Swimming in an ocean of thoughts.....

Ask me no questions and i shall tell you no lies :)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z - Zen ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

The first time I came across this word was in a car’s name. Yes, Maruti Zen if people remember, was one of the efficient cars of Maruti that was in vogue for a very long time, starting from 1993. And in those days, I wondered, why the name, Zen? Then, I read somewhere that Zen in the world of cars, meant Zero Engine Noise. After many years, I realized, all car names have a meaning. Like, the car Toyota Etios has an indigenous idea hidden in the word Etios that is derived from the Greek word ‘Ethos’. Another instance is Mazda where the name hints at Zoroastrian God of light and wisdom. Maruti, as most Hindus know is another name for the God of Winds and Strength Lord Hanuman, who is a symbol of courage. And Zen tagged along, not without a reason. But yes, this time, I wanted to know what Zen meant beyond the Zero Engine Noise. And so, this is what I got after some soulful reading...

Zen, for most people who do not know its meaning, is a concept in Mahayana Buddhism followed in Japan. It is the Japanese version of the Sanskrit word ‘Dhyana’, which means meditation. The idea of Zen preaches to rejoice and live the current moment absolutely. As per Zen, dwelling in the past or drifting in thoughts to the future are mind played fantasies. Only the current moment is reality and inevitable where one truly thinks and lives as body and soul together. Zen is all about rediscovering one's true self and facing it, sans all opinions, judgments and cultural and environmental conditioning. Precisely, it is the path that leads to self enlightenment.

So do you follow Zen? Do you feel complete? Do you live in the present without dwelling in the past or sinking in thoughts about the future? The below image just says it all!!

A beautiful idea, isn't it? So, if you know some more about this simple yet enlightening Zen, do share J

P.S: Today happens to be the last day of the A-Z Blogger Challenge.....


Monday, April 28, 2014

Y - Yin Yang ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

I came across this word the first time, when I was reading a food blog. It was used in context of foods that have warming and cooling properties with respective effects on the body. And then, after some more reading, the idea of yin-yang became clearer.

Yin Yang is an age old concept whose various references and learning are drawn from the Traditional Chinese Medicine. The oldest references date back to 700 BC with the first mention being in the Book of Changes. Since time immemorial, Yin Yang has been used in almost all walks of life, such as medicine, food, relationships and way of leading a life. Yin refers to the passive trait, often synonymous with feminine and Yang is the aggressive masculine one.Yin Yang basically refers to a pair of opposites that balance each other perfectly. Taking example of water, it has two forms, with Yin synonymous with steam and yang synonymous with ice. In foods, it relates to the warming and cooling effect of the foods on our system.  For instance, certain foods cause more heat in the body, which can be countered with foods that have cooling properties. And then, the concept fits aptly in every relationship. The right balance of these opposites help build a healthy relation between two people.

After some reading, I related this concept with almost everything around me. Nature gives endless instances that exemplify this beautiful concept. Changing seasons is one to name. Like, the spring sets in only after Winter bids good bye. There are no monsoons without the sweltering Summers. There is no autumn without the Spring. That is what Yin-Yang is all about! Striking the balance with the opposites and yet, coexisting peacefully.

The above image just sums it all!! 


X - X'mas ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

The chill winds bring in a freshness, a freshness with a positive vibe. The snow flakes brush the skin softly as they touch the ground. The ringing of the bells, the beautiful notes of the carols being sung and played, the colorful wreaths on the door, the socks hanging over the fireplace and the hope that good will prevail over the evil, bringing with it a lot of joy and prosperity, says a lot about the season of X’mas.

Having studied in a Convent, I had the privilege of knowing and celebrating this beautiful festival X’mas. But I always wondered why Christmas is popularly referred to as X’mas. As I googled, I got some interesting explanation from Wikipedia. It is believed that Christ was often referred to as ‘Xp’ or ‘Xt’ which are asserted from references in Anglo Saxon Chronicles. The ‘X’ and ‘P’ were the uppercase forms of letters χ (Ch) and ρ (R) in Greek. And in Greek, Christ is spelled as Χριστος.

Interesting, isn't it? If you have any inputs, do share!!


Saturday, April 26, 2014

W – Wisdom ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

As we grow up, we are aware of the difference between how we lead our lives and how we should lead our lives. There is always a man made rule book dictating how a life must be led and then there is the heart whose decisions and actions are unique to each and which asserts the adage, do what the heart says and you will never falter. And then, there is wisdom, to judge between the logic and the otherwise.

Of the four cardinal virtues, a man is expected to possess, wisdom is one. A hard one to hone, it is believed to come with age and experience. It is one of those virtues that is silent about its presence but makes itself conspicuous only when the time demands. We all grow wise as the number of whites on our head increase. Each one of us is wiser than what we were yesterday. Realizing from one’s own faults or realizing the same from the other’s, wisdom does make its way into a man’s soul sooner or later. But most importantly, wisdom is all about living with the humility to absorb the momentary failures and thinking differently about achieving one’s goals. And Confucius just nailed it.....


