Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Who am I ?

I am an evading angel, transcending the norms,
    Tiny and enormous I am, I appear in many forms,
I bring a smile to many and a worry to few,
    I am mightier than the shining fresh dew.
Slowly I descend as I tread down with grace,
    Reflecting joy unbound on tiny tot’s face.
A friend in need, blessing I am, accelerating growth,
    Infinite with love, never falling short of strength.
I can harm, I can turn wild and ugly, tearing life apart,
    Just when synchronicity is lost and world gets tart.
Hold on, believe in harmony and I am destined to calm,
    My mother soothes all, being the universal balm.
Hiding under the good and evil is a mirage for the weak,
    Accept me in my forms, life is such that dips and peak.
I turn into thin vapor, deceiving your belief,
    In my absence, stay still and sigh a relief.
I whiz pass you, and stay high above you; not away,
    Only to come back, reunite; relish and pave our way.
In my journey, you can reflect the essence of life’s wisdom,
    I am an instance, so are you; go experience freedom.

Leave a comment on who do you think the 'I' in the poem refers to :-)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Live your dreams

Chintu looked up into the sky. He saw the ball hit the standards.
It was a six off the last ball and they won the finals of the inter school cricket tournament.

“And the Man of the Match award goes to Chinnaswamy Ramaraja”, echoed from the speakers.

“Ma, we won the game!”
“Ah! Now, you will start your studies!!”
Chintu’s excitement vanished into thin air. He dropped his cricket kit in his room and ran off to see his friend Mitran.
“Congrats Chintu! I missed it!”, and he hugged Chintu.
“Thanks yaar!”
“Why do you look so dull? It was your dream to win this match and you have done it my friend”, Mitran sports a wide smile.
“Yeah, Finally! now I should study and score decent marks to keep my parents happy.”
“Chintu! This is not the time to worry about studies, let’s celebrate!”
“I don’t want to think of my studies, but I am forced to”, he looks lost.
“Chill my friend, let us meet at 8 tonight, I am off to finish my portrait now.”
“I totally forgot! How is your workshop going?”
“Once in a lifetime chance Chintu, else when would I get a chance to learn Medieval art in our country?”
“Your parents are furious with you for missing your classes to attend this expensive workshop, isn’t it?”
“You bet!” Mitran walks with a wink.
Chintu smiles in silence. Mitran wants to be an artist, I want to be a cricketer and our parents think we are innocent children who know nothing about life.

At Chintu’s place, his older brother was busy with his daily assignments when his father and uncle walked in.
“Srini, look what your aunt has sent for you, the best books for medical entrance preparation.”
“Thanks, Uncle.”

“Ram, is Chintu still interested in cricket?”
“Brother, he just dropped his cricket kit and ran out. He is not serious about life! I am so worried about him.”
“He doesn’t learn any good things from his brother.” His father continued to lament.
“He is still young. Deepak also was wasting time on football, you remember? When he entered class X, we cut off the TV connection and enrolled him in coaching classes. Now he is an engineer and is working in the US. “
“You are right! I should stop his cricket coaching first”, his father added.
“Srini, I am sure you will make us proud by becoming a doctor soon. How much did you score in your revisions?”
“Which one Uncle? We have had 5 revision tests so far. I have scored centum in all except Mathematics. I got 99.”
“You don’t need Maths for becoming Doctor, Srini! Very good, your aunt will be extremely happy to hear this.”
“The medical preparations books she got for you are the best and are on huge demand”, the uncle self-proclaimed with pride.
Chintu walks in.
“Hi Uncle! When did you come?”
“Just now Chintu, how are you?”
“I am fine. How are Deepak and Deepali?”
“Oh! They are fine dear. Deepali is going to become an Engineer too, just like her brother. What do you want to do?”
“I want to become the best batsman in the world, next to Sachin Tendulkar. I don’t want to beat my God.”
“Chintu, be serious! Cricket is a game, you can play for relaxation. You can’t run a family by playing, can you”?
“Why not, uncle? Don’t our cricketer’s have families?”
“But..Beta, not everyone who plays cricket, plays for India!”
“I know. You have to be the best! But Uncle, tell me this, aren’t we suppose to be the best in whatever we do, be it cricket or medicine?”
“Yes!” Uncle trails off as he falls short of words.
“I want to be the best in Cricket!”
“But, what if you are not?”
“What if you are not the best farmer in your village?”
Chintu!!! His dad raises his voice.
“Papa, I know we come from a family of farmers, and your parents sweated it out to educate you and now you are just doing the same to educate us. I am indebted to you papa!”
“Chintu, Stop talking like that to your papa”, his mother chides Chintu, trying to mitigate the situation
“Ma, I won a match today, a match that will help me get a place in the district team and none of my family members share my joy. It hurts.”
“Chintu, come here!” his mother signals to him with love.
“We understand you dear! We know you enjoy playing cricket, have we ever stopped you from playing?”, She continues to talk softly, hoping Chintu would see their love and concern as one.
“But, studies are important too! Tomorrow, you will be a grown up man and it is only good education that will feed you.” His dad adds.
Chintu tries to present his view, “Education is important. I understand it, papa! And I am really thankful to you for providing us the best in our lives. This education will help me survive in this world, but what you need to understand is papa, I don’t want to become a doctor or an engineer. My heart does not lie there! Every individual has skill and if he can turn his skill into work, he will become successful papa. I want to be successful; I don’t want to merely survive!”
“Go Chintu! Go inside, we will talk later.” His dad sees this going nowhere and with a guest at home he feels taking this matter up later was the best resolve now.
“Papa, Chintu is speaking is heart out today, don’t stop him.”
“Srini! Don’t support your brother here!”
“Mama and Papa, I did not have the courage to speak up in front of you. I couldn’t muster the strength to express my desires when I understood yours and mine are different. You have me to live your dreams with, let Chintu live his dreams.”
“Yes, papa! I wanted to become an architect…!”

