Welcome to the latest installment of my interview series!
Who are some of your favorite bloggers? I try to follow as many as I can because they have so much wisdom to pass on. (Including bloggers like Alpana!)
That’s what gave me the idea for this interview series. I wanted to glean as much knowledge as I could from those much wiser than me.
This is our eighth installment of my interview series, Meet the Blogger, all about Alpana, a fellow blogger. (You can read our previous installment here: https://diffusingthetension.com/interview-series-alexa/)
Interview series questions
First of all, tell me a little about yourself.
Even though this is the most frequently asked question on a day to day basis, yet it’s extremely difficult to answer, because how does one describe themselves in words and wrap it in an intelligible sentence? As I have grown older, this seemingly simple question’s difficulty level has increased as I am unsure of the amount of personal information, I am ready to part with.
Put in simple sentences, I am Alpana. At the moment I’m a stay-at-home-mother, homemaker and a blogger (storyteller). I manage the website KabhiFactKabhiFiction.com in the scarce spare time I get. I love reading, writing, listening to music, learning new languages, traveling, making new friends. Storytelling is a passion of mine. I find absolute delight in creating tall tales. Originally, I hail from India, currently living in Michigan with my family. I have worked in the IT field as a software engineer both in India and America.
What is your connection to the blogging and/or mental health community?
As a part time blogger and creator of stories, I publish blogs, mostly fiction, on my website kabhiFactKabhiFiction.com. ‘Kabhi’ means ‘sometimes’ in Hindi, loosely translating to sometimes fact sometimes fiction. I am a voracious crusader of the vast #writingcommunity on Twitter where I have made friends and connections who blog about mental health and various topics covering it. While I might not be directly connected to mental health community, I strongly support all the bloggers who are taking incredible efforts to create awareness about it and going to great lengths by divulging their life’s struggles in blogs to help others in need. I plan to write about the mental health imbalances experienced by first time parents inspired from my personal experience in the long run and the ways to overcome it. It’s a work in progress.
What is the hardest part about having a successful blog?
The endless promotion, strive to get sufficient views and comments (feedback) from readers is by far the hardest part of blogging. One has to work diligently, round the clock to make sure the blog reaches the right audience. I am slowly learning the tricks of the trade. One has to be part of active Facebook communities, Pinterest boards, Twitter posts, so forth and so on in order to get a handful of honest readers and reviewers. The struggle is painstakingly real and extremely exhausting. Another tough
aspect of blogging is the technical aspects of it, writing is the easy part but designing your posts and making them user and mobile friendly can be quite overwhelming for people who haven’t dealt much with HTMLs, CSSs, JSSs etc.
What is the biggest challenge the mental health community faces currently?
The taboos surrounding it. Many people have insufficient knowledge about mental health illnesses and won’t do anything about it. Several cultural upbringings encourage people to ignore it and put a restraint on using words like depression, mental health sickness, anxiety, panic attacks, etc. When the people you depend on fail to support you and understand your
internal conflicts, where does one go? If unchecked, it could lead to alienation and even suicide. The biggest challenge in our society right now is the acceptance of the fact that mental health is as important as physical health and should not be ignored.
What are 5 things many people do not know about you?
I doubt there is anything that people do not know about me as by nature I am an extrovert and I usually speak my mind. However, to answer your question I will try my best to dig up some fewer known facts about myself.
- I am an occasional introvert. Despite coming across as a very friendly and credulous person, there are times I retract into a shell. I enjoy being left alone once in a while.
- I visualize myself as an established writer 5 years down the line even though I am yet to come up with that perfect plot inside my head.
- Also, I am either over-the-top-happy or down-and-depressed-sad. There is no in between for me. I react to words, situations, moments rather too strongly and emotionally, than necessary.
- I would love to globe-trot on my own someday.
- Many people do not know that I am looking for a fully functional time machine.
What is your favorite book and why?
