I am a part-time procaeffinator and full-time writer.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. I started my career as a journalist in the early-noughties and worked in various capacities in leading national publications - The Asian Age, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times (as it was then), India Today - across New Delhi and Mumbai for more than 15 years. I dabbled in corporate communications with the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development in Mumbai and again at TERI, New Delhi.
I returned to the fold as a freelance journalist in 2016 and over the past few years, I have contributed to many newspapers and magazines including:
The Free Press Journal, Mumbai
www.Thip.in, New Delhi
Gaon Connection, Lucknow
The New Indian Express, Chennai
The Morning Standard, New Delhi
India Perspectives, MEA’s magazine
Shubh Yatra, Air India’s in-flight magazine
Vistara, Air Vistara’s in-flight magazine
Rail Bandhu, Indian Railways’ onboard magazine
TruJetter, Tru Jet Airlines’ in-flight magazine
NewsGram.com, a US-based news website
eShe.in, an online magazine for women
The Times of Amma, an online magazine for women
DailyO, an online website
News18.com, a news portal
Sbcltr.in, an online magazine
eastindiastory.com, an online magazine
apotpourriofvestiges.com, an online magazine
Today, I am an Independent Writer, Content Creator, Freelance Editor and Proofreader, Publicist, Translator and Subtitler.
I have completed the translation and editing of Dr Akhilesh Kumar's book based on Namwar Singh’s Doosri Parampara Ki Khoj; to be published by Sahitya Akademi in 2022.
I have handled the Press and Publicity for filmmaker-author Devashish Makhija’s novel for young adults, Oonga, and his short films, Cycle and Cheepatakadumpa.
IMDB credits as Shillpi Singh (https://www.imdb.com/name/nm13265947/?ref_=ttfc_fc_cr66); (https://cheepatakadumpa.wixsite.com/cheepatakadumpa/about);(https://cycletheshortfilm.wixsite.com/cycle/about)
I also run my parenting website, theparentslogue.com, and a YouTube channel @BharatKiKhoj.
I mostly write to while away my time and at times to explore the devilry of my idle mind, on anything and everything that tickles my grey matter.
I hold a PG Degree in English Journalism from IIMC, New Delhi, and Post Graduate Certificate in Marketing and Brand Management from MICA, Ahmedabad.
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In some measure, Dhruv Sehgal’s I Love Thane in Amazon Prime’s latest anthology Modern Love Mumbai is a cautionary tale on the trappings of a dating app, its trials and tribulations and the emotional toll it takes on a person when things don’t go as ‘planned’. The 34-year-old protagonist, landscape architect Saiba, played by Masaba Gupta, is caught in the dating app loop, spending a lot of time and energy hopeful about finding love just by swiping right. Her expectations from a prospective date are different, and she fails to find the perfect match in the app universe. The emotionally excruciating process gives her self-doubt and humiliation in abundance, as she admits in one scene, but then she starts the grind all over again in the hope of finding that elusive love and Mr Right. On one of her Date Zero, where she meets a hotshot startup founder whom she had never met in person before starts listing out the must-have qualities in the prospective life partner. His long monologue is greeted with her blank, bleak stare. The camera zooms in to capture the disappointment in Saiba’s gaze and matches it with that of another woman sitting a few tables away and out on a date as well; the women exchange a glance of blighted hope, equally let down by their respective dates. The fleeting moment elucidates the dating app plot that often makes one feel like a square peg in a round hole, with many misses before that one hit.
(The frames that tell the story… from I Love Thane in Modern Love Mumbai, currently streaming on Amazon Prime.)
The ethos of Padma Shri recipient Shyam Sunder Paliwal’s life revolves around water, daughter and trees. A resident of Rajsamund district in Rajasthan, Paliwal is the architect of the Piplantri Model that hinges on water conservation, environment protection and saving the girl child.
“It was not too long ago that the district was known as a hub of marble mining. When I took over as Sarpanch of Piplantari, I found that the water here was severely contaminated. The poor sex ratio was another worry. The winds of change began to blow when we started an initiative to plant 111 saplings to celebrate the birth of a girl child across the villages, nurture and help the tree thrive. Slowly, the rural communities had realised that the trees that would grow from these humble efforts would help the environment in more than one way. Simultaneously, we started water conservation efforts like building small check dams,” says Paliwal, founder of Kiran Nidhi Sansthan, a grassroots organisation committed to rural development.
His initiative brought about a visible social change and helped water and environmental conservation in Piplantari. More than three lakh trees have been planted here in the last ten years, and the water level has increased to 50 feet from 500 feet. “It is heartening to see my penance bear fruits. It has been a long and arduous journey spread over the last two decades. We never dithered but stayed put, instilled confidence in the people and won their trust to do this wonder here. It was possible because the community came forward and pitched its support to these initiatives for tree plantation, water conservation and saving the girl child,” he says.
But the work is far from over. The much-celebrated water warrior’s Piplantari Model is the perfect medium to convey the message to others, and many Panchayats and village heads are following in his footsteps.
He will continue his work on these three fronts all around the desert state and elsewhere in the country because it is an ongoing process. “There can never be enough of these measures to save the environment from climate change. We need to do more, all the more,” he emphasises.
