehealthawards.com/awards-night
“Categories” – EHI Awards 2015, EHealth Media/Informa PLC http://www.ehealthawards.com/view-categories
“FAQs” – EHI Awards 2015, EHealth Media/Informa PLC http://www.ehealthawards.com/faqs
“Sponsorship opportunities” – EHI Awards 2015, EHealth Media/Informa PLC http://www.ehealthawards.com/sponsor
IMAGE CREDITS:
“File:East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust.jpg” – East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Wikimedia Commons (26 May 2009) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:East_Midlands_Ambulance_Service_NHS_Trust.jpg
“Fireworks graphics” – Picgifs.com http://www.picgifs.com/graphics/fireworks/graphics-fireworks-733533-761515/

THIRD ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL: HEM turns 3 and hits 100,000 views

Everyone gather round…quick…quick…you there!!…stop swinging off that chandelier!.

It’s been a special week for this blog. We’ve been expanding our services into online newspaper making by teaming up with online media curation site paper.li to launch two new e-papers.

But that’s not been the only good news here at HEM HQ (Half-Eaten Mind Headquarters).

On the 12th April 2015, the blog reached a very special milestone. It passed the 100,000 views mark and has in fact surged ahead. With more than 350 articles, of which a handful have gone viral worldwide, we have given people all over a lot of great news and features to read and enjoy. It’s been a hard slog to get there, but it is a proud achievement and one that fills my heart with joy. Even I’m in shock that there’s that many views now, but this just goes to show where hard work, graft, persistence and dedication to your ideals and dreams can take you.

Capture - HEM 100000 Views Certificate

Oh we’re not done yet….

 

 

This past Wednesday (or Thursday if you count from when we began operations) marks the third anniversary of the establishment of the blog. Our very first article, way back in April 2012, was a feature piece on the Shard tower here in London, which was still under construction at the time and now looks very glimmering. Since then we’ve gone from strength to strength, changed a lot visually and in terms of our content, branched out into all sorts of things, shook hands with several clients and even self-published a book. But most importantly of all, I have made many new friends and followers.

Who knows what the next three years will bring?

 

HAPPY 3RD BIRTHDAY HALF-EATEN MIND!!!

HEM 3rd anniversary banner pizap.com14293560242241

 

 

 

GALLERY

Capture - HEM WP 3rd anniversary trophy badge

Capture - Brainiac Stats

Capture - April 12 2015 HEM WP Stats

Capture - HEM Alltime Views Map

IMAGE CREDITS:
“FLYING AT FIFTY KAY: HEM receives 50,000 all-time views” – Vijay Shah, The Half-Eaten Mind (18 January 2014) https://halfeatenmind.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/flying-at-fifty-kay/
“Select a certificate design:” – Certificate Magic, Branchus Creations http://www.certificatemagic.com/create2.php?cat=1
piZap http://pizap.com/
“But wait! There’s more… – Business Cat” – Meme Generator http://memegenerator.net/instance/55210605
WordPress, Automattic Inc. https://wordpress.com/

PHOTO MOMENT: Happy Hindu New Year 2072

This Saturday marks the Hindu New Year V.S. 2072. This new year’s day is most keenly celebrated in north India and Nepal, although some peoples such as the Gujaratis, Tamils and Bengalis mark their new year’s on a different date. This new year also marks the beginning of spring and the agricultural season in the northern parts of the Asian subcontinent. It also marks the beginning of the nine-day festival of Navratri, in honour of Goddess Durga.

The Hindu New Year 2072 or Vikram Nav Varsh Samvant,is celebrated on Chaitra Shukala Pratipada (March – April).
In 2015, the Nav Samvat begins on March 21. The New Year is first day after the Amavasi (No moon) in the month of Chaitra. The current year is known as Keelak Samvatsar.” (Sanwaliya Seth mandir, Chittorgarh)

According to the Vikram Samvat calendar in use by those celebrating New Year’s today, it is now the year 2072, fifty-seven years ahead of the Gregorian calendar used in the West.

