Friday, November 29, 2013

Book Reviews

1. Happiness Project (Gretchen Rubin): I read this book because it is a New York Times best seller since last two years. How can Happiness be a project I thought but then whatever we do in life is to be happy so what is wrong with having it as a project, plan for it on purpose and make efforts to achieve it. Sometimes we have everything that one needs to be happy and still we feel unhappy. The author writes small little changes that we can make to feel happy. Gretchen many times writes tangent examples but I ignored them and kept on reading. I liked the book - it gave me a good, positive, energetic and a happy boost. I give it 3/5.

2. Happier at home (Gretchen Rubin): This is second part of Happiness Project. In this book author writes way too many random and long examples/stories. At the end of it I couldn’t figure out what is she trying to say, what is her point or if she has any. I give it 2/5.


3. Remember Me? (Sophie Kinsella): Brain injury, losing memory is no fun. I have seen my father suffering through it since last 15 years; he doesn’t remember what happened even 5 minutes ago. Sophie writes a lighthearted story of a girl who looses memory in an accident. Kinsella is a renowned writer (‘confessions of a shopaholic’ fame). I simply loved the book and I am looking forward to read more books by her. I give it 4/5.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Gossip girl

*Points marked with * are not to be taken lightly ;-)
--Names are changed in this post.



From the horse's mouth:
In a huge vacant public restroom a friend and I talked about Lata and how bad her behavior was. We were loud and clear, well not louder than the flush sound that we heard from a corner. To our astonishment Lata came out from there, not showing any sign to have heard us. 

Lessons learned -
1. *Never gossip in a restroom, closed doors may have ears.
2. *VOLUME - keep it low.
3. When people hear opinions about them this way they change their behavior, well yes, it gets worse.

No need to mention - it breaks relations
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Word of mouth:
I knew something about a relative, I wanted to spill it out to someone. I chose to chat about it to a school friend who sat next to me and who knew nothing about him. I told her 'I saw my relative Chandu with a girl, he is good looking and I think he must be having a lot of affairs'. A girl who sat on the front bench turned and asked 'Are you talking about Chandu who lives in bungalow Nandu?' I was stunned, how did she know Chandu in the whole wide Pune (that too it was his pet name), those were not even Facebook days...

Any smart person would have replied 'No, I am talking about Chandu from Agra'. My dumb reply was 'How the hell do you know him?'

As a true Punekar she found it her responsibility to let Chandu know about my opinion (which otherwise would have died with me and my friend). This of course didn't go well with him. A childish yak then got out of proportion reactions and a couple of relatives stopped talking to me.

Lessons learned - 
1. *LOCATION!  it is very important where you gossip, no unintended listener should be around.
2. True or false, big or small, good or bad - gossip does not go well with people. In the end you will be tagged as a blabbermouth. 
3. How not to react if I ever heard gossip about me - If you are self confident about who you are and what you are doing there is no need to react harshly, unless of course if there is something to hide. People engaged in name calling gossip are immature and I am no less if I react to it badly.
4. If I ever hear someone passing stupid remarks about say Rita then I will not act foolish by letting Rita know about it.

GAH and the fact remains  - it breaks relations.
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Grapevine:
Nita, Prit, Sita gossiped about Nita, Prit, Sita (of course in each other's absence) with me. Before knowing any of them really well my mind was already poisoned. I had high regard for Sita so I would try to convince Nita and Prit how good Sita was. In one such session Prit got angry and said why do you always take Sita's side I have heard it from Manish that she said such and such things about you. 

Lessons learned - 
1.  *Now I can gossip about Sita guilt free. Yey!
2.  People who gossip with you -  gossip about you in your absence, there is no loyalty here.
3.  It doesn't really feel good to hear bad things said behind your back from someone who is dear or important to you.

Can not stress more - it breaks relations.

Gossip girl title does not imply men are not gossipmongers
In my opinion people gossip to feel superior, out of jealousy or revenge, because they are puerile or then simply out of boredom. 
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The good gossip:
The other day BFF and I discussed about gossiping's side effects - how it brings unhappiness to us/others and that it breaks relations. It was a thought provoking conversation... followed by some chit chat about rest of the world. Its good that she and I are on the same page - we both think what we do is venting and not gossiping which is good for our health. Whatever we talk about stays between us since 20 years.

