Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Is India Shining

Yeah I guess,it is right now in the it shining or a very debatable topic. Yes of course I am talking of the heinous terrorist attack on Mumbai,India.

The media has very(as usual) packaged the massacre and given a very saleable name calling it "India's 9/11." Well if it was India's 9/11 , is India reacting the way USA did after the 9/11?? thats the question which needs to be answered.

The politicians have reacted so predictably, selling themselves at every given opportunity. Do they really think we canot see through the sham?? They even managed to insult families of the dead. How much lower can they fall still? Heads rolled and the blame game was as usual, with people resigning from their posts...which by the way they can win back in the next elections...does this make any sense??

The media gave a nonstop account of the happenings in Mumbai. They harrased victims and their families. They asked uncomfortable questions to families waiting for any news of loved ones held hostage.It was bizarre....I felt I have somehow been transported to Kargil war after watching 'Barkha Dutt' becoming hysterical and increasing the terror of people watching the News. Is this responsible Journalism??

People of Mumbai are angry and so is entire India and Indians across the Globe. Inspite of Mumbai being attacked so many times by terrorists, when is the goverment going to wake up? Its the financial capital of India and a gateway to India for anyone who wants to travel, do business or setup a business in our beautiful country.

I am so far away from India but am saddened by the turn of events. Terrorism is the truth of modern world which we cannot ignore. It affects everybody's life be it any country.

Is Mumbai's Spirit and in turn India's spirit slowly dying??

Only time will tell whether the questions in my mind and also in the minds of my fellow countrymen will ever be answered.

Publish Post

Friday, 7 November 2008

My Experiments with Cooking - 2

By nature I am a calm and gentle person (thats what I think, am sure lots of my friends will disagree). Inspite of all this calmness I have an uncanny knack of being uncoordinated when it is anything to do with chores and mainly in the kitchen.

My hubby will have many examples of these situations. Mainly when I am pouring sugar, lentils or semolina into airtight containers and manage to spill half of it on the kitchen platform. I have tried and tried but have never managed to perfect the art. I always secretly envy the people who can do this without spilling a bit.

Armed with such meagre qualifications, jumping into the 'art of cooking' was like jumping from a airplane without a parachute. All those who have read 'My experiments with cooking-1' would already know about how I approach it, with a bit of weariness and a lot of sarcasm.

My 2nd foray was when my mum was away in Bangalore. I am sure whenever my pater recalls that incident a shiver would definitely run down his spine. Even now when that incident is dissected by family members he just gives me a very fatherly loving smile.

The day was 'Chaturthi' and just like many Marathis he fasts and only eat fruits and 'Sabudana Khichdi'. The task of making the 'Khichdi' fell into my lap since I have never seen my father cook ever in his life (I think my aversion to cooking came from his side of the family). The disaster with the chapati incidence was still fresh in my mind but I got all the instructions from mater on the telephone. Also her cookery book 'Ruchira' was handy.

We flipped open to the page and as per the recipe needed to soak the 'Sabudana' for 4 hours but a minimum of 2 hours will also do. In the hurry to get over the task both of us soaked it in water and decided that 30 mins were more than enough. My father was a bit concerned saying let us check up with Mater, I allayed his doubts by being confident of the time and said these cookery books are useless.

After the 30 mins were over I made the khichadi and even decorated it with Coriander to make it look delish and presented it to 'Baba'(my father). The first morsel into my mouth and I knew all my overconfidence had got a serious beating. The 'Sabudana' was as unsoaked and hard as small pebbles. Without uttering a single complaint my dad finished what was on his plate.

My Dad has a extremely strong constitution a stubborn digestive system. I with my atrocious dish managed to shake his digestive system and he was running to the loo after every few minutes. I had avoided that horror item and thus avoided creating any havoc in my tummy.

When my mother came to know of it, I proudly took the credit of the situation. My sisters had a good laugh and vowed never to try my cooking when it was unsupervised.

All in all it turned out fine. My dad was fine the next day and I now try to follow the guidelines given in the cookbooks albeit never to a T.

Disclaimer: My husband has been having my handcooked food for the past 9 years and has still managed to survive. He even relishes a few dishes I make....

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Daytime

As you can see from the title...yes its about my dog oops you can say ex-dog since he is been adopted by family friends last year when we moved here to Lancaster.

For people who do not know about me, let me just give you a snapshot of my Dog 'Buddy' - a chocolate Labrador retriever. You can read more about him in my first ever post 'Missing Buddy.
He is a very naughty and curious creature.

I was recently having a conversation about Dogs with some friends and I remembered this funny incident worth blogging about.

One day when I was back in good ole Pune-India, I was taking down the laundry from the line and one plastic clip fell on the floor. Any people who own dogs especially a Labrador will know that they eat anything and everything even you have just given them a meal . Buddy just jumped on it and started chewing it vigorously. I ran after him to take it out from his mouth and he thinking it was a game started running even faster around the whole house. By the time I caught up with him he had already swallowed most of it alongwith a metal ring which was 1.5 cms in diameter.
I was in Panic and immediately called up Hubby dearest and the vet. We took him to a Xray clinic for a Abdomen X-ray. The moment we landed there we got angry, weird and horrified stares from the junta who had come for an X Ray at the clinic. They were so surprised to know that we had got our dog for the procedure. In retrospect it seems hilarious but at that time I wanted to scream at those people. In the Xray we could clearly see the ring and it was huge and could cause a lot of problems incase it got suck in the intestines.

We hurried over to the Vet with the Xray and the doc gave him some concoction for Buddy to just throw up and get it out of his sytem.That did not work so the Doc prescribed some laxatives. His instructions were to check Buddy's poop everyday to see if he had passed the ring.

We tried feeding him the laxative with his food , Icecream, Mutton and what not. That dog had some nose and he would just not touch his food. Finally we gave up and turned to the simple most recipe of feeding him Bananas and Banana Milkshakes. He just slurped away on the Milkshake and behaved as if he did not have a care in the world.

The task of monitoring his poop was reluctantly taken over by Hubby (Who would want anyone to see you poking around in dogs poop as if looking for a treasure). I guess he did it half hearted and mostly in the cover of darkness.

The most coveted and awaited ring kept eluding us and we lost our patience. The milkshake routine continued for a fortnight with us being on tenterhooks whereas Mr. Buddy was his playful self. We finally decided to take another Xray to confirm that all was clean and clear. The result was that everything was OK and the ring had passed out.

This incident was one of the many which we encountered while living with our lovable Buddy.

I cherish these moments and wish his new family to enjoy many such moments with Buddy.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

The Festival of Lights...

Deepavali or Diwali is here. Today is 'Laxmi Pujan ' one of the biggest days for Hindus across the globe. I am here far away from home in foreign lands and missing all the festivities back home in India. And to top it I am in office and working today...which is so weird.

I still remember the grand celebrations when I was growing up. Started with 'Dhanteras' and ended with 'Bhai dooj'. All the hogging on sweets and wearing new clothes and bursting crackers in the front yard with the house ablaze with lights and diyas (Oil Lamps).

'Narkachaturdashi' is mainly celebrated in Maharashtra- a region where I come from. Its celebrated one day after Dhanteras. It is believed that on that day if you are not bathed and dressed before Sunrise you will go to Hell(Narka) , which we still believe. I remember my mother waking my sis and me up at 4 in the morning and putting scented Oil and a scrub for making us pure on that day. I clearly remember the rough scrub she used on us and scrubbed us raw. Also I can remember the sheer joy we had in bursting crackers. After the sun was up my cousin Ajay and I used to go hunting for any crackers in the front yard which were still usable. The sheer joy of finding one was like a hitting the jackpot or discovering a huge treasure. Then came the fight of who will get the golden chance to use it.

