Why is she what she is………

Today I am writing this blog, as I am inspired by an interview I watched of Jayalalitha with Simi Garewal. Link : Rendezvous with Jayalalithaa

Jayalalithaa, women of steel, as the world knows her. But if you watch the link below of the interview you will realise, that circumstances in her life made her what she was. The part which touched me the most was when she narrated her story of days she spent in jail. She was kept in the Madras Central Prison, which was the most unhygenic, and dirtiest place of all prisons imaginable. This place was a condemned building, which was a women’s prison but was declared unsafe and hence the prisoners were moved to a different place, was reopened in her honour(sarcastically stated by her). It was like a dark dungeon from english horror movies, which had not been swept or cleaned, had cobwebs everywhere, fungus growing everywhere, rats and bandicoots running around, a place perfect for someone to run a Zoology class. She was kept in a cell without an inch of even space on the floor. She stayed there for a month, but that’s what made her steel. She readily took everything that came her way with fortitude and didn’t allow anyone break her spirit. She of course then came out of jail and was the only Lioness who could stand against the powerful Karunanidhi in those times.

I know a lot of women, who are what they are because of circumstances. I myself was very naive, trusted people easily and very gullible but personal situations which I keep to myself most often are the ones that have made me this strong independent woman today and am proud of where I am today.

Its extremely easy to survive in this society when you are someone’s daughter or someone’s wife, but when you are single, independent and enjoy life to the fullest being a woman is when you need to think through why is she what she is……..

 

 

In Awe of the Pyramids of Giza!

I was on a business visit to Cairo recently where I was fortunate to witness the last of seven wonders of the ancient world.

The pyramids are so iconic, so astonishingly ancient, that it is hard to imagine that were built 4,600 years ago. Along with the enigmatic Sphinx and other smaller tombs and monuments, Giza has three principal pyramids: Khufu (originally 481 feet high, and sometimes called Cheops, or the Great Pyramid); Khafre (471 feet); and Menkaure (213 feet). Here are a few very interesting facts about them:

 

Why were they built?

The pyramid was built as a tomb for the Fourth Dynasty Egyptian pharaoh Khufu (often Hellenized as “Cheops”) and was constructed over a 20-year period. Khufu’s vizier, Hemiunu (also called Hemon) is believed by some to be the architect of the Great Pyramid.Apart from being burial tombs for pharaohs and their families, the pyramids were also built to spiritually escort the dead pharaohs into the afterlife. The ancient Egyptians were quite religious, and they believed the pyramids were safe entries into the other life after death. The Egyptians believed in many gods and believed that after death, the pharaohs transitioned to gods. They built the sphinx on the pyramids entry to protect the dead kings from spiritual attacks. These beliefs led to the construction of this highly treasured structures.

What is the Significance of the Sphinx?

The sphinx is the oldest royal statue in Egypt which was first built with the pyramid of Khafre. Most of the many Egyptologists who have written about the sphinx argue that the statue was built out of an outcrop of a limestone stone that remained after quarrying enough for the pyramid. The result was the birth of one of the oldest and the most iconic statues in the world. The image is a combination of a lion (symbol of power) on the body, and a human being on the head. From the north side the profile of the Sphinx reveals the proportion of the body to the head. It would appear as though the head is small in proportion to the body. Because of the changing desert terrain, the body of the Sphinx has been buried several times over the past several thousand years. Most recently in 1905, the sand has been cleared away to expose the magnitude and beauty of the entirety of the Sphinx. The paws themselves are 50 feet long (15m) while the entire length is 150 feet (45m). The head is 30 (10m) feet long and 14 feet (4m) wide. Because certain layers of the stone are softer than others, there is a high degree of erosion that has claimed the original detail of the carved figure.

The Under-the-Pyramid Tunnels

Another startling fact about the pyramids of Egypt is the existence of the intricate web of numerous tunnels and mysterious chambers and shafts under the pyramids. The tunnels are as old as the soil itself and behold thousands of artifacts. Not many people know about this, as the tunnels excavations are supervised by the government and the information held with quite a high level of confidentiality. The details of the commodities found under these pyramids in the tunnels and the shafts have never been shared with the public.