Friday, April 25, 2014

V - Victory ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

The word itself brings in a fresh whiff of power, the power of having conquered a feat. I was impulsed to write V for Victory after I witnessed a small yet significant incident involving my son. And you shall know, why I chose Victory!

I take my son to park in the evenings where he gets to explore a lot more than mere alphabet reading from the books or watching the animals rule the planet in TV. The park that I take him to, has a lot of interesting slides, swings and climbs, aptly made for children so that they can flex their muscles a little bit and swing and climb and run a lot. It also has some exotic birds that are a delight to watch and click. And talking about slides, there is one which is at a height of maybe 12 feet. In the initial days, when I would coax my son to climb, he would, till the slide seat and then get down the same way out of fear of heights. And I thought, “How can someone be afraid of sliding? It is so enjoyable.” And the scenario repeated every evening. And then, a couple of days before, my son saw a six year old boy slide effortlessly from the same slide. My son observed him intently. The next day, when I was busy conversing with a friend in the park, my son called out to me,

“Mummy! Mummy! Look here”

And I saw my son standing there on the slide seat ready to take the plunge! The expression of having conquered the fear of heights was truly priceless. His victory repeated over, as he tried all possible poses in sliding, like sitting, standing, sleighing and just name it!

My son is barely three. But that day, I too learnt something with him. Sometimes, victory is just a moment away. We just need to grab the right moment to conquer our fears to experience the feeling of victory!

And the below was precisely my son's expression - 


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

U - Uniform ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

Uniform - The first thing that comes to mind is an outfit that represents a group, a cult or a clan. It brings people of anything but like minds together, to symbolize the term, equality. It is a code that demands a respect from the people who wear it. And the significance of this uniform ascends to a whole new level when a man wears it for his country, swearing to defend it with all his might, come what may. Yes, the uniform of a soldier is what brings with it, not just the code of conduct, but pride and honor.

And it is here, I would like to share the indigenous lines written by my husband for the NCC Sweatshirt theme during his college days,

“Tamers of tides
Players of storms
Masters of Charm
Yet lethal in any form
The men in Uniform!!”

~ Karthik Iyer 

For me, this code commands the deepest respect in me! Need say more??


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

T - Trust ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

When I learnt the importance of Faith and sustain it during my hospitalization last year, I also learnt a thing or two about trust. Yes, Trust follows faith wherever it leads to. In the first week of my treatment, my body failed to respond to any treatment and my impatience took over my good senses and I deduced that maybe I am not being treated right. And that is when, my father held my hand and said,

“Child! Learn to trust. You have to trust your doctor if you have to get well. You have to place your entire being in his good hands to let the healing start. Trust his treatment. Have absolute faith in his knowledge. Even before you know, the healing will begin.”

It is then, I knew what I was lacking at. The moment I stopped questioning too much and replaced my doubts with trust, I knew for a fact, that all was going to be fine. And needless to say, within the next week, my body started responding well to the treatment.

There are moments in life, when one knows not, whether to take a step forward and trust someone’s thoughts and actions. But then, there is always an outcome for every action. There are lessons learnt if the instinct to trust does not give one the desired results. But, one at least does not have to regret of not having taken the plunge to trust, or to not.

I firmly believe in this message,

Do you??


Monday, April 21, 2014

S - Sarcasm ~ A - Z Blogger Challenge 2014

The best of never ending arguments are often those, in which words play like swords, laced with hidden jibes , crisply cutting towards the end of a nonsensical banter and often, making a point in a humorous way. Now, whether or not, the words are comprehended, depends on the intellect of the people involved in a discussion. Yes, Sarcasm is the word.

The word sarcasm is derived from the Greek word – Sarkasmos which has an inherent meaning “tear flesh to the teeth”. 

Besides the fun derived from it, sarcasm is just another tacky weapon, language has to offer, to conflict small talk, senseless banter and unavoidable arguments. However, one has to bear in mind that it need not replace the language one speaks because, 

Aptly put!!


Sunday, April 20, 2014

R - Routine ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

There was a time when I associated the word routine with humdrum, monotony, lifeless and boring! But then, is it not the routine that drives us towards the idea of hiatus? Is it not the routine that helps us enjoy when we take a break? Is it not the routine that makes us realize the importance of routine itself?

When I was working, I ached for a break, many a time, a break as long as a week atleast! And when I got it prior to my engagement (had to dole out unimaginable excuses for getting a leave for three days), I did all I wanted besides the pre wedding preps. And then, there was some lazing around, movie marathon with my hubby (then fiancee), catching up with friends, eating at favorite joints and a lot more. The thing is, when the leave ended, I was only too happy to get back into my routine again, unlike what I had thought!