In the afternoon after a heavy meal my entire family alongwith my uncle and aunt and cousin sat down in the front yard to make huge Rangoli creations. It is still so unbelievable that My uncle used to make fantastic Rangolis. Ours were little hodgepodge of colours over which a lot of fuss was made. The grand finale was done by my eldest sister who has a flair for everything creative and was the master of rangolis. I always secretly wanted be like her.

In the evenings we would take sweets to wish our Neighbours and friends. Also another memory comes back is of making a FORT(just like a sand castle) of stones and bricks and mud and cow dung much before Diwali started. We used to build one with the material from our garden. The collection of cow dung was a hilarious process. It basically meant running on the street to gather dung after a cow herd had passed by(I still wonder why we needed that stinky and yucky cow dung). Once it was ready and the mud was still wet we took mustard seeds and planted them in a precise design. Watering the seeds also was very important. The aim was to burst the fort with fire carckers. Somehow I never remember bursting it....maybe because it was all the labour we put into it.

Somehow I feel Diwali has become very commercial now. The Diwali of yesteryears had that pureness and simplicity we lack now. The main aim at that time was to spend time with family and celebrate Hinduism. Somehow Diwali nowadays just does'nt feel like what it was before. Maybe its because I have grown up and it becomes harder and harder to just be in the moment.
I miss spending this Diwali with my in-laws and parents and I wish I could have just flown home for a few days and escaped to my childhood once more.


Wednesday, 22 October 2008

My Super Sweet 16

I was flipping the channels on the telly as usual with the want for seeing a sane program. After watching innumerable re-runs of my ever favorite series 'Friends'. I dared to experiment and came to a program called "My Super Sweet 16". The program is produced in U.S of A and revolves around the 16th Birthday Celebration of a Super Rich Brat.

It starts off with the chap or chappy introducing themselves and showing off their rich lifestyle. Yesterday it was all about a girl who was dumb as a doorknob with a whiny voice. She wants a Horse for her Birthday, also gets a Cadillac since she hates her Ford and throws her Party in some huge mall with more than 100 people invited. The theme is Las Vegas so you have showgirls , magician ,poker tables and what not. Plus there was some celebrity singer who came and performed (I have no clue who he was).

The girl was to dress as a Barbie and so she needed her Ken to escort her to her Birthday. They round up some of the so called "hottest Boys" in town and call them over for audition. They are to be good looking and intelligent the girl and her friends take a quiz and ask the boys to strip from waist this point my brain was about to explode in a million pieces...

I really did not have the stamina to watch anymore after this...all this for turning 16???

Do people really watch that show??? I guess they must be. I really do not like these reality programs. Especially those which so such extravagance. WHAT DO YOU THINK?? Do you like such type of shows?

I remember my 16th Birthday. There were no celebrations since my Grandfather had passed away a few days back and we were in mourning. Also I was going to appear for my HSSC exams so it was a double whammo!!!.

I regretted the decision of me being brave and venturing into unchartered waters of new telly programs. I promptly searched for my all time favourite "Friends" and settled into the comfortable and familiar territory.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

The simple life

My ususal work day starts with a cup of coffee and checking my mails and getting ready for work.
Today when I got up, I saw rain pounding on the windows and the first thought that came to my mind was "oh damn, the f****** rain has started again".The urge to creep back into the covers was so very tempting.

Living in the UK, you do get used to the continuous rain but after a week of glorious weather it was a disappointment. I got dressed as quietly as possible as hubby dearest was snoring away to glory (him being on a sabbatical after a year of MBA studies). I got bundled up in my trusty jacket and plodded towards work.

My walk to my workplace takes me through the centre of town. I saw few people under shop awnings who looked as surprised as I was, with the weather turning bad. Rest of the crowd was just walking head down trying not to get wet in the downpour.

As I walked on, I heard giggles and laughter. And then in front of me walked 3 school girls trying to hide under one small teeny weeny umbrella. In that whole process nearly all of them were getting drenched. Inspite of that I could hear squeals of laughter and chatter as if it was just another day. This evoke of laughter put a smile on my face as well and I forgot the foul mood I was in.

Why is it that when we are younger everything looks so promising? When did we forget to laugh at the simple joys of life? When did we forget being kids and just living in the moment. Try observing a toddler and you will be so amazed to see that even a plastic bottle rolling on the floor will evoke fits of giggles from him.

I remember enjoying the rains when I was in school. I used to go on our terrace with my younger cousin. We used to block the outlets and let the pounding rain fill up the terrace. We then pretended we were swimming in that murky, dirty water. It was so much fun.

Another time, when in college, my best friend and I both went to see a friend on my two wheeler (Kinetic Honda) in a downpour. Since the vehicle was known to have bad traction in water I had put my feet on the road to have a better control. In that process one of my footwear slipped from my foot and got lost in the water. Well we had to find it as it was tough walking with just one sandal. I parked my bike and then we went fishing for my lost sandal in the dirty water. We were laughing so much and that whole search looked so silly, that people passing by thought us to be crazy . And getting wet in the rain was not even an issue.

The journey to adulthood weighs us down with responsibilities. It makes us much too sensible to enjoy the small things in life. Now we need sitcoms to make us laugh. And sometimes even these do not work.

Life is so much simpler when we are younger. Todays incident has brought back so many pleasant memories of my childhood. Even though I do not enjoy rains like so many other people do. I will try my best to laugh a little and do something crazy every chance I get. I will try try to be one of the laughing girls under that umbrella.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

My Experiments with Cooking - 1

Cooking has always been my nemesis ever since I was a girl of 14. Growing up in a household with two elder sisters I was shielded from this chore for quite some time. But there is no escape from cooking if you are a girl born in the Indian Middle Class. The day eventually had to come sometime.

Mommy dearest had tried number of times to steer my interest towards it but I had escaped from that ordeal unscathed.For this I thank my father and my two elder sisters for delaying my foray in this scary world of 'cooking' by taking the mantle themselves.

One fine day, 'Mater' had figured it out and she outsmarted all of us. That day my sisters had gone out and my Pops also was not there. She pounced on me (just as a mother shakes a pup by the neck to correct him) and dragged me to face the unthinkable.

The first experiment was to knead the dough for 'Phulkas' (Rotis). As per my mom, if you know how to make the perfect dough and then a perfect roti, you were set for life. She being an excellent cook herself, wanted all of us to be the same. Alas!! she could only rub her magic on my two sisters. As for me I resisted so badly in the first instance that her enthusiasm was a wee bit dampened by my reactions.

To make the dough you need Wheat flour, water and bit of cooking oil. There was to be sequence to when you could add what and in what proportions. Me being the utmost rebel and trying to get out of the situation as fast I could did not pay heed to her specific directions and just added the entire jug of water to the flour and started kneading it. It became a sloshing mess and instead of the dough becoming a soft ball it was more like a soup with bits of dough swimming in it. Mater was still enthusiastic and gave me another chance.

Next time I was a bit careful with the water but still managed to pour more water than needed and the so called dough was more like a thick porridge.I got so disgusted with that porridge sticking to my hands ,feeling yucky and not coming off at all ( I still have nightmares whenever I am kneading dough now). Aai (mom in my mother tongue) I could see was trying to keep her wits together looking at my experiments.

I guess third time lucky is what they say and I finally got it close to the consistency required to roll out a phulka....whew!!! thats done with. I really did not want her hovering over me and screaming instructions in my ear. Aai was jubiliant by my success whereas I felt utterly defeated, very much akin to prisoners of war, who did not know what their fate was going to be.

The next step was rolling out a perfect phulka and cooking it on a Gas burner. She said kneading the dough is child's play,now comes the toughest part. Oh man !I was never so demoralised in my short life after I heard that.

Out came the flat round wooden board and a rolling pin. These instruments looked so very scary to me as they just spelled it out in bold, "You're a Girl and You will have to Cook your entire life". I was not ready to accept that and that deep rooted fear is still in some corner of my mind even now.