They say gossiping deepens bonds with friends, gives an outlet to your frustrations/ bad or good experiences and opinions.
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People who have nothing worthy to talk, read or write about also engage in celebrity gossip.

Anyway, sooo....what is happening with Ranbir and Katrina these days.....?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Regret

Old insults and bitter contentions, simple life and tangled relations....

She enjoyed jobs, cars, food, carried off well her volatile mood. She was rich with all her basic needs met still fought over some old clay plate.

She shared all with her sibling - from books, politics, career to her latest fling. Such was their rapport that they forgot beauty of any propinquity is in being considerate.

Their dispute was over an old pinch, trivial was the reason, gain was zilch. Beautiful was the house, arguments were its pillars -  it's roofs were redone - disputes were its fillers.

She got a call, her sibling met with an accident on her way to the mall. She did not get a chance to express, not even to say that the old pinch was a mistake.

Who will win? Who will lose? Life will be gone - aloof and bruised. 

An aromatic affinity was lost without experiencing its scent, a beautiful kinship withered before it bloomed perfect. Her new mantra was to forgive and forget, still she will die with a huge regret.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Book Reviews

1. Start - Jon Acoff

I love to read motivational books once in a while. Start is a very short and sweet book. If you have a dream that scares the heck out of you so much so that you fear even to start working on it then this book is for you. I give it 4/5 stars.


2. Divergent by Veronica Roth

This is a famous book series and its author is already a multimillionaire at age 25. I found the book silly, shallow and mindless. The occasionally too-dumb-to-live protagonist annoyed me the most. The story still compelled me to finish reading the book. I give it 2.5/5 stars.

3. Insurgent by Veronica Roth

I found the book Divergent very silly, I still read the second part - Insurgent, simply because its story is very engrossing. Needless to say I am waiting for the third part in the series (Allegiant). I give 2.5/5 stars. Divergent movie will be released in 2014.


4. Chanakya's Chant - Ashwin Sanghi

We all know Chanakya as a great strategist, scholar and diplomat. Ashwin Sanghi - in his political thriller 'Chanakya's Chant' weaves two parallel stories - spanning across two different timelines. The historical part depicting Chanakya is relatively gripping but the modern day narrative is too amateurish.
There is so much politics, jealousy, bitter words and games that people play in every sentence of the book that it caused me headache. I give it 2.5/5 stars.

5. Ender's game - Orson Scott

My imagination fails me most of the times while reading sci-fi genre. When I watched the trailer of this movie it looked so much better and different than the way I imagined it while reading the book.
I did not like the book but it has a cult following of people absolutely smitten with it. Give it a try if you like sci-fi genre. I give it 1/5 stars.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Not just about weight loss

Two and half years ago when I weighed 171 pounds I dreaded to see myself in the mirror and hated every second of mirror/photo time.

The issue wasn't just weight it was also sickness, I went through 10 antibiotic treatments, 5 root canals and one gruesome surgery in a single year. Even one antibiotic treatment is very harsh for the body so I don't need to explain what these treatments one after the other did to me, it damaged every aspect of my system. I needed to feel hearty, cleanse my body toxins and almost certainly wanted to lose weight.

I decided to lose weight, the timeline set was 3 years! Any aggressive timeline wouldn't have been realistic.There were months in a row when I didn't lose a single pound and didn't know where I was going wrong, in turn it got harder to feel motivated and positive.

My quest to feel healthy and lose weight continues... 3 years are not over yet! I wanted to share review of some reading that kept me inspired and not give up:

1. Zenhabits (blog) - Leo is motivational writer, he writes about how to build really simple but very helpful habits - flossing your teeth, waking up early, advantages of green tea and how to build a habit to have it daily, exercise, how to find time to work on a hobby, good diet, travel tips and the list goes on.

I must say weight loss and working on fitness is not easy, Leo taught me how to be organized, manage time, prioritization in simple small steps. His posts get repetitive at times but I need that!
www.zenhabits.net - Read it and get inspired....