You see, routine is like healthy food. It is not tasty most of the time. But it is required to keep the mind and body healthy and importantly, busy. Break is like intermittent indulgence that is fancy to have once in a while. Routine brings a discipline in life. Needless to say, breaks are crucial, but getting back to the routine is more important.

What say?


Friday, April 18, 2014

Q - Quit ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

We have grown up, getting the below a lot, all the way...

"Never say quits"
"Don't be a quitter"
"Don't quit when you are already half way through"

Isn't it? I thought about using this word prefixed with I and decided to post fix it with a few words/sentences that would make one use this word a little differently.

...comparing with anyone but self.
...giving unsolicited advice, when I have no idea what the other person is going through.
...sharing too much of information about self with anyone.
...leading an unhealthy lifestyle.
...making excuses for not undertaking duties which I am perfectly capable of.
...being afraid of taking a step forward in an uncertain world.
...taking a neutral stand when taking a decision is more important than anything.

The idea of 'quit...' is to quit the negativity that breeds within. And, the best way is to do so, is by being honest with self.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

P - Power of Words ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

I always believe that problems of our world would be halved if we understood the power of words. The power, words hold on people, is truly one of its kind. People with fiery oratory skills always leave people gaping in awe. History has been a witness to how the power of words play minds seamlessly, makes or breaks a society, thrills and enthralls a soul and then, brings in a new perspective, many a time.

How many of us use this power judiciously? How many of us can argue using the right words without brushing the other person wrong way? How many of us think, revise our thoughts and then speak our minds? How many of us are ready to treat the success and criticism bestowed by this power, just the same?

Power of words, is a weapon. If used rightly, it would do wonders. If not, then Winston Churchill did nail it with his quote - 

True indeed!!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

O - Omen ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

Have you ever felt that tingling sensation in the back of your head, that says aloud, something is about to happen? Have you ever felt happy without a reason and you tend to discover the reason just a few minutes later? Or, have you felt restless for no reason and you discover that the restlessness was not without a reason? Omen!

If you don’t believe in omens, you must watch nature with an eye for detail. Watch the animals, the birds, the clouds, observe the changing seasons and hear the unspoken words of the plants and trees. They all say something in the form of omens.

Do you believe in omens? Do you believe in small marvels that happen noiselessly? Or, you either know them but choose to ignore them or maybe, you are just ignorant of the fact that omens are there always, saying something to you all the time, about events waiting to unfold?


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

N - Nostalgia ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

Why is it, no matter how much we live in the present, there is always a portion of our heart brimming with beautiful memories, wishing to relive them again? Why is it, we remember those happy times only when we are not capable of settling down with what the present has to offer? Why is it, we cherish some moments like never before and try to forget the otherwise with a wish that some things just never happened? Nostalgia is indeed, a difficult sentiment. And then, to each his own.

For me, nostalgia is growing up in the mofussil town of Bharuch under the protective wings of the Sisters of Queen of Angels Convent, my alma mater.

For me, it is those amazing moments when my father taught me to ride my cycle, to swim,  and to skate.

For me, it is those memorably warm moments when my mother used to stay up with me during my exams, making filter coffee for me, lest I fell asleep without completing my syllabus.

For me, it is those happy moments when my parents took me around the country side for long vacations so that I see the myriad colors of the big wide world and know it better.

For me, it is those thrilling moments when I stayed in hostel for four long years, doing engineering and at the same time, being a part of every possible mischief under the warden’s nose.

For me, it is those unforgettable moments, when I landed in a new city for a job and made amazing friends, not forgetting to mention found my soul mate too!!

For me, it is a constant reminder that life was never unfair and that, good and bad times are like seasons. They just come in alternatively to make one realize the worth of life.

And most importantly, nostalgia for me doesn't mean, I love my present any less than the beautiful moments of the past. It is just that, I want my present to be a part of a beautiful past, when future arrives.

So, what is your take on this sentiment?


Monday, April 14, 2014

M - Money ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

A piece of paper decides what comes on your table for breakfast, lunch and dinner and how much will each in the family have. A piece of paper decides which school/college one must attend despite the merits earned. A piece of paper decides whether or not one will be spending vacations as planned. A piece of paper decides when and how one must build your home. A piece of paper decides whether or not one can afford the luxury to shop till one drops. In short, a piece of paper decides how one would want to lead his/her life. A piece of paper, just a piece of paper, Money!!

Money doesn't buy happiness, is a true statement. But it does give you a way to be happy, immaterial of how spiritual or detached you get from materialistic pleasures. It has just two faces. one is necessity and the other is luxury. The take is, whether a man can learn to be happy with a frugal lifestyle or be restless with a flamboyant one!

“Money, money, money
Must be funny
In the rich man's world
Money, money, money
Always sunny
In the rich man's world
All the things I could do
If I had a little money
It's a rich man's world”

This famous song by the Swedish Band ABBA just sums it all!!