He brings all the models of homes, offices, presidential palaces, museums that he had been making since the age of 5 to the attention of his parents and uncle.
“You always looked at them and said brilliant! You never saw the skill I possessed; you never realized the fact that the talent I possess could change the landscapes of this world.”
His mother begins to sob.
“We sacrificed our lives for them and today they are questioning us..” she mumbles.
“Don’t worry; I will become the doctor you want me to become. Let Chintu do what he is good at, Please!”
“I look so small in front of my sons, today!”
“Ram, This world needs all kind of people, Engineers, Doctors, Teachers, Architects, Bankers, Artists, Lawyers, and Scavengers. Since, we have fought life to be enjoying the benefits now, we have always focused on professions that are lucrative, but our children are more profound. They respect all professions and want to be a part of a healthy society. They are aware of their own strengths and weaknesses much better than us. Isn’t it true that one who does what he enjoys will always be successful?”
“Like our father, brother? An honest farmer, who yielded the best harvest by his innovative farming in those days!”
The elders looked dazed. Chintu and Srini ran into their arms.
“Chintu! Let me take your cup to Aunty and show her what you have achieved!”
“Uncle, Deepali wants to become a chef!”

Ram meets Mitran’s father in the departmental store.
“Hi Ravi, How are you?”
“I am fine. I heard your son got selected into the district team, Congratulations.”
“Thanks! How is Mitran’s art work getting recognized?”
“Oh! Don’t ask. There is no scope for artists in this era. This boy is wasting his time!”
“Oh! Ravi, don’t make that mistake! Our children know where there passion lies! They will definitely fare well in what they choose as their heart is close to their work, unlike ours. You will be a proud father one day,”
“Papa!! My portrait has been selected to be exhibited at the International Exhibition of Arts, in London.”
Mitran’s father uttered, “Good Son! I will see you soon”. He was taken in by surprise to react.
“Congratulations, that day wasn’t really far away!!” Chintu’s dad patted his back.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Picture worth your words contest!

The results for the 'Picture worth your words contest' is out!

I would like to 'Thank' Aisha for being a great host! She had given excellent Picture Prompts to stir our creativity and instigate our thoughts.

Personally, the poem i wrote, reflected my belief. It also helped me gain clarity on 'what' i would like to pursue in my life! It is only when others told me that i had brought a positive message out of gory image, did i realize that. I would definitely hold this experience as a stimulant to fuel my instincts.

Congratulations to all the contestants who made the contest interesting and invigorating :) I loved each and every entry to the contest. I am sure, like me, everyone would have had a personal moment of reflection.

Thanks to my blog readers who are a constant source of support and encouragement!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award

Yes, i have been nominated by Christine for The Versatile Blogger Award. I am so excited to receive this award from a blogger who writes lovely poems and blogs on various subjects.

Thank you Christine! :-) Words would fail to express my gratitude!

Christine and I competed for "Picture worth the words contest" together and i truly admire her work.

The Versatile Blogger Award Rules:

1. Add a picture of the award in your post.
2. Thank the award giver.
3. Share 7 random facts about you.
4. Choose 15 other bloggers to pass the award to and let them know that they’ve been nominated.

The 7 Random facts about me - little hard, let me try ;-)

1. I have a poor sense of humor.
2. I believe in the macro-micro cosmos. I believe every life on Earth has a power derived from the Universal powers lying dormant within.
3. I am a certified clinical Hypnotherapist. (Please Don't stay away!)
4. I love to read about anything under the sun from Science to History.
5. I am fascinated by ancient wisdom.
6. Oops, ran out of facts! I love intellectual talks; the idea of sitting with a dear friend and talking for hours over a cup of coffee excites me.
7. I love the Ocean, can spend countless hours staring at her.

Now, to the nominations; It feels good to pass on The Versatile Blogger Award to the following Bloggers:

1. http://valadyviews.blogspot.com/
2. http://deepakkarthikspeaks.blogspot.com/
3. http://ctkrishnan.wordpress.com/
4. http://realnirmal.blogspot.com/
5. http://nonaspensieve.blogspot.com/
6. http://peerlessdeepak.wordpress.com
7. http://anand85ind.wordpress.com/
8. http://akkishaki.blogspot.com/
9. http://creativentechno.wordpress.com/
10. http://rahul-aggarwal.blogspot.com
11. http://www.arnabmaity.com/
12. http://santoshnc.blogspot.com/
13. http://lifeofanindianhomemaker.blogspot.com/
14. http://nuktaa.blogspot.com/
15. http://sujathasathya.blogspot.com/

I enjoy reading your blogs; the thought trails; poems; stories; musings; social messages; and more - The award is my way of appreciating, acknowledging and thanking your work.