Under her watchful eyes I started rolling the dough with the pin and my entire Geography lesson flashed in front my eyes. Every time I rolled out a Phulka it came out looking like 'Antarctica', 'New Zealand' or ' the African' Continent. Try as I could I was just not able to make the perfect shape of a Circle. Mater was not at all disillusioned as I was. She was still basking in her achievement of catching me by the neck and turning me in to atleast something which bore semblance to a girl.

After repeatedly rolling out all the continents I was first allowed to watch her cook it on the flame and then she gave me a chance to do it. I tried my best to copy her but was not too successful in that venture. The Continents came out of the fire all charred and uncooked and looked as if numerous battles had been raged on them.

After the entire "Operation Phulka" was over, Pater and my two sisters walked in the house unaware of my trial and also that they will be the victims of my experiment. The entire clan proceeded to admire the continents and words of praise were hurled at me as if I had won a Nobel Prize.
Try as I could I was still not basking in my glory as heart in heart I felt defeated. The "Persona" of me , was changing rapidly and I was still not ready for that change.

Thus started my early experiments with Cooking, not too exciting , painful and which really shook me from the core.

(To follow - More of my Adventures oops Misadventures in Cooking)

Friday, 26 September 2008

Funny Poem

As a rule
Man is a fool
When its hot
He wants it cool
When its cool
He wants it hot
He always wants
That which is not


Read this funny poem and it was so true had to put it on my blog

And they call women complicated...... :)

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

What is sucess ?

I liked this poem a lot so thought it needed to be posted in my Blog.

He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;

Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the
love of little children;

Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;

Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty or failed to express it;

Who has left the world better than he found it,

Whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;

Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had;

Whose life was an inspiration;

Whose memory a benediction.

------ Bessie Anderson Stanley

Attack of two legged Lancaster MBA grads

I am sure your curiosity must be piqued by title of this post.Since my husband has finished his MBA course, we vacated the campus flat and moved in to a rental apartment in the town.It a nice comfortable apartment which is completely furnished.
It has real comfy,"sink into me type" couches and the works .

We moved into the flat by 5th sept and since then there has been a steady stream of people coming over for dinners. It's the time to say goodbyes and making promises to keep in touch.

Three days back we had a curious mix of people who resided with us for a short duration till the time they could move to more permanent accomodation.We had a Brazilian , a taiwanese and an Indian, who are my husbands classmates stay at our place.

Our 2nd bedroom(its actually quite small) has no place to walk,its filled with luggage,bags ,pots and pans and what nots.I think its permanently going to be turned into a store room.

This curious mix of friends brought a lot of fun and laughter along with them. Even though I am still tired after a very tiresome work week and no rest over the weekend, I am missing them now. It was so great to see people from such diverse cultures having a good time together.

My culinary skills were definitely put to a test though. Since completely non spicy food was the order of the day. The brazilian friend has learnt to cook Indian and uses Turmeric and chilli powder as if he used it every day back home.

I am going to miss these times when we were attacked by two legged Lancaster Grads. Very few people get a chance to mix with people from so many different nations and backgrounds. Make friends with people from rival countries and forget our differences. I had a great time getting to know these people and will always cherish these memories.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

The Bucket List

Early morning and I had just opened my mail and a friend of mine started chatting with me and asked me this incredulous question "Is the world coming to an end?" I brushed it off by joking and having a good laugh.
Out of curiosity I checked a few news sites and I came across a few articles about the "Big Bang" Experiment being conducted by CERN scientists near the French-Swiss Border.I also read about the mass panic back home where people are predicting Apocalypse and are rushing to temples in the hope of stopping it.

It got me thinking about "What if, it actually happened?".I have still not done so many things in life.There are so many places I have still not seen.I eventually started thinking about a list of things I plan to do before the world comes to an end or I die (I am not being morbid about it).

1) Fall in love with my husband all over again.

2) Tell my parents how much I love and respect them.How they have been a pillar of support my entire life.

3) Tell both my sisters how much I miss them and their pampering (Since I am the youngest) and how much I love them.

4) Hear the patter of tiny feet in my house (Adopt a child).

5) Thank my Mother-in-law for making my Husband what he is today.Also thank her for being such a great 2nd mother to me.

6) Thank my bro-in-laws for being so good to my sisters.

7) Be a good friend to my eldest nephew and meet my younger niece and nephew once more and hear them talk.

8) Adopt one of Buddy's(My pet dog who is now adopted by a wonderful family) puppies.

9) See Mount Everest , visit Venice , see Egypt and the Pyramids.

10) Visit Newyork and London -the two most exciting cities in the world.

11) Ride a Horse on a sunswept beach in the caribbean.

12) Learn Swimming and Salsa.

13) Eat authentic Pizza in a Italian village.

14) See the "Wailing Wall" and pay respect to the people who died in "Auschwitz-Birkeanu Concentration Camps".

15) Visit the "Serengeti National Park".

16) Learn Dog Training and start my own school.

17) Meet all my old friends and tell them how each of them have touched and enriched my Life.

18) Have a romantic dinner with my Husband on a Yacht in the middle of a ocean.

19) Patch up with my best friend and let her know how much I miss her and the crazy times we've had.

20) Do bungee jumping and sky diving.

My list reminds me of the movie "The Bucket List" in which Moragn freeman and Jack Nicholson try to do all the things on their list before both of them die of Terminal Cancer.

I will try to do as many things I can on the list even if the world is not coming to an end. This will be my "Bucket List".

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

I am crazy for Prem aka Main Prem ki Diwani Hoon

Could the title be any more Cheesier....???

Watching this movie was a deliberate plan of ours(Naira - a friend in Lancaster and me) to experience the Horror of a bad Bollywood Movie.I had endured the torture years back when I had watched it for the first time.

The setting of the movie is in "sunder Nagar" supposedly a small town somewhere in India. The small town not only has bungee jumping facilities but has snow clad mountains the size of ALPS and Coral Reef at the same time....isn't nature wonderful...I mean WOW is the word that comes to my mind. The place needs to be checked definitely for property prices...

I know I know... Suraj Barjatya tried to make the scenery at least pleasant for the viewers...

The torture..oops, the movie begins with Sweet albeit a saucy Kareena-Sanjana who is a girl of today's generation...who wants to live life as per her own terms.Her mother however wants her to get married to a rich bloke (Abhishek) named Prem.

However in his place comes Prem Kishen (Hrithik) to sunder nagar for some work.Prem Kishan is working for Prem...confused are you?...Hrithik is working in Abhisheks company in US of A.

Not to worry...Sanjana's parents also get confused about the Prem chap and try all their wily tactics and ultimately Sanjana falls in love with Hrithik(Prem Kishen).

Hrithik is an eyesore and earsore ....he seems to be always High on some type of drug. If you want to see someone overact watch Hrithik, he has overdone his Easy come -Easy go Character. Kareena absolutely pales in comparison. In fact I warmed towards her a bit in this movie...

The Happy Happy scenes and the overdose of Auntyji and Uncleji makes you want to pull your hair out. Kareena's onscreen mom needs two tight slaps to bring her to her senses. And what can I say about the dumb bimbos who are Sanjana's friends.

The songs are bearable. At least they are a welcome break from watching Hrithik make a complete fool of himself.....

Ok now after my rantings...lets continue with the story...

So Premkishen and Sanjana are totally in Love. Then comes trouble when Sanjana's parents come to know of the mistaken identity funda...and when the real Prem lands there...they try to convince Sanjana to marry the rich bloke..
And when Hrithik comes to know he runs away and tries to avoid the situation....what a loser...(Supposedly trying to be loyal to his boss).

Thankfully Abhishek is the saving hyperactive jumping around and acting like a buffoon. When he comes to know of the truth , he unites the two lovers...and thats the end of it....

The only smile I got in the movie was from one scene when Sanjana's mother is teaching her how to smile...coyly...

