Progression or Regression?

This is not a math question. This  is a question about you in many, many situations. Look at the picture below. What do you think of the drawing? 

What do you see?

When my friend asked me, I told him my interpretation was that of an artist who started from a simplistic stroke and, with time and practise, mastered the art of a realistic sketch. I’m sure on the other side of Whatsapp he had a good laugh. He told me it was a meme that depicted a project one starts with great interest but at the end becomes detached, mostly related to the corporate world. At the end, he also thought about my perspective and sent an emoji in consent.

This picture didn’t leave my mind. The overactive wheels were set to run. My thought-hamster soon found a third perspective; this meme can also be someone starting a project earnestly, but rushing it in the end. Bad boss? Deadlines? Mismanagement of time? There can be as many reasons as you can think of! 

Regression

In today’s day and time, we often start things we love to do with enthusiasm over the cloud, but we don’t maintain our pace. It may be lack of discipline, work-life balance issues, negative criticism from other people, a mind block, or a simple reason like not getting enough likes on social media (sob sob…). People have lesser and greater issues to not pursue what they start. They don’t sit back, reflect and correct their path. Ultimately, that’s a spiral stairway down a basement for them. Now, they can sit in the corner basement with their head down or go back up and do it again. 

Progression

For the ease of this short article, assume we are referring to ordinary people like yours truly. These ordinary ones who refuse to do down the spiral stairways are either ignorant, resilient, or rigid. An ignorant person would keep on perfecting his art, keep on adding the details, keep on reworking without a vision or aim besides satisfying his own desire. Rigid people, though seeing what’s wrong and knowing they need reforms, will continue stubbornly. This doesn’t lead to any good result. The resilient ones are those who are knocked down by criticism or competition, but get back up with a new strategy. Mostly, it is the resilient ones who refuse to go down and find better ways to achieve an objective. 

Mis-management of time

Do you really, really don’t have time to start workout at home? Or painting on weekends? Or working on your mercurial temper or stress levels? Are you sure you just cannot find the time to be with your loved ones, travel or make your meals once in a while? If no, then you have some serious issues. Let me tell you, the serious issue is YOU unwilling to WORK to make a change. Sleep on it! If you don’t have time to sleep, figure out WHY. Eliminate unnecessary things from life. Stop checking mails on Sunday, maybe (sorry, boss…)!

Why I didn’t assume we are referring to ordinary people in Regression?

Did you see what I did there? I am NOT going to assume the people rolling down the spiral stairways are only ordinary ones, because it can happen to the best of us. It can happen to geniuses, people famed for their charm and charisma, people lauded for their strength. People fall out of fame, they fall down from the epitome of success into regression. However, like us ordinary people, they can refuse to go down and get right back up! 

To conclude…

Apply these three conditions in any circumstance of your life. Where do you stand? Whether it’s work, family or your personal goals, how things go are in your hands. You decide if you want to get up and rise, you decide what to cut and what to grow. Your life is your garden. Prune the shrubs, grow the trees and weed out what you don’t want. Lastly, I can’t emphasise more on taking care of your body as much as your mind and heart.

May the force be with you this summer!

Originally published in: Perspicere, TOI Blogs

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Sorry, not sorry!

So it was Holi just a day ago. What fun! Meeting with family and friends, having festive snacks, music, dance, laughter, kids playing around bringing nostalgia for the older ones, Holi parties, colourful faces, colourful clothes, throwing coloured water at each other, throwing Gulal in the air, washing it all off in water… wait. Wait! In water? Swimming pools and tanks, right? 

No. I mean natural water bodies. Let’s not talk about how inhaling these chemicals affect you or how they harm the soil. Let’s talk about people celebrating Holi with coloured water and Gulal near lakes, ponds and other water bodies. These chemicals conveniently labelled as herbal were all over on social media stories, boomerangs, and pictures. Beer bottles in one hand and Gulal in the other, people partying near beautiful water bodies got the most likes! Educated, aware people were dancing on Holi beats and throwing Gulal in the air (which by the Law of Gravity is surely to fall in the waterbody and flow away into frogs and fish and turtles). 

Sorry, not sorry! Bura na mano Holi Hai!

Many Indian festivals like Holi are celebrated globally. The sheer number of people can make a positive or negative impact. We can prevent a lot of harm to our planet by doing things the right way instead of embracing shortcuts. But why don’t we do so?

It was Just One Day!

Maybe for someone it was once in a while, or just once. It was so for thousands of others too! Do we care to think how our lack of sincere effort, even for a day, harms the environment? To think about it, this mess was preventable.

But it was Herbal!

Are you sure it was? Read the components of these mass herbal Gulal and colours. You will be surprised to see many of these labels are misleading you. A genuine herbal gulal is made of cornstarch and food dyes. Just reading the word ‘herbal’ is not enough! Major holi parties see heaps of Gulal placed in the party area, with no information of what kind of Gulal it is. 

Talking about herbal, has anyone tested these for environmental safety? 

What the hell should we do?

Have you read about the original holi colours? Traditional holi is celebrated with pigments from vegetables, leaves, and flowers. The coloured water is prepared by dipping flowers like ‘Tesu’ in water for a day or two. Leaves from trees like neem are used. Chandan and turmeric are used. All of these are good for your health and our environment. In Indian culture, even Rangoli was originally prepared with grains like rice and spices like turmeric as an offering to the insects! They are a vital part of our nature too. Offcourse, if you can’t do this, reading the components of herbal products is a must.

Why write this after Holi? It’s done now.

Before Holi, I thought the options I have presented were a common knowledge and that smartphones have made people environmentally conscious across the world. After seeing many stories with clean water bodies getting polluted with vague herbal (or simply chemical) products, the reality pinched me. Why are we partially-sincere towards making a better future? Why do we throw logic out of the window during celebrations? 

India is a land full of festivals, and in each festival, we can embrace our traditional respect for nature instead of leaving a trail of trash and pollution behind us! Holi may have gone, but festivals like Rangpanchami are on their way. Can we keep our awareness intact and do the right thing? Can we embrace our traditional love and respect for nature? 

If we can do that, I think the butterfly effect will do rest of the good work. 

Originally published in: Perspicere, TOI Blog

And this is love…

Beauty

Beauty is in everything, everywhere. Open your mind and let the world show you! Check out @minutesout on Instagram for themed highlights and stories.

Happy Friday!

O Woman, You Rily Being!

Vivacious and undeterred, ambitious and bold to the fault. Yes, we are rily women!

We are the half of us, mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, friends, business women, working women, housewives, and in every role you can label. With every tag you give us, we grow and come out stronger; even if it is a nasty label! We are the women of today. We are the rily beings.

We, the rily women, the storm-bringers and the typhoon chasers, sing as we stroll through the whirlwinds. Nothing can stop us from reaching where we want to be! We will work it out, one way or the other. Through the thunders and the rains, betrayals and injustice, whatever you put in our way.

We are the caretakers of the world, we can wash the dirt you throw at us. We can wash you out too, like a baby in our arms. Wail and cry, do what you want! We are the pillars you build legacies on. We are, ultimately, the ones shaping them all! We are the rily beings who heal your fears and cast away shadows and tears. You will come back to us after the long day ends, whoever you are.

We are the rily beings who shake things up, who look at the colourful future, who take the long path home to see the sunset on the way, who nature created to make this world a beautiful place!

Imagine, if you stopped throwing stones at us, stopped blocking our paths and darkening our days? What if you accepted our fluid hearts and free souls, strong emotions and feminine grace?
We’d have more time to make the future better, to make the world an even more beautiful place!

We, the rily women, are making the future and building bridges, going places no one thought we would, doing things you thought were crazy for a woman to do. But that is what we have been doing since the beginning of the time; evolution is nothing but feminine! You were just blinded by the curtain of ego, disbelief and pride. But have you not heard, it is love that makes you blind?

Love is a lady, beautiful and sublime, a flower that blossoms even in a winter’s night. Maybe you forget time to time, but it is also for us, for who you make a life!

It is ok, now, for the rily women who chase the storms will bring winds to tear the curtains down. Peek out of the darkness, it’s once again the break of dawn!

We, the rily women, are the winds and the waves; dancing, crashing, and carving our ways! We are the force existing from the start of life, always moving the world and shaping today.