Congratulations :-)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tell a Tale contest


Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I had a great time hosting the contest. Thanking everyone for their spirited participation. It was indeed a nice experience reading so many different versions to the start of a storyline.

I hope, each of you had a memorable time participating and writing your own beautiful ends! I believe it was the first time for many of you and you enjoyed the whole event. I felt overwhelmed when many of you wrote to me saying you enjoyed, just the aspect of writing into a contest - that was the intention behind this idea; to provide an opportunity to write & meet new bloggers and cherish the experience.

I am sure we have already learnt a few new things in this exercise. I truly believe, Learning is the reward of Participation.

I know, you have been reading this to know when the results would be out and am beating with my words!

The judging process is going to be another rewarding experience; with so many entries and each so unique, i have a task on hand.

Results would be announced on 6th February 2012.

The list of entries are:

1. Arun
2. Asif
3. Hariharan Valady
4. Bhagyareema
5. Deva
6. Engram
7. SRS
8. Vijay Shenoy
9. Sancheeta Biswas
10. Krishnan

Thank you once again! In the meanwhile, Please read the stories written by other contestants and share your views.


I am announcing a contest for bloggers to participate and enjoy! The main reason behind the contest is to build camaraderie, instigate a spark and learn through contesting.

I feel every time i am in a contest i learn from it and become a better person, be it a Toastmasters contest or Blogger contest! Hence, decided to be the host :-)

Here you go! I have written the beginning of a story and i would want the contestants to complete it! Sounds simple, isn't it?

Image Source: http://astoriedcareer.com


“Coffeeee!! Teaa!!”
“Coffeeee!! Teaa!!”
The vendor called out as he passed the coupe.
The baby fell on its knee trying to walk across to his mother.
The mother ran to pick up the child and is busy placating him.
Ravishing young lady sat across him checking her flock of hair in the mirror of her mini clutch bag.
The chatter from the group of young boys engrossed in a card game relayed from above.
The train had halted at Varnasi for 15 mins. He hadn’t moved or uttered a word from the time he got on.
The newspaper covered Sanjay’s face; his eyes peered through his bi-focal spectacles and his hair rested neatly combed sideways.
A pencil in his hand was losing his grip.

Some rules don't do any harm ;-)

1. Contestants should complete this story in 750-800 words(Excluding my start).
2. Contestants should tag two(minimum) other bloggers to participate in the contest.
3. Contestants should leave their suggestions/appreciations on fellow contestants post
4. Contestants should tag this post while making an entry to the contest.
    Create a new post in your blog, link it here and leave a comment for me to know!
5. Contestants will be judged on
   a. Creativity
   b. Originality/ Fresh thoughts
   c. Climax of the story
   d. Good written English
   e. Message of the story

Are you ready to contest? Contest closes on 31st January 2012. Rush in your entries; Let us have some fun & learning by reading, reviewing and rewarding the blogger community!

Looking forward to your lively participation :-D

My Tags:

Krishnan Chidambaram
Anand Narayanan

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Online Censorship - Is it the right way forward?

It is unfortunate that the Govt of India is stooping to another level of new lows by wanting to curb the freedom of online users! Earlier when Kapil Sibal had made a public statement emphasizing the need for screening the social media,there was a huge uproar. Facebook and Twitter went berserk with morphs, funny quotes, caricature and more to express their dissent.

Internet is a free zone where one can exercise his views. To say, every content on the internet has to be screened for objectionable material is a foolish move. What remains objectionable to you may be my interest or even an area of research! It's much like Television viewership where the choice of program is left to the viewer's discretion. Not everything that comes on T.V is best suited for everyone still, we have learned to live with it. It is same with the Internet. Of course, Internet has more power and by trimming its tentacles, one cannot uproot it!

Screening content on Internet is not going to be practically possible. World over, many countries have tried enforcing censorship but the net savvy has always found a way around to voice their view. Would the Indian Govt then, like China impose cruel punishments inflicting pain & horror? The least we can do is; impose a law and we know how laws work in our country! It benefits the wrong doers more than the honest. Internet censorship laws can be so vulnerable that anyone can be easily held culpable by cooking up the plot!

The story of Indian diplomat's daughter wrongly held for online abuses.

Shouldn't we be employing our precious time on many more worthy issues that require immediate attention than Online Censorship? Sibal, What about the scams in the country?

The reason that Kapil quoted was the most hilarious! The Govt believes that there High command is being unnecessarily targeted and false rumors being spread through social media and it is damaging their good reputation. The concern of the Govt is never common; it is always their own. A leader's deeds and actions will always stand high above rumors. No leader has ever fallen due to the spread of rumors; A leader falls because his actions cannot stand up for his/her promises! If your High command is really honest and pure; nothing can really shake them. Truth will always prevail. An honest man is never scared of men who spread false news.

Instead of blocking content, your Govt should be trying to prove itself through its good performance! Why are you scared, if you have nothing to hide?

