Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Well, I’m back… been some time now away from the blogger…. just get caught up in the rat race of the materialistic world……..reminds me of an old poem by W. H. Davies

WHAT is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare?
No time to stand beneath the boughs,

And stare as long as sheep and cows:
No time to see, when woods we pass,

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:
No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like skies at night:
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance:
No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

Wow…though this was written somewhere in the 1890s, isn’t this so apt for the current world? Caught up in this rat- race today, which we term as LIFE, I often feel that we have lost the beauty in our lives. We are all so busy making a living that we forget to live – kind of ironical, isn’t it?
We are so caught up in our professional lives, struggling to compete, fearing a single minute rest lest someone overtakes you, rising costs, inflation, recession, soaring prices, increasing credit cards, loans etc—a whole range of illnesses afflicted to the modern society alone . Sometimes I wonder, is this what Pandora’s Box contained?? The struggle to make a living often makes us lose the basic essence of it--- LIVING…. Living is different from existing--- anybody, anything can exist…. But to Live, is an experience, a commitment to yourself and others, an investment which will never backfire, a profession where you will soar heights, a relationship which needs to be nurtured and many many more…. I could go on and on…
Yes, you will tell me, I need to fend for my family, I need to earn money, I need to think of my children’s education, post retirement plans etc etc.
That's fine, and comfortable, until you have gone through another year without having done anything, without having really lived life.That's fine, until you have reached old age and look back on life with regrets.That's fine, until you see your kids go off to college and realize that you missed their childhoods.

It's not fine. If you want to truly live life, to really experience it, to enjoy it to the fullest, instead of barely scraping by and only living a life of existence, then you need to find ways to break free from the mold and drink from life.
I have picked a list of few ideas, mine and a few plagiarized as well, ones that you would now by yourself, but did not get the time to write down and practice.