Sunday, April 13, 2014

L - Lotus seeds ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

The first time I had them, was in 2007 when one of my roommates made a snack out of these seeds. The seeds were roasted in a teaspoon of margarine and then, sprinkled over with some salt and pepper. It was the tastiest snack I had ever had and nothing could beat that day’s enjoyment of having to watch an old Hindi movie, Andaz Apna Apna with a bowl of roasted lotus seeds in hand. That is how I fell in love with this plain jane!!

Lotus seeds, going by the name, are seeds derived from Lotus flower. In India, these seeds are a predominant ingredient in North Eastern Cuisines. In Manipur, these seeds go by a local name, thamchet. In Hindi, these seeds are referred to as makhani. Also, these seeds happen to be used extensively in Chinese medicines and desserts. They are initially green in color but are extensively used in their dried form. However, they are better known in East Asia for their medicinal values. They are said to be very beneficial for heart, stomach and kidneys. Also, they help people with insomnia as these seeds have a calming effect on the nervous system. And, most importantly these seeds contain an enzyme, L-isoaspartyl methyltransferase, which has anti ageing properties that repair damaged proteins.

And, for people who love to experiment a variety with a single ingredient, lotus seeds offer that luxury too. Besides being the simple lip smacking snack, lotus seeds can also be ground to a paste that can be used in making sauces, pastries and other dessert fillings. I, for one, have to try as to how it tastes in its sweet form.

What about you? How do you like them, as a simple salted snack or something delightfully sweet??


Friday, April 11, 2014

K – Karna ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

When I had signed up for this challenge, I had decided I would write Karma for K. And as I started, I typed ‘n’ instead of ‘m’ and the word became Karna. This happened twice and then I pondered, "After all Karna and Karma do have a relation in more ways than one". For people who do not know who Karna is, allow me to introduce the mighty heart, courageous and impeccably skilled warrior prince of Angad, Karna from the epic Mahabharata, who was a victim of his own hostile destiny that was a direct result of one wrong karma committed by his mother, Kunti.

Karna, like Arjuna is the son of Kunti. When Kunti out of her childish curiosity to use her powers to invoke the powers of Gods, prayed to the Sun God, she was instantly gifted a son by him. Considering she was still too young and worse, unmarried she abandoned the child, who later was brought up by a poor charioteer, Adiratha and his wife Radhe.  But being of a warrior clan by birth, he was the only one who could match Arjun’s skills in archery, besides Eklavya. However, Karna is better known for his noble qualities like generosity and loyalty. When Krishna praises Karna for his unmatched generosity, Arjun gets offended. So, to make Arjun see the truth, he creates two small hills of gold. And then,

Krishna: "Arjuna, I want you to give away these treasures to anyone you meet. And, you must finish with your charity by dusk."

Arjuna: "That is not some big task! I will do it right away!" 

And  he starts with chopping the hills into many small pieces. As dusk approaches, a lot of people gather around to see what the prince is up to. And then, he gives away the small gold and silver pieces to people who had gathered around. Now, Krishna calls upon Karna and puts him to the same test.

Karna (spotting two poor Brahmins coming his way): "Hey you both, come here!"

The Brahmins: "Yes sir?"

Karna: "There are two hills here. And, they are made of gold. So here goes, each for you!"

The Brahmins: "Truly, your generosity is unparalleled! God bless.."

And that is when, Arjuna realizes why Karna was praised so much for his noble qualities. There are many variations to this tale, but the message asserts generosity. The other quality that Karna is known for, is loyalty towards his friend. Even after being told by Krishna just before the great war of Mahabharata, that he is the son of Kunti and hence, is the brother of Pandavas, he stands firm like a rock, as he pledges loyalty towards Duryodhana, the Kaurava chief who took Karna under his wings when the world turned against him.

Not without a reason, it is said,

If you can help people, be as generous as Karna.

And, when you make a good friend, be as loyal as Karna.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

J – Jack Sparrow ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

Talk about the predictably unpredictable fictional characters and the first name that comes to mind is Jack Sparrow! Well, I stand corrected, Capt Jack Sparrow! I am not sure at what point this character mesmerized me so much, that I made my son a pirate in his fancy dress competition. Yes, a crazy mom is what people would call me. But let me tell you, I am more than fascinated with his deep mystical persona that resides underneath those stinky clothes, unwashed and beaded tresses and stained teeth. Capt Jack Sparrow is indeed, one handful which you would know, if you watch the Pirates of the Caribbean series.

Known to be every government official’s enemy and every pirate’s envy (talk about his first mate, Barbossa who finds occasions to maroon Jack on every uninhabited island they come across), Jack Sparrow is indeed, the most sought after pirate in the series, most wanted would be appropriate though. In his quest to gain control over his beloved Black Pearl which he keeps losing to Barbossa time and again, this witty pirate faces umpteen hurdles, of which he treats none like one. Escaping any situation from where there is no way out, comes easily to him. His words play the best minds and confuse them to the hilt. His actions are spontaneous, yet well planned in his head. His charm works its way into the deepest crevices of hardened hearts of even witches like Calypso. Needless to say, every woman he comes across, is enchanted with him!