Originally published in: TOI Blogs, Perspicere

Sabotage of the self

I know it was not under my control and I tried everything in my power to make it happen. It didn’t. I know I should accept the reality and move on; I am more than capable of making a better future, but this feeling of disappointment doesn’t go away! It is crushing, it is irreparable. 

And I know I have the power to move on, but I’m unable to let go.

Have you experienced a similar narrative echo in your head? Have you faced a situation where you have given your all for something but you couldn’t get it; a situation you know you can overcome but the feeling of losing despite giving your all is sharp enough to stop you in your tracks? Let this cycle continue long enough and it will be the sabotage of the ‘self’.

When I think about it, self-sabotage is something similar. It is a behaviour that interferes with one’s life goals and happiness. Self-medication, self-injury, comfort eating, procrastination are self-sabotaging activities. We usually have an option to consciously control these behaviours with focus on goals and alignment of habits. Self-sabotaging can be contained with some effort..

What’s more concerning is the sabotage of the ‘self’. We don’t even realise we are doing it to ourselves! It is invisible to us. In some unthinkable or hard situations you aren’t consciously harming yourself but subconsciously, you are. You may not be ‘self-sabotaging’ but you may be sabotaging the ‘self’!

What is Self?

The concept of ‘self’ in Psychology is about how you perceive yourself. It is about how you think you are as a person, how you believe others see you and how you think you fit into the world. Superiority, inferiority, motivation, determination, disbelief, the sense of quitting or braving hardships are some of the results of you thinking about ‘you’ in a particular way. 

Walt Disney had self-belief in the power of his storytelling, Warren Buffet had the self-clarity as a child that he never wanted to be poor in life, and Hitler had the self-perception (or self-deception) that he was meant to purify the world.. 

‘Self’ is a superpower a human can wield, in many ways!

Most of our ‘self’ forms when we are kids, but it changes with circumstances, experiences and introspection. How to turn these experiences, even the worst ones, into something constructive is the challenge. 

Enhancing the ‘Self’

Now that you have come across a hardship, what is your first thought? Is it to run away, find a solution or maybe to do nothing? In any case, there is a sense of fear. How you control that fear or uncertainty depends on how your self-perception has formed you over the years.

Is your self-perception weak in any way? That’s totally ok! Because now you have an opportunity to transform your subconscious and upgrade your internal software. If your perception of ‘self’ is awesome, then just go on, make it better!

Go back right to the first moment you can remember yourself being aware. What happened? What events scared you, made you happy, made you angry, or evoked any strong feeling in your heart? Often, the feelings that scar a person are formed in childhood. You have to embrace what happened as something in past that you could not have changed and move on from it. Forgive people for your peace of mind, make peace with any hard reality. It can seem impossible but the rest of your life can’t be spent in chains! Set yourself free, even if it means seeking an expert’s help. 

Think of all these little and big events of your life up till now. Let go of every disappointment and nightmare. Just like a phoenix rises from its own ashes, rise up and fly!

Read up!

In history, from ancient to contemporary times, you will find brave souls around the world. Read about these men and women, read true events and stories, read about civilisations built to the epitome of glory and destroyed to rot in dust. You will find your sense of ‘self’ transform and even transcend with a shift in your perception of the world. Your knowledge and clarity about ‘self’ will grow. 

Also, you will find people in this world who have had it tougher than you but have lived on true to their ideals. Be inspired by such role models.

Change the Words

Now, this comes from my personal experience as well as a lot of reading from books like ‘As a Man Thinketh’. Let’s rephrase the negative self-talk:

I know it was not under my control and I tried everything in my power to make it happen. It didn’t and I accept it. I know I should accept the reality and move on and so I will move on even if it’s babysteps; I am more than capable of making a better future, but this feeling of disappointment doesn’t go away so I will take it one hour a day!  It is crushing, it is irreparable, but I will rise from ruins and build myself again.

And I know I have the power to move on, but I’m unable to let go, so I will forgive myself for the past and smile at the good memories. Alongside I will make new memories and explore my life for beautiful things I was blind to.

A change in narrative, a twist in tone, one at a time is all it takes. At last, I will leave you with words of Thomas Szasz:

‘The self is not something that one finds. It is something that one creates.’

Originally published for: TOI Blogs, Perspicere

Choices That We Make…

I changed my city in seven days.

In last four years, I had accomplished what I had wanted since childhood; moving to Mumbai and getting a job in the media industry. I had moved from a small place, where perhaps no one thought I will ever step outside to make a career, and I did what I wanted to! Yet, I decided to pack up, leave my dream city and move to Delhi, all in a week. 

I had an opportunity at hand, one that will give me time for myself and what I wanted to do beyond a job.

True, being in the city I had always wanted to make a life in was amazing and will be unforgettable, but sometimes our own expectations from life become too heavy to carry. I could never manage time or energy while working in Mumbai. The endless hours I could have spent doing what I loved the most were crushed between the local-station crowd. The never-ending traffic jams ended the energy levels for sure. Commuting to and fro was a task! Weekends were spent in recovering from the week’s hectic schedule and with hardly any creativity. The pressure of expenses and, most of all, being powerless in changing circumstances was an indisputable reality-check. Switching jobs had not made much difference in life. So, when I got an opportunity to move in a new role, a new life, I said yes to the HR at the other end of my phone and agreed to start in a week! In five days, I was packed and ready to move, setting aside all the thoughts about missing my friends, my beloved Mumbai and the pure freedom I found in the salty sea breeze. On the seventh day, I landed in Delhi.

I did not give this a deep thought for many weeks, afraid of what I will feel or conclude, but two months down the line I did. It was a tough choice. I was numb for weeks, unable to absorb the new surroundings, a new culture. But here I was with all this time in my hand! I was taking care of myself like never before! My eating habits, sleep pattern, happiness and energy levels had all improved. I was reading and I was writing again, unlike I was able to in almost half a decade! I didn’t have the constant body aches from carrying my laptop bag for too long or headaches from being stuck in noisy traffic jams for hours. I had time to think about my life and reflect. Of course, I miss Mumbai and my friends there. But I also found wonderful new friends here. I’ve discovered myself more, expanded my horizons and, hey, who doesn’t love the North Indian food?!

Sometimes, in life, choices are hard to make when it comes to shifting your base or changing your job. What will happen? Will I be able to do this? Will I adjust? Many such ‘will I’ questions come to our mind. More whys, if onlys, hows and whens pop up, literally clogging your brain and draining your spirit. In such a situation, think of what is the most important thing to you and which choice will give you that. What is the core of your present problems or the one thing that will direct you to the path you want to walk? All factors around it that won’t solve the core intention is useless. Such scattered factors will not pivot you. Think of your core intention like the needle of a compass. You want to draw a circle, you need to stay on the pivot. 

Ask yourself today, what is the core of your problem? What catalyst your ambition needs? Or simply, what do you really want? Often, most decisions are simple to make because the clarity of intentions make choices evident. I needed to have a better lifestyle that could give me more time to my own self. Once that was clear, I was on the flight to a new life. Now, my office is five minutes away. Compared to the ninety minutes previously, I seemed to have stumbled upon a treasure chest! 

‘Choices are the hinges of destiny.’ says Edwin Markham and truly so! Decide today for a better tomorrow.

Originally published at: TOI Blogs, Perspicere

The Lady at CST Station

Sometimes, strangers teach you lessons you never thought you could learn.

It was 2015, somewhere in July. I was in the second year of my post-grad, coming back to Mumbai after a short stay at home. The placement season was fast approaching; I was as excited as I was apprehensive. I had travelled a few times via train, but had rarely ended up at CST station. One or two times when I did, I had taken a cab back to my hostel thirty-three kilometres away. That day, I was on a budget. The thought of hauling my luggage up and down the local stations made me sigh.

I found myself a seat in the lower berth and bought a watery cup of tea. I was in a sleeper coach. On a budget. With a huge suitcase. Grumpy. An elderly lady sat across me, frantically checking her watch. She was in a lavender, cotton burkha with floral embroidery. Heavy glasses dug into the bridge of her tiny nose. She saw my crabby face and looked away. I was happy to be left alone.

‘The train is late by an hour.’ She announced, suddenly, looking at me. 

‘Yes…’ I nodded, sipping the tea.

Ye train aisi hi hai… (This train is like this).’ She said and began talking about train timings. The more she spoke, the grumpier I became. Why couldn’t she leave me alone in my grumpy world?