Today, the court notices to Google, Facebook are nothing but circumvented avenue taken up by the Govt! A litigation from a common man on objectionable content(Religious figures humiliated) allowed by Google, and Facebook is the start. The court is trying to be very hard on the Internet Giants but would the ordinary Netizen allow censorship? It is a camouflaged route to attack online freedom by raking up religious sentiments. One, people can't take a stand on religious issues and if they do, then you will be sidelined. What a strategy!?! When would this divide and rule end in India. It is really disappointing to see even after 60 years of Independence we go through the same crap!

On a day when Wikipedia is blacked out in protest of the SOPA bill in the U.S; it is important for us to understand the merits of free Internet and forge ahead. U.S is trying to curb the menace of Wikileaks through censorship and we in India are trying to curb common mans' freedom of expression. None of these is in the best interest of free speech! U.S should find a way to protect its data and India should try to come clean and run a corruption-free/less Govt!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Indian cricket - the twists & turns

Dhoni was once hailed the best captain of the Indian cricket team with just 3 years to his experience and today he is no more the eye-candy boy to the Indian fans! What has changed over 2 series? Loss without a fight!

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is definitely a cool, composed captain but did he deserve all the accolades? Indians are so magnanimous with their praise and with their criticism too! We get carried away by the glorious moments and heap praise without rendering a holistic evaluation. Dhoni has won 5 games away from the Indian soil in his 3 years span as an Indian captain! I am not trying to say Dhoni isn’t a good captain, all am trying to infer is, as Indian fans we are very ephemeral with our views.

One hit and we are soaring to the sky; one loss and we nose dive into the deep sea!
A true fan is one who is with the team through their ups and downs. I give to the Indian fans for staying with the team; no matter how much they abuse their players for non-performance, they still would wake up at odd hours to catch the game with a hope! If only we could render this unparalleled support without being frustrated, it would be lot more encouraging for the players away from home.

I am with the Indian team at all times; I may refuse to follow a series but would never raise my voice! I feel it is time we accept our team with the shortcomings they possess. We have had many transitioning moments were we have surpassed our own defined standards yet we still haven’t conquered the pinnacle. Consistency is something our team lacks and we better admit to the fact!

It is one thing to live in your past glories and it is another to work on your weakness while you are enjoying your success. It is vital to understand that even during our best moments in the Cricketing arena; we still had our own pile of weaknesses. Had we worked on them, we wouldn’t be going through such a depressing tournament.

I have heard the voice of the Indian fans over media and social networking. Indians want the senior players to be sacked. Would bringing youngsters inside change the table? If one senior player fails to deliver in a team that’s performing, you can axe him but when the team falters what’s the prudence in axing a few? As Indian fans, I feel the best tribute you can pay to your heroes is a decent farewell. Let us give it to the senior players to decide when they want to hang their boots. After having played for so many years, they would want to end it well. Nobody knows it better than them on when to call it a day! Axe a player when he is not performing senior/junior in a team of master performances but not when the whole team needs a new life.

Grooming new players is essential but you don’t groom a youngster by directly giving him a call to play against the Aussies in their home ground. If he doesn’t perform well on his debut and there you ruin his entire cricketing career. As a moment of reflection, have we got a player to replace Ganguly’s position in the test format? It is easy to say throw out the old and bring in the new but are they long term solutions? They may give momentary relief but Indian team would continue to reel under embarrassment now and then. Instead, our focus should be to bring permanent solutions to the table where we dominate the cricket world for a decade or two. Dominance translates to consistency!

I still believe, we have a team and a captain who can turn the tables given the right guidance. The composure that Dhoni holds if directed well by the acumen of the seasoned can bring in the consistency that we have been playing hide and seek with.

Sourav’s period helped us move a level up. He and his team brought grit and determination to the side and am sure the current side is capable of leveraging the merits of the previous regime to embrace solid consistent performances. Fight, the result doesn’t matter!

Patience and immense faith in the team’s ability is required from the ordinary Indian fan.

Playing away from home has been our greatest concern. Can the administration do something to groom our players face tough overseas conditions. Yes! Has it done anything so far that has led to results? Not anything I know of. After every overseas series we talk about the conditions of our home pitch and how it isn’t able to produce world-class seam bowlers. It just stops at the newsroom! BCCI, being so cash rich can do more that what it is doing – one, it can create more opportunities where our players(current & upcoming) to play in overseas conditions; other than the regular international games. Two, create pitches for practice that can resemble overseas condition – only for practice. With no such forthright vision, replacing the young for the old is not going to bring in glorious success.
The administration has to take equal responsibility as the players for the debacle overseas!

We should never doubt the ability of our players. They have given us some glorious moments and have proven to the world, of their class and brilliance; it is unfair on our part to ask them to prove it time and again. With such dire home conditions, India has still managed to produce world class players. It is time now for our administration to provide various other supporting aides that can translate the talent into magnificence!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Happy Pongal

Happy Pongal ! It is time to glance through the sky and utter 'Thank you' to one of our supreme sources of energy :-) May the universal powers bring in harmony and keep the equilibrium balanced on mother Earth!

I love cooking! It is an irony that i have never posted anything on cooking before. Ahem! I love to try new dishes and add my secret ingredients ;-) It's something i do when i am down or just super happy! It pulls me out of my low moods and keeps my spirits high during upswings - a true partner!