2. Books by Rujuta Diwekar - The more one reads on this topic the more number of theories confuse the mind. Some say eating frequent meals makes your body work all the time and some say eating small quantities after every 2-3 hours is the key to weight loss as our body can digest very small quantity at a time.
I like Rujuta's theory better, it suits my eating habits. Her books give me an affirmation that I am on a track that will work.

3. Perfect 10 Diet -  by Michael Aziz - Mind blowing book. It taught me the difference between food and food like products. A must read even if you don't want to lose weight.

Books that I didn't like - flat belly diet and Ultramind solution - This book is an advertisement of supplements. One might end up taking a bowl full of supplements if they plan to follow this book. A solution to each problem in life is some supplement according to the book. Little introspection is required if you have temper issues, no Gaba can help you with that.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Idiot box : part 3

7. Sherlock: Sherlock Holmes is probably the most famous detective character till today. What I like about the new series Sherlock by BBC is this Sherlock has all the gadgets that are available in today's world. He is way faster, nimble and intelligent than the old Sherlocks. Why are there only three episodes in each season GAHHHHHHHH.

8. Death Note:  Clever, slick, suspenseful - anime at its best. It is an intellectual thriller with a complex plot and a story that is remarkably inventive. This will remain a classic forever, hopefully no one will attempt a remake!

9. Broadchurch: Simple town, simple people but not a simple murder. It is an emotional murder mystery.  I LOVED all the actors. Watching too many murder mysteries sometimes spoils the end for me (I ended up guessing who the murderer was in fourth episode).

10. 24 : 24 hours, Nuclear bombs, terrorist attacks and Jack Bauer taking care of everything. The show is pretty amazing. I watched 3 seasons and of course it gets repetitive. (loved the one starring Anil Kapoor). I am curious to watch the Indian version with Anil kapoor playing Jack Bauer.

(Part 1 covered: Black Mirror, Forbrydelsen, Game of Thrones. Part 2 covered: Orphan Black, The Fall, Homeland)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Before Revolution Happens

In the name of culture, traditions, beliefs, rules, regulations and rituals women get secondary treatment in India. They are controlled in every role that they play be it daughter, sister, wife, mother, daughter in law, mother in law, sister in law, grandmother and at times just for being a woman. They are oppressed and sadly not just by men.

Have you observed any Hindu wedding? Groom performs all the rituals in the wedding. Why aren't women allowed to perform half of the formalities? Whatever happens in life would be shared by both, why not even these customs? Do we still follow the same old protocols just because they are part of our tradition?

A woman is given her father's name and later on her husband's. It is a male dominated society and the naming convention is one of the way for them to keep it that way. Why isn't mother's name used anywhere in the child's name? After all she is the one doing the most difficult task of giving birth. Of course men would oppose to this change, their egos would be hurt otherwise.

When a girl gets married she is said to belong to the groom's family henceforth. I find this custom outdated. The bride and groom both have their respective families, they come together and build their own home - its all equal. Girls leave behind their home to start a new life while the Indian boys live all their life with uncut umbilical cords. Female foeticide will continue until we disprove the assumption that its only a boy who earns and takes care of parents in their old age.

Ladies are asked to wear black beaded necklace and Bindis if they are married while men don't. I don't get mad at men if they laugh at females who do not follow the traditions but I do pity those women who lecture other females on these conventions. These type of women think girls are inferior to men, they feel ashamed of their existence and to be born as a woman.

Couples living abroad go back to India to meet their families. Men spend all their time with their family and women are expected to do the same. Why are they forced to do that? They are close to their family as much as you are. They are desperate to spend time with their parents as much as you are. Why should they suppress their emotions and wishes? Because you are a man? Forget about injustice or unfairness, it doesn't even sound logical.


I see many women around me who do not have opinions, they mend and blend. They follow whatever they are asked for in the name of belonging to a specific gender role. They are considered true Indian women. They are defined, worshiped, identified, honored, idolized because of their sacrifice, motherly nature, obedience, submissiveness and for not questioning the family authorities - authority that is not based on right/wrong, justice/injustice but simply on power. Parents imbibe the importance of these so called qualities in their daughters. The very same characteristics stereotype, shackle and distort the image of women.