‘Are you married, beta?’ She asked, flaring up my irritation. 

‘No, I’m studying.’ I told her respectfully, trying to bottle my feelings.

‘Where? What are you studying?

‘MBA in marketing.’

‘Oh, my son did MBA, now he’s working in Dubai…’ She went on to describe her son and his high paying job. Irritation turned to exasperation! My own anxiety about landing a good job was now at play.

‘What’s your name?’

‘Mansi…’ I told her, instinctively knowing what she would ask next.

‘Your surname?’

‘Babbar. Punjabi.’

‘Ohh..’ She nodded. 

She asked about my family. I gave her vague monosyllables.This sharing of information was going too far! I faked about my hometown, my father’s work and even my brother’s name! I was scared and I don’t know why. She wanted to give me her son’s number to ask him about opportunities in Dubai. I politely refused. Then, another passenger joined in on the topic ‘job scenario in India vs Dubai’. I didn’t agree with anything they said but I kept shut, thanking God her attention was diverted. The train was about to arrive. I was ready to hop down minutes in advance.

‘You know where the local platform is?’ She asked. I said yes. Honestly, I didn’t. I was going to ask around. CST is a huge station with some eighteen platforms and connecting bridges!

‘Where are you going?’

‘Panvel.’ I faked again. I was stopping at Nerul, many stops before Panvel. 

‘Come with me. I’m going to Cotton Green.’ 

Cotton Green is a few stations from CST on the Harbour Line that connects Panvel. I said nothing. When the train stopped, I got down hastily to lose her in the crowd. 

I asked many people about the Harbour Line. They said I’d have to take a bridge but I couldn’t figure out which!

‘Don’t take the bridge. We can walk this way.’ The lady had caught on in minutes.

A part of me felt insecure but another part was willing to be shown the way! She walked briskly for a lady her age, looking back at me every minute as she led me towards the platform a kilometre away. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t lose her. When we reached the main station area I was familiar with, I felt relived. If she hadn’t shown me the way, I would’ve been miserably lost. We stood for a minute so I could catch my breath. She asked me to get something to eat, volunteering to look after my luggage. I was hungry and I was guilty for doubting her. As I went on to get a sandwich, I decided not to look back and check my luggage. Maybe, my guilt would subside? The stubby lady was standing in the same spot beside my suitcase when I returned. We continued towards the platform. 

‘This coach won’t be crowded.’ She led me to the right spot at the platform and into the right coach. We sat across each other again. I opened the sandwich and offered her a half.

‘It’s ok, I’ll reach home in fifteen minutes. You have a long journey.’ My heart melted.

Why did she care for a prick of a youngster? She must’ve sensed my guard against her, and yet, she had helped. Five minutes later, she was standing in a line to get down at her station. I wondered how to say thanks. The station came. Suddenly, it got crowded. If you’ve ever been in a morning Mumbai Local, you’d know it is impossible to shout ‘thanks’ and be heard! She disappeared in a wave of people. I looked out of the window, my mind swirling with thoughts. I regretted not thanking her. 

In the next two years, I took locals frequently from Cotton Green and CST while working, and every time I’d remember her. A feeling of regret still stumbles across me.

Today, I want to urge you to think. Why don’t we say ‘thank you’ to everyone who helps us? So many strangers support us in minuscule ways. It can be a friendly cab-driver who made your journey peaceful or a stranger who guided you towards your destination. Maybe someone who simply smiled at you. Are we thankful enough for all the little good things that happen to us? Our lives can be more fulfilled if we appreciate little acts of kindness.

I’m writing this article on the 70th Republic Day of India. Gratitude not only makes a good person, but also a great country! Let us thank everyone who’s making India better and everyone who had made India!

Originally published in: TOI Column, Perspicere

Pulwama

Could the Pulwama attack have been prevented from happening?

I believe yes. It could have been prevented; it was a massacre waiting to happen. One day or the other, we knew an attack of this scale was a possible scenario. There were attacks on our men before, and the number of such attacks had increased by 176% in the past five years. Where is the lag? We could have woken up before. We could have prevented this and can do so in future.

But posting on social media won’t do the trick. Neither will raising civilian funds or, sorry to say, doing candle marches.

These are good for showcasing India’s stand against the dastardly attacks, but not enough to prevent them. Civilians and celebrities can only do so much by raising funds and shouting slogans. After all, we are not on the enemy lines and we have no clue about the battle-ground reality.

As a common person, in layman terms, I have seen J&K burning since I could comprehend news. I was a kid when the Kargil war happened, but I could sense the gravity. It is history, religion, greed, myopia all rolled into one making it what it is today. It is the inability of the state as well as the Central government to collaborate, moulding the situation layer by layer through the years with dirt. Our highly intelligent and trained men stand no chance if the top-down approach is meek. It is also the lack of initiative by a part of local citizenry aka the stone-pelters.

Law enforcement

We know about the situation in J&K and we know about the stone-pelters, militants hiding in the wild and even in cities. What have we done? Where are the laws enforcing strict punishments on these people? Do they even fear the government? Why not? I can’t comment on how, but I know for a fact that the government has the power to make this happen.

The Pulwama suicide bomber’s father claims he didn’t know what his son was involved in it. If the government gave protection to people who report their own family and friends, will it help? It will if laws are enforced not only on the terrorists but also on the immediate family members who fail to report before the militant is discovered.

No, the discrimination and civilian problems will not reduce with strict law-enforcement against militants, but the civilians taking law in their own hands will reduce in numbers. The hate crimes against innocent families may see a downfall.

Technology

Explosives can be made from fertilisers and other household chemicals is a common knowledge. We know they can’t be detected most of the time. But what about the cameras, checkpoints, road infrastructure and armour buses for our soldiers?

If you look at the scene in Pulwama, there are no divisions separating the roads from open grounds on the side. Cameras and constant vigilance on the routes taken by our soldiers as well the citizens is a crucial point. I’m sure the intelligent men in our system know this, but why isn’t this done?

We have organisations like Isro doing space missions, we have spent on Vande Bharat train, we have metro projects going on for a decade in major cities and all the money to spend on bullet train projects. We have a separate defence budget. Is this too hard?

Taking it easy

The best part about the civilian protests is that our government cannot continue with the easy approach towards Pakistan. I’m NOT calling for a war, nor do I have the mastery to comment on the defence strategy of India, but am I the only one who thinks we have been too easy with our violent neighbour? What was done a day later after the attacks could have been done before.

The whole world knows Jaish-e-Mohammed is hiding in Pakistan with government protection, like Osama had. The latter was crushed by the US but what about the former? The Jaish-e-Mohammed is also linked to the 2001 Parliament attacks. It has been only like 18 years now, right? Maybe after the silver jubilee we will crack them down.

On this note, we haven’t been successful in getting Lashkar-e-Taiba either who not only carried out the 2001 Parliament attack but also the 2008 Mumbai attack, and who are allegedly operating from Pakistan.

A note to the celebrities

Some of the celebrities have been very kind by raising funds and shouldering responsibilities for the families of our martyrs of Pulwama attack.

But what about the other families whose sons, fathers, brothers and husbands embraced martyrdom in not-so-big attacks? What about those who died fighting various other terrorists and militants?

I feel there is huge gap again in how we see things. Partial empathy or social pressure? Whatever it is, if you are taking the responsibility, take it fully. You cannot group these brave families based on the scale of events! Even one casualty is a casualty. A single martyr is no less a martyr.

This is true for civilian crowdfunding activities too.

What now?

The coming days are a test for not only India’s leadership, but also the citizens. We need to keep the ‘Josh High’ and the ‘Hosh’ grounded. A collective decision based on a united collaboration is called for. To do what needs to be done will not be easy, but it is necessary. Our soldiers know it the best and we are forever in their debt. India hopes that the government will not disappoint the bravehearts who embraced martyrdom or the courageous men who will do so in a heartbeat. The world is watching us and history is being made.

I wish for a better history to be made.

Originally published in: TOI Blogs, Perspicere

Credits: NDTV

Life is Good, Good is Bittersweet!

