Showing posts from 2018

Doodling For the Spring

Armed with the pen and highlighter while at the office desk, I dream of spring. Clear sky, green meadows with trees blooming with flowers while a little bird approaches the fresh flowers enthusiastically and cautiously. We love spring as every living entity in this world are happy and full of life. Hibernating animals wake up or return from warmer climates and often with newborns – The ultimate sign of life. The world today is going through difficult times. It’s so severe that we need to look high and low for one good news in our daily newspapers. Understandably life for some is tougher than others and even the toughs’ stumbles as they keep going. As we eagerly wait for the advent of spring, I believe it is our responsibility to instill good values in our children for them to confront such challenges in the future. Change, we need to understand essentially happens only when we are part of that change. Teach them to adjust the sails when the direction of the wind changes. And if sit…

Rite of Passage

Today is Mahalaya, a very auspicious for people who follow the Hindu way of life and philosophy. The Pitru Pakhsha, whose literal translation from Sanskrit means “fortnight of the ancestors” ends on this day and is marked as a day when men perform a rite called “tarpan”. I remember from my childhood when offerings were made to our deceased ancestors by my father. I always interpreted this as an opportunity to remember and express our gratitude to those who have left this world.

I, not having a lot of trust on purity of the Ganges and faith on the mantras chanted by today’s priests, prefer to remember my father in solitude…..within the confine of my home……..inside me. I do not believe much in the pomp & show and would love to stick to the basics in most occasions but there are many who would beg to differ!!
Extravagant celebrations when children are born, their birthdays and weddings are not uncommon these days but the new motto of life for many seems to be “live lavishly, go out …

A Message From A Setting Sun

It would be nice to be at a sunset point while the day ends but beauty they say is in the eyes of the beholder. We do not always have to look high and low to find something beautiful, we just need to look around.

This is exactly what happened to me this week as I was driving home from work, thinking about the Durga Pujo in the land of six seasons. All of a sudden it appeared as if the day was opening like an egg and the yolk melting all around me. 
I moved beyond the hard shoulder of the road to stop the car. Then took a deep breath, rolled down the window and armed myself with the phone camera. It’s almost impossible not to dream watching such scene.
How many of us could end a routine activity with so much love and intensity knowing with certainty that the entire drill has to be repeated the next day and the next….
No accomplishment is not worth celebrating!!!

Surya Namaskar - An Holistic Approach

It was a great experience to stand in front of this installation named “Surya Namaskara” at “Terminal 3 Indira Gandhi International Airport”, New Delhi, India. 
The human figures have been created by Sculptor/Artist by the name of Nikhil Bhandari and was installed in 2011. These are 12 individual human figures which have been sculpted to represent 12 yoga poses which collectively depict the Surya Namaskar or the Sun Salutation. The spiral base of the installation provides the most apt transition to the reach the climax. 
Each pose is the culmination of an asanas and when done early in the morning along with the recitation of the correct chant gives a perfect workout for the entire body.
The airport might not be the place to practice these asanas but without any doubt an appropriate place for showcasing our ancient tradition and instill a thirst to know more about it. Let’s start our day with humility saluting the mighty power that makes our entire world revolve around it.
Simply put,…

Forgive but Please Forget

Our time is limited and is not worth wasting it living a life filled with hate for others, is something that I remind myself once in a while. The above principle, if one wishes, could be the pathfinder for living a life free from hatred.
Is it easy? Most certainly not!