Lord Ram cut Shurpanakha's nose for showing sexual advances, we still  kill the dreams of half of our citizens. (Oh sorry, hundreds of females killed every day makes it less than half).

Every human being deserves equal rights be it man, woman, homosexual or transgender in every small thing that life has to offer. Revolution is going to happen soon. Call me heretic if you want because before revolution happens any liberal thinking is considered heretical.  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Audio Books

I loved it when my grandmother read me books. Listening to audio books feels the same - like someone is telling a story. I like the fact that I can listen to them while driving, exercising or taking care of chores in the house.

Review of a few audio books: 


1. The tipping point - Malcolm Gladwell

It is about how and why an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. I happen to read all books by Malcolm Gladwell, the ideas, subjects, examples in his books are quite interesting and distinct. Liked the book (3.5/5)


2. The magic of reality - Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward are the best narrators of all times. While listening to an audio book it is quite possible for the mind to drift away but their voice doesn't permit it, it binds the listener at all times. I love all books by Dawkins. If you haven't read any of his books yet then I highly recommend 'Selfish Genes' and 'The blind watchmaker'. (3.5/5)


3. Inferno - Dan Brown (Narrated by Paul Michael)

When I read 'Lost Symbol' I thought Dan Brown has lost the charisma but with Inferno he is back with a bang. Paul being an excellent narrator makes the audiobook more interesting. Inferno is the best fiction book I read this year (so far). Would love to watch a movie based on this book. (4/5)

4. History of the world -

I wish all history books in our syllabus were written like this book. For the first time in my life history was fun! I wish it covered history of more countries. (3.5/5)

5. The power of habit - Charles Duhigg

Very long book, could easily have been a 5 page article in some magazine. Boring examples which hardly help to support his theory. (1/5)

Friday, July 19, 2013

IDIOT BOX: Part 2



4. Orphan Black:
In my opinion the best female protagonist roles in tv shows are: Sarah Lund - Forbrydelsen, Carrie - Homeland and Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black. Tatiana has done 101% justice to all her characters in this show based on clones. It is an absolutely excellent show (available on Netflix instant watch).

5. The Fall:
It is intense, disturbing and very different (not just another serial killer story!). I find Gillian Anderson very hot, she performs brilliantly (available on Netflix instant watch).

6. Homeland:
There's a constant suspense to the plotting that effortlessly weaves in character detail and emotional conflict alongside this political suspense drama. Complicated characters and their inevitable collisions with one another, makes Homeland a pulse-pounding hour of television.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Idiot Box: Part 1


Once in a while few shows come along that change the paradigm of television. Sharing my favorite TV shows in this and next few posts

1. Black Mirror

If technology is a drug - and it does feel like a drug – then what, precisely, are its side effects?  This area between delight and discomfort is where the drama series Black Mirror is set.

The only way I can describe the series is ‘it is television at its best!’
 


2.      Forbrydelsen: (Danish series)



The story revolves around Detective Inspector Sarah Lund and her team solving a murder case. It has the best plot twists that I have seen so far in any of the thrillers. Acting by Sofie Gråbøl is absolutely stunning. The mystery in the series reached to a point when I just couldn't wait to know who the culprit was. Believe it or not I took half day at work and finished watching it at home! I highly recommend season 1. Season 2 and 3 were a dud.





3.      Game of Thrones: 
It is complex, multi-layered, surreal, vibrant and imaginative. Scenery, sets, special effects, story, costumes - everything is just fabulous.

Some authors need to keep on living forever for example Richard Dawkins. I pray that the writer of this book series George Martin lives for a long long time and creates stunning work in future also I hope to live long enough to enjoy all seasons and know who wins in this dirty game of thrones!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Hard Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World


Why do we need to experience a situation to feel its gravity or the pain associated with it? In this materialistic and mechanical life that we live today are we encountering decline of a beautiful emotion called empathy? (Empathy is the capacity to recognize emotions that are being experienced by another sentiment).