Temperatures inside the Pyramids Is Constant at 20°C

Despite the changing temperatures every now and then, the temperature inside these mysterious structures has never gone beyond 20 Degree Celsius. Egypt is a land that faces a very scorching hot temperature during the day, but that has never affected the temperature inside the pyramids. 20 degrees Celsius is the average temperature of the earth. How the ancient Egyptians managed to achieve this high-tech design is yet to be discovered.

Finally, the Pyramids once Glittered

The great pyramids were once glittering in the reflection of sunlight. They were highly polished with glimmering limestone white casing. These coverings have fallen off the buildings with time, and thus you can no longer see the shining surface. Some of the polish has gotten loose and fallen off due to earthquakes, while others have been cut off and taken away. When new, the pyramids reflected the sun rays you would think they were some giant jewels. The great pyramid of Giza is made 2.3 million blocks of limestone.

 

 

Coimbatore – Out of my comfort zone experience!

It was one Monday morning that my boss called me to her cabin and said we have an opportunity for you to move to Coimbatore and be a lead in the work that I do. I thought about it, spoke with my family and Voila; the next thing I knew that I relocated to a Tier 2 city, totally unaware of what it had in store for me. This has probably been my first “out of my comfort zone” moment.

The year and a half I have spent in Coimbatore has been one of the most enlightening moments of my life. I learned so many important lessons that I wish to share with everyone.

1. Getting out of your comfort zone: Sometimes getting out of your comfort zone can be a little scary, but this is exactly where you grow the most as a person. Coimbatore has taught me to seek new things and learn more about the world we live in. Traveling around a city that’s as busy and chaotic as Coimbatore is a little scary, especially when you only know two words and something as simple as buying daily needs can be a bit difficult.  Yet I embraced this challenge, and by the end of my stay I have learnt how to better communicate with locals and I even knew how to get around the city with ease.

2. Appreciate Cultures: India is probably the only country that has different customs and traditions meant that I was going to see and learn about things that I’m very unfamiliar with. I was excited to see what the Coimbatorean culture was all about, I wanted to take it all in and learn as much as I could. It taught me to appreciate other cultures, and if you get the chance to participate in someone else’s holiday traditions, do it! You will be surprised how much you will learn from these types of experiences.

3. Make friends: Some of my favorite moments in Coimbatore was hanging out with my friends in a our apartments, talking about our day and enjoying a drink or two. These friends I made would have never been my friends of I were in a metropolitan city like Hyderabad. We are totally different yet get along so well.

4. Being humble: Their acts acts of kindness taught me more than they know, & those conversations we had about our different ways of life really opened my eyes. People are humble, true to their culture.

Last but not the least, The most important lesson I learned is that we are all one people. Yes, some might dress differently, speak a different language or have different beliefs… but if you look pass that then you will see that we are all really similar.

Coimbatore left a huge impression on me; I was in love with everything that I experienced and learned in this beautiful city. With so much history and such a unique culture, it was really hard not to fall in love with Coimbatore. I hope that I can return to Coimbatore one day but as of now signing off only to explore another such “a way more out of my comfort zone” city!

Turning off Negativity….

Every day is different, sometimes it’s wonderful, sometimes it’s good, sometimes ok, sometimes it’s not so good and sometimes it’s the worst!

But what are the days that really has an impact on you, the good or the bad?? Well unfortunately for most of us it’s the one one which has been the worst. As human beings our negative self-talk often runs rampant. We tend to ruminate, thinking the same oppressive thoughts over and over again. And the more we think these thoughts, the stronger they grow.

Hence today I feel it’s important we need to start replacing our negative thoughts with positive ones!

