Monday, June 16, 2014

Letter to my Father

Dear Papa, 

It is 30 years since you left us. Your face is in a haze, but memories of you still remain etched in our minds and hearts; your love for us, your emphasis on being honest, sincere, disciplined, and righteous; the importance of education, the pursuit for excellence, knowledge and curiosity to learn new things. With every new technological development that breaks out nowadays and the latest gadgets that rule our lives, I wonder how excited you would be! We your children have tried our best to some extent, imbibe the principles you believed and practiced in your short lifetime. I believe, we do make you proud. I again wonder with a smile on my face, what your feelings and reactions would be to see the antics of your grand children. We love you and miss you. Happy father’s day! 

PS: My daughter today asked me – “Do you remember your Dad?”; “Do you miss your Dad?”

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Trimbakeshwar Jyothirlinga - An unexpected visit

My new year started off with an unexpected visit to Trimbakeshwar, near Nashik, Maharashtra on January 3rd, 2014. The one day trip to Nashik was to attend the 1st National & 6th State Level Nashik MVP Marathon 2014 organised by the Maratha Vidya Prasarak Samaj. I was accompanying Cricketer VVS Laxman who flagged off the marathon and distributed trophies and prizes to the winners.

Initially visiting Shirdi was on the itinerary, but due  to some unavoidable circumstances it had to be cancelled. I was disappointed as my visit to seek blessings of Sri Sai Baba is long over due. 

On Jan 3rd early morning, after the Marathon flag off, one of the organisers expressed that in the short time we had, after the flag off and before the prize distribution ceremony, I could squeeze in a quick visit to Trimbakeshwar and have darshan of  one of the twelve Jyothirlingas. 

I was very happy and just couldn't resist the offer. The driver escorting us, Rameshappa was more than enthusiastic and the organiser Mrs. Pooja Atkare, Principal of a leading educational institution at Trimbak, joined me and made necessary arrangements for our darshan. I am really grateful to both of them.

The ride from Nashik to Trimbak was a rough one with the road in a terrible condition, due to a four lanes road construction work going on, keeping in view the ensuing Kumbh Mela in 2015. The distance approximately 28 kms was covered in about 40 minutes. 

We reached the temple located at the foothills of the Brahmagiri mountain ranges, a magnificent grand structure built in black stone. The temple was built by Shri.Nana Saheb Peshwa in 1755-1786 AD. The spectacular view just took my breath away.  An official at the temple escorted us directly to the "sanctum sanctorum" and we had a quick darshan of the the presiding deity Lord Trimbakeshwar. The Lingam is unique with the presence of three lingas, each representing Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. All the three lingas reside in a hallow space withing the Shiva lingam. The priest blessed us by giving prasad. I was overwhelmed having visited this holy shrine and having darshan of Lord Shiva in the beginning of the New Year. I had visited this place as a 10 year old with my parents, but couldn't recall the place. 

Just outside the temple premises is the sacred pond "Kushavarta" from where River Ganga is said to take route to rest of India. I just had a glance from the foothill, of the "Gangadwar" located on the Brahmagiri mountain, the birth place of River Ganga, known as River Godavari. 

I was delighted with this unexpected visit to the holy temple of Trimbakeshwar. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Be Inspired - People I Know - 1

Presto! A thought triggered in my mind, about so many people- friends, family, acquaintances I know, and most of them are doing some extraordinarily good work. And this is my applaud in acknowledgement of the talent, effort, dedication and passion displayed by these terrific human beings.

The first to go on my "Be Inspired" People Series is Abhishek Bhaskar - The Beatboxer

I met Abhishek a month ago in Bengaluru with regard to a CSR event I was conducting for Herbalife India, a direct selling MNC dealing mainly with Nutritional & Health Products. Herbalife has been very supportive of Sports Persons and Sporting activities all over the world. 

We needed an Emcee and my specifications were for an energetic, lively and communicative youngster best suited for the event.   

