Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Time for a holy Holi !

Holi is like Love. Either you believe in the whole concept of getting down on your knees, douse yourself and others in its' different hues, shades and colors, the good and the bad, the chase and the foreplay and the whole act of enjoying the passion it involves. Or you (like the Love cynical people) can just hate it and call it a huge wastage of time, energy and water :-P You just can't have a middle standing in the matters of Love and Holi. And if you do, you should know that you are getting screwed and you are not even enjoying it! :-p ;-) Such a pity, no?

Anyway, I have no middle standing on the matter. Howsoever strongly I believe in the concept of Love and all the jazz, I don't like Holi. I mean, I like the spirit of the festival where everything should be colorful, and you meet your next door neighbors for the first time in the year (the second time being Diwali ;-)) and have sweets and thandai and a general bonhomie pervades. But. Only if Life were that simple. Over the years, it has turned into this unrequited kind of love. You know the kinds where you tell people that you are not interested in playing along. But they just talk, tag and stalk and bully you into playing along.

I might be wrong when I say this, but I feel that the spirit of the festival has been lost somewhere over the years. The idea of the whole festival is to have a good time with all and sundry, while in actuality, people have just taken it up as an excuse to inconvenience other people by flinging water balloons on unsuspecting people/cars/bikes on the roads. Plus they do this week long and not only on the festival day. And to round off the brutality of the festival, everyone must get pakka colors so that the others have a hard time getting it off. I mean, people, when did the entire agenda of the festival shift from masti and pleasure to hurt others. Yes, I just said Hurt. Because of all these artificial color sprays and pakka colors contain harmful chemicals that harm our skin and hair. Call me cynical or paranoid but that's true.

I mean, isn't the polluted air and water bad enough for you that you want to rub in these chemicals on to your friends? And I am not even talking about the kind of water wastage that happens during Holi and even after when scores of people all over the country try and remove these pakka colors from their skin. And then, if this was not enough, should you really be harassing people to join you in this mayhem?

I can understand if some of us like the festival in all it's fervor. But guys. Seriously, one request. If somebody doesn't want to play, just let them be. For all you know, they may be allergic or have some medical condition that could worsen. Just respect a person's decision to disassociate. I know the tagline says, "Bura na mano, Holi hai" (roughly translates to Don't mind, It's Holi!!). But I guess with the changing times, or let me put it more appropriately, in the times of declining morality, where our women don't feel safe anywhere, we certainly don't want strange men smearing us with chemicals and getting fun out of it. We'd rather not play.

If this post sounds depressing, that wasn't my intention at all. All I wanted was to wish you all a very Happy Holi. May you be doused in all the colors of Holi (and Love too) and be surrounded with a lot of friends and family and sweets. Thank your stars that you have enough safe water to drink and a little extra to throw around. Count your blessings and spare a thought for somebody who probably isn't as lucky as you.

PS: Wouldn't it be great if we could celebrate a Holi with ubtan, curd, honey, olive oil, rose water, lemon and other such things that are good or the skin and hair. I can't imagine how cool that would be! Isn't it?

*Images courtesy Google

Friday, March 15, 2013

F?@K KNOWS - Book Review

Title: F?@K KNOWS
Language: English
Author: Shailendra Singh
Genre: Non fiction/Self help
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Price: Rs. 195
Pages: 256

It's not really a self-help book. And yet it is. That depends on whether you require one or not. This book is author's Shailendra Singh's one of many dreams which  he wanted to realise but never had the time. And this dawns upon him when his father loses a long battle with cancer, and he himself has a near fatal heart attack.

An excerpt from the book:

What do you want from life?
Are you on the right track?
Are you truly happy?
Find the answers to life's most important questions with the help of uber-successful entrepreneur, Shailendra Singh, co-founder of Percept and Inceptor of Sunburn, told with sparkling, flavorful and in-your-face humor, the book will advise you on how to:
Find yourself (because you're probably lost, admit it)
Follow youe heart (because if you don't, then you'll be unhappy, you stupid f?#kr)
Achieve your goals (you know you want to)
Live life like you give a f?#k(because why not)
The author is a super successful businessman and entrepreneur and has literally BTDT (Been there, Done That!). He did a lot of things that he was told to do, and not because he wanted to do them. He listened to his gut and yet ignored it. That is, until, everything that he did it for, his father passed away leaving him to question his existence, his goals and his aim in life.
What I liked about the book :
The book is a very heart felt epilouge from the author. He puts forth his ideals, thoughts and ideas from I, me, myself to life's philosophies, from taking care of your body to the idiosyncrasies of love and sex, on why greed is good to making your bucket list. The man covers it all, and more under this book. Which should give you a fair idea that the book is written in very simple language and does not use any hi-fi fundas. It moves quite fast and dwells on a topic just enough to give you a clear picture about it. But what you do in your life still depends on your own actions/decisions. And on top of all that, he does make a lot of sense.
What I didn't like about the book:
It's very preachy in tone, although, as I said before, the contents and style of writing is easy to read and understand and makes a lot of sense.You can count on the latter, because how much ever I tried, I couldn't/didn't put the book down of the fear of missing some important anecdote from the book. Plus the fact that the writer has so much going for him, made me pay attention to his words :-P

Overall, I'd say its a good book. Not in the literary sense. But content wise, the book is a winner. It gives you (almost) all of life's fundas in a nutshell. And if you are confused (as most of us are) you will definitely find a lot of answers in here. And a direction in which to head if you are completely clueless.

My rating 2.5/5

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Blogadda.com. Participate now to get free books!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Women's Day with a difference!

