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A Lifestyle Blogger, Freelance Content Writer, Chef, Traveller and Unstoppable! at 56- Harjeet Kaur

Age is no limit where courage presides. Ms Harjeet Kaur is a living example of this. With lovely grand children to play with and learn tonnes of life from her doesn't stop her from giving her commitment to share with the world the great recipes she uses to cook delightful food. The life story of one such person would be a thorough treat to read. So, Read ON!
Harjeet KAur
1. Could you share a brief about yourself?

I am Harjeet Kaur- a Lifestyle Blogger, Freelance Content Writer, Chef, and Traveller. I was born and lived all my life in a sleepy town- Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, India. I just let my life flow with barely any ripples until I was 40. Now I am on the other side of 50. Yes but not old by any standards. I am at such a stage of life where I want to expand and explore my horizon; travel is on the agenda and while doing so share my experiences through my writing.

Life has given me a raw deal but I learned to fight. I was a happy homemaker but when I was widowed at 40, I had to wear the pants in the house to nurture my kids. It was a struggle no doubt but I guess it was worth it. Tough times teach us a lot about ourselves and those around us and I think it has made me a tougher person.

I started writing right out of the blue when I was offered a weekly column in the Hindu Metro, Plus. I love to write on any interesting topic under the sun. Covered the whole gamut, well almost; lifestyle, interiors, gardens, fashion and trends, food and travel, local news, Bollywood and Tollywood. I steer clear of tech and finance, my Achilles heel!

I am very gregarious and I get along with everyone. Meeting new people and understanding what makes them tick is always enlightening. Travelling leads to learning about new cultures, foods, and places to explore.

I am an Aquarian, a free spirit, (but Yoga keeps me grounded) like you can't bottle the four winds in a jar, or tie down the clouds. Although I am a Grand-Ma now of two toddlers but at heart, I am still the girl I was at 20(although the creaky old bones keep reminding me of my age).

I am a bit like a tempest, but I am not scary, hang on, and be my friend to learn that I could be the best friend ever. I love “Friends” and even if they break up with me for any reason, I would still say, “Can’t we still be friends?"

I have an instinctive empathy and a knack of comforting and counseling people. I identify more with youngsters rather than my peers. Babies and kids amaze me and I am completely besotted with them.

Like a true blue Aquarian, I am a grand visionary but I have a very humanitarian approach to life. I love people around me and I learn a lot from every individual who crosses my path. I am deeply interested in the personal lives of everyone, from the valet to the bellboy to the little boy who cries down the lane. People chase rainbows, but I live on one! I think I usually have a dreamy, wandering expression, but I do not live in the clouds. I have a good sense of humor when I am ribbed well.

I genuinely believe in; equality-brotherhood-love for all-live and let live-seek the truth.

2. What keeps you going to work hard and live your Dreams at the age in which generally a lot of people have given up on their dreams?

Harjeet KAur My dad and his zest for life, which was amazing. At 86, he called himself young, and at 56, I am just a kid…the world is my oyster and I am going to string many pearl necklaces. I have always lived for others…my parents, my husband, my kids. In that order. On the first day of this year, I decided that I need to live for myself now. I had these dreams of making it big when I was 18 but then marriage and motherhood, made me stow them away in the deep recesses of my mind. It is 2020 and it’s time to unlock them. I am alive!

3. What inspired you to venture into the field of Content Writing?

Stringing words and vocabulary is my passion. I always had a way with words. I started reading at the age of 6 and lived the stories I read. If I was reading fairy tales then I was the bashful Cinderella and if I was reading Gone with the wind I was the passionate Scarlett. My writing till I was 40, was limited to school essays and projects for my kids, and all of a sudden, my writing career took off. I wrote weekly articles for a reputed national newspaper. Initially, I did it for a lark, but they were going to be my comfort zone. Juggling my time between various petty jobs down the years I continued writing but the remuneration was negligible.

4. How did you catch up with blogging, social media, Traveling- believed to be the trends of the younger generation?

After work hours and weekends, I didn’t know what to do. I had time on my hands and I just don’t know how to sit idle. I started my blog in June 2011. I started just penning my thoughts down. I am single and my recipes are all easy and simple. In 2015, a Facebook friend, Bhavna, suggested that I post recipes for singles. It seemed like a good idea. I just plunged into it but wasn’t consistent enough. Then another friend, Swati, suggested I join the 30-day blog challenge. That’s how it all started. I started serious travel only in 2015 and I always like to share my travel stories. Social media is a package deal with blogging. One cannot do without the other. I am technically challenged. Believe me, I have learned everything on my own and I am still learning.

5. Did you face any challenges when you first started blogging? Did you find any support in those times?

Blogging was just an outlet for penning down my emotions. I never thought of monetizing it. Sarah Arrow, a person who runs the 30-day blog challenge on FB supported me and she always egged me on. She and Bhavna were the support when there was nobody else.