Vikram Samvat, also alternatively termed as Vikram Samwat, Vikram Sambt, Bikram Samvat, Bikram Samwat and Bikram Sambat, literally means “Vikram’s era”. The Vikram in question was an emperor of ancient India, whose full name was in fact Vikramaditya. He ruled over Ujjain in the Malwa region of central India. This powerful local emperor created the calendar to mark his victory over the Sakas (nomadic invaders from the eastern reaches of Persia) in 56 BC (1 VS). The calendar is a solar year with lunar months.

Celebrations have begun in earnest across much of India and Nepal, where the Vikram Samvat era is official. The governor of the Indian state of Bihar, Keshri Nath Tripathi, extended greetings and warm wishes to celebrants, remarking “I earnestly wish may the New Year bring happiness, peace and prosperity in everyone’s life..” India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi also gave greetings to the communities celebrating today. In a temple (mandir) in Udaipur, western India, dedicated to Lord Ram, priests presided over a two-hour long puja prayer ceremony using holy water from seven sacred rivers across their country.

For Kashmiri Pandits, an exiled community from the Kashmir region, it is ‘Navreh’. For Maharashtrians, today marks ‘Gudi Padwa‘. The Sindhis know it as Cheti Chand and for the southern state of Karnataka, it is Ugadi, while eastwards in the state of Manipur, the locals get down to marking the occasion of Sajibu Nongmapanba. Some Buddhists and Parsis also mark festivals around about this time.

In the spirit of the new year, the Half-Eaten Mind brings you a gallery of cool and fun images from around the web marking the first day of 2072 V.S….. “Nutan Varsh Abhinandan”  !!!

(c) Nepali Association of Western Australia
Via YouTube.
(c) Greater Rushmoor Nepali Community
(c) AstroDevam.com
(c) ImNepal.com
(c) suvichar.co.in
SOURCES:
“Vikram Samvat” – Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vikram_Samvat
“Governor greets people on 2072 Vikram Samvat eve” – UNI, webIndia123 News/Suni Systems (P) Ltd. (20 March 2015) http://news.webindia123.com/news/Articles/India/20150320/2557325.html
“Sanwaliya ji New Year Vikram Samvat 2072 special, Shri Sanwaliya Seth Temple Rajasthan Chittorgarh | Bhadsoda | Mandpiya | Sanwariya” – Shri Sanwaliya Seth Temple http://www.shreesanwaliyaji.com/sanwaliyaji-new-year-vikram-samvat.php
“Nav Samvatsar-2072 festivity begins with Jyoti Kalash Pujan” – UdaipurTimes Team, Udaipur Times/UdaipurTimes.com (19 March 2015) http://udaipurtimes.com/nav-samvatsar-2072-festivity-begins-with-jyoti-kalash-pujan/
“PM greets people on various festivals, including Navratras” – Day & Night News/Kansan News Private Limited (21 March 2015) http://www.dayandnightnews.com/2015/03/pm-greets-people-on-various-festivals-including-navratras/
IMAGE CREDITS:
“NAWA NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS 2072” – Nepali Association of Western Australia/NAWA Inc. http://nawa.org.au/nawa-new-year-celebrations-2072/
“New Year Calendar 2072” – Pema Chhiring Sherpa, YouTube GB (21 February 2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biEAOHoJ3G4
“Happy Nepali New Year 2072” – Greater Rushmoor Nepali Community (3 March 2015) http://www.grncommunity.com/
“How to Celebrate New Year (Vikram Samvatsar 2072)” – AstroDevam.com (20 March 2015) https://astrodevam.com/blog/2015/03/20/how-to-celebrate-new-year-vikram-samvatsar-2072/
“Happy New Year 2072 Wishes Shayari in Hindi Language” – Nepal Nepali (1 February 2015) http://www.imnepal.com/happy-new-year-wishes-shayari-hindi/
“Nav Samvatsar 2072 – Happy Navratri 2015” – suvichar.co.in, Google + (17 March 2015) https://plus.google.com/+SuvichaarhindiBlogspotIn/posts/NfeFCQmmsMh

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015: Vijay’s best new year images

2015….new year…new beginnings….new opportunities.