Oh how could I forget Raja -the parrot (poorly animated) and Johnny - the dog, Raja can say names of movies and people in the movie actually have conversations with it.....wowee what a parrot...the only intelligent one in the whole movie.And the dog was just there....

Its a movie to be seen when you want to have a few good laughs at other people's expense and also when you get to watch it for free.

Monday, 14 July 2008

The 90/10 principle.

Off late I have been a bit stressed out and some pent up feelings of frustration have been coming out in a bad way.In my daily dose of girl talk with my dear friend shipra I poured it all out.She like a good friend sent me this chapter from one of Stephen Covey's Books which helped me think straight so I felt I should put it on my blog.

It will change your life (at least the way you react to situations).
What is this principle? 10% of life is made up of what happens to you. 90% of life is decided by how you react.
What does this mean? We really have no control over 10% of what happens to us.
We cannot stop the car from breaking down. The plane will be late arriving, which throws our whole schedule off. A driver may cut us off in traffic.
We have no control over this 10%. The other 90% is different. You determine the other 90%.
How? ……….By your reaction.
You cannot control a red light. but you can control your reaction. Don't let people fool you; YOU can control how you react.
Let's use an example.
You are eating breakfast with your family. Your daughter knocks over a cup of coffee onto your business shirt. You have no control over what just happened.
What happens next will be determined by how you react.
You curse.
You harshly scold your daughter for knocking the cup over. She breaks down in tears. After scolding her, you turn to your spouse and criticize her for placing the cup too close to the edge of the table. A short verbal battle follows. You storm upstairs and change your shirt. Back downstairs, you find your daughter has been too busy crying to finish breakfast and get ready for school. She misses the bus.
Your spouse must leave immediately for work. You rush to the car and drive your daughter to school. Because you are late, you drive 40 miles an hour in a 30 mph speed limit.

After a 15-minute delay and throwing $60 traffic fine away, you arrive at school. Your daughter runs into the building without saying goodbye. After arriving at the office 20 minutes late, you find you forgot your briefcase. Your day has started terrible. As it continues, it seems to get worse and worse. You look forward to coming home.
When you arrive home, you find small wedge in your relationship with your spouse and daughter.
Why? …. Because of how you reacted in the morning.
Why did you have a bad day?
A) Did the coffee cause it?
B) Did your daughter cause it?
C) Did the policeman cause it?
D) Did you cause it?
The answer is “D".
You had no control over what happened with the coffee. How you reacted in those 5 seconds is what caused your bad day.

Here is what could have and should have happened.

Coffee splashes over you. Your daughter is about to cry. You gently say, "Its ok honey, you just need to be more careful next time". Grabbing a towel you rush upstairs. After grabbing a new shirt and your briefcase, you come back down in time to look through the window and see your child getting on the bus. She turns and waves. You arrive 5 minutes early and cheerfully greet the staff. Your boss comments on how good the day you are having.
Notice the difference?
Two different scenarios. Both started the same. Both ended different.
Because of how you REACTED.

You really do not have any control over 10% of what happens. The other 90% was determined by your reaction.

Here are some ways to apply the 90/10 principle. If someone says something negative about you, don't be a sponge. Let the attack roll off like water on glass. You don't have to let the negative comment affect you!
React properly and it will not ruin your day. A wrong reaction could result in losing a friend, being fired, getting stressed out etc.

How do you react if someone cuts you off in traffic? Do you lose your temper? Pound on the steering wheel? A friend of mine had the steering wheel fall off) Do you curse? Does your blood pressure skyrocket? Do you try and bump them?

WHO CARES if you arrive ten seconds later at work? Why let the cars ruin your drive?
Remember the 90/10 principle, and do not worry about it.

You are told you lost your job.
Why lose sleep and get irritated? It will work out. Use your worrying energy and time into finding another job.

The plane is late; it is going to mangle your schedule for the day. Why take outpour frustration on the flight attendant? She has no control over what is going on.
Use your time to study, get to know the other passenger. Why get stressed out? It will just make things worse.

Now you know the 90-10 principle. Apply it and you will be amazed at the results. You will lose nothing if you try it. The 90-10 principle is incredible. Very few know and apply this principle.
The result?
Millions of people are suffering from undeserved stress, trials, problems and heartache. We all must understand and apply the 90/10 principle.
It CAN change your life!!!

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Marriages are made in Heaven

Are marriages really made in Heaven???

If they are ,then god sure does have a wacky sense of humor.I have seen both arranged marriages and love marriages falling apart. The discussion about if love marriages are better than arranged and vice versa has been discussed enough number of times....lets move on to something else.

Harriet and I were talking about a common friend (an Indian) who will only marry the girl his parents choose for him. It is quite normal for me to hear this but it was quite shocking for Harriet who is a Swede. Her question was "how can he marry someone without knowing her and if he does not love her?", "How can you marry someone you are not passionate about?".

Upon hearing the word "passion" I had flashing images of Bollywood and Hollywood flicks....

Hindi Movie Scene-

Unmarried Hero and heroine just manage one kiss in the entire 3 hrs and sometimes passionate scenes are shown...
Married Hero and Heroine (Poor things) dont even get a kissing scene...

Picture this...

Heroine gets up in the morning takes a bath and gets Bed Chai for her Hubby- Mr. Hero.He will try to pull her in bed with him....she will giggle and say " Chhodo na Koi Dekh Lega"....

Now moving to a English Movie

Hero Heroine kissing is no big deal....passion is quite high....and is mostly shown quite elaborately.
Married Hero & Heroine....I guess they fare better than their Indian Counterparts...they do get to kiss each other...Apart from the movie "Ghost" I do not recall any elaborate passionate scenes between onscreen Married couples.

Coming back to what Harriet said, Passion does play a major part in the western society..but for us...a lifepartner is someone who will understand and walk along with you on the path called Life...

Passion is there but is mostly underplayed...
How long does the passion last...does it mean that once you are no longer passionate about someone you need to move on?? Find someone else you are passionate about...?
What about Love? Love and Passion are not the same thing.
There could be love without the passion. I asked her all these questions...

In India when you marry someone we try to make the relationship last as long as we can...
even if there is no passion...there is friendship and love. And that is what one needs when they turn 70 and have a friend to walk beside them...who understands them.

I feel passion is highly overrated. I do not say that passion is useless. Its important but not so much....its mostly what people imagine will be like as manufactured by Hollywood and Bollywood Flicks.

In Harriet's society the entire cultural setting makes them choose passion as a winning factor whereas my culture lays more stress on having a lasting relationship....the mantra being "till death do us apart".

Monday, 9 June 2008


This movie is an epitome of what a Blockbuster Hindi movie should be. Much has been written and said about this movie so how could I not write something about it.

I have seen "Sholay" countless number of times and know all the dialogues by-heart. My romance with this movie started very early in life. My father had a audio cassette of this movie with all the dialogues and songs. Even though I had never seen the movie it was fun just listening to the dialogues which were and are still so powerful even after more than 30 years after it was made.

I dont remember when I saw "Sholay" for the first time. I recently saw the movie again.

The beginning of the movie is so much akin to a western movie.The bandits on horse back trying to rob a 'maal gaadi'(goods train) has been shot really well.

The film was a commercial diaster when it was first released in 1975. It was a Lavish film for its time and took 2.5 years to film it. Critics were harsh in their judgement. Only word of mouth of movie goers turned the fate of the film and made it a Box office phenomenon 10 weeks after the release. It became such a hit that BBC India declared it "The film of the Millenium".

Can you imagine Shatrughan Sinha playing the role of 'Jai' instead of Amitabh and Danny playing the role of 'Gabbar Singh'. These were the original two choices.Amjad Khan was the 2nd choice. Also the film has two endings, one in which Thakur kills Gabbar and in the other Gabbar is arrested.

Lots of the things in the movie were inspired by Hollywood westerns. Inspite of that, I think it is in the league of best western movies ever made.