6. How has Blogging & Social Media impacted your life?

Blogging and Social Media literally opened up my world, my life. Friends and family never supported me in anything I did. But the massive support, encouragement, and appreciation from my blogging and social media world, give me the strength and the will to go on. The friends I have made through Social media are much stronger than my real-life friends. If I need any kind of help, I just reach out to my virtual friends. I have met some awesome people in the virtual world whom I have met in real and they have turned out to be really genuine friends. In times of distress and acute depression, I cried for help from my real-life friends but they just acted as if I didn’t exist. Moushmi, a virtual friend was my guardian angel and literally pulled me out of the hell hole of depression I was in.

Harjeet KAur 7. When and how did the Travel Bug catch you? Which are some of the exotic locations have you traveled to?

The travel bug was always there. Since I read so much I always wanted to visit the exotic places in my books. I visited Kashmir, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu on my school trips. Once I got married and the kids came along, travel took a backseat. My husband was a businessman and never had time for vacations. I would only travel to Delhi with the kids, visiting my sisters. He did take me to Orissa for a memorable trip. Once he expired, I had no time to think of travel. Fighting for survival and putting the kids through their education, getting them to stand on their feet was the only goal.
Once I achieved that, I contemplated about traveling. Amateur and professional Palm readers told me that I didn’t have the travel line to go abroad. I was crestfallen but determined. I said I would carve it with a knife if need be and that is what I did. My son lives in Mexico and he was going to have a baby. Nothing in the world could keep me away from welcoming my grandson into this world. My visa was done and I was packing when I developed severe sciatica pain. I thought I must have just aggravated it by carrying the heavy suitcase. I didn’t want to cancel and prove the quack astrologers right, so I was stubborn and boarded the flight and reached Mexico, almost unconscious and doubled up in pain. That was the first and then to London, Bhutan, and Egypt. The pyramids were always on the top of my wish list. Wishing for more such trips.

8. Could you share 5 Life-changing experiences during your Travels?

1. Travel made me a storyteller

2. The destination doesn’t matter. It just matters that we’re leaving our cocoon and exploring completely new cultures, cuisines, and countries.

3. Making new friends

4. Travel sets me free; free from routine chores and nosy people

5. Travel teaches me that there is no end to learning

6. Bhutan taught me what it is to be happy even when you have little

9. Among the options of Road Trips and Flying, which one would you choose and why?

When we were kids we often had road trips to Hyderabad, Bidar, Chirala, etc. I love road trips but I have had spine surgery. I would rather fly to my destination and enjoy the place for a longer time.

10. Today, you are an inspirational figure to many in your network, who was the Inspirational figure in your childhood, and why?

I am an inspiration? I don’t know about that. But, yes, my inspiration was my dad. He was my hero, my idol, my rock star.

He taught me to smile and spread smiles. He always carried chocolates in his pocket and distributed them. I also follow this and now my daughter does the same. Every child who gets chocolate has a huge smile. Can there be anything more precious than that?

He taught me to be selfless; always put others before yourself and your needs.

He taught me how to give…love, time, a patient ear, help.

Taught me to be truthful but said a lie spoken that helps someone is okay. If I said you are lying? He would say, why did the word lie come about in the first place?

He was a very humble man, with minimum needs. He taught me humility and to be happy with what I have.

He taught me that money isn’t everything. Love and happiness are.

He taught me that the best religion is keeping your loved ones happy.

He said that every human being is good. Circumstances may make them do wrong. Look for the goodness in each one.

Never hold grudges. Forgive and forget. Life is too short

He taught me to always keep my inner child alive. At 86 he would say I am not 86 years old, I am 86 years young.

He moved with the times. He was very comfortable in the company of youngsters and taught me that if you want to stay young then be friends with kids and young people.

Never cheat anyone. Do good and goodness will come back to you.

I could just go on and on.

11. Could you share your Experience as a Grandmother? What change did it bring in the perception and meaning of your life?

I have missed out on my time with grandparents. My kids had them but one set lived far away and my dad made up for all of them.

I became a child again. I relive my childhood through them. Their screen time is limited to one hour and we play, sing, dance, and cook together.

I wanted to be the ideal grandma and I think my grandchildren love me for being a child with them and doing all the crazy things that kids do.

Grandparents have the best of worlds as they get to enjoy the kids without the responsibility of disciplining them too much.

I indulge them totally but I won't spoil them.

12. As a Mother, what are the Attitudes that you have passed on to your children- Esha & Kunvar that have helped them shape their life?

Speaking out the truth, humility, self-confidence to face the big bad world, and to be empathetic.

13. Could you share 3 of the toughest times in your life? What lessons have they taught you?

I suffer from post-natal depression which became chronic. While my husband was there he used to handle me very patiently, empathize, and understand well. It taught me that family is always there for you. And this too shall pass, tomorrow is a new day.

