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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Refreshed Soul

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"Some people feel the rain, others just get wet."-Bob Dylan.

Its raining today in Pune. I love the rain. I love it in all its moods, be it the soft drizzle that whispers mysteriously..the gentle drops that fall on my face like soft cool kisses, or the heavy downpour accompanied by thunder..beating against my window pane..creating a music and beat of its own.

It washes away all my fears and tears, cleanses my mind, quenches my emotional thirst, and renews my tired soul...

Thursday, May 22, 2014

इस दश्त में एक शहर था वो क्या हुआ ...

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Lately I’ve realized that as I grow older, the passion, the excitement, and that enthusiasm that I had regarding things or situations or life in general is ebbing.  The 'been there, done that' attitude is slowly taking over. No, I’m not going through a mid-life crisis, neither does my age bother me. .On the contrary, I feel I am more at peace with myself and the world now. Experience has made me wiser and I feel after all the struggles I have faced in life, I have earned my wisdom. I am more comfortable in my skin.

But what I do miss is the ability to be exited at small things, I miss the innocence (yes with age we become somewhat cynical towards life). I miss the joy in small things, and most of all I guess I miss the imagination of the youth..with age, the material world closes in and the realm of imagination takes a backstage…

The poet Mohsin Naqvi expressed it well:  इस दश्त में एक शहर था वो क्या हुआ ...आवारगी ....

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

वो फिर नहीं आते... वो फिर नहीं आते ...

It takes a lot of courage to face your past and to admit your failures.. and however much we may want to, it can never be possible to go back in time and do things differently. The past remains just what it is meant to be – the past. All we can do is learn from it and move on. I’m reminded of Kishore Da’s song:

सुबह आती है , शाम जाती है 
वक़्त चलता ही रहता है रुकता नहीं 
एक पल में ये आगे निकल जाता है 
आदमी ठीक से देख पाता नहीं 
और परदे का मंज़र बदल जाता है 
एक बार चले जाते है जो दिन -रात सुबह -शाम 
वो  फिर नहीं आते ... वो फिर नहीं आते ... 
ज़िंदगी के सफर में गुज़र जाते है जो मक़ाम 
वो फिर नहीं आते... वो फिर नहीं आते ... 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Even This Shall Pass Away

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Often when I feel low, I end up reading Theodore Tilton’s poem “Even This shall Pass Away”. It always gives me the strength to go through the difficult times in life. I guess once we realize and accept the fact that nothing in this life is permanent, life and its ups and downs become easier to deal with.

What is life ? The life and world as we see it is an illusion. Nothing is permanent. Climates change, our body changes with time, the material things or possessions in our life increase or decrease, success and failure come and go, people in our life come and go. We cling on to our possessions, our youth and our relationships, which ultimately causes suffering.

Happiness is the acceptance of impermanence, for we need to understand that we are made of nothing, created by nothing, and have come from nothing. Life is nothing and death is nothing. Our thoughts, our body, our surroundings are ever changing. Nothing in life is permanent.

Once in Persia reigned a king,
Who upon his signet ring
Graved a maxim true and wise,
Which, if held before his eyes,
Gave him counsel at a glance
Fit for every change and chance.
Solemn words, and these are they,
“Even this shall pass away.”

Trains of camels through the sand
Brought him gems from Samarcand;
Fleets of galleys through the seas
Brought him pearls to match with these;
But he counted not his gain
Treasures of the mine or main;
“What is wealth?” the king would say;
“Even this shall pass away.”

‘Mid the revels of his court,
At the zenith of his sport,
When the palms of all his guests
Burned with clapping at his jests,
He, amid his figs and wine,
Cried, “O loving friends of mine;
Pleasures come, but not to stay,
‘Even this shall pass away.”

Lady, fairest ever seen,
Was the bride he crowned his queen.
Pillowed on his marriage bed,
Softly to his soul he said:
“Though no bridegroom ever pressed
Fairer bosom to his breast,
Mortal flesh must come to clay
Even this shall pass away.”

Fighting on a furious field,
Once a javelin pierced his shield;
Soldiers, with a loud lament,
Bore him bleeding to his tent.
Groaning from his tortured side,
“ Pain is hard to bear,” he cried;
“ But with patience, day by day,
Even this shall pass away.”

Towering in the public square,
Twenty cubits in the air,
Rose his statue, carved in stone.
Then the king, disguised, unknown,
Stood before his sculptured name,
Musing meekly: “What is fame?
Fame is but a slow decay,
Even this shall pass away.”

Struck with palsy, sore and old,
Waiting at the Gates of Gold,
Said he with his dying breath,
“Life is done, but what is Death?”
Then, in answer to the king,
Fell a sunbeam on his ring,
Showing by a heavenly ray,
“Even this shall pass away.”

- Theodore Tilton

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Beauty Funda

“The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a Woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.” ― Audrey Hepburn.

While shopping yesterday, I came across a new beauty product. A sun block cream for the nails. I was like “huh..? Didn't I read somewhere that nails are dead why would they need a sun block cream ??” First there was a sun block lotion for the face, than came one for the body, than a sun block lip balm and now nails?!!

The cosmetic industry has become very innovative in its marketing ways. Earlier the products were simple with names of the ingredients we could understand e.g. Almond oil, Aloe Vera, Lime etc.
Now the cosmetic companies have come up with new marketing formulas. There is the scientific formula where products come with ingredient names like stem cells, hyaluronic acid, and hydrolyzed collagen and SPF 50+ UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum.