It is very easy to connect with empathetic people (and also easy to work in an environment where people are empathetic). Sharing any feeling with these sensitive minds guarantees complete understanding of the circumstances without having to give any lengthy justifications or being judged.

Reading fiction is rejuvenating, relaxing, entertaining, stimulates the right side of the brain and research shows that it helps increase empathy.

Haruki Murakami is considered to be a possible recipient of a Noble prize in Literature and is the author of this weird book 'Hard Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World'. The writing is very simple though depicting a complex concept.

'Alice in wonderland' is one of the rare book which people interpret depending on the phase of life that they are in. Murakami's book gives a similar effect. It symbolizes various things our dreams, desires, choices, dilemmas and enigmatic correlation between subconscious and conscious mind.

I wonder why Hollywood film makers did not think of making a movie on this plot yet. I felt that the story got a little repetitive towards the end. Looking forward to read more books by Murakami. I give it 3.5/5.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sita sings the blues

If you were born in the era of Mahabharata (I mean B.R. Chopra's TV series) then you might be able to remember that maximum TV sets were sold during this time.
On Sunday mornings the roads would be vacant and my entire family would be glued to TV.

Nobody knows if Mahabharata happened as it is told today. If it didn’t occur in real and just happens to be a novel by Vyasa then what an astounding piece of imagination…!

We Indians love everything about it, it's fascinating story, fights, captivating magic, anguish, vengeance, covetousness, the supernatural, philosophy, odium, splendor, bravery, heroism.
The characters are intriguing, convoluted, haughty, kind, egoist, greedy, vindictive, enigmatic and all have shades of grey. 

I fell in love with Mahabharat once again when I read 'Palace of Illusions' - a book by Chithra Banerjee. It is based on the life of Draupadi.

I never found Ramayana as intriguing as Mahabharata, definitely not until I watched the short animation film 'Sita sings the blues'. It is based on the life of Sita. The animation is absolutely delightful and the storytelling is astonishingly original. To conceive a film like this is a wonder!

It is available on youtube.

PS: In case you happen to watch it then as they always say - try to be liberal and take art for what it is.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bollywood



Cricket and Bollywood are two big things that drive India. I have seen most of the Bollywood movies made right from 1950s to 2007. It didn’t matter to me if the movie was a flop or hit, I watched it either ways. The world of cinema has always mesmerized me. Introduction to Hollywood and world cinema made me realize the depth, flamboyance and beauty of this art form in true sense.


Born in a middle class family, brought up in small villages and towns, lack of understanding of English - I belonged to the majority of Indian population who do not know movies like Matrix, Children of Heaven, Schindler’s List or Elling are being made. Would I have liked or grasped if something like that was shown to me in Hindi? Of course yes!


Getting work in Bollywood if you have some association is a problem with the industry. It is shame to the Indian art and artists to see movies like ‘Desi Boyz’ getting produced just because of connection. The ugly inbreeding of talent leads to creative bankruptcy. Hopefully movies like ‘Vicky Donor’ are setting a good example.




‘Keep your brains at home and then watch the movie’, ‘this movie is made for the masses and not the classes’ are the taglines by many Bollywood film makers. I don’t understand how to do that. Are they implying they were able to keep their brains at home while making the movie?


Being part of an unknown world that someone has weaved with their vast imagination is fascinating. As a storyteller what is needed is the conviction with which they tell a story. They could be showing something completely illogical, unfathomable, unrealistic; it doesn’t matter as long as the audience is convinced by the concept so much so that for the duration of the film they find it the reality (e.g. ‘Magadheera’). As a viewer a lot of bollywood films leave me unconvinced, an example would be ‘My name is Khan’.


No strong story line is a problem with many films, a look at ‘Kahaani’ would be a good idea for the makers. As a woman I feel embarrassed to see the scarcity of clothes in movies and find the item numbers derogatory for the womankind. Subservient characters sketched out for ladies would be another topic of discussion altogether.