I just can’t believe it that within three days, we’ll be approaching the middle of the decade, and that it has been fifteen years since the dawn of the Millennium (Year 2000). Those of you reading who were alive then might remember how everyone was harping on about the Y2K Bug and how all our electronics and computers would fail and airplanes would plummet out of the sky. Well, we survived that. Let’s hope we don’t get slain by too much cola/champagne and giant New Year’s meals.

In 2015, I’ll be in my fourth decade of life, and so I want it to be the year for me. I’m hoping that I will get a comfy job with decent pay, a nice place to live (even if it is another houseshare for now) and hopefully I’ll find love too. Never say never. What are your ambitions and resolutions for the New Year 2015?.

Anyway let’s put away the personal musings for now, and let’s get down to business. Those of you who have been following this blog for a while will know that I have a tradition on the Half-Eaten Mind of offering my own hand-picked choice of the best images to celebrate the arrival of a brand new 365 and a quarter days. These images are a reminder that apart from of course celebrating New Years, we also take a clean new look at things, wipe our slates clean and start afresh.

As Wikipedia notes: “2015 (MMXV) will be a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar (dominical letter D), the 2015th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 15th year of the 3rd millennium, the 15th year of the21st century, and the 6th year of the 2010s decade.

2015 has been designated the Year of Light and the International Year of Soils by the sixty-eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Among some of the expected events to happen in 2015 will be the commencement of the Eurasian Economic Union, a political and economic union of sorts between the countries of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Belarus on New Year’s Day itself. Also on January 1, 2015, Lithuania will wave goodbye to the litas, its currency, and adopt the euro in line with many other European Union states (Latvia did the same in 2014; it’s old currency was the lat). In April, NASA‘s Dawn spacecraft is expected to arrive at the dwarf planet Ceres as we seek to build upon our rapidly increasingly knowledge of the smaller bodies in our solar system. The European Space Agency will also partner with NASA to launch other space probes in July. Finally, in May, the long-awaited trading fair  Expo 2015 will be held in Milan, Italy.

2015 is certainly shaping up to be a year of achievements. I’m hoping it will be like that for me too 🙂

Without further ado, here is my choice of the best 2015 NYD pictures. As always, original copyrights belong to the original designers and websites I have obtained my images from. Have a look, fill your heart with New Year’s revelry and wave goodbye to 2014. She’s had her fun.

Gregorian calendar 2015 MMXV
Ab urbe condita 2768
Armenian calendar 1464 ԹՎ ՌՆԿԴ
Assyrian calendar 6765
Bahá’í calendar 171–172
Bengali calendar 1422
Berber calendar 2965
British Regnal year N/A
Buddhist calendar 2559
Burmese calendar 1377
Byzantine calendar 7523–7524
Chinese calendar 甲午年 (Wood Horse) 4711 or 4651 — to — 乙未年 (Wood Goat) 4712 or 4652
Coptic calendar 1731–1732
Discordian calendar 3181
Ethiopian calendar 2007–2008
Hebrew calendar 5775–5776
Hindu calendars
– Vikram Samvat 2071–2072
– Shaka Samvat 1937–1938
– Kali Yuga 5116–5117
Holocene calendar 12015
Igbo calendar 1015–1016
Iranian calendar 1393–1394
Islamic calendar 1436–1437
Japanese calendar Heisei 27 (平成27年)
Juche calendar 104
Julian calendar Gregorian minus 13 days
Korean calendar 4348
Minguo calendar ROC 104 民國104年
Thai solar calendar 2558
Unix time 1420070400–1451606399

889889001419705362-final

coollogo_com-12753923

The Half-Eaten Mind would like to wish all our followers, readers, visitors, supporters, family and friends in advance a very happy and successful 2015.