A day before the event, I met Emcee Abhishek, a polite, well mannered, intelligent 18 year old waiting patiently at the office to be briefed on the next day's proceedings. He was very quick to grasp the requirements and looked confident to deliver his best. Meeting him reduced half of my stress, giving me the confidence that he will manage the show with aplomb. 

We already had some fun and meaningful activities lined up for the Herbalife Founder's Day event, which was celebrated as Herbalife Kids' Day with the Guest of Honour,  Paralympian Silver Medalist  H. Girisha, Herbalife Brand Ambassador. 

Abhishek gave some interesting inputs about some Ice-Breakers and activities that he would add and engage the participants (Herbalife employees, Special kids from Shraddhanjali Integrated School and Kids from Smile Foundation). I was very pleased with his display of enthusiasm.

In the process of our conversation Abhishek told me that he is studying Architecture, and he is a Beatboxing artist and CEO & Founder of a company called "Voice Box Productions".

I carefully listened to him and finally expressed my ignorance on "Beatbox", I found it very amusing and was eager to educate myself on this new form of talent.

Abhishek demonstrated his Beatboxing skills and explained as follows, " Beatboxing is the art of producing the sounds of musical instruments through one's mouth and nostrils. It involves the imitation of Turntablism, Singing, Horns, etc".  

Well, I realised that I did know about this art but was ignorant about the name of this art form- Beatbox.

Abhishek is involved in conducting Beatbox workshops for Corporate and Students. It is indeed a stress buster exercise. He is busy performing this art form, Emceeing, studying to be an Architect; to sum it all multitasking very efficiently. In his own words, he says "I'm living the LIFE".

Abhishek deserves a loud Beatbox cheering - KUDOS!!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Is Happiness Elusive ...or we just fail to find it!

hap-ee-nis: bliss, contentedness, delight, joy, pleasure, satisfaction...

The state of joy, getting hold of a new comic book, delight seeing a new pencil, ecstasy munching a candy, satisfaction playing with a friend, contentedness getting a new dress for festival and the sheer pleasure of mom’s home cooked food.  I am at times left distraught wondering, where did I lose those little but precious moments of genuine inner peace.

Lost maybe, in the growing up process; some pleasant and unpleasant circumstances; the daily grind, losing our loved ones, health issues, relationships taking a beating, so on and so forth.

Is it so difficult to smile and laugh? At times, if you notice closely, we even forget to breathe properly; such is the hurry, rush and preoccupation in our lives. The many roles that we don and the balancing acts we put up add to and take its toll on our fragile minds and souls.

I understand that all of us are not born with sunny dispositions. As we grow, we learn that happiness is a state of being, which is commonly construed and attributed to our experiences with our environment – people, places, things...

I personally at times feel that being nice, good and positive can be tiring and that one loud outburst displaying negative emotions, like yelling, cursing, use of abusive words can give some temporary power and excitement to the mundane, but most of the time causes exhaustion to the self, more than to the target audience.

I believe, once in a while such outbursts are healthy, but if the frequency continues then surely things are not conducive to the self and to others in your life.

Every bit of emotions we experience, like joy, excitement, stress, anxiety, sadness, anger, pain, are integral moments. We as humans are capable of learning and un-learning from them, by means of introspection and intent. It’s not easy for sure but nonetheless, trying helps!

Total bliss, the ascetic way is far fetched! Down the lane, I have learnt to love my pain and it helps me enhance my thinking, creativity, empathy and determination to face challenges. But I also love my moments of peace and cheer.

So in pursuit of some happiness, I am working on a few aspects (tried, tested and shared by many, for sure) and hope to achieve, that something, to soothe my soul and mind.  It’s hard, very hard!