I fail to understand the impact of certain ‘stars’ on the junta. Do they really like them or they are not getting anything better? Why do they copy hollywood movies? Why not just dub the original and release the master pieces? New quandary that hit Bollywood is making remakes of old Hindi films. Why would someone want to remake the classic ‘Umrao Jaan’? What a blasphemy! Where are film makers like Shyam Benegal? Where is originality? I hope things improve and we get to watch great cinema in this lifetime.

I might watch movies in 100 other languages but the kind of instant cultural and emotional connection that I feel with Bollywood is unequaled. I long to see the colors, songs and beatific dances, it gives Bollywood a unique flavor. I complain about the senseless stories; Bollywood stars, their overacting all the time but ironically on a rainy, sick, lonely, depressing day a dose of ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’ is what I yearn for the most, it cheers me up, makes me feel nostalgic. There is no denying, I am a Bolllywood child and hopefully it will be more nurturing :-)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The oath of Vayuputras

This is the third part of the Shiva trilogy. I found the first two books - Immortals of Meluha and Secret of Nagas ground breaking. They showed that Indian mythology is a woefully underutilized source of wit, wisdom, inspiration and philosophy. They had amazing characters and great drama. I loved the author's unbounded imagination.

I was anxious to read the last part. All is well that ends well and Shiva trilogy's end is disappointing and a complete letdown. Amish has dragged on a three liner story for 550 pages. As a reader I felt deprived of a stunning end to an artistry anecdote. This book is a dud but if you have read the first two parts then you will want to read it either ways. I give it 1/5.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Guilty Pleasures!

Computer and internet at our fingertips. We share everything on blogs, Facebook and Twitter statuses. The media is continuously in search of news, they survive on people's misfortune. This is the era when shows like 'Big Boss' get maximum TRPs.

We the consumers take pleasure in reading all sorts of information, looking at people getting insulted in reality shows. We take guilty pleasure in taking a look at the 'lives of others'.

I know more about the whereabouts of Bollywood stars than my neighbors, opinions and thoughts of lot of bloggers than the people I work with everyday. Now is the age when we log in on social networking sites to express the moments of deepest agony, despair or ecstasy.

A few months ago there was a gang rape in Delhi. I was saddened by the news as much as the nation was. Few days after that 'Before and After' pictures of the victim were all over the place. There is thin line between reporting news and sensationalizing it. How do we filter out the news that we don't want to know?

People have kids, great, Congratulations! Then they post daily updates of their progress. We post reviews, travelogues to every bit of personal information. How do we draw a line on what; how much and with how many we share?


We all are overloaded with information - from useful to unwanted, from inspiring to creepy.
I just wasn't able to keep up with all the information that I consciously chose to be overwhelmed with. At the end of the day it was all jumbled up, who is having what for dinner? Who is John Galt?

I stopped reading gossip news and on FB/Twitter subscribed to just those who post information of my liking. I also cut down big time on reading blogs. Which ones do I read now? Well, I would be sharing that "information" soon!!!

P.S. There is a mind boggling show called 'Black Mirror', I strongly recommend it. Television at its best...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The misunderstood species...

I can sit in front of a lake staring at the water for an eternity, take a walk alone for hours and be perfectly at peace, bike all day long just by myself and be wonderfully lost in an unknown world. Deprived of silence and some space for myself I feel choked. I feel awkward and stressed in lot of social scenarios (No, I am not anti-social or shy).

I know many more people who belong to this league, they are called introverts. I feel these people are always misunderstood and misinterpreted. 40% of the population in the world is introvert and still there is so less awareness about them.

Myths about introverts include - they don't like to talk, they are shy, rude, they don’t like people, they don’t like to go out in public, they are loners and the biggest myth being they can fix themselves and become extroverts.

Why is it considered better to be an extrovert?


Some people give a piece of mind and ask the introverts to 'cure' their behavior, some compare them to other extroverts in the family and ask them to belong to this lovely class. Some call them weird, selfish, crazy, arrogant and snobbish. Some smile understandingly and leave them to their own devices, knowing how an introvert's brain is wired.

I have always shrugged away the various adjectives and continued to live – with a fair degree of indifference.