Nagaur farmer Himmata Ram Bhambhu a.k.a. ‘Registan ke Ratna Ram’ was felicitated with Padma Shri for his enviable contribution to the environment. He adores and reveres trees and has so far planted five and a half lakh saplings in desert areas of Rajasthan, using ingenious ways to water and see them grow into green giants.
Bhambhu fondly recalls how his grandmother once made him plant a Peepal sapling and sowed a noble thought in his impressionable mind that eventually shaped his life. “She made me realise that humans could live at the most for 100, but trees live for hundreds of years. The thought stayed with me. Over the past five decades, I have been on a sapling planting spree in Rajasthan, and almost all of them have grown into green giants dotting Nagaur and other places in the desert state. They are my real wealth,” he says.
The district is home to India’s largest salt lake, Sambhar Lake and so Bhambhu had an onerous task at hand – overcome the problem of saltwater that could foil his green plan. He devised ways to counter it, and chose trees that could withstand water scarcity in the arid state.
He bought six acres of land in Harima village near Nagaur in 1999 and over the years, planted 11 thousand saplings, and today that patch of land has turned into a lush green forest and is the abode of hundreds of animals and birds. “Nagaur experiment proves that plants can grow in saltwater. We carried water from elsewhere, mixed it with saltwater to nurture this forest. Watering these saplings was a task in itself, but totally worth it. Our successful experiment here proves it. There are all kinds of trees in this forest, and what better than trees for rainwater harvesting. These are the biggest oxygen generators,” he adds.
Currently, the septuagenarian is in mission mode to plant five lakh more saplings by 2030 in the state. “I look at the 7 Js – jal (water), jungle (forest), jameen (land), jeev (animals), jaivik (organic farming), jalvayu (climate change), and jansankhya (population) – as the major standpoints of my green plan because each are inter-related,” he highlights.
I’m aware that I may not find another soul who gives me all you do. Before you tell me to not close myself off to finding love, this is something that I’ve grown to be okay with. I’m genuinely content now. I, like many, have been through a lot of heartaches. Because some of us aren’t so lucky when it comes to love, but somehow, just knowing that a part of my soul exists is enough for me to continue in this life because you’ve given me and continue to provide me with the most beautiful moments of pure love and compassion. You support me in every way I want to be. I don’t want someone who’s overbearing. I don’t want someone who feels the need to be right by my side 24/7. I like missing the other person. I want someone who cares for themselves, takes time out and comes to me when they need me. Someone who understands that it’s just as important to be apart than to be together. Someone who knows what they want in life and surrenders to how they will get there. A soul understands what it is to believe and be human in this world. A conscious soul who can read me like a book and me – them. To the point where I don’t have to say a word, and they know what I’m thinking or feeling. Someone who questions challenges me and understands my mind through and through—a soul who sets fire to my core with one word. Someone who knocks down my walls knows how far to go and when to stop. He who understands when to pick me up. They who acknowledge my complex mind, knowing that they are just as deep. He who takes my breath away. Someone who is there in a moment … without it having to be labelled. I don’t need the label. I don’t need a relationship or to build a life with someone, as groundbreaking as you and I would be, perhaps we just aren’t able to be that in this life. The vision of a life with you around is so clear and defined. It’s been replaying in my mind for the past week. It’s so easy to see ‘us’ free in love. Working on projects, listening to music, laughing at stupid shit, crying at the drop of a hat. Even having the slightest of arguments, but coming back to the centre of us and moving forward. Travelling the world. Trying different foods and seeing new sights. Embracing every second this life has to offer. Taking the lows in our stride. Overcoming it alone and yet together. Knowing that we are both two very strong individuals, allowing each other the space to pick ourselves up again, just with the helping hand and companionship of each other rather than always going it alone because that’s what we’re used to. I’m sorry to say it, but that’s all with you. So what you stop yourself from seeing, I see it too. When you look at it… it’s a thing of gender. Here lies the sad reality. If I were a man, this would be a different story. The art of letting go, you mastered it. Things happen when we let go. Our universe understands this. You are living, breathing proof that our prayers are heard, and dreams do come true. “If you’re covering yourself from asking me if I’m in love with you…your answer is yes, I am.” The grin on your face will be uncontrollable whilst admitting this. Your grin sets my heart alight. I recently noticed a slight change in your eyes, and I could feel your depth. Knowing that you are the one who makes me smile the way you do resonates with me, just like my favourite song. You give me chills and tingles. All these sensations! Just from your name. Everyone in my house sees how you make me smile too. So much so that they use you when they notice I’m feeling down. I find all of my favourite emotions and memories in you. Childhood memories of books I loved, TV shows, food and family. The feeling of spring in the air, the first time you feel the warm breeze on your skin after a long winter. That’s you after my two years in a dark period. What I would give to be the one that gets to spend this life with you and live out this dream is incomparable to what anyone else will do. You have earned my love. Regardless, you’re always going to have my love. You have fulfilled me without trying. Just as you are. You make everything seem logical again. Everything flows when you’re around. You give me everything that’s important. I’ve said it from day one. My love for you is and always will be unconditional. You’ve got me until my dying day. I don’t tell you these things to hurt you or upset you. I need you to understand truly. As J-Lo says in her song, “If only you knew what I’ve been going through, waiting and wanting you…” None of what I’ve said here actually puts it into perspective. This is also why I love speaking about it with you face to face. All in all, I don’t need to be your happiness; I need you to be happy, always.