Thursday, March 22, 2018

You would never say.

They say that your happiness knows no bounds when your home is not a place, but a person. How true; one could almost feel her adrenaline gushing at a mere sight of him. Their love story was no ordinary, for he defined love for her and he hardly was friends with words.

 She didn’t know if love ever existed in words; for her, it was a feeling, euphoria, a lot of warmth and him. Yeah, pretty much. No festivals, occasions or conventional times of the year would bring enough happiness to her more than the tip that he was standing outside her office to pick her up. In the distance of close to fifteen minutes back home, their conversations would range from the happenings in the day passed without each other to what they plan to do once they'd be home. A lot of times, a song one would have been vying to make the other listen would fill the silence and thus would commence the sweet nothings.

She knew his existence revolved around her and how she was oxygen for him. Each day was a battle for him and she knew how strong a support system she was. You don’t calculate love, you don’t measure the conditions, you don’t draw the perfect map and you surely don’t write down the T&C's – when you love someone, you BELIEVE – in dreams, aspirations and life together.

She knew how a perfect team they both were and how he would always need her for every big or small decision he would ever take. She knew their love was a melody, a song they both loved humming to and a dawn turned to dusk while talking.

Their love was the wind beneath their wings and she loved how God made them dance at the twilight, in the sheer ecstasy of each other's company. She knew, for a fact, that they were inseparable and, also, that he would never say. 

Their love story might appear a little vague to the world outside, but on the inside, it was clear and complete and that’s what made them stand out – they were not ordinary, but complementary.  

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

An Unplanned Date in Bhubaneswar

This is how it goes: there’s a Plan A and a backup Plan B and, then, God would tear your script apart and instead handover His plan to you, the best that could ever be.
We set out from home to catch an early morning flight to Vizag and, alas, could only manage to bid it adieu from the shore.  This is how our next, one-stop flight landed us in Bhubaneswar, steering our journey to a land I couldn’t have ever imagined visiting otherwise.
We quickly browsed through the Internet for the places we could possibly visit in the next three hours we had at hand and here I am listing what all we did in this brief span.

Lingaraja Temple: This is one of the oldest temples in the city and would look so through every aspect. We could almost feel as if summoned from Lord Shiva, for we had no plans to meet Him here till morning today. Photography is not allowed inside the temple premises and you are not even allowed to wear caps, sunglasses or any footwear. Trust your cab driver enough to hand over your every belonging to him before you rush to the temple. The temples in Bhubaneswar have a unique style of architecture and this would be prominent in almost all the temples that you would visit. The temple is huge – it has 50 shrines and each holds scores of stories within. One unique thing that should stay wary of while in or around the temple is nosy and ‘super obese’ priests!

Dhauli Giri Hills: This place where Kalinga war was fought would surely appear to be the most interesting place in Bhubaneswar. Located on the banks of River Daya, which is said to have turned red with blood after of people deceased in the war, Dhauli Giri is an important centre for Buddhist activities. There’s a huge, white “Shanti Stupa” at Dhauligiri, which would drive you back to the old, Ashoka days. Like any other historical place would have, you would find a lot of local photographers, ready to click you for as low as INR 20.
Brahmeshwara Temple: Most of them temples in Bhubaneswar are either dedicated to Lord Shiva or Lord Sun. This one is for the former. Sporting beautiful architecture, this temple is, undoubtedly, managed really well. There’s a quite, small pond within the premises and we found people taking a dip in the water. The condition of the water and the overall heat discouraged us to follow the suit and, therefore, we moved on from there to our next stop. One more thing, you would find a lot of great inscriptions of Lord Shiva, Goddess Chamunda and other tantiric-related images.

Rajarani Temple: You would see a reflection of Brahmeshwara temple here and you might want to give this a miss, considering the fact that you’ve already had too much of the temple flavor, but here I would ask you to stop and think. This one temple is also called ‘love temple’ and has beautiful, erotic carvings of women and couples on the outside. This would also give you a glimpse of Khujuraho temples and might also fuel your curiosity and interest. So, don’t miss giving this temple a visit and, also, praying here.