Introverts escape from superficial relationships, trivial communications and the constant noise that pervade our world. Care for the introverts in your life because they treasure the close relationships they have stretched so much to make!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

I am unique

You think you are beautiful, intelligent, someone with a perfect figure; family; values; principles; skills? Look closely there are thousand others just like you. You got promoted, came first in an exam, got masters, PHD, you think you are the youngest achiever, you traveled the whole world, you been to the moon? Come down my friend, we know many more like you. What do you say? You are special? I don't think so, nothing that you are or do is unparalleled.

Are you too fat, too thin, hurt, going through a divorce, cheated, rejected, failed in an exam, going through cancer? Look around you will find your clones. Why me? Its just me who has to go through all this pain and suffering while life is rosy for everyone else. You are not the only one who is feeling that way. Wake up! Your victim consciousness, shame, embarrassment, shyness, desires, dreams, expectations, aspirations, pain nothing is uncommon.

These females carry off the short skirts high heels so well. I am one of a kind. Huh! Get over with it already. Observe, take a walk on the street, you will find hundred others wearing glasses, jeans and sneakers. Oh yes, many more women prefer books to jewellery. Your opinions, perspective, habits, inferiority complex, your strive to be different than the others is nothing but common.

We all go through the same feelings sadness, happiness, jealousy, dejection, fear, love. There is no feeling that you alone have experienced. Is there anything in you or me that nobody else has? Not really, at any given point of time there are thousands just like us - on this planet and may be many other planets.

You are a drop of water in this big ocean, just like others. Everyone has to face death, none is immortal. I am not dreaming, I am unique as much as this thought is!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Spirituality, Organizations and the Gurus

Spirituality: 
The term spirituality or being spiritual is used quite frequently these days, but what exactly does it mean? Many people like to tell others they are a 'spiritual' person probably to let them know they are not materialistic or superficial and that they 'get it'. That's fine if we all understand and agree on what we are talking about. I consider spirituality to be a state in which we feel connected to God/Nature, each other, and the deepest part of ourselves.

One can experience 'that' connection through various things - listening to a beautiful piece of music, a stroll in the woods, painting, reading, playing a sport, helping others/social service, prayers, yoga, meditation and the list goes on.

Spiritual Organizations:
I learned meditation from one of the organizations in India. Meditative state is the best state that I have experienced so far. It helped me come out from one of the most difficult phase. I came out of it stronger and feeling more confident than ever.  

Is a person born spiritual or becomes spiritual after experiencing life or can he be taught to be spiritual?  There are organizations who aim and claim to teach spirituality. I feel these organizations are supermarkets of spirituality. Supermarkets provide easy availability to everything - from fruits to electronics. If you decide to buy an electronic item in a supermarket then you will find some people who are there to buy the same and others who are just taking a stroll in the same isle. There are salesmen who are trying to sell various products making their attempts at rising in the ladder and making the business profitable.


In a
spiritual organization one gets easy availability (as they have branches everywhere) to beautiful things in life like learning yoga/meditation techniques. There are genuine seekers who are part of these organizations and there are others who are looking at it as a stress management tool. I wonder if most of the genuine seekers will eventually realize that the organizations are impediments in what they are seeking.
One of the members I know (who happens to find his meditative state in money and alcohol) called a person X (who is very spiritual and the most beautiful being I have met). According to him X was going away from the path of spirituality as she was no longer a part of the organization

Is being part of an organization same as being on the spiritual journey?




Spiritual Gurus:
Of course you will find a Guru/the Master in the organization. In the scripture it is said that Guru is here to provide inner strength, he is here to connect to formless by taking a form. I have seen people using a Guru for various things - from using him as a ladder to climb and expand the consciousness or ask him mundane questions like which city I should live in/ whom should I marry and what should I name my baby? 

You must have experienced presence of a graceful being at least once. They may not consider themselves Gurus, but they appear to attract people to their calm; their inner peace permeate the air around them. For me a guru is this presence who is offering me the guidance and wisdom to understand my own mind and self. They may not look or dress like the typical Gurus (so you might not be able to brag or post your pictures with him/her on Facebook) but they could be equally spiritual as the famous, bearded and the saffron masters. 

This post is dedicated to all such graceful and reclusive presences in the world...