Despite being a notorious pirate that he claims to be, his humility towards life and his wisdom camouflaged often by his wit, is reflected in his conversation with his loyal mate, Gibbs in the fourth installment of the movie: Pirates of the Caribbean (On Stranger Tides)

Gibbs: “Jack, I have to ask you! You had the chalices, the water, and the tear. You could’ ve lived, maybe forever”

Jack: The Fountain of youth does test you, Gibbs. But better to not know which moment may be your last, every morsel of your entire being alive to the infinite mystery of it all. And who is to say I won’t live forever, eh? Discoverer of the Fountain of Youth. I have no say in it, Gibbs. It is a pirate’s life for me. Savvy?”

Savvy indeed!!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I – Ice Age ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

My love for animated characters started with Ivan Franko’s book - When Animals could talk, a book that my parents gifted me on my eleventh birthday. And, the first of the interesting animated movies I watched, was Ice Age that released in 2002. I have followed the series religiously and somehow, I fell in love with the four characters surviving the paleolithic Ice age. So, allow me to introduce to you, Manny, Sid, Diego and Scrat!

Manny – The burly mammoth with an indulgent heart is a delightful character, who is a good friend to Sid and Diego, a loving husband to his wife Ellie and an adoring father to his daughter Peaches. A tasteful blend of serious and friendly, calm and emotional, Manny is just one of his kind.

Sid – Sid! Oh Sid! Where art thou? The ground sloth who chatters endlessly lisping away to glory, is one of those who you just cannot choose to ignore. His clumsy movements are inversely proportional to his incessant talking. Many a time, his annoying and unintelligent actions get him in trouble and Manny, his good friend is always on his toes to rescue him from the dangers the former unwittingly gets entangled in.

Diego – This saber tooth is the third to complete the friendship trio. The kind that he is, his sarcasm gets ahead of him, making him sound serious and disinterested most of the times. Although it is he, who helps Ellie in delivering Peaches as Manny is busy fighting off the dinosaurs in Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Also, he rescues Sid, who he sees as a glutton for trouble. Towards the end of the series, he too finds his soul mate in Shira, a green eyed saber tooth.

Scrat – This unique character has absolutely nothing to do with anything that is happening in parallel. He has just one focus in life – collecting oak nuts. Even if it means endangering himself, Scrat cares no more for the danger as much as he does for the acorn that keeps eluding him till the end of the series, until he finds himself in a town of acorns.

I love the series for the friendship that develops between the emotional Manny, the annoying Sid and the sarcastic Diego. I wouldn't mind spending a lazy Sunday watching the entire series back to back with a bowl of butter popcorn and coffee.

What about you? Do you have a liking for animation movies as well? What are your picks?


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

H – Horror ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

 “After two English schooners, whose red flags fluttered toward the sky, there came a magnificent Brazilian three-master; it was perfectly white and wonderfully clean and shining. I saluted it, I hardly know why, except that the sight of the vessel gave me great pleasure......”

~ An excerpt from the short story – Horla by Guy de Maupassant

Even till date, when I come to this part of the story, an eerie feeling churns at the pit of my stomach, the same way as it did when I read Horla for the first time in sixth grade. There is a sinister vibe that exudes a fear of unknown, a shock that follows a fever without a reason, a growing diffidence and a restlessness that does not just go away. Horror is the word. It is this story that got me interested in the horror genre, be it books or movies.

It is not the known, but the unknown that intrigues the mind like none other. Forbidden territories. creatures of the night and unanswered questions are too much to resist in the world of horror. After all, what is unknown does not necessarily mean that the unknown don’t exist. That is what horror is all about!

By the way, have you read Charles Dickens' Signalman?


G – Gumption ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

There comes a time in our lives, when we face a lacuna that holds us in a stagnant loop of time from which we are apprehensive of breaking free. That something could be anything, an unsatisfactory job, a loveless relationship, loneliness, loss of a near or a dear one or even the need to do something different, something that puts the heart at peace. And, that irrepressible urge, that brimming impulse, that dire need to go out and do what the heart feels right, brings alive the gumption in a person.

When the need to change, the need to evolve, the need to make a difference becomes more than necessary, the gumption to break free from the tightening grip of a time as that, makes one see himself/herself in a whole new light. Because, everyone has a side, a formidable side that comes out only in the hour of need.

So, do you have the gumption in you to take the world by storm, sans any regrets, fears, apprehensions and social pressures that cloud your judgment?