Ever tasted a good marmalade? The smooth texture of this savoury covering the harder shreds of orange peel melts on your tongue with many flavours! Sweet, slightly salty, sour and, yes, bitter. Every time you help yourself to some more, you discover how it tastes just a bit different from before. Maybe its the wheat bread you used this time or how you didn’t pile a dollop on because you are on a diet (in my case, because the bottle would finish sooner than I’d like)? Marmalade is amazing, really, and so is life! The only difference is, we don’t pay much attention to it. Not as much as life deserves…

Hi there! Curious to read the rest? Read it in my weekly column Perpicere for TOI Blogs HERE!

Alternatively, click https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/perspicere/life-is-good-good-is-bittersweet/


Someone Like You

You, who were the sunlight of my life in the darkest times,

Giving me warmth from the bright twinkles in your eyes and your hearty smiles!

You, who’s embrace melted my walled core and fears,

You, even someone like you has weaker sides.

You reminded me that the Sun sets and it’s night even after the brightest summer morning,

You reminded me that memories of such melting comforts can be crushing.

You, someone like you, can make and break,

And be someone else’s sun from the next day.

Forget yesterday, forget the summer’s sweet days!

You, someone like you is a boon and a curse,

Flipping someone like me between fire and ice,

You, someone like you is the one I thank and wish to forget in a single prayer,

Some haunting that makes me smile, some bliss that gives me a scare…

You, someone like you, I’m blessed to have met but will never want to meet again,

It’s someone like you that makes a fool wise,

Someone like you I pray I find and keep this time,

As my own Sun without any nights…

And someone like you, you know, will never find,

The Moon’s calming silver light to liven up your soul,

For there’s only one Moon that brings tides!

So, someone like you may be the centre of another’s universe,

But someone like you will never me mine.

Someone like me will revel in the soothing silvery nights,

Hoping for a Sun that always gives the Moon it’s light,

No eclipse,

Only the moon Playing with the sea and forests and all that’s wild,

Spreading a beautiful silver after the moonrise.

Vanara: Not Just a Love Story!

What first comes to mind when I say Indian Mythology? Ramanayana? Mahabharata? Not Baali, I bet. Definitely not Tara!
Vanara: The Legend of Baali, Sugreeva and Tara is a modern day perspective of Indian Mythology written by Anand Neelakantan, with a twist of course! The writer of the famous Bahubali series and Asura has done it once again! He has dived into the less explored story of Bali and Sugreeva, the Vanara brothers, and Tara, one of the Panchkanyas. When seen from his perspective, a completely new view comes into picture. Was it really how it is in Ramanaya? 
The story begins with the Vanara brothers as slaves in an Ashram. One incidence involving, Indra and Ahalya, changes the course of their lives as they have to run into the jungles to save their lives and set on a new path. There, they meet their tribe of Vana Naras and fall in love with the same woman, Tara. This sure is one of  the world’s earliest love triangles! Baali’s dream is to build the free city of Kishkinda for Vana Naras, where everyone is equal and all are welcome. That’s not to say there are no hurdles! The path is paved with thorns, made worse by his own brother’s follies. The way things unfold in the novel revolving around these three characters gives you a roller coaster ride, racing not only your heart but also your mind! What have we been blindly believing from our childhood? Was Baali really at fault for exiling Sugreeva? Why did Hanuman help Sugreeva? More so, why did Rama kill Baali? Who decides what is right and what is wrong? How can one act as judge based of subjective beliefs?! 

This book is a mind opener. It takes you through a movie in your mind!

(PS: There is actually a movie coming soon on this,soon!)

Possible spoilers ahead!

Caste and Superstition

From the time immemorial, it seems man has always made boundaries and classes. Till it served just purposes, it was right. The stone man divided themselves based on the everyday work and so does the modern man, but the justification has become too complex to argue against or control. Looking at how even in Threta Yug there was mass discrimination and wars based on religion and jatis, it seems things haven’t changed much. The great jattayu was some God’s messenger or just a huge bird? Is it ok to treat people of different race or colour with negative bias? The incidents in the book where the two brothers face humiliation due to their different way of life is even heart-wrenching. It’s still prevalent in the world and that’s even more disappointing. 

Why Is It ALWAYS Women?

Tara is the victim of Sugreeva’s one-sided love, or shall we call it lust? Even though she’s devoted to Baali and marries him, even though she’s wise and bold, why can’t she seek Baali’s help to stop the abuse? One part is because Baali may not believe her, the second is what if he does share her? Third, somewhere deep down, she’s ashamed of her own thoughts that betrayed her love. Buck up, women! It happens. You should know to promptly address such issues. A stitch at the time saves nine! 

But does it? 

Even today, women are victimised, abused and doubted based on the dress they wear, the way they talk and anything that touches their existence (figuratively and literally). How can women address sensitive issues when they cannot truly confide in the man they love? How can they confide in their darlings if those darlings are insensitive to their feelings? If they are made such by the society? I’m not saying Baali in the story was insensitive; he is one to disregard Agnipariksha and choses to trust tara, though weeding out the envy of his brother was not exactly his priority. Hell, he even lets his brother mess up his marriage!

How Much is Too Much?

So how much is too much? Too much of envy, lies, disrespect, lust, love, integrity, rivalry… how much of oneself is too much? Baali’s integrity made him a hero but also got him murdered, almost destroyed his marriage. Sugreeva’s one sided love made him a coward. Ruma’s hatred made her poisonous. Rama’s  off-the-charts dedication to Dharma made him kill Baali from behind a tree. We can also say Soorpnakha’s thirst for revenge sparked the whole episode of Sita being kidnapped and Rama going to battle. Or was it Lakshaman’s uncontrollable anger that made him defile Soorpnakha and started the cycle of revenge? Who is to judge? 

(Why does this remind me of Naruto? Hatred goes in cycles, true, Kishimoto Sensei!)

Husband and Wife

They say every successful man has a woman behind him. Baali did too. Only, he didn’t listen to her often. A relationship between a husband and a wife should be that of friends first and then life partners. This is what I learn from this story! Tara could confide in Hanuman and ask of favours from Nala, but not Baali. History would be different if she could speak to Baali in the similar way!

Feel-good lines and Gyan 

When Baali is dying, it is said in some versions of Ramayana, that he asks Rama what is his crime? He is told that a younger brother is like a son and must be forgiven. He must have forgiven him, whatever his crimes.

Are you kidding me? After what he did, he should be forgiven? He was allowed to live, wasn’t that enough? Is not a younger brother liable to hold some responsibility?

It is also said that when Baali is dying, Rama says that in the next birth cycle, Baali will get to kill him to avenge his wrongful murder. 

Really? What if there’s no next life? 

Gyan is good only to a level. It may practically not apply.

Kalyug

The novel depicts how the era changes, how people change, and how complicated they become. The code of conducts, suffocating rules, blindfolds of religion and greed start running the world after Baali’s death. The sense of integrity and importance of valour, partnership and equality are disappearing. That’s the dawn of Kayug. This makes me question; wasn’t Ramaraj considered the Golden Era of Bharat? Ramaraj started after Baali’s death, so how does this fit? kalyug seemed to have started then itself. Ironical.

So, is everything we know really how it happened? Can there be other facts? Perspectives? Reasons? Truths? I believe, many!

Some practical take aways I suggest we should all imbibe from this novel:

Listen to your wives. Confide in your men.

Fundamentals of person’s make-up never changes. Sugreeva cheated in their teenage match and he did it again. Several times! And not just with Baali.

Watch your drinks! 

Learn to tame your ego/ pride. 

Punish people the second or third time itself. Don’t wait for an arrow to glaze you.

Don’t keep a full-time nanny. Angad would have been more of Tara’s son if she hadn’t let Ruma take care of him so much. 

Any desire that exceeds limits is dangerous to oneself and to the society.

Read more and get more perspective! Yes, open your mind to a hundred more possibilities!

After reading this book, I can only say how shocked, surprised and astounded I was at the number of questions that swarmed in my head and the emotions that stormed my heart. Give it a read and share in comments how you felt about Vanara: The Legend of Baali, Sugreeva and Tara!

Can you guess what historical figure I’m going to read about next? I’ll give you a cue; he was from Mongolia!


Light and Dark

Too bright a sky makes you shield your eyes and too dark a night makes you seek light. All extremes are important in life! The key to happiness in all these extremes, I believe, is balance.