Something that most people won't know about me is - I am die-hard Foodie! I love my food and just drool over new cuisines!

Festivals and Food are synonymous and this Pongal has let a secret out!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Helping Hands!

This post is my take on the picture prompt of "Picture Worth Your Words Contest"

Hands of hope reaching out to help,
beaten blue, clutched and tied to grip.
Am hurt, Am bleeding in agony and pain,
it's the warmth of others that hopes for a gain.
I may die, I may wither, I may snap
but i will never give up trying to help.
Let's embrace each other and spread humanity
for the strength of life lies in our unity!

Living your fear!

In sequel to Facing your Fear, here I want to narrate my personal experience of coming face to face with my fear.

It took me many years to even realize that I am scared of doing this. I don’t know to swim and never ever gave it even a thought!

While I was in my teens and water sports were gaining prominence in our country, I happened to go to a place called Mehta water splash which house slides and pools. All my friends had a time of their life coming down the winding slides. I stood very apprehensive to put my first foot forward. I spent the day in the tiniest pool while my friends took up bigger challenges.

I am not sure, how things would have been if someone tried to allay my fears. No one did and I returned home content with my rendezvous in the kid’s pool.
On the contrary, I love the ocean! I dare into the deep sea and just love being among the waves.

I grew up unaware of any of these unconscious emotions till the day I decided to learn swimming or should I say till the day I was asked, “Why don’t you learn to swim?”

Just married and my husband wanted to spend some time at the pool. I bravely accompanied him till the pool and sat by, happy with my feet kissing the water. It is when he pulled me did I realize I don’t like being in.
“I don’t know to swim. So, why should I come in?”
“Why not, just relax!”
“No! I will drown.”
“Don’t be silly! You won’t drown in a 6 feet pool”
“You are crazy!” and I rushed out of the pool.

I sat and watched tiny-tots have a merry time in the pool. That night, I realized I fear I might drown. I don’t trust myself to take my foot off the ground!

Next day again, he cajoled me to enter the pool. I entered with great spirits inspired by the children bravely paddling their feet. I could never take my feet off nor could I immerse my head in.

I was determined to learning swimming. I was determined to face my fear.
Even then, I was not daring enough to enroll myself in a class. I didn’t trust anybody! I couldn’t trust myself into the hands of a new tutor. Just the thought of learning to swim in a new environment for dreadful.

But, I was resolved to learn. I decided He would be my tutor. I trusted only him with my life ;-)

I wanted a tutor who would listen to me and who better than your husband!
Many days and years passed. I never got an opportunity to swim. Neither did I create one. In between, I got one off chances and began slowly to get comfortable being in a pool or to take a dip with faith!

Today, in a country where every home has a swimming pool, my interests revived and I pestered him to take me to the pool. Lack of time on his side procrastinated things a bit but I was determined.

Finally now, I am in the pool taking my swimming lessons. I am a scared, sluggish and slow and can take the life out of my instructor but am also focused, arduous and patient!

Yes, I can now float on my own – with a little help (my instructor would say!)
The process has been rewarding! Cognitively, it has helped me understand myself better, my thoughts and my trepidations. When I actually did float, the feeling is inexplicable. To me, the end result does not matter, it is the process that does. I knew one day I will swim but how I do that was the challenge!

The moment one comes face to face with the fear and conquers is a defining moment!

I shared a love-hate relationship with water. Now, am turning it into an absolute love!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Facing your fear!

It is believed that we, as a living entity are born with just 2 fears – Fear of Fall & Fear of Sound!

Image Source: http://www.phobias-help.com

Yes, only 2 fears then, can you imagine every other fear has been acquired through our living on earth experience?

In psychology and related science, it is believed that during the creation of this physical universe, there were loud explosions and we did fall off from a distance. It is similar to the big bang theory of creation. Hence, we inherently hold these two fears. Let me try to relate this to our current existence. Have you felt like you were falling from somewhere while you sleep? It is a common phenomenon that most of us experience during sleep. We even get up scared at times. Next, when you are deeply engrossed in a conversation and if your mom breaks a saucer in the kitchen, would you be shocked for a second? Generally when we hear a sudden noise, we feel our stomach churn! There is queasy feeling in our guts! These are experiential proves of these 2 inherent fears surfacing from within us.

All of us have some kind of fear, whether we like it or not! Have we ever tried to understand our fears, from where they come and tried to deal with them? We let them be!

Fears could be anything; fear of darkness, fear of water, fear of heights, fear of closed places, fear of lizards, cockroaches and crawly creatures, fear of flying and many others.

Most of these fears would have originated in our early childhood. Children learn from their Initial experiences of interacting with a physical universe! Negative/undesired outcomes create fear in the minds. With more experiences re-affirming the initial experience, it forms a fear deep inside.

Just being scared is totally different from harnessing a fear. We tend to be scared of trying new things – that’s perfectly ok! Some people I have seen are extremely scared. They would never ever do something that they are scared; they can even bring the roof down! Unimaginably scared!

Now that we realize our fears were only acquired, shouldn’t we try to let go of them. Facing your fear is the most exhilarating way to let go of your free. The process is truly heart rendering. Like in the movie ‘Zindagi Naa Milage Doobara’, the moment you conquer your fear is a life changing moment!