  • Stop anticipating negative moments and reactions – It’s damaging to you and you alone.
  • Stop worrying, because most of it does not happen – Even if something happens, damn it, you are capable of catching it by its neck and throwing it away.
  • Stop getting caught in needless drama that happens around – People like to pull you into it to entertain them.
  • Stop heeding too much to other’s unrealistic and demanding expectations of you – Learn to say NO; there is no end to what others want of you.
  • Stop caring too much about what others think of you – Remember, you are a champ.
  • Stop neglecting health issues – Health is indeed the first and foremost wealth.
  • Stop reliving the anger caused by situations and people – Grudge will weaken your soul. If still it refuses to leave your mind, then use it towards some positive, constructive and productive means for you. (Read somewhere: Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent free in your head)
  • Stop being scared or sceptical about taking up new assignments – There is always a way when there is will.
  • Stop taking crap from people- Make peace with yourself.

  • Give whatever assistance you can to people less fortunate than you – Experience the joy of unconditional giving.
  • Give support to social causes – It’s always blessed to give than to receive.
  • Give a thought to pursuing a hobby – It’s fun and soothing.
  • Give praise, appreciation and acknowledgement to that deserving friend, neighbour, relative, colleague, acquaintance, your own kids, spouse, siblings and parents, for a good deed or work – Feel the power of giving.
  • Give that friendly big smile, nod, and a wave to all the people you come in touch with daily; the road side vendor, maid, watchman, driver, milk man, paper boy, office peon – See the magic of acknowledging a fellow human being.
  • Give some time connecting and networking with friends and develop contacts – It can be enriching.
  • Give a thought to your blessings and make gratitude an attitude – Explore the power of prayers.

I am in the “Give” mode which helps me maintain my mental equilibrium, but need to work seriously on the “Stop” aspects to enhance the quality of peaceful living. It’s a long list; just needs that nudge of  conscious effort, exercise and implementation.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Radiant Sun...Silk...Shine to Recharge my Life!

Source:The Hindu
The road...more travelled, the journey unforgettable, the cacophony unavoidable, the air non-breathable and the destination inevitable – my work place! This sums up my everyday saga in life.

The morning rush hours, the craters ridden dusty roads of my city, the mad traffic jams are a every day nightmare.  To top it all is my old sentimental scooter which bears the brunt everyday and helplessly passes on the same to my bones and nerves. 

The rattled and tattled me, en route to work every day and back home on the faithful oldie is indeed, an ordeal.  The ride is no less adventurous, than the Dune Bashing, Roller Coaster Rides or Mud Car Racing.

But hey, once I reach my work place and toss off my scarf and shake my stiff head and stiffer shoulder, the soft lovely touch of my shining tresses bring the spring back into my steps. I straighten myself and stride confidently into the office space.  I feel like I have just stepped out from a chauffeur driven car, directly from the top salon in town.

My hair is strong like the Knight in Shining Armour, gives me that extra edge to hold my own, in spite of the drudgery I face, every day. The healthy shine and lovely fragrance of Sunsilk Radiant Shine Shampoo  on my hair makes my day productive, and my mood as radiant as my hair, at its super best, all day long.

Sunsilk Radiant Shine Shampoo is a part and parcel of my essentials and I recharge my hair with it, to keep that enviable bounce and shine in my life.  The Sunsilk Radiant Shine; now and always, to look and feel my elegant best and geared to face any challenges in life with √©lan!

 * The Radiant Sun...Silk...Shine to Recharge my Life is a true narrative of my daily ordeal, commuting the roads of Hyderabad, written exclusively  for IndiBlogger Contest "Recharge your hair Recharge your Life .

Sunday, December 15, 2013

We Time ... A Lunch Date with My Beloved

I am a sucker for contests! Especially where some scope for creative writing is involved. This is a childhood fancy carried into adulthood. In the process I have won quite a few goodies ranging from Stickers, Chicklet packets, pens, cinema tickets, gift vouchers and very recently "We Time" from TVS Wego.

It just happened on Diwali eve while browsing the Facebook page,  I hit upon the Diwali We Time Moment Contest on the TVS Wego FB Page. It said -Tell us how you would surprise your loved one this Diwali. The most creative and romantic idea wins!

Here is what I wrote in a jiffy that evening when  my creative juices were overflowing...