Light and Dark

Rikshawala

I have been thinking a lot about cycle rikshawalas since coming to Delhi. They take a lot of pain to earn a meagre amount, all the while breathing in the Delhi smog deep in their lungs all day! Today, looking at a man easily 45 plus who was standing outside my office hoping to get a rider, I felt pity. I hesitated. Is it even fair to make a mid-aged man haul me? It was 9 already. The nights are cold here and it gets very dark around my office. I chose to let him haul me out of the insecurity arising as I stood in the shadowy road alone.

He did his best. On the upward slope of the road, before I could consider getting down for him, he got down as pulled the rickshaw with his arms. Downwards on the road he rode like a young boy enjoying the cold breeze on his face.

That’s when it hit me. Why should I pity anyone for a job they chose to pick? He may not have a lot of options, but of the few he did, he chose to own a cycle rickshaw.

Age doesn’t matter to him, why should I be so arrogant as to pity him? One thing I have learnt is to never pity a person for doing a job that helps in survival or , for us, seems unthinkable. I have been taught this all my life and I feel it’s important; always respect people who earn fair and square, whether through the sweat on their brows or the thoughts in their head!

Rise in the Fall

Even in its fall, a flower fulfills its purpose of spreading beauty. What deters you to stop being who you are? Be what are meant to be. 

Image may contain: plant, flower and nature
Image: MinutesOut

Happy Friendship Day!

‘I am glad you are with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam’ – Frodo

It is that day of the year again when we wish each other, now more on social media than face to face! Friendship bands, greeting cards, promises and social posts… we celebrate this day in anyway we can! 

Does it make you reflect on your life? What do you think about friendship, going back into your school days and till today? I can bet there must be a plethora of stories, experiences, hugs, laughter and tears… no, I’m not going to harp on about feelings and past.

I want to share with yousome examples of friendship I find so endearing that I wish to experience it. Yes, there are so many different ways we can be friends with others, so many different kinds of people we can be friends with! I will share some examples you might want to replicate in your life.

  1. The Kid and Charlie Chaplin

The Kid is one of the most famous movies Charlie has ever made. Though the relationship between the kid and Charlie is more of an adopted son and his father, I see a beautiful connection called FRIENDSHIP here. 

Image: Wikipedia

There is more than a relationship between these two tramps; there is an element of humanity. There is mutual love & support in times of need and a commitment to one another. 

Charlie takes care of the abandoned infant and in return, once the newborn becomes a boy, he never leaves Charlie’s side. 

It is the direst of times you can find the dearest of friends! Isn’t that what friendship is all about? About having one’s back through good times and bad?

2. Harry and Dumbledore

Then there are some bonds that transcend others; of a student and a teacher, a mentor and the mentored, of Harry and Dumbledore! What J.K. Rowling gave us through her famous series is so beautiful when you feel the relations portrayed between the characters.

Whether it is the bond between Harry, Ron & Hermione or between Snape and Lily, we see the power of love in her stories. For that matter, in Cuckoo’s Calling, the relationship between Detective Cormoran Strike and his temporary secretary Robin Ellacot showcases this intricate relation so gracefully!

Coming back to Harry & his headmaster, it is a rare bond. Dumbledore was a mentor, a parent and a savior for Harry, who carried out Albus’s purpose along with his own (you really need to read this series if you haven’t already!).

3. Sakura and Tomoyo

Ahh… this brings back memories!! Cardcaptor Sakura is one of my favourite anime till date, and I won’t exaggerate if I say I wanted to be Sakura so that I can have a friend like Tomoyo!

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Image: ladyloveandjustice.tumblr.com

They cooked together, ate together, went to the same class, went to shopping in cute dresses together, and knew each other so well… then they supported each other in the times of need. Tomoyo kept Sakura’s secret, and Sakura protected Tomoyo. Friends like that are hard to find!

You will find more examples in this series!

4. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet

Friendship exists not only between different kinds of people, but also between people who are different! Now, who can be more different between a hi-tech billionaire and a billionaire investor who doesn’t use a computer?

buffett gates buds
Image: businessinsider.in

No, it is not just the billionaire tag, it is more than that between these two. What I appreciate is that these are two men on the epitome of success, fundamentally different from one another, and still share a bond! It is a famous story that when Warren Buffet was going to meet Bill Gates, he thought it would be a boring exercise, but this one meeting gave him a BFF! Though Buffet may never invest in hi-tech business, the duo hangs out together and do what they can as geniuses do. You can be completely different from the other person and still be great friends if the intellectual frequency matches!

5. The Famous Five

What wouldn’t I give to have a childhood like these five literary kids! Enid Blyton has given us a world most of us could only wish for; the one filled with adventures and bonds for life!

Image: wikipedia.com

 

The friendship Julian, Anne, Dick, Georgina and Timmy (their pet) share is an ideal one. They go through thick and thin, solving mystery after mystery, as they accept each other as individuals.

The best part about this series is how they meet over holidays and find adventures! Now, who wouldn’t want to quech their curiosities about smugglers and criminals on islands, farms and old houses?!

The twenty-one books in the series are not bestsellers for nothing; they showcase human bonds like no other. These stories show how friends encourage you, how they protect you, and how they bring meaning in life! And hey, holidays are pure boring without them.

6. Jon Snow and Sam Tarly

I cannot resist adding this Game of Thrones example. Jon and Sam! They started off from the lowest ranks in the Watch. Sam fought for Jon and Jon fought for Sam. Now, they are reaching the top.

Related image
Image: favim.com

 

The biggest reason why their bromance is special is because they recognize each other’s specialties. Sam knows that Jon is an ideal commander and Jon knows that Sam has the intellect to change the world! He sends Sam off to do what he can best do; find a way to end their common enemy! Miles apart, they are still supporting each other and their mutual trust is commendable.

Thank you, George R.R Martin!

This picture draws another parallel and I highly agree with. 

These are my six picks of this year. There are hundreds of example in real, reel and literary world for friendship, and I have chosen the ones I feel are different than others.

Did you see my Friendship Day post from before? Read it here for an extra dose of happiness! 

Also, check out the following links for more articles on friends:

Famous Literary Friendships

Lesser Known Historical Friendships

How was your Friendship Day? What do you think about my picks? Do let me know in the comments! 

 

Daughters

Little dolls going on a stroll,
Mamma has no hold on them;
Once they learn to dress and talk.
Daughters of eve,
Once they are out to seek,
Find their way to Pandora’s box…

Today’s Book Launch at Crossword

Crossword store launched an all  new store in Bhopal just hours ago and there were some big announcements with it! Author Anand Neelakantan launched his latest book ‘Rise of Kali: Duryodhana’s Mahabharata’ and he made an amazing announcement.

Let the drums roll… 

He will soon be launching a three-book series  for Bahubali! 

There!  

He will launch a three book series about  how Kattappa became as he is and many more secrets will be revealed. The author’s friend Mr. Nagrajan added  a twist there: 

WHAT IF HE DIDN’T  KILL BAHUBALI?!!!!

AHHH!! It feels like Sherlock Holmes’ The Abominable Bride all over. Because  now I’m  thinking… what if he ain’t  dead 😅 I need a mind palace now, ta!

Besides all of these amazing launches and teasers, I attended my very 1st book launch today! Here are some moments from the launch.

The launch  👏👏😀

Mr. Neel kannan is amazingly patient and charming.  He dealt with an over excited aspiring writer (meeeee) like a gentleman he is! I have a pic with him now yayyy!

He signed for my dad too 😃

The book…

I had an awesome experience 😁 There were some yummy cupcakes,  puffs and coffee too, I should mention. Pind Baluchi took good care of our taste buds. 

Thanks a lot all of you involved  with the event!! 

Have you attended any book launches? Leave your experience in comments!

Quote from a random conversation!

This one is from my friend Srimathi who we lovingly call Srimi. A bittersweet line to end the day! 

#TextCutie 

What’s Your Angle?

Everyone has a perspective of their own. Our culture, family, schooling, and many other factors shape us as we grow. Most of the disagreements, misunderstandings and confrontation exists due to the different ways people see the world. 

Can we try understanding them from their point of view?  That would bring a lot of peace in our lives! 

Transforming Rust – Part 2

So it not just Andheri, guys!! It’s also Lower Parel!! I just walked past these beautiful paintings.  Whoever has done these, thank you so much! These many colours and concepts make my day fun. 

I love all of them. The ‘City That Never Sleeps’ now has more enthusiasts and I’m liking it!

Quitting? ?