Why is it important to let go of our fear?

Because, a fear hinders our progress unconsciously.

Identify one of your fears and eliminate it! It heals your soul.

Sequel - click here

Foot Note: It is important to go through the process slowly and steadily. Identify and expose yourself to the fear gradually. For Example: If you are scared of lizards, instead of avoiding them, try to face the situation by staying there. Take help from people at home to throw it out instead of seeking some shelter. Facing your fear does not mean, you go collect 100 lizards and let them crawl over you and say, “I Did it’! You may faint in palpitation if you try heroic stunts. People who have Phobia’s and extreme fears should take clinical help.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Living in Jo'burg

It's been four months since i landed here in Jo'burg! The question that i am asked when i meet new people here is, "How do you like Jo'burg?" and i immediately say, "Good!" I have never been able to say more. I have quite a few impressions but find it difficult to articulate them.

A new country means change! Everything around is new - People, Culture, Surrounding, Public systems, Food, Clothing, Climate, Politics, History, and more. When i landed here in August, i had no expectation of the city and was geared to take in any experience that came my way! This attitude to larger extent has helped me sail smoothly.

I had a vision only till Dec'2011 and had decided to make the most of this break from work to pursue my interests and discovery myself! Have i succeeded ? To a larger extent yes.

Time for yourself is something everyone dies for and when you actually get it, one doesn't know what to do with so much time! I did execute most of what i intended to and did miss a few! I guess life works that way - if you get to do all what you want then, where is the fun & improvement? Some things i do to spend my time - Read, Write, Learn, Pencil Sketch, Cook, Clean & Sleep! And in these four months, i got to live my plan of traveling Italy & Paris.

Well, to talk of Jo'burg as a city - it is modern and impressive. The road infrastructure is good providing quick connectivity. The city lacks a good public transport system and that being a bane for me! I prefer to take public transport in a city when am not hurrying for work - they are the best means to understand the life in a city.

The biggest drawback in this city is the prevalence of crime! The lack of good public transport system coupled with crime, prevents you from venturing into the city which i desire the most. You will hear of some incident every day from cases of petty crime to murder. Well, there is crime everywhere in the world just that little more here ;-) What bogs me down further is not the crime by itself, it is the fear of being a victim. You can hear talks of crime everywhere and i don't like it. Even if you put everything behind you and get ready to walk on the streets, you will hear everyone advising you and narrating horrific incidents to put some sense into your head! Now, would you even try to get out on your own? Just so i keep my loved ones happy, i stay indoors.

It is not as bad as i am portraying, i get to go out 3-4 times week and even at nights but with my spouse and friends in a self-driven cars! I believe it limits my world. Can this really replace the experience of taking a stroll on your own to buy a coffee and spend an hour reading a book watching people on the streets?

Business here closes very early. You can't shop beyond 6 P.M. Yes, you heard me right! Even supermarkets, chemists close by 8 P.M max. Roads are deserted. I find the city to wear very dull look in the evenings. We have such wide roads like on the Highways, with no shops, no lights and no people!! I miss the light, color, noise, and vibrancy that a city sports.

As an outsider, you aren't much bothered about the Nation's politics though i realize the citizens are quite unhappy with the regime. The public systems are well organized, you can get your work done in any Department with no hassles. From what i hear, i understand that water & electricity are expensive and scarce, though you get them 24 hours a day!

Living in jo'burg is synonymous to living in a well organized modern city. There is grandeur but no fun!

There are certain things Indian that you will never see in another country! The pure pleasure of gobbling pani-puris from the roadside shop, scores of people waiting at a bus stop with a tea shop in the background, the chaotic crowd at a train station, the line of small grocery shops illuminating the street, the noise, vendors on the pavement, the hurried busy streets and a lot more!

Here, to eat Pani-puri/Sandwich, one has to take the car, drive more than a mile. I am at least glad that i get pani-puris :-) Slurp! Slurp!

Monday, January 9, 2012

A sharp mind, fiery tongue and a bit of composure is what one needs in a foreign land

My husband, Vishnu and I recently traveled through Italy and had a time for a life! Traveling in a new country has its share of challenges and we did face a few. It was our first day in Italy, after touring Milan we were headed towards Bellagio, a tranquil little town by the Lake como for our stay that night. Bellagio can be accessed only by a ferry. We had planned to reach Bellagio by 7.00 – 7.30 P.M and unwind at this charming town. We reached Milan train station around 5.30 and were good on time. First day in Italy and we were getting our selves familiarized to the system. We avoided the long queue and did well to get our tickets from the vending machine and spotted a train leaving to Varenna (our destination to take the ferry) in about 20 mins. We got our tickets, rushed our way to the right platform and boarded the train just on time. Everything was new and the last hour went like a breeze. We had to get down at Lecco and change over to Varenna. Too many places for your memory to hold right?

We were getting to the interiors of Italy which meant less and less of English. Luckily, we found a youngster who spoke fluent English and helped us with the connecting train. We did everything as told and proudly showed our tickets to the ticket checker and he responded in Italian. We sported a quizzical look! He spoke no English, We spoke hardly any Italian. There a saviour again, a co-passenger who translated what he told. And it meant – We have boarded a train that doesn’t stop in Varenna!