The characters are so well etched out and each character has a significant role which take the story ahead. For instance the characters of 'soorma Bhopali', 'Jailor' and 'Kaalia' were so minor but we still remember them especially 'Kaalia'. Many of us have mouthed out the dialogue 'Tera Kya Hoga Kaalia' in jest.

The romance of Veeru and Basanti gave the movie some light moments without diluting the essence of the movie. Sanjeev Kumar was perfect for the role of 'Thakur Baldev singh' with his dutiful servant 'Ramlal'.

What I most loved about the film was, its pace. It never slackened and kept the audiences interest. Also the chemistry between the characters 'veeru' and 'jai' was alive. With one being the short fused,impulsive one and the other being mature and loyal. Dharmendra with his smart mouth and lovable nature and Amitabh with his Sarcastic humor and sensitive nature gave new facets to the characters. Inspite of being petty criminals the audience loved them and wanted them to win against Gabbar.

The character of Gabbar was inspired by a real life dacoit by the same name. Amjad khan was so menacing as a dacoit that he really gave me the heebee jeebies. His famous dialogue 'yahan se pachaas pachaas kos door gaon mein, jab raat ko baccha rota hai....' was such a hit. The spitting and the tobacco chewing with sweat stained clothes made his character so much authentic.

Technically also, the film excelled. Sholay was the the ultimate big screen experience. It was the first indian movie in 70mm with stereophonic Sounds. Fantastic cinematography and excellent background score were an added incentive.

The movie also inspired other directors to make a similar movie. Recently RGV Tried to copy the movie (named it AAG- MISPELLED FOR Aaargh!!!) which I tried watching and gave up the moment Nisha kothari tried to act like 'Basanti'. I guess I need'nt waste my efforts in criticizing how much she sucked.

I could write on and on about how fantastic this movie is. The people who have missed watching this movie have missed a part of Indian movie history . Hats off to Ramesh sippy for his direction and Salim-Javed for the story. Kudos!! to all the actors who made the movie so alive with their acting.

Movies will come and go but their will be always one "SHOLAY".

Monday, 2 June 2008

I am a Hindu....

In the Lancaster University campus I've made a lot of new friends...some from countries I had never thought I would...mainly Pakistan. Since we share a turbulent past and a chaotic present .It was tough at first not to be judgmental towards them. As we got to know them better my prejudice waned...

We travel together, have dinners at each others place...discuss a lot of various topics..but completely avoid controversial subjects like the Kashmir issue..

One of the topic was about Hindu Religion. The only traditions of Hindu culture which they knew, was after seeing innumerable Hindi Movies and "Saas Bahu" serials.

I never knew it will become so difficult to answer the question "Who is a Hindu?" and "What is exactly Hinduism?". My husband and I both tried to explain them the concept, which I am sure was hazy at the most.Hindu Culture is so vast and to encompass so many traditions in a single line...

Finally I decided to research a bit and came across these 2 definitions which I thought were the closest explanation possible.

"When we think of the Hindu religion, unlike other religions in the world, the Hindu religion does not claim any one prophet; it does not worship any two gods; it does not subscribe to any one dogma; it does not believe in any one philosophic concept; it does not follow any one set of religious rites or performances; in fact, it does not appear to satisfy the narrow traditional features of any religion of creed. It may broadly be described as a way of life and nothing more."

"Philosophically, Hinduism is an attitude of mind, and an outlook on life. But it is not only that. It is a number of cults, among which one may choose. And, whatever cult it may be, it is a cult, one of the immemorial Pagan cults, surviving in the midst of the modern world. The Hindus are one of the few modern civilised people who are openly Pagans." - Savitri Devi

Many books have been written about Hinduism but none can actually describe us Hindus.Its hard to explain why we worship god who has a head of elephant or why our gods have so many hands and so many heads.Gods who drank , cheated and still we worship them.

Basically Hindus believe that whatever the path you choose to worship, all will ultimately lead to the same god. Hinduism is more like a free spirited path towards achieving Moksha (when you are fee from the worldly concept of self) and where you achieve ultimate peace, ultimate knowlege , ultimate enlightenment and ultimate paradise. There are no compulsory rituals, no books to follow nor any method in which you can become a hindu.

To become a Hindu I guess you just need to follow any path you have chosen to reach god. You should be truthful in your beliefs. You can also adapt parts of teachings of Hinduism into your your life.

Ultimately all of us believe in a power greater than everything. All of us are trying to understand it in whatever way possible . We have just chosen different ways to do so..but ultimately its one and the same thing.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Fair and lovely...

In my search for the perfect body lotion I came across shelf upon shelf of body lotions which maintain your perfect tan and tanning lotions which help you tan.Well again at the cost of repeating myself I will say "Summers here" in UK. The campus is converted into a beach where semi naked bodies are lying down in the sun .Its like the entire University is in a picnic mood.

Well back home in "good ole India" we run for cover from the blazing sun not to get tanned. All the beauty regimes definitely include how to get rid of that ugly tan . Where as the Sun heats up, we can see our feet bearing the design of our footwear .

Its kind of ironic to see the fair skinned "Firangs" wanting our skin shade "BROWN" (as Russel Peters likes to call) and us trying desperate measures to look fairer.

How could I miss talking about the beauty cream "Fair and lovely" . I personally feel that the product should be banned from the market. It actually promotes the idea that fair is beautiful and dark skin is Ugly....Look at the name itself " Fair and Lovely", what else could it potray...

I know many of my friends emptying tubes and tubes of this cream in the desperate desire to look fairer.Don't they understand that putting on some stupid cream is not going to change the original colour of their skin.

Most of us are conditioned from childhood to also believe in the theory of fairer people being attractive and intelligent because they have white skin. And people with darker skin are slower and ugly...
Also most of our advertisements potray a man being attracted to a fair girl rather than a dark one. They are unfair on the dark skinned people.

Here too in firang land, people do discriminate against you because you are darker . I have been a victim of it . I was lost in a new town and approached a white male for directions and he just shooed me away and ran thinking I was a was the most humiliating time of my life. Eventually I did get directions that too from a white lady who did not treat me as vermin...

So to "cut to the chase", is'nt it time we start treating people like humans and not some type of animals just because of the colour of their skin . Some of the greatest leaders in this world were black , brown and white .They are great not beacuse of the colour of their skin but because of their actions.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

What the F*** !!!!!

That is exactly my state of mind right now...since its my blog I am allowed freedom of expression...

When you are in a very bad mood that is all you can say.....

Well for starters a very good friend of mine dumped me...(I know that boyfriends dump you and not friends) but most of us don't realize that they dump you when they don't want to be in touch anymore....and your attempts to revive that bond falls flat on your face...

Just like in a romantic relationship you are left wondering what did you do wrong? Is it something you did or said that lead to this situation.

Most of the times the so called friends just drift away because life takes us all in different directions.There is no more common ground on which you can meet or have fun together.But you still manage to hang on to a few close friends and try to be in touch with them as much as you can and not let geographical distance be an issue.

But again the same thing happens and then you really start doubting yourself all over again..
You feel cheated and abandoned.All the time ,money and effort you put in maintaining that friendship all goes down the drain and you are left with bitter feelings.

The old memories just come rushing back and you still cannot believe it, that the person with whom you shared every scrap of personal details ,your feelings and hopes. The person you grew up with is no longer interested in being a part of your life and does not want you to be a part of theirs. Its a crushing feeling.

Maybe their experiences make them a different person.Maybe they made better friends or maybe they just stopped liking you.

Friday, 9 May 2008

The growing pains....

I was recently reading my friends blog and he had written something about being an adult...that got me thinking of my teenage years...and time spent with my sisters and my younger cousin....

I have 2 elder sisters...hang on...I am not a pampered brat or something...though I am sure my sisters will disagree on this....

I had a very volatile relation with my elder sister who is just a year older (and I guess the remnants are still there)and more of a stable and "I revere her" types with my eldest who is seven years older. My younger cousin was more there for me to bully around and also be my good confidante in all the naughty things that I planned.