1. Love. Perhaps the most important. Fall in love, if you aren't already. If you have, fall in love with your partner all over again. Love family members, friends, anyone -- it doesn't have to be romantic love. Love all of humanity, one person at a time. Expect the worst, rather don’t expect anything at all :).
2. Get outside. Don’t remain indoors; don’t be captured within the 4 walls of your room. Go out when it's raining. Walk on the beach. Hike through the woods. Swim in a freezing lake. Bask in the sun. Play sports, or walk barefoot through grass. Pay close attention to nature.
3. Savor food. One of my favourites :) Don't just eat your food, but really enjoy it. Savor every bite. Good food is a luxury :) And when you do have them, really, really savor them. Slowly.
4. Create a morning ritual. Wake early and greet the day. Watch the sun rise. Out loud, tell yourself that you will not waste this day, which is a gift. You will be compassionate to your fellow human beings, and live every moment to its fullest. Stretch or meditate or exercise as part of your ritual. Enjoy some coffee.
5. Take chances. We often live our lives too cautiously, worried about what might go wrong. Be bold, risk it all. Quit your job and go to business for yourself (plan it out first!), or go up to that girl you've liked for a long time and ask her out. What do you have to lose?
6. Follow excitement. Try to find the things in life that excite you, and then go after them. Make life one exciting adventure after another (with perhaps some quiet times in between).
7. Find your passion. Similar to the above tip, this one asks you to find your calling. Make your living by doing the thing you love to do. First, think about what you really love to do. There may be many things. Find out how you can make a living doing it. It may be difficult, but you only live once.
8. Get out of your cubicle. Do you sit all day in front of computer, shuffling papers and taking phone calls and chatting on the Internet? Don't waste your days like this. Break free from the cubicle environment, this may require a change of jobs, or becoming a freelancer. It's worth it.
9. Turn off the TV. How many hours will we waste away in front of the idiot box? How many hours do we have to live? Unplug the TV. Only plug it back in when you have a DVD of a movie you love. Otherwise, keep it off and find other stuff to do.
10. Travel. Sure, you want to travel some day. When you have vacation time, or when you're older. Well, what are you waiting for? Find a way to take a trip, if not this month, then sometime soon.
11. Rediscover what's important. Take an hour and make a list of everything that's important to you. Add to it everything that you want to do in life. Now cut that list down to 4-5 things. Just the most important things in your life. This is your core list. This is what matters. Focus your life on these things. Make time for them.
12. Eliminate everything else. What's going on in your life that's not on that short list? All that stuff is wasting your time, pulling your attention from what's important. As much as possible, simplify your life by eliminating the stuff that's not on your short list, or minimizing it.
13. Exercise. Get off the couch and go for a walk. Eventually try running. Or do some pushups and crunches. Or swim or bike or row. Or go for a hike. Whatever you do, get active, and you'll love it. And life will be more alive.
14. Be positive. Learn to recognize the negative thoughts you have. These are the self-doubts, the criticisms of others, the complaints, the reasons you can't do something. Then stop yourself when you have these thoughts, and replace them with positive thoughts. Solutions. You can do this!
15. Open your heart. Is your heart a closed bundle of scar tissue? Learn to open it, have it ready to receive love, to give love unconditionally. And practice makes perfect.
16. Face your fears. What are you most afraid of? What is holding you back? Whatever it is, recognize it, and face it. Do what you are most afraid of. Afraid of heights? Go to the tallest building, and look down over the edge. Only by facing our fears can we be free of them.
17. When you suffer, suffer. Life isn't all about fun and games. Suffering is an inevitable part of life. We lose our jobs. We lose our lovers. We lose our pets. We get physically injured or sick. A loved one becomes sick. A parent dies. Learn to feel the pain intensely, and really grieve. This is a part of life -- really feel the pain. And when you're done, move on, and find joy.
18. Slow down. Life moves along at such a rapid pace these days. It's not healthy, and it's not conducive to living. Practice doing everything slowly -- everything, from eating to walking to driving to working to reading. Enjoy what you do. Learn to move at a snail's pace.
19. Touch humanity. Get out of your house and meet people – may be the less privileged. Meet them, talk to them, and understand them. Live among them. Be one of them. Give up your materialistic lifestyle.
20. Volunteer. Volunteer to help. Learn compassion, and learn to help ease the suffering of others. Help the sick, those with disabilities, those who are dying.
21. Play with children. Children, more than anyone else, know how to live. They experience everything in the moment, fully. When they get hurt, they really cry. When they play, they really have fun. Learn from them, instead of thinking you know so much more than them. Play with them, and learn to be joyful like them.
22. Talk to old people. There is no one wiser, more experienced, more learned, than those who have lived through life. They can tell you amazing stories. They are the wisdom of our society -- take advantage of their existence while they're still around.
23. Learn new skills. Constantly improve yourself instead of standing still -- not because you're so imperfect now, but because it is gratifying and satisfying. You should accept yourself as you are, and learn to love who you are, but still try to improve -- if only because the process of improvement is life itself.
24. Find spirituality. For some, this means finding God or Jesus or Allah or Buddha.. For still others, this just means an inner energy. Whatever spirituality means for you, rediscover it, and its power.
25. Take mini-retirements. Don't leave the joy of retirement until you are too old to enjoy it. Do it now, while you're young. It makes working that much more worth it. Find ways to take a year off every few years. Live simply, but live, without having to work. Enjoy life, then go back to work and save up enough money to do it again in a couple of years.
26. Do nothing. There is value in doing nothing as well. Not doing nothing as in reading, or taking a nap, or watching TV, or meditating. Doing nothing as in sitting there, doing nothing. Just learning to be still, in silence, to hear our inner voice, to be in tune with life. Do this daily if possible.
27. Watch sunsets, daily. One of the most beautiful times of day. Make it a daily ritual to find a good spot to watch the sunset, perhaps having a light dinner while you do so.
28. Stop reading magazines. They're basically crap. And they waste your time and money. Cancel your subscriptions and walk past them at the news stands. If you have to read something, read something light, something that interests you.
29. Break out from ruts. Do you do things the same way every day? Change it up. Try something new. Take a different route to work. Start your day out differently. Approach work from a new angle. Look at things from new perspectives.
30. Stop watching the news. It's depressing and useless. If you're news junky, this may be difficult. I haven't watch TV news or read a newspaper regularly in about two years. It hasn't hurt me a bit. J
31. Laugh till you cry. Laughing is one of the best ways to live. Tell jokes and laugh your head off. Watch an awesome comedy. Learn to laugh at anything. Roll on the ground laughing. You'll love it.
32. Lose control. Not only control over yourself, but control over others. It's a bad habit to try to control others -- it will only lead to stress and unhappiness for yourself and those you try to control. Let others live, and live for yourself..
33. Cry. Men, especially, tend to hold in tears, but crying is an amazing release. Cry at sad movies. Cry at a funeral. Cry when you are hurt, or when somebody you love is hurt. It releases these emotions and allows us to cleanse ourselves.
34. Be in the moment. Instead of thinking about things you need to do, or things that have happened to you, or worrying or planning or regretting, think about what you are doing, right now. What is around you? What smells and sounds and sights and feelings are you experiencing? Learn to do this as much as possible through meditation, but also through bringing your focus back to the present as much as you can in everything you do.
35. Appreciate people Be it your friends, family and even strangers – a bit of due appreciation makes a wonderful difference to their lives.