Get down at the next stop; take the next train that comes by!

We get down and to our surprise find a station equal to the one you find in a remote Indian Village – No lights, wears a deserted look with the information office closed. Turn around and find nothing but darkness! And now we are late !! Remember only access to Bellagio is by a Ferry, then I remember buses do go to Bellagio but takes more time and I wasn’t sure if any would be available at this hour. It was only around 7P.M but appeared to be 12 midnight.

And there again we find another Saviour, a woman waiting to board a train. Voila, we go ask for information. She speaks no English! Now, we don’t have anyone else to help us with the translation. Speak to her for 15 mins, try to grasp what she says and realize she says completely different from what we were told in the train. She asked us to take a train in the opposite direction to go to Varenna! What do we do? Trust your instincts and go with the lady!

Board the train and find the train empty! It felt like scenes from a thriller movie! No, we weren’t in the right spirits for an adventure now. Walk through the coups and find a lady who only understood the word ‘Varenna’ and we only understood ‘She has to get down there’. We are on the Right train! Time for some celebration? Not yet! Why? Will we catch the last Ferry?

Get down and run hastily with 2 heavy back-packs to the ferry station to see the ferry just leave. Sigh!! Hurriedly run to the counter and the first thing I ask, “Was that the last ferry to Bellagio?” I could hear my heart beat faster. Beat Beat and Beat. He says something in Italian. I ask, “Bellagio? Next Ferry?”
9.00 P.M. and our watch shows 8.02 P.M. Happy on one side that we still haven’t missed the last ferry and at the same time little disappointed that we missed the previous one.

Tired and beaten we realized that we were hungry. Looked around and found the place to be really deserted. Tried asking the man in the counter for other options and we couldn’t really converse in different languages.

We sit down and try to pick the address of our Hotel and would you believe it? I can’t find it! It is really turning out to be a thriller! Walk around to find a place where the owner was having dinner with his family. We were the only customers and asked if he was open. He took look at us and knew our plight. He welcomed us in, served us some hot pizzas and even helped us to get the address from the internet.

Now, we board the ferry with one co-passenger. Pretty cold! Land in Bellagio at 9.15 P.M to find the town already asleep. We have the address but no directions. We believed we can ask people around but never expected the place to be dead. But then, we had planned to arrive at 7.00 and now we are 2 hours late. Three possible directions and stumped we stood. We found a man smoking in the dark corner and approached him. Good or Bad, we had no choice. Here again no English! With enough experiences behind my back, now I was determined to get the information right this time. Our presence of mind helped us get this far in a foreign land where we didn’t speak the language. With that confidence and composure, I asked him the directions. He looked stoned. Tried speaking in the little Italian I knew – Didn’t help. Finally, I pulled out a paper, wrote the name of the hotel in big fonts, followed by ‘?’. He began telling us the direction in Italian. One by one I took down what he said, spent considerable time marking the directions on paper and reaffirming it with him. And then took the long walk through deserted streets embraced in silence – after about 20 mins of walk we spotted our Hotel on the right after a fuel station as told by the man. Grazie! In the darkness and anxiety, we really didn’t realize how beautiful this town was until we woke up the next morning! See pics.

It was the presence of my mind to pull out a sheet of paper that really got us out of the fiery situation. Lesson learned for the night was Humans don’t need a language to communicate, if we are determined to understand the other person then, signs, expressions and instincts can convey a lot!

We found a savior at every place we got stuck. God appears as humans to help us in reaching our destination. This incident reflected life for me!

Am not alone here!

View from our room

The beautiful view of the Alpine foothills

Relax in the tranquility of calm waters

Friday, January 6, 2012

Lokpal – will it see the light?

The most widely debated bill of the century would be Lokpal. Whether one likes it or not, the credit goes to Anna Hazare and his movement. It has gone through a series of twists and turns exposing many skeletons in the political cloak and reviving a new hope in the lives of Indians.

To anyone who watched the parliamentary debate on the Lokpal bill would by now understand that it lacks the political will. None of the political parties, neither the Government nor the Opposition is interested in passing a strong Lokpal that will curtail corruption. It is indeed sad to make such an observation.

What happens from here on is the million dollar question! Really? Actually not, with lack of political will; I am sure we will get to see more twists and turns, little more drama and continuing protests from the civil society and the media will discuss the pros and cons of “Historically’ passed Lokpal bill.

What has the Lokpal movement brought to light?

Personally, I am glad at many by-products of the movement.
Anna Hazare and his team – If civil society hadn’t taken up Lokpal and debated it extensively as it did then, we may never have seen the Parliament taking up the bill. Worst case, the weakest Lokpal would have gone past the parliament with us continuing our good old work.

It has stimulated the voice of angry young Indian!

I hope, at least we become a vigilant citizen from this movement on. It is true that the ruling parties are swindling money when in power but, as the citizens of a democratic country have we ever shown interest in keeping a watchful eye on the Government?

The Lokpal bill has been in the public domain for years. It took a group of members to read it and discuss in detail to find the shortcomings.

The ordinary citizen of India has never before followed the Parliamentary proceedings so closely. At least now we know what our elected representatives talk in the Parliament. To differentiate between the good and the bad, it is necessary to closely watch them, their deeds, their words and their actions.