Sometimes, I do lose hope. I feel like quitting and I am on the verge of quitting. After all, it’s smart to quit when you know things won’t be right! But then I remind myself;  I can’t quit just yet. Maybe, things will go up hill. Maybe, I  should wait just a little longer. Maybe… my dreams will come true in the next step! Have I given all that I could?

Daddy’s Little Phoenix

She had waited and waited, watching the sun go in circles around the earth. It was an accident. A truck had crashed into his car because the truck-driver was speeding. The next day a slurry of relatives had poured in, showing sympathy and sadness. They put a garland on her father’s framed photographed in the hall and an incense stick in front of it. What went on for the next fifteen days was a blur. All she could see was her father’s slim figure, pushing his specs back on his nose as he carried a book everywhere. All she could hear was his singing voice with which he taught at St. Mary’s High School. All she could feel was the stagnant time. Nothing was moving forward. It was only when a certain person from a bank showed up that she broke out of her trance…

Read the full story on Wattpad HERE! I would appreciate your effort!  🙂

When Things Go Your Way

​One day, you will know you are on the right path. You will feel the tremors of future and smell the adventure. That’s when you should close your eyes and let the universe guide your soul. I’m not say saying you should stop seeing!   I’m simply asking you to always be one with the divinity or the God, whatever you want to call the energy of creation, so that you KNOW. 

Once you focus your energy into your work and thoughts, without fears or negativity, you will get ahead. Fears are a state of mind. Do not let go of the intuitive feedback of your mind. Do not ignore your inner voice. 

Even if things are not in place right now at this moment, trust your self andischarge work for it. It will happen. 

MBA Problems #2

A class representative has to listen to teachers and students with contrasting views and caters to all. Even to those who don’t speak, because they start speaking later. Attendance? Marks? Timetable? They do it all! They are tested in every fire.

Solution: Eat well. You will need the energy to hurry all around the college and do endless excel work. You have to have a thick  skin (you eventually  develop that) God save you!

MBA problems #1

The person who takes initiative gets more than he asked for; both the duties and the criticism.

My experienced solution: Do not falter, my management  buddy, laugh at the criticism and smile through the hardworking.  People  will soon envy you and try to compete, but you’ll have the first-doer’s  advantage!

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Identifying You

Have you noticed how much your surroundings influence  you? That one news article that changes your perspective,  that one person whose words you make your own, that one incident you think defines you… We are somehow or another becoming like the art below; whats outside defines what is inside. We let this happen to us.

Its a vicious  cycle we take too lightly. For when we let things outside shape us, we lose our identities. Bit by bit. A piece at a time.

It is the fortune of great people who can think for themselves, form their own views.  Like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, or Einstein. But can we not cultivate that trait, even if for small things?

Reflect! What did you personally think about that one person or that one news article before other people or a screen changed your mind? Have you considered all sides of a story, all facts and thought about it? Don’t let a screen tell you what to think! Don’t let someone, anyone, invade your space of mind.

You and only you have the right to your views. Think. Understand. Weigh the different sides. Only then decide. You should be the first one to identify you!

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Same inside as outside

Bollywood Booming!

Do read my article ‘Bollywood Booming‘ on Creator.co ! Here!

“The past one year has seen a big leap in both technical and artistic qualities in the Bollywood movies. And I’m excited!” 

 

Another love quote

“A dangerous possession that leaves you haunted when exorcised… Love.”

– Mansi

broken-heart

Image: tinybuddha.com

For Friendship Day…

Friends are like pieces of soul. Put together, you become YOU!

Friends laugh together.

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Friends do the crazy stuff together!

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Friends get into troubles together!

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Friends know you so well they know what to do when you are shapeless!

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Friends remind you of who you are, wake you up!

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They protect you,

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They fight with you too sometimes!

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But in the end they stand with you,

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They give you new reason for living.

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And they don’t do if for themselves!

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They stay with YOU!

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After all ups and downs, you end up partying together and laughing!

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Just reminiscing about the old times, laughing…

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Because friends are a gift of God.

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I wish you find true friends who do it all for you! Who remind you of your purpose and stay with you forever.
Happy friendship day!

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Deep in conversation

Today I saw these women deep in conversation, at Nerul local train station, while skillfully beading the flowers to make gajras.

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Gajra is an adornment Indian women use for hair. They give a beautiful fragrance that I love! It was a peaceful and joyous moment between the ladies, and I enjoyed the moment too.

I wonder what was the boy thinking!

Mirror Falls and The Silver Maiden

Do you knows what goes on in the night, in the deep dark wild?
Somewhere in the jungle, a branch broke, on a scared little child,
Running from a leopard and a tiger and a demon’s howl.
With nothing but a stone in his hand, and a prayer in his heart,
He was holding his breath, running behind the trees from a bears growl,

There he heard a stream flow, saw the moonlight dance on a flowing surface,
In the wolf’s hour, a great escape!

Holding his stone tight and pushing back in his heart,
He jumped into the water of the Mirror Falls.
Below the surface was nothing but cold,
And on the riverbed a dark patch of mold.

He looked back up at the moon and saw,
A woman with silver hair; he was awed.
Was she an angel or just a human, her sight was one to behold.
Tired of all the beasts and cold.
The moon fell on her skin and reflected a golden warmth,
He smiled underwater, unclasping the stone, well under her charm.
He shut his eyes, for a time that felt infinite,
Opened them again and this time there was no one, but memory of a dream indefinite.

He was inside a room with four walls and a warm bed,
‘I wish I could see you in my dream again’ he said.
‘Always pulling me out of the dark, shaking my demons away,
We stay soulmates, my love, and we will stay this way’.

Quotes from Oscar Wilde to Make Your Day

The artist is the creator of beautiful things.

No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style.

Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming.

There is no such thing as a moral or an  immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That’s all.

No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything.

Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital.

We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely. All art is quite useless.

(Selected works of Oscar Wilde, SB International)

Selfie WIth Daughters: Just a Public Display?

Twitter is buzzing with #SelfieWithDaughters pics. For most of you who have been following this campaign, you already understand why this hashtag has become a part of all the buzz. PM Narendra Modi announced the campaign during his show ‘Mann ki Baat’, hoping to spread love and respect for ‘daughters’. Why? Because India is a contrasting country. There are people who respect women, and then there are those who don’t. The  Nirbhaya rape case brought a ‘spring’ of protests against violence, disrespect and inequality thrown at women.

The root of all this, as any one may observe, is the wrong upbringing of boys and girls. Some wrong notions, prejudices and  misinformed decisions lead to women feeling week and boys becoming ignorant- even violent towards women. Thus, the importance of the campaign!

Let me repeat, there are some people who respect women, and some who don’t. The people with wrong notions and prejudices don’t.  PM Modi’s campaign is a baby step towards the right direction; giving the beautiful father-daughter relation focus on the world stage. This is a campaign that saw millions of Indians showing the world that most of us are not rapists, or violent people. We, too, have healthy family relationships.

This campaign not only touches the dads and daughters, but also mothers, uncles, brothers, and everyone else who can log in to a social networking site. Watching so many pictures of fathers and daughters embeds an image that daughters are precious! In the back of their minds, all the boys and men, even those who don’t have their own daughters will realize something. It may be just a bud, but it will be a start of a new thought process; creation of a  new social image! It is the society we learn from. A child will learn to respect others and himself/herself in a respectful society. After all, it is not just for saying that a child is the reflection of his/her parents; it is a fact!

‘Selfie with daughter’ is a campaign for Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (Save daughters, educate Daughters). It is focused at spreading love and respect for daughters; and to stop sex selective abortion. One may argue how this spreads awareness in villages without cell phones. I ask these people;

Is it only the villagers who don’t respect their daughters? Are the criminals only from villages? If you put the population of the urban and suburban area, you will get around half the population of India. They have cell phones and internet. They use Facebook and Instagram, if not twitter. Do you people, who say this campaign is not creating the awareness it needs to, really think that the so called ‘better’ half of the population is not a reason for disrespect towards women?

I feel sad watching people criticize a campaign with good intentions. I also regret that some supporters have consorted to foul language while trolling the non-supporters on twitter and other sites. Even some respectable celebrities have been abusive. Whether for personal reasons or just to catch attention, no one is eligible to try and insult something/ someone doing the greater good.