Food at Dalma: Our brief visit ended with a delectable meal at this famous restaurant, which serves authentic Oriya food – Dalma. For a person like me, who embraces spicy food like a long-lost cousin, Oriya food might not tantalize the taste buds, but I had to try and I did. I might never again, but who cares?
Authentic Oriya Food
With our tummy full and eyes comfortably satiated, we bade adieu to the land of Patnaik and his scion and moved on to Vizag – the place where my heart lives.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Waiting for Him

The windows had been set open. After all, he could be here any moment. Other days might not have had that effect on her, but it was just a different day. Maybe it had set differently or progressed so, she was able to feel each moment passing by today. The ticking of clock was giving wings to the butterflies in her stomach. She was actually looking forward to her husband coming back from work and her holding him in her embrace.

While the rest of the days were a part of the routine, these days were especially earmarked as festivals. Rains cast that spell on you; they make you happy from inside and this happiness just spreads on to everyone around you. She prepared the snacks they had almost forgotten they used to have after their marriage. Things were definitely different that time. The desire to know each other and get close was such that it superseded every other desire the mind ever conceived. She set the snacks on the table placed in their courtyard which was covered in a way that they could still feel the raindrops falling on the ground. Even the winds seemed to be dancing along with the rain drops, splashing some on them while twisting and twirling along. Meera was reserving this pleasure to be had with her husband, Karan. Till that time, she was making sure that Karan forgets all his worries the moment he enters the house she was so endearingly decorating today.

Flowers in the brass vase, incense sticks lit in the small temple hung on the wall in the study room, fresh, washed curtains and the cleaned linen on the bed, all were creating a beautiful aura in the home, the home she lovingly called her masterpiece. For the first time in months, she was feeling like dressing up in a saree, that red one which was his favorite. She couldn’t help but wear the anklet her mother-in-law had gifted her after her marriage. She remembered how Karan used to love its tinkling and how it was often the start of tickling nothings between them. Kohl, bindi and gajra, she wondered how she had almost forgotten these friends of her she adored seeing adorned on her mother.

The sky was covered by dark, grey clouds and raindrops were hugging the ground, almost as if answering its prayers. The cool breeze was bringing back the memories of everyone from their childhood. Even Meera had a lot of memories of playing with her brother in the rain when she was young and, then, of waiting for someone special in life to cling on to during such weathers when she was an adolescent. She wondered why she never told this to Karan, may be because they never sat down to talk anymore. 

Today would be a different day, she thought. She had been living her dream ever since she got her marriage arranged, a caring husband, a house to call her own, the liberty to take decisions and a loving family, she could have never asked for more. She wondered why she never expressed her gratitude enough. She thanked rains for bringing a sense of happiness and a desire for her to stop for a moment and feel herself, her body, her mind and her senses. Passing a flying kiss to the sky, she set her one foot in the rain while sitting on the recliner in the courtyard. She thought she would sit down to talk, spend some time listening to him and caress him out of his worries. She had so much of love to share with him and the rain had been a perfect buoyant force to bring all of it out. She set the teapot on the table along with their favorite mugs and played the music they both loved listening to; after all, every couple had those special love songs which they called their own, the ones they played to cheer the other up and the ones which were timeless. Ah! She felt the freshness of the old times and the bloom of a newlywed bride. 

Knocking at the door and noticing it open, Karan entered!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Fathers must be Aliens!

I remember mine didn't say a word when the world questioned me, but lost his wits when I came home late,
He forgot to have me learn how to cook, but appreciated every amoeba-shaped chapati I cooked,
He never forced me to live by his dreams, but I always found him backing me for mine,
He never shed a tear when my mom cried every day days before I wed,
But couldn't help take his handkerchief out when I was finally saying bye,
He never drafted the design of the life manual for me, but cried with me every time I failed,
He would never express himself out in the sun, but the fact that he's happy would make the world spin faster,
He wouldn't know personally the people I loathe, but he would become my mirror the moment he would see them first,
Fathers must be aliens, for they just don't behave the way normal people do,
They become the wind beneath the wings and also the storm, because that's what they do! 

Image Credit: 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Book Review # 18: The Greatness Guide

My rating: ●●●●
Robin Sharma 
The Greatness Guide 
India: Jaico; 2006
240 pp; INR 225
ISBN: 9788179925768

Summary: All the great men who talked, talked philosophy. The best thing about this genre of books is that it comes handy any time in life and one could start reading it from anywhere only to become wiser and more practical. The Greatness Guide not only inspires you to lead a better life, but also gives you salient wisdom to come out with better solutions to the issues. While the real-life examples quoted keep it all easy to relate, the simplicity in writing makes the content easy to grasp. A must read if you love Robin Sharma and, also, if you don't.