I am glad India did it, more importantly the young Indians did it. I hope it continues and it creates a fear in the mind of the elected representatives. They got to become accountable to the ordinary citizen. Earning vote should never be made easy as it is now.

Next, Many among the ordinary citizens had this to ask of Team Anna: is it right to sit for a fast and hold the country at ransom?

No, it is not. Do we (ordinary citizen) have an option? On one side, Team Anna lost its cool intermittently. On the other side, the Government did everything to make them lose their cool. I know. I know. A true leader is one who can keep his composure in times of adversity. Yes, Team Anna faltered here and there. Even an honest man falters.

The Government used every knack it could from the books of ‘Vices of the Rulers’. Double talks, back biting, treachery, breaking the unity of the enemies, what not? I only wish the Government uses its sharp mind in devising policies that aid the general public. It is no doubt we have some of the best, well educated ministers in power but it is sad to see their intelligence being utilized to display manipulative skills.

In my opinion, the Government had every right to reject or accept a suggestion. It should have been honest in doing so. Double talk is a cheap means to achieve your gains. When Anna fasted the first time, if the Government had no interest in involving the civil society, it should have been straight forward in saying so. Deceit is a price one will have to pay for. The lack of clarity from the Government caused the chaos.

Some even said, our system works well as it is (with corruption), why change? I would call this –HELPLESSNESS! Yes, it works but do majority of the people make a decent living? Just cause you and me and a select few can live with this helplessness doesn’t mean we shouldn't work towards a better solution.

And, many in the political circle criticized Anna of being hand in glove with the opposition. Now, don’t you think it is just a blame-game? From the parliamentary debate, isn’t it clear that every political party has its own agenda? The opposition is trying to gain mileage out of the Anna movement. Is the movement to be blamed?

Even If, Team Anna is being fueled by opposition. The scores of people who walked out in support of the movement were common man like you and me. It is truly a people’s movement.

The reason why it appears as if Team Anna and Opposition are together is by the logic, an enemy to one is a friend to another. The people are fighting against corruption which is widespread.

Another argument is Anna should fight elections! If everyone who provides suggestions has to fight elections then, who will watch the system?
If only elected representatives have a voice in this country then, are we truly democratic?

A good system needs both a reviewer and an implementer. Both can’t be the same!

Anna’s movement has brought in faith - faith in the power of one voice, faith in the minds of Indians, faith in the democratic process.

Now, what should Team Anna do next? I saw this on Facebook, Arvind calling in for suggestions. In my opinion, we should continue to fight for reforms in the system – not just against corruption. Once election is over, the next five years is not in our hands - such is the case now. We will have our turn – Elections. What choices we have? Choose the best among the worst. Be vigil; Exercise your power; Don’t give up. Wait till then and continue to fight for reforms not just against this Government but every Government that tries to deceit us. One day we will become a better system, till then the fight is on!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Vaal River Area - A weekend getaway

South Africa is a country abundant with adventure & wildlife activities. No matter where you go, you will find an adventure activity to do! The country being small, in comparison to the country i come from; there are many places to head to, for a weekend stay.

Parys in Free State province by the River Vaal was our destination for the Christmas weekend. From my little experience in South Africa, i believe the most redundant activity one gets to do is enter a game or pay for some adrenalin pump. We knew what to expect and had planned for a relaxing weekend.

Parys is an ideal destination for unwinding! The Vredefort dome - the oldest and largest crater impact in the world is 5 km away from Parys. The UNESCO heritage site is closed at the moment for construction work. We managed to get in, thanks to the kind security guard!

Crater impact spots are interesting to read about but fail to impress anyone. It has a diameter of roughly 300 kms.[Pic of Crater impact]

Parys is a tiny little town, with country houses. It has a museum(didn't visit), Antique shops & art/craft items on sale.

Like any South African area, it is an home to plethora of Adventure activities! River rafting, Fly fishing, Quad-biking, Abseiling and Hot air ballooning(over the crater impact)!

We did river rafting - beautiful experience! I have done rafting earlier in India near Mysore. This was a totally different experience. Though the rapid levels were low, the number and the nature of the rapids set the adrenaline gushing. The rapids were of various kinds, each providing a new, surprising experience!

The Christmas season in South Africa is more of an off-season, so most of the activities were not available / fully booked! We wanted to do hot air ballooning but couldn't and we weren't interested in the rest.

Spent quality time at the Vaal river, and in our B&B River bush lodge. I would recommend staying there - it was neat & comfortable.

A nice relaxing break just an hour and half away from Jo'burg! Recommend it for a quick break, some rafting & relaxation.

Gaming is next on cards :-)

2012 - New year brings in new hopes!

Here's wishing all my friends and blog readers, a fantastic 2012 filled with peace & prosperity!

Timelines don't really mark our lives. Nothing really changes overnight! Yet, they are perfect points on the timescale to reflect on our lives. In spite of the different views, desires, ambitions & dreams we hold, our underlying inherent nature of life is to Grow - grow into better humans; not just for ourselves but for the world!

Let each of us, usher in the new year with new hopes - hopes that will distill to beliefs - a belief to co-exist in harmony!

There is an inexplicable joy in living through others.

Happy New Year 2012 :-)