Replacing our negativity with positivity isn’t about turning off all our negative thoughts – that’s nearly impossible to do because negative thoughts typically arise spontaneously and uncontrollably. It’s also not about turning our false negative thoughts into false positive ones. The goal should be to reframe negative thoughts effectively, so they are based entirely in reality, detached from needless drama, and focused on the next small, positive step forward that can be taken in the present moment.

Negativity can ruin health, relationships, property(for people with short tempers) and many more things. So today, ladies and gentlemen; it’s time to start turning off negativity and switching on positivity!

Finally, life is short to live with negative thoughts! Let go…… After all that’s life, learning to hold on to good things and letting go of the bad!

Ithaa – A World Class Experience!

I recently went on vacation to the Maldives and many unique adventures and experiences that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Here, today I am writing one of the most unique and interesting experiences of a lifetime.

I am a food lover and explorer. One agenda on my vacation was to try all kinds of dishes at the resort and make this trip a gastronomical affair too.

My rendezvous with food started at this restaurant named Ithaa – meaning “Mother of Pearls” in the local language, Dhivehi. This tiny restaurant is a unique concept, where you dine 5 miles below sea level surrounded by Coral reef and colorful fish myriads, which is fully transparent.

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The restaurant designed in New Zealand and constructed in Singapore, using materials from the USA and was shipped to the  Maldives as a completed structure which weighs 175 tonnes. .The fact that the entire restaurant is made of plexiglass makes it unique.

The novelty setting is undeniably Ithaa’s main draw, but the food is also excellent complimenting the entire set-up making it a spectacular experience for any diner.

The cuisine offers a true delight and features a distinctive menu showcasing local spices and produce, blended with Western influences, presented in a four-course lunch menu featuring light fare.

Our lunch started with delicious lobster poached in butter served with a peach salad, followed by a veloute which was to die for. Our main course was a chicken sous vide served with risotto which was cooked to perfection. Our meal ended with the most spectacular pumpkin cheesecake which was just perfect.

 

All in all, the ambiance and the food make this a wonderfully unique experience!

No Expectations leads to No Disappointments!

What is expectation?

An expectation is a belief about what will happen in the future. A behavior where we want things to happen a certain way!

What is a disappointment?

When things don’t go as you expected and you start having the feelings of anger, frustration and sadness!

We have expectations about our experiences, and expectations of others and ourselves. Most people experience an expectation as a demand. If a child has the expectations, most adults can handle the implied demands. But, when it is an adult, it can be much harder for others, for a number of reasons. One of which is that we feel the expectation that the other person has of us is unreasonable or unwarranted.

So, one simple way of dealing with the disappointment that our failed expectations deliver is to follow the maxim, as best we can, “deal with the world as it is, not as how we want it to be”.

Let me illustrate an example of how we can change how we can change that human nature. Imagine you are holding a precious fragile object in your hand (that represents part of you: your expectations). If you let go of it, it will smash to the ground, breaking irretrievably into smithereens. But, imagine you are holding it palm upwards. You open your hand, and the object stays where it is. The expectation, if you like, is still there but you are no longer attached to it.

It is the attachment to the expectation—or the need—that is the problem, not the expectation itself.

Replace the expectation with….

Curiosity.  Just be curious what will happen if you let go of an expectation that someone will be in a certain way and see how they respond or accept that circumstances turn out the way they were always going to.

Intention.  It’s fine to intend that some event will turn out the way you want it to.

Simply, drop those expectations and you will never get disappointed!

 