What really clicked? The reputation of the author; I had to start from somewhere reading the whole lot of books that he's written.

My take: The first glance at the book and you see an author who believes in establishing himself as a brand; cool, because he has been a very famous author, personal development expert and one of the most influential leadership gurus in the world.

A brief look at the TOC might leave you slightly intimidated for there are over 101 chapters, but you should dive into the content without any fear of not being able to reach the back cover as these chapters all compare to vodka shots – very small but give you instant kick!

What could be better than starting the book with quotes from two legends – Maya Angelou and Bono – you know you have made the right choice by giving your time to this resource which might just become your friend for life. The chapters are brief, to the point and extremely simple to understand and relate. The author might be leading a life way different than his readers but his habit of forming a strong connection with the readers in each chapter leaves them feeling like they are being addressed by a friend. The tone of the author is clear, concise, confident and courteous. While he’s busy narrating stories from his life, he’s also drawing conclusions all leading to a moral and strong one-liners in the end.

This book gives you innumerable pearls of wisdom, making you want to note them down to put up in your room or office later. There are various which I liked a lot, five of them have been quoted below.
  1. Nothing fails like success
  2. Success is all about consistency around the fundamentals. The only thing that’s rocket science is rocket science.
  3. Never talk when you can nod.
  4. There’s no such thing as a normal human being; if you have a normal brain, you are superior.
  5. The only place you’ll reach if you will follow the crowd is exit.
Wise men say you should read more and more philosophy because these books not only lead to self-improvement, but also some serious mental work on the part of the readers discovering well-thought-out answers to a lot of questions which keep occurring in life. Whatever problems we might be facing right now, someone might have already gone through them and their wisdom and advice might just come handy to us through philosophy. So, grab this book if you want some of the brilliance of Robin Sharma to rub off on you.

Final word: Do you know which of the resources could possibly make the world a better place to live in – physiological, like food, water, breathing etc., possessions, love, esteem or self-actualization to put it all into perspective? It has to be self-actualization, which could well be acquired by getting in touch with the people who have proved them well no matter where they have been. The Greatness Guide, by Robin Sharma, speaks very simple language and teaches you the fundamentals, making you feel great about being able to read and, of course, to choose what to read. This is a great book, which can prove to be a worthy counselor and wise guide. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Why Do You No Longer Ask?

This is the question to all the new age women, who love putting themselves into various shoes in an attempt to prove them as independent – why do you no longer ask? There were and there are strong pillars of a house existing right there; yet, why do you no longer register their presence? You have the power and the ability and, then, there comes sharing not only responsibilities but also desires, wishes and dreams; the question is why do you no longer let anyone enter that sphere of your mind?

I recall a conversation that I had with a colleague while on my way back home. She was utterly dissatisfied with the paltry salary she drew every month and thought she won’t ever be able to realize her bigger, expensive dreams. When asked what those bigger, expensive dreams were, ‘travelling, diamonds and clothes’ was all she said with a heavy sigh. I remember her boasting about her well-off family and her husband, who was down-to-earth despite being placed at a very high position in a reputed MNC. I wondered why she doesn’t ask her husband to participate in fulfilling her dreams, why she doesn’t  ask him to contribute. I probably would have done that tad too loud that she came back to add to what she had already said. She remarked, “I am not cheap to ask my husband to fulfill my dreams.” I could not find words to frame a reply then, but this sentence left me awake way past my bed time. ‘Why not?’ was all I wanted to question.

There were days when men would take care of their partners as a responsibility. There was an unsaid, mutually consented procedure of leading life, celebrating festivities, attending to extended family and saving money. Although there was only one person earning, the efforts of the other to nourish the family never went unnoticed. The wife would proudly ask her husband to fulfill all her demands, no matter how big or small. The question is – has earning left us, women, in a bad shape, where we are not able to suffice our expectations of ourselves and not able to extend our hand in order to ask? This egotistical aspect of our personalities has come to light now, when we have some money in our hands, but the responsibilities have nowhere gone down.