A big list – food for thought… this is what I know I have to do…. I have started on my list and hope to complete most of these with practice…….. if you have additional points , do share them with me :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Happy birthday , My friend !!

Yet another weekend…. a welcome relief :)
The week had been hectic as well as one that brought about a lot of tension and uncertainty at office. The week started off by a visiting delegate from our principal company dropping in to do a market –visit. I have made so many excel sheets and analysis reports that I could see only excels sheets and formulas in my sleep.

As in every Friday morning, the body alarm clock woke me up around 7.30am in spite of going to bed at 3.30am .Had gone to watch “3 Idiots” –TAKE 2 last night :) and came home late.

Made the customary calls to Amma and relatives. As usual, engaged myself in the cleaning of my bachelor den which I lavishly do only on weekends. Morning is always occupied in the above and then the normal facebook updates, a few customary mails, birthday wishes to be sent out etc That reminds me that I still have a Bday call to make to a friend of mine from school. Thanks to social networking sites, we got in touch after nearly 9 yrs thru Facebook .

Friendships have always been a passion to me and my friends a blessing in my life. Very few friends I have in this world – but each of them unique and indispensable in their own ways. Each of them has touched my life in a distinctive manner etching their marks on my individuality, leaving me as a better person than before meeting them :) .
Yes, we don’t keep touch on a daily basis, we are scattered around the world but then they live within me …. :)

I met Priyanka in Sept 1993 – ISK Salmiya- 11th std. Commerce batch. We were classmates and she used to sit in the bench just in front of me. I was never an outgoing person or a noticeable person who kinda stands out in the class for doing something exceptional. Was always content being in a corner of the classroom and dutifully learning the academics….we never fell in each other’s league at all…. I used to admire her sense of friendship with another of my classmate—they were always together J inseparable, more like Siamese twins :) -- Olga was a sweet person as well. They were so different but used to complement each other so beautifully.
I was always a loner and deep down me always yearned for a good friendship--- me as a person had a lot of issues at that time and it kept me drawing into myself even more. Wished for someone to share things or someone who would talk to me—but I would never take the first step :) . most of the friends I have today are the ones who took the first step :) (yup, they must be repenting now for that – ha ha ha)