(c) Happy New Year 2015
(c) Happy New Year 2015
(c) Happy New Year 2015
(c) Happy New Year 2015
(c) happynewyearwishes.org
(c) happynewyearwishes.org
(c) happynewyearwishes.org
(c) Happy New Year 2015
(c) Claudiaaa/WeHeartIt/Tumblr
(c) 123newyear.com via Newyear Celebration/WeHeartIt/Tumblr
(c) 123newyear.com via Newyear Celebration/WeHeartIt/Tumblr
ADDITIONAL SOURCES:
“2015” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015
IMAGE CREDITS:
“Happy New Year Logo Creator” – Denis Bodor, FlamingText/FlamingText.com Pty Ltd http://www.flamingtext.co.uk/logo/Design-Happy-New-Year
“Free animations and blinkies generators” – Animated Gifs http://www.animated-gifs.eu/animations.htm
“New Year 2015 Wishes Quotes Sayings Messages” – Happy New Year 2015/Trends Inshorts http://www.trendsinshorts.net/2014/12/new-year-2015-wishes-quotes-sayings.html
“Happy New Year 2015 Timeline Covers For Facebook” – Happy New Year 2015/Trends Inshorts http://www.trendsinshorts.net/2014/12/happy-new-year-2015-timeline-covers-for-fb.html
“Happy New Year Images 2015-:” – Happy New Year 2015/happynewyearwishes.org http://www.happynewyearwishes.org/new-year-images.html
“Happy New Year 2015 Shayari and Sad Sms for Broken Heart” – Happy New Year 2015 (29 December 2014) http://www.happynewyear2015images.net/2014/12/happy-new-year-2015-Sad-Sms-for-Broken-Heart.html
“Tagged with happy new year 2015” – WeHeartIt, Tumblr http://weheartit.com/tag/happy%20new%20year%202015?page=2&before=154003700

BIRTHDAY SPECIAL: Vijay turns 30

Say R.I.P. to your amazing twenties

As you enter your boring thirties

Say goodbye to your crazy ways

Say hello to monotonous days

Bid adieu to irresponsibility

As you strive towards accountability

Don’t worry, I am just fooling around

Don’t let this rhyme bring you down

You will have the best time at thirty

So chill out, relax and take it easy

Happy 30th birthday

(c) MyNiceProfile.com

Yesterday, Saturday 4th October 2014, I officially kissed my eventful years of being a twenty-something goodbye and said “Oh hi…er…Hello” to my third decade and thirtieth year of milling around on this green, green planet. Needless to say, while you cannot have a cat in hell’s chance of stopping the advances of age, it still was a bit of shock to me. I am actually going to be 30. Thirty!!. That’s a big chunky number. Part of me was telling myself that now I’ve reached the big Three-Zero, maturity and reflection on life was the name of the game, then there was a part of me that felt almost geriatric. Fair enough that I already got my first few white hairs some years back and being tall brings some aches and pains, but this morning I woke up with some noticeable leg cramps. I’m surprised I wasn’t dreaming of dusty suitcases from trips to the hospital, long post office queues and those god-awful 50+ life insurance adverts that infest daytime TV. But thirty is hardly old-age pensioner. It is a decade that will hopefully bring big changes into my life. Marriage, settling down and starting a family, being hired into a better-paid position (hopefully in the media), moving into my first flat,…and many smaller milestones that will turn when and whether. Being thirty is a transition point, a halfway house between the carefree and carelessness of youth and the responsibility, organisation and enhanced maturity of older adulthood.

My thirtieth birthday was a small and private affair with family, with of course many well wishes from friends and acquaintances new and old, and special greetings messages from the extended family in Mauritius. On Friday night (the 3rd of October) I visited my mother, who is recovering from a recent leg operation, to see how she was doing and to have a special dinner with the family. We ordered the food from a local takeaway and I made sure to get my favourite. A lamb doner kebab. This one was tasty but did reek of onions. Sadly there was no cake but I got lots of dosh and a gift box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates, and most importantly the love and best wishes of my family together. My 5-year-old niece even pulled out a little gift from her jacket pocket as she came to hug me and wish me a happy birthday in advance. The gift was a small blue toy car. She must have chosen it especially for me. Once I get a decent-sized place of my own to live in, her toy auto is going on the mantelpiece or shelf. I then went with my niece and my sister to her place, where I spent a short while with her and her husband, before heading off to my home.