Though I was never a kid who loved to destroy stuff and make other peoples lives miserable , in my middle sister's terms (Lets call her 'A') I was a kid who deserved some strong words every time I did something wrong.....which I actually thought was fun...

I still clearly remember my first experience of stepping into teenage was in my 7th grade, when in school a few of my classmates were discussing about boys...and I felt so disgusted and unclean hearing them talk about was a completely alien feeling....

It was not that I did not have boys as friends, but I knew them since childhood so never saw them as "Boys".

My tiffs with my parents became a everyday scene...mostly I thought they were different species all together and I did not understand their language....there were also periods of those typical scenarios when I felt like "Nobody understands me".

My mother became my enemy No. 1 cause she was the one who was trying to regulate my behavior and "A" I thought was her sidekick...
It was a tough time for me and I guess for my parents too...who were trying their best to understand me and cope with my behavior which I am quite sure was bizzare...(I can judge that by looking at how my teenage nephew behaves these days).

It was also a time for daydreaming and rebellion...the sudden bouts of just listening to Micheal Jackson and Wham!! as loudly as possible, locking up myself in a room on the terrace(Which was habitable only in cool weather)...and I also started writing a Diary...most of which contained page by page detailed description of how my parents were torturing me...

If anyone could lay their hands on it now I am sure they would go into hysterical fits of laughter...(I have shredded it after reading it and laughing at my state of mind when I wrote all the nonsense).

At that time it was good relief to write it down...but in retrospect it makes me wonder about the phase called "Teenage". I feel that is the most crucial time in everyones life...which determines actually what type of people we are going to turn out as adults.

Well all in all I have a pretty calm and supportive family...who never let me run away with my rebellious nature and tried to put a bit of sanity in me . I give all the credit to my parents and of course my sisters who kept me in check and still do whenever I think of doing something irrational and crazy.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Of Buttcracks and Cleavages

I travel by bus everyday to work.It gives me an opportunity to observe people without being too obvious. The latest fad in fashion is the "low waist jeans". I always think whether its more of a fashion disaster.

Everybody is wearing it from fat to skinny..tall to short...

The low waist jeans has shown me some unsightly views and unchartered territories. Not to sound too retro and conservative,was it not enough that showing the cleavage was considered fine that we are now happily showing our other cleavage as well.

Just yesterday I saw a young mother with her 2 friends get in the bus. She was not skinny but quite well endowed and wearing a LWJ (Low waist jeans ) plus no belt to hold it up. It was quite an ordeal for everybody to see her sitting down .

Its fine if fashion models wear it cause they make it look good .Also people who can carry it without showing their backside to the entire world.

On an average I get to see at least 5-10 butt cracks everyday and I think my cup runneth over . Sometimes I feel like screaming loudly "get a grip people either wear a belt , a longer t -shirt or take your butt crack somewhere else".

And on my trip to Manchester last weekend it was more of a cleavage galore...
Showing a bit of your cleavage looks classy.
When did showing too much come back in vogue....maybe fine for a night at the disco but not on the streets that too in daytime.
When they say "if you have it ,flaunt it..." how much of it should you take literally???
Does it mean ,show it all and bare it all???

I am no moral police...but when my auditory elements are jarred by loud clothes , butt cracks and too much of cleavage, it becomes my right to speak up for the cause of fashion.

Super Size Me

I've never met a women friend who will miss a chance to go shopping even if its window shopping.The high and thrill of drooling over new shoes and clothes and bags is akin to taking ecstasy (I've only read about it....)

I am a self confessed window shopper....I love it...I also love buying new outfits...

The only problem comes when I am out shopping with a skinny friend....well uhmmm I am not anywhere in that category.....I become pretty self conscious during those times and to top it all most of the stores forget that fat people oops....overweight people can have a sense of fashion too.

I am sure most of my soul sisters know what I am talking about...

I guess this is the story at least in my country...India....Americans might care to dispute...

You browse through racks and racks of wonderful clothes and none of them fit you...its quite frustrating and disappointing just like when you come to know you've not passed in a particular test even if you are sure you've studied.

You end up buying material and getting it stitched from the tailor...who of course as usual either makes it tooo tight so you can't breath or leaves it like a tent...either way you lose.

So whats a Gal gotta do???

Now a days there are shops who design clothes for larger people...but hello....just check up the price tag....what only fat rich people get to buy these???

What about poor mortals like either you lose weight (which everybody around you is telling you usual) or you have bigger pockets....

But what about in the mean I suppose to just buy one classsy outfit and wear it again and again...or just dress up looking like a walking tent.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Tiger Tiger Burning Bright.....

I was recently watching a video, shot by my brother-in law, when he was visiting the "Kanha National Park "in India. It was of a magnificent tiger who just walked past their open jeep in all its glory.
This suddenly brought back the memories of my school days, when I had snagged a book from my fathers collection called as "Man-eaters of Kumaon" by Jim Corbett. The book was about Corbett's experiences with man eating tigers in the Kumaon region of India and how he saved the lives of many people by killing the tigers. Jim Corbett is still famous for being a naturalist and conservationist and a National park has been named in his honor.

The book fueled in me the desire to see a tiger at close range.Though I had seen quite a few at the circus and zoo , watching it at close range was a different experience all together. There is nothing comparable to seeing a wild animal in its natural habitat.

Many of us are still oblivious of the fact as to how closely our existence depends on that of wild animals. Even though we consider ourselves to be at the top of the food chain and grossly misuse our power, the fact remains that, our species can be wiped out due to gross negligence and misguided beliefs of humans being the "be all and end all" of this world. As an "Apex Predator" the tiger is at the top of the natural food chain and holds the key in preserving the water,air and forests. By eating 60-80 animals a year , a Tiger keeps check on the population of herbivores , who otherwise would denude the forest with excessive grazing and turn it into barren lands.

The fate of the tiger and in turn our own fate is in our hands. But sadly in 1970's we came dangerously close to losing this magnificent species "Panthera Tigris". Deforestation, poaching and human expansion brought all the species of tigers to the brink of extinction. There were 8 sub species out of which the Javan , Caspian and Balinese are already extinct.
Studies of tiger population estimate, that 100 years ago approx 100,000 tigers roamed all across India , South East Asia ,Central Asia and Eastern China . Now only 5000 - 7000 remain in the wild in small pockets of Habitat across the globe.

In 1973, India launched "Project Tiger" which is a wildlife conservation programme which aims at tiger conservation in specially constituted
tiger reserves representative of various bio-geographical regions throughout India. It strives to maintain a viable tiger population in their natural environment. The first tiger census in 1972 put the tiger population at 1827. The recent report "Status of Tigers , Co-Predators ,Prey in India" by National Tiger Conservation Society and Wildlife Institute of India puts the the tiger figures at 1411.

The largest ever animal census in world history— outlines the many threats the tiger now faces.The report states “The tiger has lost much ground due to direct poaching, loss of quality habitat and loss of its prey,” it notes. “In the past 50 years, humans have changed these ecosystems largely to meet growing demand for food, fresh water,timber,fibre and fuel, more rapidly and extensively than in any comparable period of time in human history".

The rampat poaching for every part of the tigers body also adds to it . Sariska National Park is a National Embarrasment where, in 2004, poachers emptied the park of its tigers. A tiger skeleton can fetch as much as Rs. 300,000 on the black market.Poorly equipped and poorly paid forest staff can be no match to poachers.

There are a number of agencies and groups all across the globe supporting for the conservation of tiger. Inspite of all these efforts the population has depleted.Poor Management, corruption, lack of funding and out dated scientific methods have led to the slow degradation of the "Project tiger".

Its time to join hands and raise our voice with conservationist like "Valmik Thapar" who are fighting tirelessly to save the Indian tiger from extinction.
If stronger steps are not taken,our future generations will know of the TIGER only through videos,poems and photographs.