So also did Priyanka – somewhere along the classes, she would turn back to talk and smile .She had a zest for life and I used to admire that in her. The first thing I remember about Priyanka is her smile, how she would turn back to chit chat between classes and get into trouble. Priyanka looked very different from the other girls in class – kinda rugged J ( I hope she doesn’t see this ). She used to wear big rimmed glasses, braces for the teeth, you would always see her in a long sleeve school shirt( even in summers), her tie would always be halfway down the neck, wear a sweater that would fit two of her and had a wonderful step cut short hair that was always falling to her eyes. She was unlike other girls who cared for their looks or how they dressed and but definitely she was good looking as well, in fact more than the others :)
She was interested in philosophy, psychology, palmistry, literature, cricket and of course economics. She was the Economics teacher’s favorite… I could never understand why the GDP, marginal diminishing utility and elasticity were so fascinating for her :) coz that drew a yawn from me in every class. And sitting right behind the economics expert made me quite visible to the teacher as well since she was always in the limelight for the Economics class.

In those days, in school, it’s so amazing how small things make a big difference to people. Once Priyanka had to go for an emergency l for 10 days or so, coz her grandma was not keeping well. Olga ( Priyanka’s best Siamese friend) was all lonely and down etc (looking back, makes us feel so kiddish and silly rite ?) These gals would talk for hours after school as well- Thank God, local calls were free - I always used to wonder how much can people talk and tat also someone we meet daily in school) . I was never a telephone lover – the only time I call up classmates were to either check about some homework or discuss something academically ( gosh how boring could I be ?:)) Looking at Olga’s loneliness, I took it upon myself to play a replacement for 10 days- I would call her and speak to her and honestly I found it quite enjoyable as well. Surprisingly Amma was happy since she could see I was taking the effort for a friendship (much unlike me in those days). And I’m a stickler for my words J, the day Priyanka came back to school, that evening I did not call up Olga J ( after all Priyanka was back – I was so adjusting in those day ;) apostles would have been ashamed of my benevolence). That evening I get 2 calls – one from Olga nearly after an hour of the normal time I call up- yelling at me where the hell I was :) and soon after that from Priyanka asking me how come you did not make your customary calls and from today onwards add me to the list as well…

We shared a beautiful friendship- they taught me how to talk, reach out to people, and listen to people, share thoughts. Priyanka used to boost my self confidence and they gave me that reassurance in friendships and left me as a better person. When we left school after 2 yrs, we all vowed to write to each other and keep in touch--- all of us maintained that for nearly 5 yrs or so… and then in this rat race moved on our own paths… I was still in touch with Olga those days and Priyanka had kinda disappeared , we used to search the Net, college alumni groups, social networking sites etc etc….and jus around a year back met her on Facebook. She hasn’t changed much—we do still talk on philosophy, psychology, human behaviour etc etc though now the physical distance does play a small barrier. She is based in Delhi and me in Dubai.

Funnily I used to search the orkut or facebook for a pic of Priyanka resembling the 12th Std imageJ but voila!!
Today she looks amazingly different- long hair, no glasses, thin, petite , pretty, trendy clothing--- he he – she calls it the ugly duckling to swan transformation --- to me my friend was always a Swan ;)
Today on her birthday, I celebrate the wonderful person she is and remembering the way she touched my life. I wish her all the best in this world – success & prosperity in all the field of life- career, personal life, health, good friends etc etc and I dedicate this blog posting to her…

Friday, January 15, 2010

A movie review

Another weekend….. a successful day of cleaning, cleaning and only cleaning!! And yes – have a clean & shining house to myself.

Called up a few friends to say Hello…. Everyone is busy in their own lives – no complaints but its amazing how relationships change with time…… Recently happened to see a beautiful movie on the same – ‘Rithu’ by ShyamaPrasad. It’s a movie that talks about the friendship of 3 people and how it changes with time.