Sunday, April 6, 2014

F – Faith ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

When I watched this movie 'Life of Pi', it did leave an impact on me. Not because, it was an Oscar winner or it had a majestic Bengal tiger looming large on screen. But because, Richard Parker (the Bengal tiger) and Pi find themselves in the same raft, fighting to survive the rogue waves of the sea. And, Pi survives because of his faith, strong faith in God. Not only does he survive, he also gains a little trust from Richard Parker in his verve to live. 

I faced a similar situation in life last year when I suffered acute symptoms of a neurological disorder. I lost my speech and eyesight overnight with no foreseen symptoms. With no pain, my defense system turned against me and created havoc within my body. In my case, this was a hostile Richard Parker who wouldn't just gain my trust. Those two weeks of intense hospitalization held me walking on a tight rope where I knew not, what the next minute had in store for me. In that moment of weakness, in that moment of helplessness, somewhere deep within, there was a light, that flickered. That light was faith. With prayers from loved ones constantly ringing in my ears and with the steady chanting of Gayatri mantra, Hanuman chalisa and Vishnu sasahranamam and with a good doctor to treat me, this faith started shining brightly, bringing with it new hopes and a will to survive.

The image just says it all and faith teaches precisely that. All one needs to have is, faith in God, faith in destiny, faith in self. And then, He is always there to guide us in battling the storms of life. Isn't it? 

Do you have faith in God? Do you have faith in your destiny? Do you have the faith in yourself to beat every challenge life throws at you?


Friday, April 4, 2014

E – Egg ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

When Columbus was ridiculed by some Spanish nobles over his discovery of Americas, he placed a wager, an interesting one to speak of! He gave them an egg and challenged them to make the egg stand on its end sans any support. When none could do it, either out of ignorance or out of contempt for that seemingly impossible feat, Columbus tapped it lightly inducing a slight crack on its end, due to which the egg stood the way, he had said. That is how, the supreme yet humble egg preached loud through the discoverer of America,

One just needs to do things differently to bring in a change that time demands.

The quintessential egg has indeed, come a long way since its association with Columbus. A delicacy that it is, it takes its place anywhere and everywhere as a scrumptious breakfast as a fluffy cheese omelette or a light lunch in the form of Bread and Bhurji (an Indian version of scrambled egg, loaded with spices) or even a late evening snack in its boiled or poached form. By which I am suddenly reminded of this advertisement..

Sardi ho ya garmi, (Be it winter or summer)
Sunday ho ya Monday, (Be it a Sunday or a Monday)
Roz khao Ande..... (Have an egg everyday) 

By the way, I love sunny side up? What is your choice?


Thursday, April 3, 2014

D – Dracula ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

He has the most alluring personality. He carries a physique that could shame the strongest men to death. His wicked smile exudes a daunting fear and invokes an intoxicating admiration at the same time. His erudite mind absorbs any information like a sponge. But most importantly, his heart never beats.

He has been portrayed villain for ages, a villain women could fall for! His aristocratic charm could melt even a heart of steel and confuse a reasoning mind. His spell works its magic in the night when the bloodcurdling howling of night creatures unite in one voice, as the night spreads her cloak of darkness across the skies, for this one nyctophillic lover. After all, it is his time to hunt, with his brides of course.

So, allow me to introduce this mystical character from Bram Stroker’s novel – Count Vlad Dracula.

Dracula is one of the darkest characters in history, who may have more movies to his credit than any living legend. Besides the many facets of his powerful personality that have been studied, researched, revealed and debated over, for years in books, movies, old wives tales and legends, it is Count Vlad Dracula, from Bram Stroker’s novel, that fascinated me the most. I have read the novel and have also seen the movie by the same name, an adaptation from the book. Going by which, Dracula is a count, a man of knowledge and stature, who resides in an old eerie castle located in the Carpathian Mountains, on the border of Transylvania. Historical references deduce that, Dracula was once the warrior prince Vlad Dracula III, a member of a celebrated chivalric society known as Order of the Dragon, which was formed to fight the Ottoman Turk Empire. However, his rising from the dead, his supernatural abilities to shape shift into bats, wolves and rats and meeting his nemesis Van Helsing have many versions. One of which says, Dracula renounced God and embraced the dark powers, that helped him rise from the grave to feed on blood and power. 

Whoever he was, whoever he became, notwithstanding all that, Dracula will always be one of the celebrated villains in history, for someone who was intense, passionate, commanding and shrewd, but most importantly uber charming on the outside and deathly evil from inside.


Murphy’s day-in!! ~ From a Nomad’s diary

(written yesterday)

3rd April 2014

Some days are just not meant to be smooth. They are not meant to be satisfying or rather, 80% flawless (a big deal!). Today was one such day for me! I won’t say that it wasn’t fine at all. But it did test my patience. Nothing seemed to be going right. And then I realized, it was Murphy again!