My Travel Bucket List

Everyone has a bucket list and so do I…… Here’s mine……

  1. The Sound of Music Tour at Salzburg: One of the most iconic camerawork, catchy musical score and great performances by the cast has kept me glued to this movie and one of my all-time faves. While Salzburg may remain the home to Mozart and all things Baroque, my intentions of visiting Salzburg is Sound of Music. I want to see my favourite things from the movie as I snap a selfie at Mirabell Gardens and the Pegasus Fountain where Maria danced with the children, see the lake where the unforgettable boating scene took place, or sneak a kiss with my special someone at the “16 going on 17” gazebo at Hellbrunn Palace. Make a Pit Stop at Nonnberg Convent where Maria lived as a young nun and the wedding setting of Mondsee Church. I wish I am invited to sing along with an enthusiastic guide as I enjoy this tour which not only highlights movie locations and sites but also introduces the historical and architectural gems of Salzburg and pretty views of the Lake District.
  1. New year’s eve at Sydney Opera House: There is no better way to ring in the new year; night beneath the stars, under the sails of the Sydney Opera house with the best view of the Harbour Bridge and the famous fireworks.
  2. Northern Lights at Ireland: The night sky suddenly lit up by a mysterious, colorful wondrous glow that swirls and twists like a heavenly lava lamp. Elusive and Ethreal, one of nature’s greatest displays.
  3. Galapagos Islands: Abundant unfearful wildlife; this is the place to be! The only place, where you will find a penguin breeding in a tropical weather, an iguana that can swim, the only island to host the red-footed booby and a place where the centipede is the most feared animal on the island. It’s unique and another natural wonder.
  4. Kyoto: Temples, gardens and the Cherry Blossom: A red-lipped Kimono-clad geisha, riverside cherry trees bursting into cloudlike bloom, Zen gardens with raked sand and rock formations. Kyoto also surprises with its quiet temples, colorful shrines, and sublime gardens. Of Course, while I go there, I would definitely not want to miss the bullet train ride, their refined cuisine called kaiseki and the Tea ceremony.

And I conclude with the quote “To travel is to take a journey into yourself.”

Embracing the Inner Child – My tryst with the snow!

It was January, I was in Delhi where it was freezing cold and was enjoying it, surprisingly. But I wanted more, I saw many people posting pictures about vacations each one as taking and playing in the snow, and I wanted the same.

One day I was casually chatting with a friend(will name him XXX), who mentioned that he too wanted to visit a location where it was snowing, and this conversation led to my vacation to Shimla after a lot of deliberation of where we should go!

Finally, the day arrived and we were extremely excited as it was the break we needed after our hectic schedules at work. I had just completed a hiring drive at Yamunanagar, hitched a lift to a point en-route to Chandigarh, where I joined XXX and started the trip. It was an amazing evening, a slow drive to our destination and just conversation.  Upon reaching the hotel, we checked in and called it a night in our respective rooms. Two days were perfect but I would jump straight to the day that brought out my inner child.

It was a beautiful Saturday morning, with the sun shining, but I wanted to play in the snow. We headed out straight to a place named Kufri which was an hour’s drive from Shimla.

On the way, we stopped at a point which had a view of the beautiful coniferous trees and snow on some branches. The view was like a scenery straight out of a beautiful painting and the picture below definitely depicts that.

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As we moved on, the sparkling white snow was on all sides of the road and the excitement started kicking in. We finally reached our destination and guess what there no parking, but the locals had a solution to it as well! Watch the video attached to how they made space for out little Wagon R to fit in!

I don’t know about XXX, but I jumped out of the car ready to hit the hills and play in the snow. Before I could hit the ground and start throwing snow all over myself and XXX, there was a series of things we had to do, which actually turned out useful. Finally, we put on our snowsuits and boots and head off to mount our horses. It was an extremely scary experience because the horse was walking on the edge and I was worried that it will lose balance and we will stumble down the valley and succumb. But thankfully I reached my destination!

I was experiencing snow after almost 25 years of my life, it was thrilling. It started with us eating hot Maggi, yes Maggi on the top of the hill in the cold winters and it was absolutely yummy. Then, of course, we head off to play in the snow, threw snowballs at each other, and took the craziest pictures and last but not the least brought the inner child in us. We slide down a hill and played like children. We left all the stress, adult attitudes and lived the moment. I don’t know who was there and what they were doing because we were so engrossed in having our fun and cared two hoots about what others thought!

Thank you, XXX for taking me there and bringing out the inner child in me.