"Tiger Tiger Burning Bright,
In the forest of the night..." -- William Blake.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Race....helps you race for the "Stop button"

After looking at the promos of the movie I was eagerly waiting for it to get released so I can see the pirated version on the internet (Well fellas dont go all "how can u do it ?" I am desperate...and there are no Hindi cinemas nearby to go to )

The star cast looked impressive and songs were also promising. Added to that was I love Saif ali so it was a chance worth taking.The print was quite ok. The movie started and the entrance of saif was so typical of Hindi movies as if dumb viewers like us, cant guess it anymore...

The movie revolves around 6 main characters saif , bipasha , akshaye khanna , katrina kaif , anil kapoor and sameera reddy...
This is not a review so I wont divulge into the storyline..
The first thought after watching the movie was... What was the director thinking...?

The movie has so many twists and turns , it becomes difficult to follow the storyline. I feel Saif was totally wasted in the movie .Bipasha just looked hot and sexy (as usual) ,Akshaye Khanna (Would prefer listening to nails being scraped on the Board than him) Katrina kaif is slowly dropping her accent but looked pretty...dumb..
The topping on this was Anil Kapoor,eeeeewwww (he still thinks he in his Tezaab days) and wyack.....Sameera Reddy....(I am speechless..wordless actually....) the line...What was she thinking actually fits here more...

Anil kappor is shown to be eating fruits in the entire movie...maybe it did wonders for his health but...what about the movie..?
Sameera reddy should be banned from acting and deported to a planet far away...even money cant be so much of a motivation...

The storyline is so lame...bachpan se hum race karte the and because of my inferiority complex I was never successful in life so now Abbas Mastan make a movie....called Race..

Well the entertainment value is zero...and the feeling after the movie is over, is of a relief and also that you just wasted 3 hours of your life...

Monday, 14 April 2008

The Empty Nest.

It is my Sunday ritual to call up my parents back home in India. I can clearly hear the joy in their voice and know how eagerly they are waiting for my call. Its been nearly a decade since my parents have been staying alone, since all three of us (my 2 sisters and me) have been married and moved away from our hometown. In the beginning it was for studies and then better job prospects that we had to leave our Family home.

There is a whole new breed of such parents in today's India. They are living on their own and their children have either settled abroad or are working in another city. After the advent of globalisation as new and better opportunities both in terms of education and work came forth , the already nuclear family broke into even smaller parts , with the parents left alone and the children moving out.

Most of the times it is the parents who encourage the children to take benefit of the opportunities at hand. At that time usually, parents are still working and have a busy life. Its easier for them to cope with the absence of children.

After retirement they have plenty of leisure time but where are the children and grandchildren with whom they had dreamt of spending their old age. Even though parents are extremely proud of the achievements of children but deep inside a throb of pain lingers . They miss the company of their loved ones. The only thing left with them are old memories . They try their best to fill the void by sticking to routine and developing new hobbies. Basically the empty nest syndrome starts afflicting most of them.

The much awaited scheduled phone call is mostly for assuring themselves that their children are safe and happy. Parents do not want to burden them with any troubles as the children are far away and will worry about them.

Also going and staying with their children forever is a choice which most parents are not in favor of. Uprooting from a city in which they have their own circle of friends , their home and familiar surroundings and staying in a city/country where they are constantly dependent on their children is discomforting. Also the children are caught up in their own lives.

Much has been said and written about how parents feel but the children also feel helpless that they are not able to do anything about it.The demands and responsibilities have to be taken care of. And once they start their own families the pressure still increases. They are very much aware of how their parents are faring. The desire to be the support for parents in their old age is quite high. To share their successes and failures with parents and not inform them over the telephone is what they too desire.

Of course there is a different variety of parents as well as children who abandon their loved ones for their own comfort. The evils of this category is too long to be included here.

Ultimately it boils down to the fact that parents have given up a lot of their time and energy in raising us. They have showered us with love and caring. They have kept their needs aside for our wants. It now becomes our responsibility to take care of them as much as possible. To be a emotional and financial support to them. Even though its not physically possible to be with them, being in regular contact is also a great support.

There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings. ~Hodding Carter, Jr.

Even though "the nest is empty" our roots are still strong with our parents.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

The Vanishing Girls....

In my everyday chat converstions with my friend "Shipra" we came to a topic of dicussion on the movie "Matrubhoomi". I saw the movie last year and it still sends shivers down my spine whenever I remember the story.

The movie revolves around a time when female foeticide has skewed the male female ratio so much that the heroine of the movie "Kalki" is married off to 5 brothers. The whole setting is of some village in Bihar. The movies leaves you with visions of barbaric men and scenes of violence. The theme of the movie "skewed gender ratio if we keep on killing the girl child" was good. The way it is put across by the director leaves you with a bad taste.

The fate of the girl child today in India is as dismal as it was 2 decades back. Inspite of laws banning sex detemination of an unborn child, the killing of female foetuses is still common in some parts of India. The country which worships godesses like "Laxmi" and "Durga" who are females, now has to bribe its citizens by launching monetary schemes to save the girl child.

The situation has come to this stage that the Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhary launched a ‘Conditional cash Transfer for Girl Child with Insurance Cover (CCT)'. This scheme will give the family with a girl child, money at certain intervals and for specific purposes like vaccination, education etc. till the girl turns 18.

This scheme was launched with a mindset that it will encourage parents to educate the girl and look at her as an asset rather than a liabilty.

Economic, cultural and religious dynamics play a major role in giving preference to a "Son" over "Daughter". Gender discrimination and son idolization is a very common practice, be it educated or uneducated people. The girl child is considered as a burden to be passed on to another family. Having a son is considered good fortune. The son is considered an asset as he will continue the familys lineage and also be a support to the parents in their old age.

In todays world a daughter stands shoulder to shoulder with the son. She can take all the responsibilty as a son can. It angers me when I hear educated people giving preference to a son over a daughter. What does a Son have that a Daughter doesn't???

Is it not the responsibilty of educated people like "us" to set an example for others to follow. If we ourselves continue this discrimination.. is there any hope left for the girl child??

The entire world is looking at India as one of the fastest progressing country in the world. Are we actually progressing in the real sense?

When your "right to live" itself is threatened, because you are born a Girl, slogans like "India Poised" and "India Shining" all seem hollow and futile.

“You can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women”.
- Jawaharlal Nehru-

Friday, 11 April 2008

Live-in it testing the waters before the plunge

The custom of Live-in relationship is very old in India, wherein zamindars and Nawabs not only had many wives but quite a few live in-women. In those times it was not considered immoral to have a live-in relationship.

Post Independance, monogamous marriages became the in-thing. India still remains a conservative society where the institution of marriage is considered sacred. Plus chastity on the part of a woman is highly rated. The woman with a history of pre marital relations with a man will have less chances of getting married in the future.

A decade back when I was studying in Pune....the concept of live-in relationships had just started emerging. Many of my classmates were in one and few of those relationships eventually culminated into marriage.

There are conflicting views on this subject. Just today I was having a chat with "Shipra" a friend of mine who had no qualms about being in one. Her only condition was that both the partners should be unmarried and should be equally devoted to each other.

I beg to differ, I feel that a live in relationship takes away the zest and spice. In a marriage, its all about discovering new things about your life partner and even adjusting to it. Its a life long commitment.

In a live in relationship, I feel people are scared of commitments and so they need a testing period. The margin for error and tolerance levels are very low. They are already in doubt whether this relationship will work or not. These relationships are fragile. Most people enter into a Live -in relationship to test for compatibilty or convenience. Studies have shown that people who Live-together before they marry have a higher tendency to get divorced.

A marriage gives so much of security to both partners. Both work towards making the relationship successful. There is stability and also financial security.

No strings attached is something which does not work for me. Test driving a relationship without the binding of commitment seems so pointless.