Sharath (Nishan) is a techie who dreams of a life beyond the syntax on his monitor. Aspiring to pen a book some day, he has all his hopes pinned on his childhood friends Varsha (Rima) and Sunny (Asif), as he returns home after a brief stint of three years in the US. The once inseparable trio joins hands together once again, but as their fingers gradually drift away, Sharath realizes that the times have changed, and so have seasons and hearts.
The film is a complete breakaway from the average ‘commercial’ Malayalam movie. The movie explores several untouched or taboo topics often shied away by Malayalam cinema – subtle sexual references, homosexuality, the modern Indian girl etc etc. However, the movie does not judge its characters based on these traits – they are just accepted to be a way of life or dismissed as ‘personal matter’.

The most striking aspect of this movie has to be the fact that every one of us can identify with the characters. Everyone is so un-filmy and very realistic. This is probably the most novel part of the film. The scenes in Rithu deserve special mention. All locations are simply so beautiful! Camera work is remarkable and is nothing like what we’ve seen

In the end, Rithu doesn’t discuss an issue. Neither does it make a point. It doesn’t tell us “This is good, while this is bad.” Hell, it doesn’t even have a fully complete ending, but it has a truly endearing core theme. And this theme has been brought out very well indeed. All the things shown are real, true to life and totally identifiable. A must-watch for all, especially youngsters. Try to catch a copy of the movie--- don’t think u will regret watching it…..

After seeing the movie, I thought, Gosh that definitely needs a review… the movie is so fresh—with new faces, and beautiful locales and the essence of the story being that People need to change with time….. those who don’t find themselves to be misfits here !!!

Guess I should be learning something from that !!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year !!!

Yet another New year!! There was hardly anything exciting about this New Year, at least to me... I guess that's how it is when you have a silent New Year - a stark difference from others, who go into the New Year with a huge hue and cry, with New year eve bashes and parties.....But no complains.... the little that I get, I tend to find some kinda happiness in it......
A few Voip calls, some smses, loads of facebook & orkut greetings --- a typical Modern New Year.
Gone are those days of yesteryears wherein we used to invest on New Year & Xmas cards, shell away a budget to make those special calls , ensure that we celebrate a Family New Year or Xmas.
How I miss the actual greeting cards, rather than the link from e-card sites like
www.123greetings.com or now an even lazier concept is to post a Note on the social networking sites like Facebook, Orkut or Twitter…. Where is that personal touch anymore? Do we console ourselves by saying “We are moving ahead with time and technology and the way of the world. “ ? Or is it that no one has the time for that personal touch now; who has the time to actually go over to a cards shop, select a card for each person you care and then go home, address it separately ( how many postal addresses do we know by the way ;) (Would they accept email ids?)), get postage stamps and drop it at the nearest postbox? Quite a hectic task, ain’t it?
There was a point of time when Amma used to complain at the amount I used to spend on greeting cards alone…I used to have a card for every occasion J - Hallmarks & Archies definitely made a lot of money from me J And today my expenses for the same is absolutely null.

And talking about calls – especially in this part of the world where I stay, the Telecom giant mints money from the expats in the name of connecting people across nations ;) So the only choice is to depend on the 101 Voip softwares that are available, many a time giving a strain to your parents’ ears in order to save some money.

Parties, get-together, New Year bashes, Dance parties -yup its fun… to be out with friends till late night --- get sloshed and hit the sack by 3am on a New Year’s Day ! But then, there was definitely a different joy when we used to spend it with our own parents…..

Am I sounding very critical --- do I sound against modernization -? Am I turning back into a primitive? Nope, didn’t mean to do so b’coz the changing technology has its wonderful side of the coin as well. In addition to saving costs of communication (being too materialistic), it definitely has helped a lot in networking. Especially the social networking sites gives you access and helps you wish all your acquaintances, friends, relatives spread across miles and it keeps you in touch and updated about all their status. Webcam & chatting are not new anymore to parents who have the children working or settled abroad, who can pamper their grandchildren too through usi9ng this wonderful technological development.

But in between all this I do miss the personal touch – a greeting card, a New Year gift, a long distance call wishing you a wonderful year ahead and a family get together…… I guess Im just being nostalgic of my good old times.....