Trust Indiblogger to come up with something unique and spectacular every time I wonder, what next? or what can be better than this? On Women's Day this year, Indiblogger and Breakthrough came together to launch the award winning campaign "Ring the Bell" in India. It's a call to men and boys to come forward and take action to stop violence on women.

The evening started with the special guests of the evening Sir James Bevan, KCMG, British High Commissioner, Rajan Anandan, CEO, Google India, Rahul Bose, actor and activist, Bollywood ringing the bell. There was a small talk between these corporate biggies and two rural women leaders who came forth with some real issues that they face while rehabilitating women.

Rahul Bose ringing the bell!

Sir James Bevan ringing the bell!
The panel discussing women reforms and issues
That's Rajan Anandan, CEO, Google India :-)
And then came the first high point of the show, a performance by Mahabano-Mody Kotwal. It was raw and electrifying, and so much that I know that I am definitely reading the Vagina Monolouges next.;-)

 It was now time for a performance of the band "Swarathma". Hardly anyone in the audience had heard them before. But by the end of the performance they had a fan in each of us. That the performance was rocking, hip, classy and etc. etc., is to put it subtly ;-) H bought a CD of their album, and we have been listening to them in the car since. Trust me, they were GOOD!

Members of Swarathma band performing

That's the whole band together, taking a bow.

The second high point of the day was a conversation between Rahul Bose, Anoop Johnson, co-founder, Indiblogger, Ryan Mendonca, advertising professional, and Advaita Kala, author and award winning script writer. The theme was "Portrayal of women in film, TV and Advertising". It was all great, except that it was too short. With a topic like that, I had expected some disagreements between the highly opinionated participants, some fireworks, but sadly enough, that didn't happen owing to time constraints. But it was an experience listening to these stalwarts nonetheless. (Although, ever since that evening, there is strong brouhaha over one of Rahul's statements, and you can even check that out on the front page of today's Delhi Times).

That's Rahul Bose, in one of the candid moments, explaining his point!

The stunning Advaita Kala

The panel discussing "the objectfication of women"!

My day also got luckier as I got clicked with Rahul and Advaita. I even got the chance to have a little talk with her and tell her that I just loved her book. She was such a sweetheart and indulged us gracefully :-)

And just how a fitting climax should be to such a fantastic night, it was time for another international star Anushka Shankar's performance. Although truthfully speaking, I ain't no expert in music, and neither did I understand what ragas she was playing. But even to a novice like me, the music was enthralling and divine. Not only did she look stunningly beautiful, she played even better. You just had to see her playing the sitar, and the way her fingers coursed over the instrument. It was an experience. To cherish. Forever.

I am not really sure how much of it all really made sense, or if it will actually bring about any change in the whole drive for women. But nevertheless, I have to thank Indiblogger profusely who always give bloggers like us these amazing opportunities to meet our stars, engage with them, and get enough food for thought to form our opinions!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Of heartbreaks and Mango!

And so, what if I was gifted a pepper spray by H on V-day? S (my bestie from college) made up for it by gifting me an absolutely gorgeous dress from Mango. And that's the reason God made friends. They never fail to take you out of the dumps...don't they? Thank you S for the awesome gift. And yeah, I will keep my promise. When you are here in Delhi, we are both going to wear our dresses, get clicked crazy and the photos will land on the blog. Pinky promise! ;-)

On a totally unrelated note, a very close friend went through a break up recently. Until now, I thought that break ups were ugly and traumatizing and a trip to the hell. Only this time, I realized, they are even worse. Not necessarily in that order though.

Having never gone through that feeling (God forbid!), I can only take an estimated guess at how that must feel like. I just remember, how once, H left for a team event for 2 days, and I shed copious tears of bereavement. So there. I can only guess.

How hard it must be for a person to let go of another, who you have loved with all your heart, pinned all your hopes on him/her, probably even woven dreams of a happily ever after? You'd wonder when did it all come crumbling down? You never even noticed when things started going downhill.. It must be worse thinking about it in your head again and again and not getting any answers. Even if there were any clear answers, there would still be the hapless questions of why it all happened? Why didn't he/she understand enough? Why didn't they do what was right, instead make everything worse for both?

And then there's the whole "news" about your break up that spreads like wildfire, and you actually have to tell everyone that, however, unfortunate that might be, it's true. Heart breaking stuff. Every single time. And then the old memorabilia to deal with. The gifts, the roses kept in old books, your favorite songs, your favorite restaurant, your favorite hang out place.

Then the chicken-egg question of all times - to be friends with your ex or not?. And that depends on how the break up went. Most of them, I am sure, are ugly. I mean, really ugly where you would want to ground the other person on a bed of shit and pound them until...well...let me leave it at that! :-P

I am sure that to get yourself out of a heartbreak is an immense task. Almost a miracle. It changes a person. When you move on, I am sure it's not at all easy.There must be a whole lot of data backup in your mind, you'd wish would just crash without any recovery possible. Since that doesn't happen, you hide the pain, put on a smile and move forward. Until one day, you find a person who fits in just perfectly in your life, like the last piece in a jigsaw puzzle completes the picture. And that day you realize that it all happened for a reason. The heart break, the pain, the anger, the remorse. Those were God's ways of turning you in the right direction, to the right person.
This post is dedicated to her who is doing all this and much more. Still rocking it where it matters. Still twisting life by its' horns. Still retaining the zeal and passion for love.
This post is also dedicated all those who have ever gone through a break up and triumphed over it. To all those who have moved on in life and connected the dots backwards. To all those who have never had to go through a breakup, and are thankful for it.