Interestingly! Once we acknowledge the truth in the saying “to err is human”, we will be in a much better position while navigating through the maze of daily challenges. It’s never too late to start owning up one’s mistake and seek forgiveness knowing that this is not a characteristic of a weak person and on the contrary it’s the trait of a Brave-heart. Maybe apologizing will be a good start. The difficulty however arises when we are confronted with a situation where others hurt us or try to harm us. Surprisingly, the answer to this is quite simple. Forgive and Forget. Is it easy? Most certainly not, but I do believe that practice makes a person perfect over a time.
Yes! It’s important to forget in order to keep our nast…

The Blue Envelope

Parties are not always associated with introvert people but Ron is somewhat different.  Although he finds himself tongue tied amidst strangers, deep inside he is a highly extrovert person. In the world within his mind things are different. Whenever he runs into someone in his thoughts, he controls the imaginary conversation that ensues. He chooses the dialogues for both and usually the other person appreciates his ideas so much that his ego soars like a hot air balloon. When it comes to the real world he is not too confident that he will get similar response. That fear has made him keep to himself and sometimes fumble with words in front of others. His wife Ana is quite a different character. She could befriend a stranger within moments and adjectives like vibrant, bubbly, vivacious, ebullient, lively etc wouldn’t do enough justice to describe her personality. They met in a conference many years back where was presenting her research on “the contribution of introverts to the field of cre…

Water For Our Birds

Designers and developers are often criticized for using water features in developments in our urban areas. But during hot summer days in cities like Delhi, these adds to the few remaining water bodies  for our avian species. 
Note: These are my photographs and you are free to use them if you need them.

30 Ways to Be Happy

Happiness in its absolute term is achieved when the needs of life is fulfilled. It is the feeling of contentment that life is ‘just’ as it should be. The trouble though is with the definition of this term ‘JUST’. Unfortunately by no means it has a constant meaning. It not only varies between people, it also changes for any individual depending on the circumstances at any given time.

What makes life just for me could be ‘not enough’ for you or the vice versa leading to the conclusion that happiness is a state of mind and also a personal choice.

Trying to put together this list of things that make me smile made me realize that I have many joyous moments in my daily life. I am therefore, a much happier person today than I thought I was.

Following is the list in no particular order:
1.A hug from my child.
2.When I could bring a smile to a person I love, it makes me happy inside out.
3.Doing something for others.
4.Driving for ice creams with daughter after dinner. 
5.The thrill of personal achiev…

How Many Words Is a Video Worth!

Video blogging or Vlogging is a new trend and quite rightly everyone is joining the band wagon. I am in no mood to delve into argument if video will one day force written journalism to extinction. Today, I would rather contemplate how much worth would a video be if a picture is worth a thousand words. I would imagine it would be a few millions at the least! A picture leaves a lot for the viewer to analyze and infer but a personal video usually drives the message straight home. For a fashion blogger, a Vlog would also demonstrate how one could carry the designed dress. That's quite a few steps ahead of just a pretty photograph. I am neither a popular blogger nor do I have a successful Vlog. But that doesn’t deter me from contributing my 2 cents about excelling in Video blogging. So this is top list of important (in no particular order) to do aspects for good video blog:
1. Contents - preferably should be scripted and practiced well in advance before delivering. Unless it's an impro…

Siri, Cortana, you and the machine next door

Are you one of those who gets psyched by the dominance of Artificial Intelligence in our lives and scared that they will very soon take over the world? Well this is entirely possible and in this post I am going to show you how it could happen. But ever wondered the voice behind Siri and Cortana are of real persons of flesh and blood? I will introduce them to you towards the end of this article. If you are women, then you more susceptible to voice theft. It has been scientifically proven that people are more likely to take instruction from a female voice and it might start from birth.
We have been obeying machines voice instructions through answering machines, telephones, banking systems, ATM machines etc. It has been one way communications as we were always in the “listening end”. But then came Siri along and usehered in yet another Apple initiated makeover to our world. At the beginning, both Google and Microsoft ridiculed Apple’s idea of voice assistant but both companies quickly d…