It was 6 AM. I got up in a cheerful mood. The ambiance outside was very inviting with a cool breeze blowing. And considering that, Summers are in full swing with the use of desert coolers having become imperative, I decided not to miss the morning breeze. After watering the plants, I started with my daily grind of what is to be made for breakfast. And simultaneously and usually, I prepare for lunch as well. I already knew what I had in mind. It was going to be aloo mutter sabzi and dudhi kootu (a South Indian cuisine with lentils and bottle gourd cooked in home ground spices with coconut). I had made the preparations. And then, even before I realized it was time for both husband and son to get ready for office and school respectively. So starting with breakfast, I quickly fixed a sandwich for both and packed my son’s Tiffin with the same.

Getting my son ready for school is a mammothian challenge every day. And each day, his tantrums vary and as a mother, I am on guard as to what is it going to be today. I dropped him on my activa at school where he cried his heart out, wailing at the top of his voice, instigating a few other cheerful toddlers to join him in his jugalbandi. And as I started to leave, he spurted on me all the milk he had in morning. Too much of crying can do that. Thankfully and knowing him, he was careful enough not to spoil his own clothes. And so, I rode back home smelling of vomit. Then as soon as I entered home, I remembered I had forgotten to go to the ATM. After all, it was payday for all and most bills had to be settled. And then, I searched for my activa keys. I couldn't find them! I frantically searched my home turning every room upside down, when my maid called out to me as she entered, “Memsaab! Aapke keys activa pe hi lage hue hain.....lekar aun?” And suddenly, there was a gush of relief! After collecting my keys, I went to the ATM to withdraw money. It was a long queue.  After waiting patiently for about 15 minutes, I entered only to know that there was no cash in the machine! I The jinx had started and am sure, Murphy was smiling! I came back home and thought; it would be better to start with cooking. And, unusually I was done with all the preparatory tasks early in the morning, like dicing, chopping, grinding....all I had to do was cook. At that moment, there was this passing thought, “This can’t be jinxed at least!” And then, my woes started.....

And the first culprit was aloo mutter ki sabzi. This particular dish has never failed me and I always loved making this dish with a lot of tomato gravy, just the way hubby likes it. I usually make this in a cooker, but for some reason, I decided to go for a handi. And then as, I kept the pot on stove, I started with making the kootu for which I thought of first boiling the lentils and bottle gourd in a cooker. As I tried to stretch the gasket, it died on me by breaking! After some searching I found three gaskets, none fitting the cooker I had in hand. Being too lazy to remove any other cooker from my kitchen cabinet, I decided to search again for an extra gasket, should there be. And boy, this time I was lucky to find a brand new one that fitted the cooker lid perfectly. “This couldn't get any easy!”, I thought so! And then, the cooker lid wouldn't just fix! I tried hard and somehow managed to, but then I realized I had not fitted the lid correctly, as the gasket was new and tight. Mom knows best and so ended up calling her describing my situation. She said, “hey don’t use the new gasket. First time is always a trouble. Why don’t you use another cooker! You have so many!” I mumbled a sigh! After fifteen minutes of struggle, the cooker lid finally came off. As I sat on the kitchen floor heaving a sigh, my olfactory senses alerted me that something was burning! The sabzi was burnt beyond recognition and there was nothing I could do to scrap the black and charred mixture of once beautifully colourful vegetables! The handi was on high flame, something I never do as I always cook/boil/bake on sim. How could I forget a habit? And then, I looked at my cooker containing the lentils and the bottle gourd pieces. For a strange reason, I decided to give a try once more, a decision I was to regret soon! I again tried fixing the cooker lid and this time, the lid fixed or just I thought so. For the first time in the past four hours, there was a smile on my face which waned away as soon as it came, when I tried to open the cooker lid again, out of curiosity. This time, the lid was stuck. And it won’t just wriggle free! I tried all the tactics Bean uses in his movies and all attempts yelled loud at me, “This is just not your day!”

When hubby came home for tea break, I was listless. Thankfully, I had made his breakfast of boiled eggs and milk shake about which I had conveniently forgotten midst the self created chaos. After having his breakfast, he tried a hand in diffusing the cooker fiasco. But the gasket won’t just budge. And then, hubby sighed, “Get it done from some shop! Why did you have to use this cooker? You have so many!!” And, I totally deserved this! I decided, this was just not my day to cook!

Thankfully, I had saved some plain dal for my son and he happily had his favourite dal chawal without a fuss. No more kitchen ventures for today! But then, this day did teach me two things!
  • First instinct is always correct and it never fails you! Follow the latter, you will be played for sure! 
  • Remember the first point!

That is how my day ended with a lot of rants and learning.....Got to focus on Blogger challenge.....wish me luck, people!! God bless...!!


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

C - Cocoon ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

Every life is familiar with what a cocoon is. Even at a primal level, a life associates cocoon with security, assurance and protection. From nature's perspective, it is a haven for a blossoming life awaiting a transformation.