Kavita Krishnan goes to the ridiculous extent of calling the Visionary Modi a stalker. Kavita, doesn’t this remark reflects your own attitude? I think this is quite an accusation, especially with the position you hold. As a women’s rights activist, you are meant to support women. Girls are women. Daughters ,too, are!

Instead of abusing, DO something good yourself!

On the other side, however, many millions have welcomed this campaign and contributed to it. These supporters are not just Indians! People from around the world are loving this campaign. Support of this magnitude leaves me happy at last.

India needs critics for sure, but not abusers. We don’t need people who just talk about changing things while sitting on couches. We don’t need people coming in limelight because they abuse. We need people with a wide view. We need people who can walk the talk. We need people who speak constructively. We need those who embrace CHANGE!

For all the contrasts in our country, we still make a beautiful land with vibrant people! Let’s take the initiative of creating a better society without blaming or abusing others.

Lastly, don’t forget to post your #SelfieWithDaughters! Let’s make this a good day in history 🙂

A Worthy Rival

When you can’t find a worthy rival, look at yourself. Is anyone as difficult as you for you to overcome?

My Journey, A Little Different From Other

I walk the William Wordsworth lane,

And listen closely to The Ancient Mariners chant,

Carmen Fantasy plays in my mind,

Beethoven also can.

I learn from the strangers and animals and nature,

And also from One Piece,

When I stargaze at the twinkling skies,

Stories from mysterious spaces come to me!

I walk a little further, exploring every time,

And the Pursuit of Happyness  continues,

For I believe life has a gift,

For everyone in the time that is due.

Spirits of The Dark Alley : The City of Opposites

http://w.tt/1mUrNL2

I’m going to write stories for wattpad and share them here too ! MinutesOut is expanding 😀 Do read and comment. Give Likes if you really like my stories 😉 Happy reading!

On This Indian Independence Day, a Simple Thought…

As the schools and colleges prepare for Independence Day celebrations and the Red Fort is decorated for our new PM’s speech, there are people who are so not interested in these things. There are students who think of this day as nothing but a mere holiday. What’s the big deal, they think, just chill! There are working people with the same line of thinking, and some people even find it irksome that the shops have to be closed for The Independence Day.
What’s the celebration all about? It’s just another 15th of another month! And anyways, what has India accomplished in the past 67 years besides being highly rated in corruption and standing 2nd in population?

Well, for people thinking along these lines, I want to say something.

We may not have the best bureaucracy in the world, but it’s not the worse either. We may have Pakistan firing on us unprovoked, but we do not our army murdering people because of their religion. We do have as many millionaires like in America, but we are not a debt ridden country either! We do not stand tall like China as the fastest emerging super power, but we do not have manufacturing industries creating mass cancer victims either! We may not have enough oil, but we have enough peace to bask in the glory of freedom!

Our government is improving. Our people are becoming aware and contributing. We have a large population, a young population, that will push us further up in near future! We have a strong culture, more families knit together by love and traditions, an evolving work culture, and an expanding pool of educated people!

We are a nation built on sacrifices of millions of people. Their ideas, ideals, and wishes for future have been absorbed throughout India. Even after many conflicts, we remain one and will remain so for eternity! That is the magic in our nation. We are a democracy that respects all cultures and evolves with time.

We should definitely think about the dozens of problems we are facing, but just for today, let us all stand tall with pride.

So, puff your chest out and keep your head up! We are a nation built by warriors, leaders, teachers, thinkers, kings, queens, brilliant men, and strong women! They deserve to be remembered and respected. The celebrations are held to celebrate their lives, and to remind us of their will.

Ramrajya, Sone ki Chidiya, Bharat…. Let’s make sure our nation regains the prosperity from the golden era, when these words were used to describe us! Let’s celebrate today with enthusiasm, hope, and pride.

Jai Hind!

http://m.ibnlive.com/news/india-celebrates-independence-day-68-significant-events-in-the-last-67-years/492214-3.html

Infrastructure vs The Basic Structure: How The Big and The Small Things are Connected?

     In the latest joint-parliamentary meeting, the Hon. President of India clearly stated the blueprint of the new government. It is a laudable to-do list! They have covered the much needed points, especially about the Infrastructure, corruption, and black money.  Infrastructure is an indispensable part of an economy, and India is leagues behind from its contemporary rivals China, Brazil, Taiwan, and South Africa. Corruption is the grass-root level of decay in India, so yes, it has to be weeded out of the system. Black money again is a big problem. It must be brought back in circulation and steps should be strictly taken against it in future. There are many more big problems like brain drain, illegal immigration, a moldy education system, messy town planning ( I think it should be a whole different department), environmental degradation, e-governance, etc.

     But what about the small problems? What about the problems that we see every day and have grown so used to that we have learned to live with them? What about the problems that have direct effect on our peace of mind? Let me jot down examples to remind you.

     If you are in Mumbai, you know about how dirty the railway terminals are. You would know about the nallas, the slums, Juhu beach loaded with filth, to point out a few. These are supposed to be grand and sparkling as they are in the Financial Capital and Bollywood centre of India, where thousands of people gather every day, including tourists. What does it do to our thought process? No amount hit movies or tall buildings can fix this image.

     Delhi- ites know what a black and white city Delhi is, with clean and neat metros and roads in contrast with jammed and crammed, stinking market places and localities. The old and the New Delhi are two different worlds. So are CP and areas like Kamla market. What does it makes people who see the mess everyday think? No number of metro rails or even bullet trains can reduce this difference.

     Bhopal, my very own city, could be an international favorite only if the town plan wasn’t messy, if BRTS was introduced AFTER widening the roads (possible only and only with a good town planning!), if the areas around the lakes, dams and heritage sites could be built in a modern standard and saved from encroachment, if only people didn’t throw garbage wherever they wanted… No amount of building malls will correct the tainted scenery.

     You begin to think- this mess is the reality, and that’s how it’s going to be. Deal with it, or migrate to a foreign land.

     TO ALL INDIANS. You know how many throw garbage out of the train. Simply because there is no dustbin in the coach. Why can’t we complain, or collect the mess in a bag and keep it in a corner?

     You know how many spit and dirty public places even if there are dustbins.

     You know how you ignore complaining to the authorities when public toilets, places are not clean. That’s because the authorities don’t care, I agree.

     But can this cycle of ignorance and blame game continue? It’s like a wheel in zero gravity; spinning without moving forward, eternally in one place.

     The development in Infrastructure, manufacturing industry, and in every other sector will mean NOTHING if the walls are covered in pan spit and garbage, and if the toilets stink. Can you imagine entering a world-class railway terminal with stained walls and garbage all around, with no proper services? Zero corruption level will not help if people don’t wake up and realize that clean and beautiful cities are their RIGHT and they should demand it. Visuals have a deep affect on a human’s psychology. What you see is what you believe in. You see garbage, you believe that that is the reality. Ignorance settles in, but subconsciously you want out. This leads to unsatisfied and frustrated citizens. No amount of increase in GDP and PPP will satisfy these frustrated masses. If they don’t see the development, how will they believe in it?

               So what can Policy- makers do?

     With a new enthusiasm and energy, they can set a special department or team for reaching the roots of this mess. It starts from the higher ups in bureaucracy. Give them targets, give them incentives, give them strict instructions to keep a check. TRAIN them as per the modern needs and international standards. As you go lower, give the workers, cleaners and other people doing odd jobs training and equipment. Make their work respectable!Good administration and effective communication is very important here. What happens is, that people with seemingly insignificant jobs like cleaning, sitting on counters, making rounds to check on others, labour jobs, etc. are not educated, trained, informed, or equipped. Even if they know what to do, no one checks if they are doing their jobs right (For an example, the general and sleeper coaches in a train is a mess. Let’s not even bring up the toilets!) As people already have no expectations, there is no strict action. The cycle thus again goes to the higher ups.

     I propose that at least half the jobs regarding administration, implementation and grievances/ complaints should be given to management students. The lack of training and proper standards for government jobs recruitment at railways, ticket counters, public hospitals, various registration centers should be corrected. Proper checks must be ensured, and their performance measured. Complaints should be quickly handled.

     Cleanliness, government and citizen communication, quick solutions to the problem are the basic structure of growth besides trade and economy. The newer cities should be planned with future in prospects in mind to avoid repetitions of  the present problems. These are the little services that make a ‘beautiful’ economy. The policy makers should introduce reforms and policies, to make what already exists, better!

             What should citizens do?