As The Day Dawns

The sun rises every morning oblivious of billion worries of the people awaiting it. No matter how much people request him to come early or late, he remains unperturbed. He has a job to do and that is all that matters to him! I personally requested a late start during school exams or college submissions and am quite sure that many others have wished for the night to be a bit longer for a variety of reasons.
Every night we sleep hoping that tomorrow’s Sun rays at the dawn will usher in a new day filled with opportunities and possibilities. This hope or faith keeps us going. But the dilemma here is do I sleep late or wake up early. A more important decision for to make is when to sleep late and when to get up early. A thought I had shared earlier. The place where I live and work is amidst a high density residential tower block punctuated with roads and parking lots. The windows are thickly draped to keep the dust and heat off and therefore we are detached from the nature and dependent o…

Happy Friendship Day

Someone might ask what's special about today! Isn't it just a date in the calendar and another ploy by the capitalistic world to sell products or services?  I find this as an opportunity to reach out to all my friends. The ones always in my thoughts, the ones I meet regularly, the ones I would like to meet in the future and the ones I know I will never meet in this world.Today as the line between virtual and real is getting increasingly blurred, I also reach out to my friends in the cyber world ... my blogger friends, my social media friends and corporate friends... Happy Friendship Day 2018!

If you had a choice, what would you dream about tonight?

Google image search The other night I woke up in my dreams to find out that I was not actually asleep but wide awake. Although quite baffling, it is not very uncommon and probably many among us have encountered similar moments at some point in our sleep. Dreams are yet another aspect of our life, over which we have little control. We can accomplish many feats in our dreams which would otherwise appear unthinkable. “Dreams come true” is therefore synonymous to accomplishing something truly marvelous.

All ancient culture tried to make sense of their dreams and their interpretation have been carried forward by their descendants. Depending upon happy or sad events that followed a particular dream, cultures created their own almanac of superstitions. We too have grown up drawing various inferences out of elements such as water, food, snakes, elephants etc. and associated action that appeared in our dreams. Our ancestors connected dreams to our previous birth, forewarning or as a communicat…

A tribute on Father's Day

When we were small we believed that our father will protect us whenever we though we will fall. For us he was not only our superman but a super human. Its only after one becomes a father himself, that he understand a father's true vulnerability, weakness and his limitations. You realize the sacrifices he had to make while walking a tight rope as he struggled to maintain the balance between relationship, finances, priorities of life, time management et al.

I remember the look my then infant daughter gave me when she was vaccinated for the first time. As if her eyes were questioning me, how could you ever let them hurt me!

When I look back at those wonder years, I understand my dad a bit more each time. But its too late as he left us for the heavenly abode as soon as I graduated and started with my job denying me the opportunity to give back anything. I wish he was still there and I could treat him, take care of him and hug him!
Happy Father's Day wishes to one and all.
Quick Fact…

Baobab - A fascinating Species

The name was not very common to my ears neither was its look to my eyes. Ever since I saw them at the Aspire Park in Doha, I might has asked my Landscape Architect friend umpteen number of times to remind me of the name of this tree. He used to give me the name with the questions, “why, what happened?” I always wanted to know more about them. I am told that we have a few of the species in some botanical gardens in India but incidentally never got to see one. “There are nine species of baobab in the world, and Madagascar, one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, is home to six. The African mainland and the Arabian peninsula have two, and Australia has one. Africa’s most notable species is the Adansonia digitata, named after the French botanist Michel Adanson, who undertook an 18th-century exploration of Senegal. He stayed there for five years and contributed to the publication of 1757’s Natural History of Senegal.” The shape of the trees are fascinating but the most …

World Environment Day: Wish you a sustainable lifestyle

The most explicit definition of Sustainable living that I ever came across is the following:

“Meeting our present needs in a way such that the coming generation would be able to meet their own.” Our generation is selfishly rushing to achieve their self-defined illusive “Progress”. In the process we are mercilessly converting our farmlands, wetlands, forests and water bodies destroying the natural habitat of our co-dwellers in this earth. On the 5th of June 2018, this World Environment Day, I request all to take a moment out to decide where we want to go from here. We need to be wary of finding our environmental report card in the hands of our grandchildren and decide between growth and development. Growth is all about getting bigger and bigger whereas development is about getting better. I have no qualms in accepting the fact that it will take a messiah to change the world totally and revert the damages already done. But no one can stop us from participating in whatever small way to b…