I feel that even though not all marriages end in happily- ever- after, the choice of going for a commitment like marriage in itself is a step towards lasting Happiness.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

"Sex Education in India" ,Still a Taboo.....?

Are we the same Country that gave "Kamasutra" to the world?
Hard to believe but its an alarming fact.

We are the same country that dishes out titillating Movies and Pop songs which scream of Sex,but are too shy to talk about it to our younger generation.Our media is flooded with images which definitely give rise to curious questions.Are we not being hypocrites.
What signal are we sending to the younger generation?

In spite of the rise in the number of abortions in adolescents.And reports about pre- marital sex happening ,we still turn a blind eye towards it.All under the guise of the so called "Indian Culture".

We have to keep in mind that ignorance and sex is a potent combination.By avoiding to talk about it we are in fact leaving them no option but to discover it by way of experimentation.
It still such a taboo to talk about the subject that many a time parents are shocked to know that their own kid, whom they thought is still too young has already started that experimentation.

Todays generation of kids are born into a world where AIDS is a harsh reality. By providing an environment in which they can be educated on Sex, AIDS and HIV will help us in the future to curb this epidemic.

The prime responsibilty lies with parents or guardians.The talk about "Birds and Bees" albeit difficult is quite necessary.By answering even their most private of questions, we will be able to reduce the frustrations and questions about their own Sexuality.

Its time we throw the veil of morality and bring the truth out in the open.By arming our younger generation with knowledge and information that they seek,we will be doing our own bit in fighting the monsters of HIV, AIDS and population explosion.

Monday, 7 April 2008

The Indian Angel or a Devil in Disguise?

I have had my share of Indian Bosses when I was working back home in India.

They come in various shapes and sizes....and Mentalities.

Since I was always moving from one city to another,owing to my husbands job.I had the opportunity of working for varied organisations with dramatically different work cultures.

I have had bosses with whom I have shared a very good Rapport and then what can we say about those who haunt your nightmares and you wish you'd rather make his "Voodoo doll" and stick pins in it than bear working with him.

Well this post is not about badmouthing bosses.Since we spend most of our waking hours working...its an attempt to understand this species "The Indian Boss".

Some of them could give Hitler a Run for his money...with their rules and and wacko way of working.Quite a few of them do try to be really fair and some set such good examples that you just cannot forget them for their decency,fairness and leadership.

When I was working for a reputed Insurance company in India I had a boss who was plain mean.He was so insecure of his own position that he laid stringent rules which he himslf did not adhere to.Most of them were to apply his policy of Divide and Rule.
Since Indian work culture gives "Boss" lot of power ,the employees are left at his mercy.Most of the Bosses are moving towards achieving the companys's missions.But their own insufficiencies do mar the way of progress. Employees who are in the boss's Favourites Category have a upper hand on those mortals who dont like patronising.The "Favourites" have better chances of getting promoted ,even if, they have not worked throughout the year.Also politics is rampant ,as the leader himself encourages it.

The other category though rare still ,does exist.These people will lead you through tough times motivate you and be fair to everyone.The organisations progress is on the top of their mind.There are no hidden agendas and the typical politics.I have come across such people and they have left a distinct mark in my memory.They have added a different facet to my personality.

Since the influx of lot of Multinational companies, the culture of companies is changing. The typical image of the boss is slowly getting a "makeover".Bosses are here to stay.
They are the essential kegs in the wheel of Industry.
Even though we love to hate them they are a distinct part of our corporate culture.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

You've Got Mail...

This is one of the most delighful Romantic comedies I have ever seen....I fell in love with both the characters "Kathleen Kelley" played by Meg Ryan and "Joe Fox" played by Tom Hanks.

The movie revolves around these two characters, who communicate well via email and fall in love without knowing each others real identity.In actual life they are Business rivals and Joe Fox puts Kathleen out of Business.
"Shopgirl" and "NY152" are the Avatars under which they are emailing each other.

The theme is so simple yet so sweet.The dialogues which are in the form of emails are Fabulous and so interesting.

"The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don't know what the hell they're doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino".

The dreams and emotions have been potrayed so well.Kathleen's pain and uncertainity after losing her Book shop and how she deals with you new hope.

I absolutely loved her lines

Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life. Well, not small, but valuable. And sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around? I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void.

Eventually when Tom Hanks finds out that "shopgirl" is Kathleen Kelley he does not try to woo her in the typical fashion but makes efforts to be her friend without her finding out his real Identity.He lets her be under the impression that he does not know "NY152".

"If I hadn't been FoxBooks and you hadn't been the Shop Around the Corner... and you and I had, just you know, met... Yeah. I would have asked for your phone number and I wouldn't have been able to wait 24 hours before calling and asking, "How about coffee, drinks, dinner, a movie, for as long as we both shall live?"

Finally when "Shopgirl" and "NY152" meet....well I will leave it at that...Go ahead and see the sure you will love it as much as I did.

Without resorting to any kind of Hi-tech imagery or spending huge amounts on costumes the movie is charming an sticks with you till the end.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

In my Friend ,I find my second self.

Can we really say that in today's world?

In today's rush rush life its becoming harder and harder to hold down to relationships , rest
aside FRIENDS!!

In the thirst for moving upwards in our careers and and the race to be "successful" ,"liked by all" and the desire to have more....we have forgotten when life was simpler and friends were friends.

Its so much easier to make friends and be a friend to somebody when you are younger and life is still uncomplicated.Friendships are the anchor and the life saving rafts in times of need.Hanging out together is the essence of it and so is just being what you were.There is no need for having any ulterior motive to being a friend.

As we grow older and life thrusts more and more responsibities on us....the pureness of it all disappears.Then it all becomes a game of what you can gain from being a friend to someone.Expectations are high and pretenses even higher.Then it becomes tougher to identify true friends from this herd of so called "friends".

Its not that there are no lasting friendships....but any realtionship including friendship involves investment of time, emotions and caring.It takes a lot of effort to maintain true friends and time is luxury ,most of us can't afford.In this whole process, many a times ,good friends are lost or forgotten and we are left with superficial relations.

All of us should take a step back from this high speed race called "life" ,and remember, how it was when we were not bogged down by so many demands and desires.Its now ,when we should reflect on our Future and how it will be without a circle of people who accept you for what you are.Stand by you, when you are lonely and disappointd.In short simply be...a FRIEND.

Friday, 4 April 2008

U me Aur Hum

A particular song from the movie "You Me Aur Hum" really inspired me to write this post...

अपने रंग गवाए बिन मेरे रंग में घुल जाओ
अपनी धुप बुझाये बिन मेरी छाऊ में जाओ
चलो यूं करे
तुम , तुम भी रहो ,मै, मैं भी रहूँ
हम हम भी रहे ,तीनो मिलके साथ चलें साथी जनम जनम के

You me Aur Hum.

This song aptly describes my relationship with my Hubby and soulmate Aniruddha...

I have heard people say there is one person made just for you in this lifetime and I am sure I ve found him..
We are so very different and yet go so well together....

I feel the sucess of any relationship lies in the fact that without changing your personality you are able to blend with somebody and so can the other person.
Just like the song I have always been able to be what I am and have tried to let him be too.

Though we have had major differences in opinions about a lot of issues....the fact always remained that we are individuals and will have seperate points of view...respecting each others individualistic personality has brought us so much closer....and has also added a new dimension to the way I think....
Aniruddha is wonderful person to be with.His patience and practicality has been an anchor for me through tumultous times.His whacked sense of Humor makes a lot of tense moments light...

His stubborness sometimes does make me want to scream...but I have accepted it as a facade for him to be what he is...

I am sure he too will have a lot to say on my skewed personality.

The fact remains that we have been together for nearly 10 years now and are still on the path of discovering new things about each other everyday..

I am glad I have found a life partner who is supportive of my beliefs and loves my idiosyncracies.

Love at first sight is easy to understand; it's when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle .This is what truly epitomises Ani and me.

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