Come the big day I was as happy as Larry. I don’t know who Larry is, but I was feeling great. On Facebook, I arranged with my brothers to go to the nearby Westfield Stratford City shopping centre to go bowling and then later, the cinema. It started off a bit crazy though. My brother didn’t have his phone with him as it was in a repair shop having its speaker fixed. He had been having no end of problems with that phone. While chatting to him on Facebook, I had also forgotten to say to him exactly where we were going to meet up as Stratford is  a big place. Cue me waiting like a bum at the area’s bus station for one and a half hours wondering where the hell my brother was. He had been dropped off by car and was also planning to get some clothes shopping in, with the money he received for his own birthday, which falls one week before mine. After frantically Whatsapp messaging my other siblings to try to get to the bottom of this missing persons inquiry, I decided to head up the short walk across the glass-sided bridge to the Westfield shopping district. I started hunting around the nearby clothes shops to see if I could spot the missing brother. No luck. I scanned the crowds, hoping for a glimpse of him. Nah, not happening. Then something told me to head to the Vue cinema that sits on the third floor of the shopping mall. I thought it unlikely he would be there, but I took a chance anyway. Long story short, once I arrived at the picture house, I saw my brother on the balcony of the cinema’s courtyard. He had borrowed another shopper’s phone and was calling home. At the same time as I saw him, one of my sisters messaged me to say where he was. A very strange and almost psychic experience I think. Thankfully we was reunited and went to the bowling alley. All Star Lanes, which is based a very short walk from the cinema, is basically a bowling alley for all ages. It also has an American diner-themed cocktail and milkshake bar with a restaurant serving typical diner food. We booked our lane for the two of us (my other brother was sorting out transport to arrive later to watch the movie). Unfortunately we were told by reception that there would be a twenty minute wait before the lane would be free to use and they armed with a buzzer that looked like an oversized car alarm key. Me and bro decided to kill time by going to the clothes shops. We visited adidas, Topman while my brother tried to find a hoodie he liked. We saw a lot of cool and ridiculous stuff. Ridiculous in both price and aesthetic appeal. Sadly brother could not find the hoodie he wanted. The buzzer apparently went off, but I felt and heard nothing, though I was holding it in my hand to the point my palms were sweaty and probably fusing with the plastic. 

(c) gifovea.tumblr.com via Giphy

We reported back to All Stars and because we had missed the buzz, we had to wait another ten minutes. Me and little brother went to the milkshake bar and ordered a shake each. He ordered vanilla, I got one flavoured with Oreos, in keeping with the American theme. Well mainly really because I have a primal weakness for Oreo-flavoured milky beverages. It was delicious. I was even scooping out the cookie dough like sludge from the bottom of the glass with my straw and eating it because, blimey, it was THAT good. Me and little bro had the third lane from the left and while he was a bowling veteran, this embarrassingly was my first time. I even had to figure out which fingers went into which holes in the ball. I had fortunately played enough bowling of the virtual variety that that experience helped me pick the real thing very quickly. Although little bro triumphed over me, beating my score of 74 points with his haul of 96, we both managed to do I think around three strikes combined, with myself demolishing all the pins on my third go on the lane. It was quite stuffy in the alley though and not even the ice-cold shake could cool me down, but it was a brilliant time.

We sauntered around some more outlets selling designer garments. This time we hit up the Nike Shop and admired their sportswear, their mind-boggling array of trainers, including a ‘trophy case’ display of them pinned to a wall. We saw lurid pink ones, technologically-advanced ones, stylish ones and even ones with holograms and ones that were fitted in material that looked like the metallic skins of bluebottle flies. I saw a few Nike brand basketballs lying around and was tempted to dribble like the great Shaquille and score a triple-pointer. But being booted kicking and screaming (haha, booted) out of Nike by security is not the best way to remember your 30th birthday.