The funny thing is that the male counterpart in the house still appears ready to play his role, but alas! he’s being kept in the dark regarding the matters going on in the mind of the wife. He would well be ready to come back with a solution or an answer if only he was given a chance, but he’s being deliberately detached from the inner self of his woman, the self which dreams.

Here’s small message to all those who have stopped asking their partners to dive into their dreams – go and command! Create a common domain which might give way to utmost happiness for the family. Ask your partner for a ring, a suit, a shirt or a holiday. Work towards it in collaboration and enjoy the immense satisfaction your current status of ‘working’ will bless you with. After all, the fact that you ‘earn’ shouldn’t mean you should stop ‘asking’ for things since you now already have the money to fulfill your desires. It should rather mean that the family gets a better lifestyle with all the dreams getting comfortably fulfilled.      

Monday, April 3, 2017

Road Trip Saga: Delhi-Vrindavan-Mathura-Delhi

No matter where you go, there you are!
- Confucius  
Another first this year: a road trip down the Yamuna Expressway to explore a city they all lovingly call God’s birthplace – Mathura/Vrindavan! This was one plan which was made impromptu and, therefore, all the fun it contained came as a pleasant surprise. Having set out at around 7:30 in the morning in our serviced Enfields, we could comfortably grasp the pleasure early morning rides fill you with. Around an hour’s ride from Delhi on the Expressway and all that passes you by are passages of agricultural fields occasionally habited by grazing animals like cows, buffaloes or even camels. The rising sun just adds to the charm rarely encountered in mundane routine. The nip in the air associated with early mornings makes you want to spread your arms wanting to greet the universe a very good morning! I surely have fallen in love with the openness and space riding bikes benefits you with.

Inching closer to the Blissland!

Eyes on the highway!
We stopped at our resort in Vrindavan (Kadamb) at around 10:45 AM, almost three hours after we started moving. Everything about the property – ambience, aura, facilities, décor and service – had a beautiful touch of comfort, sprinkled over with a glimmer of luxury. Our one-day stay here was akin to a much-needed therapy.  Moreover, the food served here at their restaurant was enough in quantity, tasty and totally upscale. The ambience and the view from the top-floor-situated restaurant mesmerizes you, leaving you wanting for more.

Us, at the resort!
Our journey of checking Vrindavan out began with our first stop being Prem Mandir. What an architectural wonder this temple is! Read more about this temple here if you really want to get acquainted with the facts that really are the foundation of the truth we see there. For a spectator, this temple is a treat for the eyes. The intricate work you see on the walls and everywhere else, the etchings on the marble, the extravagant décor, which also included opulent chandeliers, the representations of the scenes from the life of Lord Krishna and the light show in the evening, all add up to the creation of nothing less than a world-class wonder. A must visit if you’re here!
Prem Mandir 
Truly an architectural wonder!
The 'satsang' hall, which is currently under-construction.
Beautiful tableaus depicting scenes from Lord Krishna's life could be seen all around the main temple.
Moving on, we visited Banke Bihari temple and it is this place where I was actually able to connect with the superpower. Relatively old and untouched construction, this temple is surrounded with narrow bylanes which are mostly thronged by vendors, hawkers and beggars. You get great street food here; we had samosa, kachori, rabdi, carambola, but the star of the show was “kulhar wala kada hua doodh” (thickened milk). This place, indeed, demands one cheer for its gastronomic delights.  
The next day, we visited ISKCON, Vrindavan. This place seemed like a tiny foreign land to me, for the sheer number of non-Indians I saw there, all chanting ‘Hare Rama, Hare Krishna’ and dancing in the trance. We also had tasty ‘prasad’ there, which apparently was our first meal of the day. Our last stop here in Vrindavan was Nidhi Van, which is a mysterious place and makes you want to believe in God and his ways. Here on, we also visited an ashram where more than 2000 widows or single women were staying, calling themselves ‘Meerabai’!

ISKCON, Vrindavan
The next stop hereon was Mathura where we visited Yamuna Ghat, Dwarkadheesh temple and, lastly, Shree Kishna Janmabhoomi.  The trip ended with us giving ourselves ample rest before we embarked on our drive back home.

Yamuna Ghat
Once back in Delhi, we could feel the essence of divinity almost everywhere around us, as if we have carried it along. We could see the signs of Radha-Krishna practically everywhere around us or maybe it was easy for us to feel the divinity blending into our aura. Magical, indeed!
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