 

Well I would like to conclude with a quote by Phil Barlow

“Young Children have the natural ability to express themselves and not worry too much about what others think. They aren’t tainted by the pressures that develop as they begin to deal with peer pressure and develop a fear of failure. So consequently, they have the tendency to be themselves, and feel good about it.”

When you feel like Betty Cooper……

I don’t know how many of you read the Archie comics as kids, but I always did and still enjoy reading them. My favorite character has always been Betty Cooper…..

Betty Cooper perfect in every sense… She is a great person, good at everything, be it sports, cooking or fashion. She nails everything perfectly and obviously, the outside world thinks that her life is so perfect….. but was her life so perfect… No, it was not. She had everything except Archie Andrews who meant the world to her….. He was her world but she was just a part of his world…. they were best friends but her role in his life was just about that which was probably just a small part of his world. Why…. she did everything right for him…. but that’s how it is and will be… certain things in life cannot be changed and the best way to move on is accepting what is front of you instead of fighting and going against the tide because that only leads to more distress and depression is what I believe.

So when you feel like Betty Cooper remember the points listed below:

  1. Not everything happens or works the way you want it…. don’t get distressed but accept it and move on.
  2. Be strong!
  3. Enjoy what you like to do and do it no matter what!
  4. Be down to earth and humble.
  5. Have a good-natured positive personality.
  6. Aim to be perfect in what you like to do.
  7. Be nice to everyone around you even if the day is not treating you nicely.
  8. Don’t Be selfish.
  9. Don’t Judge anyone.
  10. Last but not least…… Live life to the fullest!

These are my takeaways from the character of the cliched Archie Comics!

I enjoyed writing this blog, I hope you enjoy reading it and take in the positivity Betty Cooper brings to life!

Let’s Have a Conversation!

This morning I received a message which read..

“We, as a society, really have no idea how *suffocated* people are in their emotions. Most people have *nobody* to express themselves entirely to. Everyone is holding back their *vulnerabilities* to maintain the *social image* of a confident and happy person.

Heart-to-heart conversations have become *rare, artificial and shallow*. And most hearts are filled with *empty defenses*.

Most people can’t even talk to their *life-partners openly* for the fear of being judged or rejected. Emotions await just a release. Social images make sure weakness is not glorified.

Children have *bottled up* stress. Young people suffer anxiety and depression.

It is just lack of social support. It is *lack of non-judgmental* friendships. It is a result of *fast and busy lives* where nobody has time to just sit and watch someone cry.

It is the result of *instant and impatient lifestyle* practices, that *emotions have started feeling like a waste of time*.

We have *WhatsApp and facetime and social media* – and we also have *stress and anxiety and depression*.

Our forefathers had neither. Because they talked to each other. Because talking helps.

The face-to-face type talking, the *just-listen-to-me* type talking, the *hold-my-hand-and-let-me-cry* type talking, the *sit-next-to-me-and-listen-to-my-silence* type talking… the talking where the person can be themselves and *say anything they feel without the fear of any judgment or loss or rejection*.

Today we don’t like that type of talking. Those conversations when someone begins to undress one’s mind. In fact, we *avoid people*.

And so, mental illness is epidemic. Naturally. There is not much we can do. But we can offer a *listening* !” 

 

It is definitely sad to see that this is so true and this is what our lives have become.

Just lift your head around you and have a look, you would see that everyone is so busy, either chatting on WhatsApp or checking facebook or twitter posts.

There are so many pictures of people uploading happy pictures with smiling faces and selfie pouts but stop for a minute and is what they portrayed on social media really what their lives are!

I don’t think so and I do not see the reason why anyone should even pretend!

My opinion is that today’s world is scared of confrontation, is scared of facing a society that we have created and facing the truth. If what was on social media then there would not be numerous ads on sessions by various groups on “How to be Happy” or “Happiness sessions. Do we really need to be taught how to be happy??…. I will leave it here with a thought to ponder upon….

At least I can proudly say that I have 4 best friends… who I know I can have honest conversations and always depend on… no matter what….

 

 

 

Let’s… let people talk without any fear. Let’s create conversations…..