Towards the end of the night, my other brother finally arrived after catching a train from further east and we had booked our tickets. The film we got into was “A Walk Among The Tombstones” starring Liam Neeson. Obviously as it’s a new film, I don’t want to give away any spoilers. I will say that he plays a washed-out former policeman. Divorced and trying to stay sober, he operates as a private detective. A drug trafficker calls on his services to help locate the kidnappers who took his wife. If you are planning to see this film, keep an eye for TJ. He’s hilarious.

My thirtieth birthday may not have been as monumental as other peoples’, but it was a tight family affair. It put a smile on my face and joy in my heart. Reading the many social media messages from my friends and family, plus the texts and calls was the real icing on my birthday cake. Thank you to everyone who made it special. You all made my thirties much, much sweeter.

P.S. For the Half-Eaten Mind’s regular readers on WordPress who were wondering what happened to my usual Saturday article, now you know why!!

Here is a small selection of pictures from my birthday:-

Photo 1: A birthday ‘e-card’ made by my cousin Vipul using some of my Facebook pictures. The theme he ran with was ‘shisha’. One of my hobbies, although it’s been a while since I made an acquantaince with a hookah (stupid snigger). If you’re wondering, my usual flavour is double apple, but I’ve done everything colour in the flavour rainbow, from chocolate to melon.
Photo 2: The toy sports car (Cadillac…Lambo?) gifted to me by my niece Shaniya.
Photo 3: An ‘old chap’ greeting card given by my sister and her family. She just loves to call me ‘grandpa’ now *rolls eyes* *laughs*. I really like the vintage look though, even if it makes me feel a smidgen dessicated.
Photo 4: Another greeting card from my Mum and siblings. Nice blue metallic finish that matches well with Shaniya’s car in Photo 2. I’m seeing stars!!
Photos 5 and 6: Some night time pictures I took of the buildings at Westfield Centre in Stratford City as we waited for my other brother to arrive. The shopping centre does look amazing at dusk.
ADDITIONAL SOURCES:
“30th Birthday Poems” – WishesMessages.com/Valuetivity http://wishesmessages.com/30th-birthday-poems/
IMAGE CREDITS:
“LOOP ANIMATED GIF” – gifovea.tumblr.com via Giphy http://giphy.com/gifs/5BKL0c6zQYWYg
“Happy Birthday 30th” – MyNiceProfile.com http://www.myniceprofile.com/happy-birthday-123299.html
piZap http://pizap.com/
The Half-Eaten Mind/Vijay Shah, Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/110818734@N02

PHOTO MOMENT: My niece Shaniya’s fifth birthday

This 18th September 2014, my niece Shaniya turns a half-decade old. Only a few weeks short of her fifth birthday, she has grown to a remarkably intelligent and polite little girl. This week, she started reception class at a nearby primary school after being done with nursery. She got to meet her new teacher, Mrs. Cook and a host of new friends and seems to adapting well to the new environment.

I have already sorted out a couple of nice presents for her, of which one still is being waited on to be delivered. I’m not sure what her parents are planning for her birthday yet, but I do know she will get a nice birthday cake, lots of presents, hugs, kisses and exhaustion from running around all over the flat on her special day. She loves cake and on a previous birthday bash, actually showed more enthusiasm for the chocolate gateau she was presented with, than the presents themselves.

My niece has stunned me by how much she has learned from family and from her old nursery. She is a quick learner and likes to pretend to be a princess or a superhero. Her favourite superheroes are Spiderman, Batman and the Incredible Hulk. She is very chatty, practically non-stop, and likes to sing the song “Let It Go” from the Disney film ‘Frozen’.

In honour of my crazy ‘Shooby’ I made this special ‘birthday flyer’ using piZap. I used a ‘Hello Kitty’ wallpaper as the background. This was the canvas which I used to then build upon the flyer. Hello Kitty is one of my niece’s cartoon characters of choice and the Japanese kawaii cat by Sanrio in fact is celebrating its own 40th birthday this year.