And then there is the medical formula with ingredients like bi molecular eye cream, micro technology bio active foundation, pro-collagen serum, micro smoothing face serum, and a bio-stimulating night cream with micro lift.

And of course there is the herbal line of cosmetics with ingredients like  Tea Tree and Rosemary, Orchid and Coconut Milk, Acai Berries and Satin, Coco Mango and Pearls, Honeyed Pear and Silk. In fact, one of the scrub I recently bought boasts of having pearl extracts and diamond dust ! The thought of washing my face with diamond dust was very tempting (though I have no idea what the stuff even looks like !) And there is another product that claims to have French Lavender with Jade Extracts and Caribbean Frost (gasp..faints in ecstasy) I mean just imagine to what lengths the company went to give us that perfect glow :P

On a serious note, ladies please be careful about the cosmetics that you buy. Taking care of your skin is important and I do not deny that, but do not get carried away with all these fancy exotic sounding names. It is great to have healthy glowing skin but a healthy diet, exercise,  good sleep, and staying happy can do a lot more than most of these cosmetics can.

And let’s not forget - Outer beauty pleases the EYE. Inner beauty captivates the HEART. So stay healthy and stay beautiful inside and out :)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Pamper Therapy

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Today, while going through my belongings, I came across a pair of silver payal (anklets). As I held them in my hands, the small silver bells made that soft sweet tinkling sound..taking me back in time..

I remember the first few years of my marriage. I loved wearing payal..I loved the soft melodious tinkling sound they made as I went about the house doing my work. Around than I had a variety of payal, the traditional thick ones, the golden multicolored ones, the delicate chain ones…how I loved wearing them !

I don’t know when or why I stopped wearing them. Maybe as I grew older it just seemed a bit of a mature thing to do..? But than what does age have to do with wearing what one likes ? Why give up something due to age ? These days a lot of the women I know don’t wear them..some would probably love to but their office dress code does not allow them to and some because they find it old fashioned and uncomfortable or boring.

I feel payal not only makes our feet look more beautiful, they add that sensual and feminine touch too. Age be damned, I’m going to pamper myself today by having a pedicure and then I’ll wear my payal and walk around hearing that long forgotten “chan chan” !!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Once Upon A Time...

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I am a member of a library that provides the option of books delivered to your home. While going through its website to choose the books I wanted, I ended up ordering a book of fairy tales.

Hubby upon seeing the book: You’re reading fairy tales now ?!!
Me: (mumbling) Yeah..just thought I’d read the stories again..
He rolls his eyes and leaves me to my reading.

Yes, even at this age, I love reading fairy tales. I love the magic they create. The moment I read the words “Once upon a time…in a place far far away…” the magic kicks in. The castles, the prince and the princess, the evil witch, the fairies, the magic wands…all those childhood tales still have a hold on me.

I remember when I was a kid, my dad would tell me stories (most of which he made up) where I would be the one who saves the world by slaying the evil monsters or dragons.
My holidays were spent at my grandparent’s place where my grandma would tell me religious stories of Krishna and Sudama etc. which in turn I narrate to my grandchild Aayushi, who like me, absolutely loves fairy tales. I feel the art of storytelling is a wonderful legacy that grandparents leave us.

I guess deep down most people love fairy tales. Fairy tales give us this alternate world where anything can happen. Or if the stories are personalized (like dad’s were) they give us a chance to be triumphant, they let us be what we secretly wished to be. I always did dream of being a princess with long hair, with a wardrobe full of  satin, silk and velvet dresses, glass slippers… the one whom the prince pines for (haha).

I loved them for their concepts that love conquers all and the good always overcomes the evil.
Call me naive and mushy but I loved them for their happy endings.
My favorite ones were:

Snow White And The Red Rose
Beauty And The Beast
Hansel And Gretel

What are your favorite stories ?

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Nostalgic moments

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Change is often good... and yet....

These days we get to see/hear non-stop songs 24/7 on TV
A variety of music channels and FM radio
But I miss my week long wait for that half hour of Chitrahaar and Binaca Geetmala…

These days there are malls with all kinds of branded clothes
Unlimited choices, and shopping all year around
But I miss excitement of the days when Diwali meant one set of new clothes…

Winters mean Raymonds, Monte Carlo, Benneton and the likes
Overcoats, blazers, sweatshirts and jackets
But I miss the warmth of mom’s handmade blue color sweater…

Comics now are named Iron Man, Hulk, Bone, and Calvin and Hobbes
And children mostly read them on the internet
But I miss my Chacha Chaudhary, Chanda Mama and Nagraaj…

Books have now gone digital and become “e-books”
To be downloaded as PDF or read on Kindle or I-Pad
But I miss my old favorite books that smelled like a loyal and trusted friends…

For kids today holidays mean packaged tours and Disney worlds
Time spent on the Internet, play station or playing games on the mobile
But I miss my holidays playing chupa-chuppi, gilli-danda, spinning lattus and flying kites with cousins...

Meeting friends and relatives now means phone calls and prior appointments
Gatherings are planned and parties are arranged
But I miss the unannounced visits of friends who would raid the kitchen and the hearty laughter that followed…

Change is often good... and yet....

Thursday, May 01, 2014