     AWAKE!! Realize that the higher standards of life can be reached for the rich and the poor alike if public areas are clean and beautiful! It is your right! The standard of living rises with better hygiene, more happiness, and communication with a government that responds and helps. A beautiful house can give you peace only until you stay in. But once you step out to work or just for a stroll, it depends on your surroundings to either frustrate or invigorate. Promote environment friendly culture, use bicycles whenever possible, stop treating your cities and towns like garbage cans or washbasins or toilets, be an active citizen! If every person keeps his area of the town clean, if every municipality does its work like it should be, the day isn’t far when we will ‘feel’ India becoming a superpower instead of just reading about it in newspapers. Society is another name for tolerance, patience, and unity combined. It can either strive to move forward or starve and die.

     I am going to start an awareness revolution by questioning the authorities and telling them about what I see wrong. I will take advantage of the newly formed government’s energy, and help them it in reaching the bigger goals through small steps. It won’t matter if I’m in Bhopal or outside.  I will do my part. Will you?

College Interviews and Lucky Charms

College Interviews and Lucky Charms

I have been preparing to get into a good MBA college for quite some time now, and the high time has come! I have GD and PI calls lined up. It’s at times like these that the tension is at its max. Have i studied enough? Will i make it? Am I even good enough?  Please the God of Luck, smile upon me!! A few months back, I attended a seminar for the prestigious Welinkars College, and I got a pen…

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College Interviews and Lucky Charms

I have been preparing to get into a good MBA college for quite some time now, and the high time has come! I have GD and PI calls lined up. It’s at times like these that the tension is at its max. Have i studied enough? Will i make it? Am I even good enough?  Please the God of Luck, smile upon me!! A few months back, I attended a seminar for the prestigious Welinkars College, and I got a pen there. A beautiful blue pen with the name WELINGKARS printed on it. Its always such a beautiful sight… whenever I use that pen I feel energized and all riled up to go!It’s because I so want to get into a good MBA college, especially Welingkars!! This pen has become kind of a lucky charm to me somehow. I carry it everywhere like a superstitious maniac (Makes me remember that Park Avenue deo ad, literally, 😡 ) . I plan to keep it with me on the day of my final test in Welingkars and even after I graduate from there ( this pen lets me dream on)!

But today, alas, the luck charm seems to be getting jinxed… A faculty in my work place, famous for a difficult personality, took it without my permission. Now, I have asked her once to return it and am praying for the lady to give my charm back without hassle! (I feel i can go to depths of searching her desk area!) Its strange asking for a pen… but i have to!

I’m going to share a short timeline of this strange yet noteworthy incident.

12th may,

1 pm

How strange it is! I feel so afraid of losing the pen. I’m scared she won’t return it! I’m angry she took it in the first place! Its frustrating. I ask her once to return it in a wimper like voice. She nods but looks away. Curse you!

1.18 pm

This is excruciating. She has the guts to say she cant find it with a despicable smile on! I feel like crying. How can my lucky charm be stolen like this? Unfair. I am going to be persistent and get it back, I swear. Come what may! (She is kind of influential, so messing with her may mean a lecture from boss or even the end of my job….)

1.30

Together with a friend, I tried to sneak inside the lady’s bag. Yes. We tried, but in vain. In the end, mom’s moral lessons from childhood came into the active mode. Its bad manners to sneak into people’s stuff… You win, mom!

My friend consoled me for about ten minutes and I took my cabin seat, still unwavering from my resolve, waiting for a chance.

1.45

The lady comes out of her office and prepares to leave.

“Mam, would you please give my pen back? Its my lucky, lucky charm’ I say loudly. May 5-6 people heard. Embarrassing for her.

This time, she finds it at once. Yes, she’s angry and pissed off. She smiles as if I have hurt her badly. I show her the name of of college printed on the pen, hoping for her to understand . I’m not a stingy person, just a little superstitious due to my desperation to get through the GD PI! Can it get through her iron skull? She had misinterpreted my words once before and created quite a scene. Thats just a few days back too. Please, not again! I don’t give a damn, but its awkward to be fighting a lady my mom’s age…

3.34

Its really funny and surprising how I panicked. In most other circumstances, I don’t bother to even remember if a pen is missing! However, after everything that happened today, I realize that deep inside a person always has insecurities and a rebellion instinct.  Even when you grow up and start working. These feelings intensify when you are being pushed to an edge, and without realizing, you start believing in things like charms and luck. If anyone tries to take that last sliver of hope, you fight back instinctively. I won’t deny the existence of magic in this world; it is my way to keep my calm when in trouble. And if anyone tries to take it away, then goodluck to them with their days of darkness (btoom).

 

 

 

 

An April’s Fool

I joined a job as an administrator in a coaching institute. The very first day of my very first job began with vigor and eagerness to learn. Managing people, managing records, the secret files and financial know-how… I wanted to attain it all as quickly as I could have. It has been 12 days now. Today is the thirteenth day of my job, and all I have done is to create excel sheets and make  calls. Is it under-utilization of the human resources that this place already lacks? Is it just bad luck that there are no big companies in my city?

For God’s sake, I just received a call from a weird student who hung up without listening to my whole response!

I have been pondering over my restlessness, reflecting on myself. A girl like myself who has good communication skills, technical qualifications, a degree in Business Administration, and is eager to stride to the top of life is stuck with calls and excel sheets? Today, I finally came to terms with myself.

Recently, having a ton of free time at the office, I’ve been reading articles and e-news a lot. There are so many people out there doing so many ordinary things in an extraordinary way. Some actually do extraordinary things. There are people going from rags to riches, and rising on the top as I write. One thing common between them all is;

THEY DON’T HAVE A CRAPPY JOB! Or more precisely, NO JOB IS CRAPPY FOR THEM!

Warren Buffett has sold chewing gums and papers. Walt Disney struggled as a cartoonist in the beginning. Jamshetji Tata was a simple trader before having towns named after him! Jackie Chan was just an extra when he started. J.k Rowling was rejected by dozens of publishers! According to many of us, we are too qualified for our jobs. What is there to learn? But these big bosses had their own set of mind. They had dreams. They were determined to do what they wanted to in life. Failures and criticisms were just the ways of improvement for them.  In times of desperation, they focused on their dreams and stayed calm, never ceasing to think about the next step!

They loved what they did. They decided what they loved.  While I conceitedly complain how overqualified I am for my job, there are people consistently working towards achieving their goals. Many of these might have a supposedly crappy job to earn a living while they plan their moves! Job satisfaction is crucial to a persons happiness, but I discovered that having a clear view of what you want is the key to job satisfaction! Its a chain reaction!

Now, all I have to do is keep my eyes on the future I want to create (I want to be published, have my own production houses and hotel chains, seriously), and learn. I must decide what I want and earn it. Its not just me, but also a whole lot of people like me who need to realize how life makes an April’s fool out of you. Though born in April, I shouldn’t fall into the rat-trap and become one!

So, my dear reader, lets get wise this April’s Fool Day! Große Träume! *

 

*dream big

Another quote from contemplation!

I wish I had 3 hearts like the octopus. One for love, one for courage, and one for pumping blood. It’s a bit stressful for a single little thing to do all of it!

Mansi_B

Amazing Science

Geometry is everywhere…. seriously…. and it confounds me to no ends… literally…

My latest thought after studying geometry for hours at stretch, and reading about how nature adores it! DO read about Golden Ratio, Phyllotaxis, and Patterns in nature! You will be in for a good surprise 🙂

PHYLLOTAXIS is studies how the nature designs itself in the form of flowers, leaves and other organisms. Golden Ratio is an astounding aspect of this world that can define what we see as beautiful. Every pattern in nature can be based on and recreated by maths. Its truly amazing!

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Its not just abt unrequitted love, but a broken friendship too!

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Memories…

Its not just abt unrequitted love, but a broken friendship too!

mansi babbar (@MinutesOut) has shared a tweet with you

Half a million ppl died in the partition of India. Is it nt important v keep a minutes silence b4 celebrations?
This was nothing less of a war…  #indian #indepenceday #tamas — MinutesOut (@MinutesOut)

Mansi_B

Love!

Love!

Love is gentle, that is why is it powerful, just like water… gentle enough to bathe a baby and yet a destroyer like no other!

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Finally, I designed a book cover for my short stories! This is not final, but this definitely is…

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