Shanis 5th bday flyer pizap.com14100003144411

To give you an idea of how I made the flyer, which I know my niece is going to love, here is the ‘recipe’ I wrote on Notepad as I was putting everything together and planning on the trot:-

Ingredients for Shaniya’s 5th b’day poster:

1. Pre-downloaded pink Hello Kitty wallpaper – uploaded to pizap.
2. Text “Happy 5th Birthday” in deep pink with white backglow. Typeface used was Black Chancery at size 30.
3. Text “SHANIYA” in white with a pink/purple backglow. Typeface – Sniglet at size 50.
4. Text “18 September 2014” – date of her fifth birthday with pea green Cutty Cupcakes typeface at size 50, angled
at a slant
5. “Best wishes…”text typed in black Times New Roman at 24. Text box then tilted.
6. Added in stickers from the birthday section of the stickers section.
7. Added in yellow “Star of Bethlehem” sparkles from sparkles section.
8. Added assortment of pictures of Shaniya from family images on USB drive.
9. Finally added some traditional embroidered hearts from the hearts section.

The pictures are of Shaniya in some of her favourite poses and costumes, especially her princess dresses. That cheeky grin of hers is a common feature too. She is very photogenic and not only likes putting a show for the camera but also is quite good at taking pictures herself.

I’ll leave you with a selection of quotes from Nye-Nye herself and another piZap creation made by her mum, Alia.

“Football is Skittles, and Skittles come from the Fruit Shoot”

“I’m a good girl!!”

“Monsters in the rosebush”

“I am Spiderman….psshhhhh”

“Nani/Mum/Daddy…I want chocolate”

“Give me huggles”

“You count, I hide!”

“I want to go shops Mum, buy sweeties”

“What spells chair?….good job!”

“Vijaymama, can I play with your phone?…I’ll keep it on charge”

(c) A. Ropun/piZap
(c) A. Ropun/piZap

 

+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*HAPPY 5TH BIRTHDAY – SHANIYA!!!*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+

IMAGE CREDITS:
“Hello Kitty wallpaper” – HDW http://hdw.eweb4.com/out/261729.html
piZap http://pizap.com/
Shaniya’s pictures by myself, Alia and Anjali.

RAKSHA BANDHAN 2014: HEM rakhi greetings to my sisters…and for all

(c) El Sol/Flickr/Compfight

This Sunday is the Hindu festival of Raksha Bandhan, which celebrates the special bond between brothers and sisters. On this day, siblings get together. The sister ties a length of specially designed string around the brother’s right wrist and prays for his wellbeing and long life, while the brother gives her gifts and sweets and re-affirms his protection and care for her. It can also be celebrated between male and female cousins and even nowadays with friends.

It is observed by Hindu, Sikhs and Jains in countries such as India, Mauritius, Nepal and in expatriate communities across the globe. In my religion it takes place on the full moon day of the month of Shravan. In the ancient language of Sanskrit, Raksha Bandhan translates as “tie/bond of protection” and has its roots in the pastimes of God as mentioned in our holy scriptures. One such story is that “Deity Lakshmi tied a rakhi onto the wrist of the king Bali thus making him Her brother and therefore helping liberate Lord Narayan i.e. Vishnu. That day as per the Hindu lunar calendar was ‘Shravan Paurnima (Purnima)’.”

By tying this wristband (raksha) onto your wrist I am binding you just like the powerful and generous King Bali was bound by it. O wristband, do not get displaced.”

The rakhi is the string adornment presented by the sister around her brother’s wrist, usually made up of silk or cotton. It can be simple or have an elaborate design featuring paste or semi-precious stones, religious symbols and beadwork inspired by Indian traditions in embroidery and crafts. They are usually coloured red, but can be of many bright colours, often in the same rakhi. There are even children’s versions that feature cartoon characters and some are equipped with miniature toys, although some feel this trivialises the sanctity of the festival.