Close your eyes! I say to my beloved...hold his hands gently and lead him up the stairway. A whiff of cool  breeze and a sweet fragrance lovingly touches my beloved's face and I see a faint smile appear and feel his grip tighten my hand, sensing the warmth and some element of surprise... we step on to the patio and I ask him to open his eyes...Surprise!Surprise! his astonished face looks like a colourful sparkler. Amidst all the lovely lit candles and roses, he sees his bunch of school buddies standing quietly, suppressing their laughter on seeing his amazed expression and go screaming and cheering loudly, which easily overpowers the noise of the crackers booming in the surroundings! This is what I have imagined as my romantic gesture, a memorable evening for my MAN, my BELOVED! #TVSWEGO #DIWALICONTEST #ENTRY

I was somehow sure of emerging a winner (cheeky, right?) but was hoping the prize will be a TVS Wego to ride on for an all time We Time!
Anyway as expected, I emerged one of the six winners announced and the prize was a We Time lunch or dinner at The Marriott, Hyderabad. A tad bit disappointing but nonetheless an exclusive "We Time"  in our busy ho hum lives looked good enough. 

I informed my choice of date and time to TVS Wego and they promptly booked a table for two at The Marriott, Hyderabad for my lunch date with my beloved, my hubby. 

The Marriott, Hyderabad is not new to us, but the exclusive date made it special. The staff at Okra, The Marriott were very gracious. They had a special menu for us. 

We are vegetarians and were leisurely served  a course of Sparkling Wine ( both don't drink), Tomato Soup (Roasted tomato, mars Capone, focaccia crostini), Chef's Salad (Red Apple, assorted lettuce, micro greens with ginger honey dressing), Pasta Spaghetti (Aubergine, feta, confit tomatoes and pine nuts) and last but not the least my favourite part of the meal, The Dessert (Blue Berry Cheese Cake, bowl of fruits, a scoop of Vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup).  

The Chef personally came over to our table to inquire on the food, which I thought was a nice gesture.

Our two hours of leisure We Time together over food was pleasant, thanks to TVS Wego and The Marriott!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Rising Star of World Badminton - PV Sindhu

PV Sindhu is currently ranked World No. 11 in the Women's Singles Badminton.

@ Lunch by Sindhu's parents celebrating her Macau Title

This lanky, fit, all of 5 feet 11 inches towering tall, 18 year old kid is the rising star of World Badminton from India and more specifically Hyderabad; home also to Super Champ   Saina Nehwal currently ranked World No.6; India's No. 1 & World No. 14 Men's Singles Champ P.Kashyap; Men's Singles India No.2 & World No.21 RMV.Gurusaidutt.

They all train at the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy.

On Court, Sindhu is determined to go for a win. In her own words, 2013 has been her best so far and there is no stopping from here. 

She lived up to her top billing by winning her maiden Grand Prix Gold title beating Singaporean fifth seed Juan Gu in the women's singles final of the Malaysia Open badminton on May 4th, 2013.

On 8th August 2013, Sindhu defeated the defending champion, second-seeded Wang Yihan of China, to enter the women's quarterfinals at the Badminton world championships. She became the first Indian female to win a singles medal (Bronze) at the World Championships and broke into the world top-10 for a brief period. 

PV Sindhu continued her winning streak and asserted that she is indeed the rising star of Indian badminton by clinching her second Grand Prix Gold Title, the Macau Open Grand Prix Gold 2013  with a superb win over Canada's Michelle Li scoring 21-15, 21-12 in merely 37 minutes, on Dec 1st, 2013.

Sindhu was conferred with the Arjuna Award in September,2013.

She is the Icon player of the Awadhe Warriors Lucknow, one of the IBL teams. 

During my coordination of the IBL Shuttle Express Programme for School Children in Hyderabad, Sindhu launched the Hyderabad Leg at the Indus World School, the IBL School Partner here on July 16th, 2013. 

She immensely enjoyed interacting with kids and readily obliged everyone with autographs and photographs; was at ease with the media during the press conference and enjoyed her lunch at the school's dining hall.