Technically, a cocoon is a casing that is spun by moth caterpillars before they transition into butterflies. But looking at it, a cocoon has a much deeper connotation. The intricately woven structure by a caterpillar is truly a marvel in itself. The stage when the larva rests inside the cocoon growing noiselessly, is the time when the budding life is busy preparing itself to battle the tough uncertainties and unseen challenges that await it, on the other side. It is this place where a life gets ready to roll and face the world.

And when the cocoon breaks, one can see a wrinkled winged butterfly emerge free from the sticky inside of its cocoon. The butterfly takes its time to spread the wings, flutter a little and then, takes on its first flight. Initially, it finds itself battling the strength of the winds. After all, it is its first time. There is some struggle, some failure, a little success and a lot of focus. As its wings get acclimatized to the concept of flight, gradually the young butterfly flies effortlessly like never before.

Cocoon is the metamorphosis stage for every life. It is a stage that makes a life realize that, the risk to remain the same surpasses the risk to change. Sometimes, such simple wonders of nature teach us about the importance of struggle, the need to change and the sweetness of success that comes after the seemingly never ending struggle and change.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

B – Bharuch ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

There is always an emotion attached with any home town. The water, the air, the dust, the trees, the roads and even the heat of sweltering summers or the biting cold of nipping winters is something, the heart aches for. Such is the emotional pull of a hometown. And for me, it is Bharuch.

Located on the mouth of the holy river Narmada (who is also worshiped as Kodiyar Mata, The Goddess who rides on a crocodile), Bharuch has been an important trade center since time immemorial. Legends say that, Sage Bhrigu came to this place on a tortoise and ever since, the name of this place became Bhrigukachcha. In first century AD, it was also known as Barigaza. Known primarily as a ship building center in the early days of civilization, this place was a well traded route for Spices and Silk from Middle East even then. 

For me however, this city holds a special place in my heart not for its black soil that is apt for cotton cultivation or that it is a haven for many chemical conglomerates like Glen-mark, but for its humility. Despite its industrial success, Bharuch is still the same for me, in many aspects. The Sargam Peanuts shop (you get the best export quality peanuts here in all flavors), the old Hanuman Mandir at Kasak,  the Golden Bridge over the back waters of river Narmada, the GNFC township, the sweet shop Annakoot (known best for Kaju katli and khandvi), tourist attractions such as Kabir Vat and Shukla tirth, Dahej port and not forgetting to mention, my school - Queen of Angels' Convent located on National Highway 8, bring back such fond memories from my childhood. But most importantly, it is one classic example of communal harmony where brotherhood comes first, come what may.

People visiting my hometown must taste roasted peanuts, Chikkis (a sweet made of peanuts and jaggery), khandvi (a dish made from gram flour and yogurt) and ponk (green fragile sorghum grains that are available only here, and that too, only in winters). Also, the other must-not-miss is the Golden bridge that was built over the backwaters of Narmada, by British in 1877. It connects Bharuch and Ankaleshwar, which are often referred to as twin cities. The bridge has endured many natural disasters like earthquake and floods and still stands like a rock!

And, that is how my hometown is, prosperous yet humble!


A – Arjun ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

Whenever I hear this name, the first thing that comes to mind is, all-rounder, the one who is best in everything and takes on every challenge passionately. Arjun means, someone of unadulterated fame, who glows like silver. There are ample reasons why I chose Arjun to start with the A-Z blogger challenge 2014 with one being, my son carries that name too! So, allow me to introduce the powerful mythological character from Mahabharata – Arjun.

Going by names such as Partha, Dhananjaya, Falguna, Kiritin, Vibhastu, Savyasachi, Jishnu, Vijaya and Swetavahana, this warrior prince from epic Mahabharata was the third son of Kunti, the wife of King Pandu. Being blessed with powers to invoke the Devas (Celestial beings of Heaven), by Sage DurvasaKunti bore Arjun with the mighty powers of Lord Indra, God of thunderstorms. Of his four brothers Yudhishtir, Bhima, Nakul and Sahadeva, Arjun was the best archer. Being ambidextrous, he could perform any skill using both hands with aplomb. But, he is best known for his devotion to Lord Krishna, his charioteer and spiritual guru who guides him in his hour of karma. When Arjun, in his weak moment becomes indecisive over fighting the final war in Mahabharata against his guru Dronacharya and cousins, the Kauravas, Krishna preaches.....

Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma phaleshou kada chana
(English meaning: You have all the right to perform your actions but you must not expect the fruit of your actions)

Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani
(English meaning: The fruit should not become the purpose of your action lest you become attached to not doing what is your duty)

And, Arjun follows those words of wisdom and wins the great war of Kurukshetra. His untainted respect for his guru Dronacharya, his unquestionable faith in his charioteer cum guide Krishna, his unconditional love for his family and his absolute focus on goals to be achieved, remains unparalleled till date. That is the reason children are often told,

“Be like Arjuna when you want to achieve something in life. You will see nothing but your goal”