Raksha Bandhan is a unique and remarkable festival that celebrates and highlights the unbreakable bond between siblings and between families. That even though the rakhi may eventually weaken and fall off, the importance of caring and treasuring your siblings can never fall away. The sacred bond should always remain strong. The rakhi is beautiful yet strong, just like a sister’s love, and as every sister is different and special in her own way, so is every rakhi. By seeing the rakhi firmly tied to his wrist every day, the brother is reminded that his sister is always there for him and likewise he is poignantly reminded of her love and compassion in his life and his need to support her. As a family member, as a sister, as a confidante, as his best friend.

On this auspicious occasion, the Half-Eaten Mind presents a selection of Raksha Bandhan festival themed wallpapers for you to download and send as virtual greetings for your dearest siblings today.

I dedicate this article to my sweet and wonderful sisters Sherrie, Alia, and Anjali.

 Though they don’t all officially celebrate, I want to be thankful for them being in my life and being the blossoms that bring fragrance to my happiness. I am blessed to share my life with each and every one of you xxxxxxxx

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

A Sister Like You
Someone who will understand
Who knows the way I feel
In every situation
Her concern is very real
Someone who has walked my ways
Who knows my every need
Times when she would see me cry
Her heart would nearly bleed
Everyone should have a sister
Just the way I do
Richly blessed is what I am
To have a sister like you

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

(c) Imagesbuddy.com
(c) Cute Harry via Free Images Wallpapers
(c) Cute Harry via Free Images Wallpapers
(c) theback-benchers.com
(c) CommentsKart.com
(c) original designer via R.D. Hajare
(c) Fun2Pix.com
(c) Fun2Pix.com
(c) TotalBhakti.com via India-Forums
SOURCES:
“Raksha Bandhan” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raksha_Bandhan
“Rakhi: The Thread of Love – About the Raksha Bandhan Festival” –  Subhamoy Das, About.com – Religion-Spirituality-Hinduism hinduism.about.com/od/rakhi/a/rakshabandhan.htm
“Raksha Bandhan: History, Significance and Purpose” – Hindu Janajagruti Samiti www.hindujagruti.org/hinduism/knowledge/article/raksha-bandhan-history-significance-and-purpose.html
“Raksha Bandhan Poems and Sayings – Rakhi 2014 English and Hindi Poems” – Happy Raksha Bandhan 2014 rakshabandhanfestival.com/raksha-bandhan-poems-and-sayings-rakhi-2013-english-and-hindi-poems/
IMAGE CREDITS:
El_Sol, Compfight via Flickr compfight.com/search/rakhi/1-3-1-1
“Happy Raksha Bandhan Greetings Graphic For Share On Myspace” – Imagesbuddy.com www.imagesbuddy.com/img/raksha-bandhan/page/56/
“Raksha Bandhan Wishes for Brother” – Cute Harry via Sarah [Team FIW], Free Images Wallpapers (1 August 2014)  www.freeimageswallpapers.com/raksha-bandhan-wishes-for-brother.html
“Raksha Bandhan wallpaper 2012, Happy Rakhi wishes images photos pics” – The Back Benchers Team, TheBack-Benchers.com (31 July 2012) theback-benchers.com/raksha-bandhan-wallpaper-2012-happy-rakhi-wishes-images-photos-pics/
“Happy Raksha Bandhan Graphics” – CommentsKart.com (31 July 2013) www.commentskart.com/2013/07/31/happy-raksha-bandhan-graphics-4/
“happy rakshabandhan” – Via Rajesh Hajare, RDH Sir’s Official Website (20 August 2013) rdhsir.mwb.im/happy-rakshabandhan.xhtml
“Happy Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi Wishes to Brother and Sister” – Jeetu Aneja, Fun2Pix.com/FUN2PIX (5 August 2014) www.fun2pix.com/happy-raksha-bandhan-rakhi-wishes-to-brother-sister/
“Happy Raksha Bandhan To All!!” – ‘tiny15’, India-Forums/Cyberax (20 August 2013) www.india-forums.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=3708215