At the recently organised "Herbalife Kids Badminton Championship 2013" , the National Badminton Coach Mr. Pulella Gopichand and his prodigy Ms. PV Sindhu readily agreed to be the Chief Guests for the award ceremony, to the delight of the winners and runners up. Being Children's Day on November 14th, I asked her to say a few words to the kids and her spontaneous shy response was, "I myself am a kid, what do I tell them" ; I was very amused and realized she actually is a kid!

Off Court, she is a normal teenager, just a kid who enjoys her glass of cola and junk food. 

Her parents Mr. PV Ramana and Mrs.Vijaya, former National Volley Ball players should be very proud and happy to see their and daughter's hard work pay off  in the form of her victories.  

More accolades are wished for this young sports person.

Monday, December 2, 2013

My Childhood Confederate & Cherished Memories ... Soft, Gentle and Pure like a Dove!

I jog through my childhood memories at the age of five, remember this little fella, two years younger, looked exactly like Pee Wee (the cute friend of Richie Rich)  and  followed me everywhere. 

I still fail to comprehend my adventurous streak at that age, it baffles me no end whenever I think about the shenanigans initiated by me and very diligently followed by Pee Wee – my younger sibling!

Pee Wee was the central character to all my experiments, most of the memorable ones are at our Mom’s dressing table.  The long mirror, the attached side tables with drawers appeared like a magnificent throne. My little Prince Pee Wee (read guinea pig) seated on the throne, all geared up for the grand game to begin. The contents of the drawer, my mom’s prized possessions, lured me to pick and cajole them with my artistic hands – a box of compact face powder, talcum powder, kaajal, lip stick, cold cream, bottle of liquid red kumkum & nail polish. Oh!  What a treasure, waiting just for me - Their Saviour.

I begin with the compact face powder, followed by all other ingredients that give Pee Wee; the killer looks (really frightening, I should say). Very satisfied with my artistic outcome on Pee Wee, I do the same to my sweet and soft face. Our artistic endeavour is highly visible on the dressing table, mirror and the floor. The colour riot beckons.

Mommy dearest is busy cooking in the kitchen, with intervallic voice call to check on our normal existence . Whenever there is pin drop silence, it is a obvious danger pointer.  She swiftly sprints in search of the little angels (actually read devils) and find us, the dancing duo skating on the rink of talcum powder with a pair of socks adorning those nimble feet. The horror is apparent on mom’s pretty face.  The riot of colours on the faces and surroundings instigate unexplained emotions in Mommy. 

Now, the memories bring tears with all the laughing at those nostalgic and crazy moments.

My love for experimenting stayed intact through my growing years. It graduated from gaudy colours to genuine skin care. I began using only Besan (Chick Pea Flour) on my face to prevent the wear and tear of skin caused by the regular toilet soaps. I vividly remember the launch of Dove, the soap with moisturizing cream way back in 1990’s when I was in college. The premium product was very enticing; the price frightfully expensive. But my mind was set on experimenting Dove and #DoveFaceTest. 

I earned my pocket money imparting tuition to neighbourhood kids and my mom permitted my splurge understanding its true value; and here I am hooked to Dove for life!

Dove was an indulgence then, very carefully used and guarded. My Pee Wee was also not allowed to touch it and was permitted once in a while to use it only on his face (budgetary constraints, you see) ; moments when my soft and gentle emotions were afloat.

Dove today is my  necessity and a legacy, that I have passed on to my daughter. Now, my Pee Wee is a Big Man (wise from all the childhood histrionics) and lives in UAE. Being my childhood confederate, he knows my Dove obsession and hence by default, it is a part and parcel of the goodies bag I get from UAE. More like a loving gift from my Mayaka (Parents Home). Seriously, I mean it!

* My Dove Story for IndiBlogger Contest "Dove Guessing game with my friend",  is a true account of my childhood experiences and Dove is indeed my everyday necessity, the narrative shared on Dove is 100% true.