My favorite book is Khaled Hosseini’s Kite Runner. Set in the backdrop of a war-stricken Afghanistan it’s about the friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant. Its one-of-a-kind classic and the storytelling is absolutely brilliant. I love the portrayal of emotions in the book and the way the author describes the scenes, a reader can effortlessly visualize them. There are some powerful quotes in the book that stay with a reader long after they are done with the book. One such quote is “For you, a thousand times over.”
What do you do when you are having a really hard day to lift your spirits?
Whenever I feel overwhelmed or have a panic attack, which I have frequently nowadays as looking after a toddler and keeping the house from catching fire is very taxing, I listen to calming music on Youtube. It helps to a great extent in soothing my nerves and helps me focus. Another activity which instantly uplifts my mood is taking a walk. It helps me relax. Nature, music and coffee are my instant mood lifters.
What makes a person brave?
The ability to grow in the face of adversity and be able to overcome the situation without submitting to it makes a person truly brave. Its very easy to succumb to your surroundings and accept things as they are, letting it overpower you. It takes immense courage to step up for yourself, understand what you truly deserve and making necessary changes to chase your life goals instead of staying stuck in the unhappy life you lead blaming it on destiny or fate.
What 3 words would you use to describe yourself and why?
Bibliophile – I love reading books. Given a chance, I could live in a library forever!
Mother – My role of a mother and caregiver to my daughter comes before any other role I play in life of a wife, daughter, sister or friend.
Thalassophile – for my undying love and crave for sea and oceans
What is your biggest flaw?
What is your greatest strength?
The ability to weave stories from thin air. At any given point of time, there are multiple parallel plots running in my head. Usually the stories enter my consciousness as scenes of a movie and stay in my memory until I write them down. I feel blessed to have this capability of conjuring stories.
What is your best childhood memory?
I was in first grade. One morning my mom woke me up, nudging me to fetch something from the fridge. I walked bleary eyed and screamed with surprise to see the Daisy duck pencil box sitting atop the fridge. The thing is, one of my classmates had gotten a beautiful Daisy duck pencil box to school which had lot of features like stencils, stickers etc. I had described it to my mother who must have told my father. I had never asked for it as my father had gotten me a new pencil box only a week ago. My parents understood and obliged my wish without even needing me to say it out loud. We were a middle-class family of 7 completely dependent on my father’s fixed salary. We did lead a frugal life, valued things and learnt to do with bare minimum, but this was one of many instances when our parents splurged
Where do you envision your blog in 5 years?
Soaring the skies, tasting sweet success. A year ago, all I wanted was to write stories on my blog and make a decent living. But as time has passed, I delved deeper into the multifaceted world of blogging, I have been hooked! Right now, I am on a learning trajectory and I’m certain my time has only begun. In 5 years, I can visualize myself as an established blogger, not only writing fiction but also imparting my learnings to interested people and of course earning a decent amount of money out of it.
Where do you see the mental health community in 5 years?
At the pace with which it is gaining momentum on Twitter, social media forums and real life as well I can only see it becoming stronger than ever as a community of supportive mental health advocates. I just hope and pray there is abundance of support and advice for people whenever they need it.
Who do you follow to stay updated on all things blogging and/or mental health? Share their links below!
I religiously follow these bloggers as I love their honest and realistic blogs.
About the Author
Alpana, the storyteller, is the face behind the website KabhiFactKabhiFiction. Currently she writes stories – short, long, mystery, romance, thriller, suspense on her website. She plans to incorporate a lot of topics – parenting, SEO, recipes, traveling, life experiences, health and well-being- in her page in the long run. After a stint of 6 years in the IT industry, right now she is a content homemaker and mother of a toddler, living her dream of storytelling through her website. For stories that touch your soul visit the website.
Thanks, Alpana, for participating in my interview series, Meet the Blogger! I loved your responses, and I truly appreciate you taking the time out to answer my questions. Best wishes on all your blogging endeavors!
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