Next was the rude shock after he passed away. I was left with no savings and two kids to nurture. I was a naïve, gullible, small-town homemaker and had to step outside the cocoon to look for work. Those days of despair and not knowing where the next paycheck is going to come from was a nightmare. But I never gave up. I had to be strong for my kids. I realized that no one was empathetic to my situation and I was on my own. I put up a brave front and faced every situation head-on. Tough times don’t last but tough people do. I never knew I had these qualities in me.

The next was when I had my spine surgery. The anesthesia did not work and I had to bear the pain of the full surgery. I thought I would die on the operation table. But I survived. The hospital and the doctors treated me very shabbily. After all that trauma, I wanted to go to the consumer court but there were so many preconditions that I had to drop that idea. I lost faith in the medical profession and realized that a patient was just a number for them. It is just business at the end of the day. The Hippocrates Oath is just a farce. I can never trust doctors again.

Harjeet KAur 14. It’s said- Challenges in Life make us stronger’- Do you agree with this? What are your thoughts on this?

I thrive on challenges. I think it is a great way to push my mental and physical abilities. A challenge spurs me on to finish the task. If anyone challenges me, I go all out to finish it and prove them wrong.

I was challenged by my husband that I couldn’t learn driving at the age of 28. I accepted it and was driving within the month.

Same way with swimming. I suffer from hydrophobia and really scared of water. One summer the kids and husband were swimming and taunting me, sitting and watching them. They challenged me to learn swimming. The next day I was in the pool. I cannot swim like a fish but I do enter the pool now.

I take part in every cooking and blog challenge I come across. I just completed a one-month long blog challenge in April. It is lockdown and the kids were here. I hardly got any time but I had already signed up for the challenge and took it up and finished it successfully.

15. Has Self-Love been an important part of your life? If yes, how has it changed your life?

I mentioned earlier that my dad taught me to be selfless. I always put others' comfort and needs above mine. In fact, I put mine in a treasure chest and threw the key away.

But these days people stress on self-love. Now that I am almost rid of my parenting duties, I have decided to focus on my needs. It was my New Year’s resolution this year.

I am 56 and I think it is time to live for myself and do all that I had put on the back burner all these years. I keep saying I will do it but it is tough to go against your childhood values.

Harjeet KAur 16. Could you share more about your love for Cooking & Recipes?

Cooking is an expression of is like meditation for me. I am so involved in the cooking that I block everything else out of mind.

Cooking is a passion and never just another chore. I love to cook and feed my family as well as anyone fond of eating.

I learned the art from my mom. My husband was a total foodie; loved to eat and entertain. I used to learn exotic dishes for him. Then my son followed and was another who used to ask for a new dish every day.

I love cooking but I do not like to spend too much time in the kitchen. My recipes are always simple and easy to make.

I am a jugaadu cook; I can make a gourmet dish out of simple ingredients.

Fusion cooking is my forte, curating new recipes by blending different cuisines.

I believe in cooking from scratch at home. I am averse to processed and ready to eat foods.

My cooking is traditional basically but suited to Gen Z.

17. What inspired you to write ‘Sugar & Ice & All that’s nice’?

A book was always on the cards but I always kept procrastinating. After the A2Z Blogchallenge, I was asked to compile my blogs into an e-book and that’s what I did, thanks to Blogchatter.

I love concocting exotic mocktails and desserts. Soda pops and packaged juices do not enter my kitchen. I shared all the summer drinks and desserts in the book.

I am right now in the process of compiling my second e-book that would be on healthy Breakfast and Dinner Ideas.

18. Could you share 6 lifestyle tips of leading a healthy life, with our readers?

1. Basic would be a healthy balanced diet.

2. Regular exercise.

3. Yoga and meditation

4. A holistic approach to life.

5. Avoiding processed foods, colas, alcohol and smoking

6. Have a positive outlook towards life.

19. What are the other dreams that you would like to accomplish?

There are a few on my list.

I want to write books.

Become a travel influencer

Take my grandson to Masai Mara Safari in Kenya.

Help as many people as I can who are suffering from mental issues.

20. For upcoming Content Writers, Could you share the aspects you focused on for making your blog successful?

Content writing and blog are two separate entities. There is a huge market for freelance content writers but we writers are always underpaid.

A blog is more of a personal space. You have to find your niche first.

Consistency, good crisp content, correct grammar, and lots of networking.

Write at least 2 blogs every week. If you are serious about your blog then start on a self-hosted site.

Above all; set a goal and go after it.

Dream on and dream big. Do everything it takes to live them

You can follow the blogs of Harjee Kaur here: Wordsmith Kaur

Connect to her through her e-mail | Twitter| Instagram

Facebook: Food | Beauty Tips

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 12th June 2020.

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