WhatsApp and What a Wonderful World……

The school that my daughter attends for music decided to participate in the annual day celebrations of a school for children with special needs. When it was their turn, they got to the stage and stood shoulder to shoulder with the choir group of the celebrating school. Together they presented the popular song, “What a wonderful world” by Louis Armstrong. I felt it was quite an intense and emotional experience for all the participants as well as their parents. As they sang together “I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world……”
it was a defining experience for those kids who had little idea about the challenges associated with the term “special needs”. But this is not the subject of this post. In preparation of the program, the teacher in charge had formed a group in the “WhatsApp”. She coordinated with the parent of this small group of voluntary participants letting us know about the time to drop-offs, pick-ups for…

Culturally diverse? Yes Please!

Let's start this topic with a quote from Jane Austen. “There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends.” she said and argued “ I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” That's probably how most of us as Indians feel about our culture except a few who thinks differently. I have been living outside the country for more than two decades and have met many people who has left the country temporarily or permanently who echoes the same sentiment. One thing that unites us all is the our culture no matter how diverse we are in our thoughts, beliefs, language or appearance. Yes we are still culturally diverse although many of our festivals and values are now intertwined across the subcultures.  But retaining this trait for a country of India's complexity and volume withstanding resistance from people who quite often spew venom in the social media is quite an commendable achievement. I once listened to an interview and one statement made ab…

Writer's Block or Writer's Excuse

Finally I looked up for its literal meaning in the Wikipedia. I believe it was a subconscious instruction to my fingers to confirm what my mind had been suspecting for some time now. Writer's block is a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work, or experiences a creative slowdown. The condition ranges in difficulty from coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce a work for years. Throughout history, writer's block has been a documented problem.
As if finding a subject was not difficult enough that my mind also insists on justifying that with reasons before it would let me get going with my writing task.  This makes maintaining a blog even more challenging.  I am sure, I am not the only one who feels this way and envy those who keeps churning post after posts day after day. There was a time when one used to approach the proverbial wise-man, who could easily been a woman too, for support and solace. 
But n…

Daymare? Nay! It’s a Dream

Your great grandchild will be surprised to know that you had physically transported yourself to tourist destinations. It will be shocking for them to accept the fact that people took such extraordinary efforts for mundane experience of a jungle safari or a walk on the Great Wall of China. An experience which could easily be enjoyed during a lunch break. If it is not yours, his grandchild will most certainly be looking at us as though we were the hunters’ gatherers of the twenty-first century.
It’s not a daymare, it’s just a dream! Virtual Reality is making inroads into the life of the proverbial common man at a speed much faster than what we would be comfortable to accept. Any major, important or popular tourist destination has already been digitized in their minutest of details. We can easily experience a fly over the highest peak of the largest mountain or inspect the intricate details of St Paul’s Cathedral leaning back on our desk chair. Today, it may analogous to gazing at the co…

The Forces of Nature by Marc Quinn

Marc Quinn is a British contemporary visual artist of a very high repute and caliber. His repertoire include sculptures, paintings and installations. We were fortunate to be able to stand in front of his sculpture called ”The Conservation of Mass” and admire as it was displayed in the grounds of the Museum of Islamic Arts (MIA) Doha. This majestic looking 2015 stainless steel piece is of dimensions 263h X 750w x 192d cm was part of his first solo exhibition in the region.
Varshika had made a brief video presentation of this sculpture in her own way during our visit. This is part of Quinn’s wider body of works titled “Frozen Waves” characterized by minimal arches, gestural shapes and stainless steel construction. The artist cautions that these are not sculptures of waves but an unwitting self-portrait by nature. These has been inspired by the brute authority of nature that constantly enforces the “dust to dust” existence of all living creatures. Each piece are reminiscent of the gestu…